The following Case study deals with a problematic situation within a company, named Eastern Electronic inc. Since the company developed a new BAT program, the need for a new Program Manager emerges. This case study will firstly illustrate the needed skills and properties the Program Manager Job requires. Afterwards, this paper will compare the skills and properties of the two perspective Job candidates and recommend a decision. Finally, the tasks and challenges will of the Job as a BAT Program Manager will be shown.
1. Who should Mr. Knepper select? Why?
Before starting a comparison between the two candidates, it is essential to define, which job requirements are needed for the job as a BAT Program Manager. The first requirement of the future BAT Program Manager is that he should know the product he is working on. Therefore you need an experienced engineer who is able to sort through the pieces by himself when there is any technical problem which could inhibit the progress. He has to be able to explain technical details comprehensible to the top management and also to the customer. A good program manager should be able to provide an up-to-the-minute status report about the program and the current projects.
The future BAT Program Manager should know the customers and furthermore be acceptable for them. Mr. Knepper mentioned that the perspective BAT Program Manager primarily needs to be competent of managing such a large program as the BAT, which is twice as big as any current program of the EEI (Eastern Electronic inc.). This presupposes that the manager is willing to sacrifice himself for the wealth of the organization and his employees. Loyalty and dedication are big parts of this, above all, the loyalty should be addressed to his employees and customers.
Sales ability is another required competence of the future BAT Program Manager. Those sales abilities missed out by the former Program Managers who was more focused on the technical qualities of the product. So the perspective manager has to be able to work out the best balance between technical objectives and also the cost schedule.
The last but also a very important competence is that he has to be capable to obtain internal cooperation from support groups.
In the following section the properties and skills of both candidates are illustrated and compared to each other.
The first shown candidate is Mr. Martin, who is 44 years old and working for Eastern Electronic inc. for 22 years. By now, he’s managing the USAF Ripper, which is an airto-air missile project. In the paper are many skills and properties of Mr. Martin mentioned, which are speaking in his favor. In comparison to Mr. Dowler, Mr. Martin is characterized by his huge technical know-how and his compliant acting to the company’s regulations and guidance.
As a result of this skills, Mr. Martin is known for his sensitively behavior regarding the top management policy. Due to his technical interests, he gets better along with the functional line managers alike the functional department managers.
On the other hand, the social skills of Mr. Martin are less distinctive in comparison to the social skills of Mr. Dowler. This is shown by the fact, that he did less for the personal development of his employees. Similar to this, he made most of the decisions by his own and told his staff what had to be done. In his view, the Program Manager’s role is to stay on top of the things. Another disadvantageous skill of Mr. Martin is that he seems to be inflexible. In his opinion, the selling belongs to the marketing and has less to do with the job of a Program Manager. The second candidate, Mr. Boyd Dowler, is 38 years old and works in the company for nine years. In the past he was the former program manager of the Army CW Tracker (surface-to-air missile). There are several positive as well as negative attitudes of Dowler to mention.
Regarding the positive skills of Dowler, most of his staff praised him, since he developed them personally and tries to keep personal contact with them. Another positive attitude of Dowler is that he really cares about customer´s
request and the resulting relationship with them. To satisfy the customer’s request, he projectized his program to the maximum possible extent.
The consequence was that he consistently satisfied the desires of the customers. In spite of not having the most sophisticated technical knowledge, he managed his program well and his staff was really convinced about Dowler´s leadership, because he had the right attitude to make difficult things simple. Another benefit of Dowler is that he really lives for this job. Once he is involved in a program, he immediately considers it as his primary job.
Moreover Dowler has the ability to expand his job task. When Dowler feels comfortable and save, he devotes a portion of his time to selling advanced versions of his project and broadening the apps of his existing product. Besides that he quickly discovers and anticipates trouble spots. Mostly he pursues two or more courses of action to solve the problems. A further positive attitude of Dowler is that he actively focuses on the negotiation process, which enables Dowler to select his staff personally. Another advantage of Dowler is that he has shown the ability to lead and control a group of 170 people, which is quite essential for the selection of the program manager of the BAT program, because the company expects BAT to be one of its major business opportunities in the future.
After having described Dowler´s positive attitudes I want to shift to his negative ones. One of his disadvantages compared to Martin is that Dowler is the weaker engineer and he is working for nine years in the company compared to 22 years of Martin. Some people in the company have mixed feelings about him, because he does not constantly care about the issues of his subordinates. Especially the functional department is not convinced about him, because Dowler had a product-oriented, hard-headed attitude about their groups.
Many employees blame him to be overbearing, because if he did not get the service he expected firstly he did not care about discussing the reason and secondly he went directly to top management to get the approval. Besides that Dowler consistently ignores company procedures if he feels he has a reason to do so, which brought him a bad repute. One of his biggest disadvantages compared to Martin is his forehandedness.
This is the reason why he is not as sensitive as Martin is to the top management policy and functional managers believe that his “take-over” attitude is fragmenting groups. Fortunately he eliminated the issues with the functional managers. Meanwhile Dowler cooperates with them and they know what he expects from them to do. What brought him additional discredit was his demand of an approval for direct control of certain functional personnel to end poor performance and late deliveries.
We as a group would select Boyd Dowler to be our new program manager. We think that he has the right abilities to be in a leading position. Although he is younger than Martin and not as long as he is in the company, he has shown in the past that he is capable to lead and control a group up to 170 people, while not having the technical
know-how that his opponent, Mr. Martin has. We know that he has on the one hand the attitude to be overbearing, but on the other hand he always gives the best for his job and tries to solve problems immediately, even if he ignores the top management. According to our opinion it is essential for leaders to take risks and act on themselves.
Moreover he has the right soft skills, which are vital for leadership. He really cares about the well-being of his staff, while he keeps personal contact. Additionally Dowler always attempts to motivate and train them personally to play a bigger role in the company.
2. Outline a program for developing Program Managers.
To outline a program for developing a Program Manager it is important, first of all to define the skills and tasks of a Program Manager and additionally to consider the entire program management in more detail, too.
Program management is defined as a temporary not necessarily management task of an organization, which includes the creative plan, the overall guidance and controlling, whereupon controlling means here the control and steering. So it contents a defined set of related projects. So, a program can be considered as a structure of multiple projects.
Therefore a program manager has the responsibility of the success of the program, and is depending on the success of each projects, which are managed by the project managers. The aim of a program is to realize benefits that are of strategic importance for the respective company or institution. The central task of the program manager is the program planning, the strategic management and the process change management. Together with its project managers the program manager is responsible for the successful completion of the entire program. If it threat that a project in the program would fail, then the whole success of the program is in danger. Therefore, all participants should apply to the same requirements.