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CE297: Project Management Homework 4

Student Number Date: February 28, 2019

Section: HZZQ

CE297 Discussion Questions – ACME Medical Imaging Company

Reading Assignment:
ACME Medical Imaging Company
A Project Management Methodology

Describe the organizational structure of ACME.

Acme’s structure is separated by geography and by function. Its product design team is based in Italy
and Arizona. Its software team is in Minnesota. Its operations team is based in Connecticut and its
manufacturing team is located somewhere else. In addition, its CEO and majority owner separates the
teams by function and more importantly by their respective engineering disciplines. These teams work
solitarily, almost no communication with other design teams. Furthermore, communication between the
teams are severely impaired. The main form of communicating is thru e-mails and video conference which
resulted to a lot of verbal cues being missed. Also product specifications, target revenue, volume and cost
targets are not relayed to the designers leading to higher than expected costs in new products.

Design is heavily monitored by the CEO. Decisions for the design must go through him, limiting the ability
of the design teams to provide quick decisions resulting to delays in the project.

The members of the design team possess considerable experience in their fields. Despite of this, the
lack of formal schedules for projects prevent a seamless flow in product delivery. This type of process does
not match requirements of the healthcare industry.

The design teams, though considerable in experience, lack the break neck speed in production and
disregarded target costs set for their product. Their approach to their work is the one they are accustomed
to which often falls short to the standards of the healthcare industry.

The design team also recognized their lack of manpower but neglected to address this. They thought that
the time to train new personnel would delay the project further.

What do you think of its leadership? Is it strong or weak? Why?

The leadership of the company is strong, bordering to autocratic. All design decisions made by the team
passes through the CEO rendering the leads of each team unable to take initiative to quicken project
execution. For smaller organizations, this type of leadership might be ideal but for ACME, this strong type
of leadership is a hindrance. Waiting for decision to be made by a person who must be brought up to speed
about the situation could further delay the process letting the project suffer.

Does ACME have a project management system? Do they have well defined business
ACME has a project managements system. Albeit, it is one that has flaws and holds no bearing to the
employees of the company. It has a well defined business process. But, like its project management system,
it has flaws.

ACME has a two phase process when launching new products; Conceptual Phase and Product Readiness
Phase. The monitoring of these two phases left out a few well defined phases in delivering any kind of
product. Defining these phases is key in setting the schedule for goals to be accomplished such that the
deadline of each project is met. Having weekly meetings to discuss progress is not enough. Even if progress
is made, it still has to be determined if the progress being made is enough to meet the deadline.
Furthermore, these two phases are not well known by most employees which is not ideal since every
employee must know which phase they are in or should be in. This is one flaw in the project management
system of Acme.
CE297: Project Management Homework 4

Another flaw in their project management system is the absence of information cascading among the
teams. The report describes a situation wherein members didn’t have clear product specifications with
revenue, volume and cost targets. The absence of these information produces products that does not meet
the standard of the industry they are in or the goal of the company itself.

Make a simple 5 forces analysis framework for ACME Medical.

Threat of New Entrants:

WiMAX chipset producers venturing into the Medical
Imaging industry

Bargaining Power of Buyers:

Bargaining Power of Suppliers: Hospitals, clinics, medical
practicioners. Buyers tend to pay
WiMAX chipset producers
increasing or decreasing the prices ACME more or less depending on the
technology and level of
of their chipsets customization

Threat of Substitute Products or Services:

Big players in the business offering substitute products with
the benefit of economies of scale.
General Electric, Siemens Medical Solutions, Philips, Toshiba,
Fujifilm Holdings, Shimadazu Corporation, etc.

Describe ACME Medical’s product delivery process.

When a product is conceived by ACME, the design teams start their work using the best practices they
know. They have no formal standardized process to follow in doing their work. In addition, having no clear
product specifications, employees made their own idea of what the final product would be. They continue
doing this at their own pace, with no solid schedule of when they would finish.

Meanwhile, marketing and sales over-commits deadline to important customers. Enamored by the
prospect of employing cutting edge technology in their products, they commit time-to-market dates, price
and quantity to customers without communication with the engineers and technicians. This, as the case
points out, deepened ACME’s quagmire.

In production of the finalized design, the manufacturer is determined at the moment and not
beforehand. The case states that operations has already picked prospective manufacturers for their
designs. However, this has not been taken into consideration when the time for selecting manufacturers

Lastly, due to the strong handed leadership of the CEO, a “squirrel” moment can happen wherein the
CEO decides on a new course for the product without regard to the progress already made and the
ramifications of such a change would do to the project.

Are ACME’s business goals clear?

The CEO has a clear vision of where he wants to take the company but the way the company reaches it
is not clear. From potential contract manufacturers, board assemblies and functionality of a single circuit
board, decisions are being changed in inopportune times making the path they take for the company to
CE297: Project Management Homework 4

achieve its goal longer. It is also clear that they also have no unanimous decision as to when they want to
reach it seeing that everyone just works at their own pace.

How was ACME going to design and develop the WiMAX ?

ACME Medical originally planned that a U.S. based company supply the chipset and software. This is due
to the reputation of the company in meeting the specifications set by ACME. A single circuit board with
modem and radio functionality was to be designed.
However, the CEO changed this in order to capitalize on the Taiwan based company’s perceived lead to
deliver their requirements. This change entailed new product architecture, separating the function of the
single board into two boards
At first, the change brought benefits such as: easier management of bill of materials and supply chain
and reduced overall product cost. Previously designed parts also showed compatibility with the new change
leading them to believe that delays would be minimal. This was not to be the case.
More board assemblies were required to be created leading to burdensome management of supply chain.
A review of unit manufacturing cost showed that it was higher than expected.

Does ACME need a new leader? What traits are needed?

If the CEO would not be amenable to change, then yes. ACME needs a new leader. ACME’s leader has
to be decisive regarding the company’s decisions.
The new CEO does not necessarily have to be rigid in decision making wherein previously decided things
should be final. Rather, the CEO has to weigh the rewards and risks of changing and determine if the
company would be better off with the change in decision.
Furthermore, the new CEO must learn to delegate tasks to his subordinates. This would enable team
leaders to take the initiative in design reacting to each problem quickly. This would not mean that the CEO
be entirely ignorant of what the team leaders do. The CEO must ensure that the teams work in optimal
conditions: engineers and technicians possess sufficient experience, staff is sufficient to meet the workload
requirements and the teams are heading into the right direction with regards to company goals and

At what stage in the business life cycle was ACME in?

It is in phase 3 of the business life cycle, the implementation case. In this phase the cost to change is
high, the level of influence and potential to add value is low.