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Quantum Telecom In June of 1998, the executive committee of Quantum Telecom reluctantly approved two R&D projects that required technical...

Quantum Telecom

In June of 1998, the executive committee of Quantum Telecom reluctantly

approved two R&D projects that required technical breakthroughs. To make

matters worse, the two products had to be developed by the summer of 1999

and introduced into the marketplace quickly. The life expectancy of both

products was estimated to be less than one year because of the rate of change

in technology. Yet, despite these risks, the two projects were fully funded.

Two senior executives were assigned as the project sponsors, one for each

project.

Quantum Telecom had a world-class project management methodology

with five life cycle phases and five gate review meetings. The gate review

meetings were golno-go decision points based upon present performance and

future risks. Each sponsor was authorized and empowered to make any and

all decisions relative to projects, including termination.

Company politics always played an active role in decisions to terminate

a project. Termination of a project often impacted the executive sponsor's

advancement opportunities because the projects were promoted by the

sponsors and funded through the sponsor's organization.

During the first two gate review meetings, virtually everyone

recommended the termination of both projects. Technical breakthroughs

seemed unlikely, and the schedule appeared unduely optimistic. But

terminating the projects this early would certainly not reflect favorably upon

the sponsors. Reluctantly, both sponsors agreed to continue the projects to the

third gate in hopes of a "miracle."

During the third gate review, the projects were still in peril. Although

the technical breakthrough opportunity now seemed plausible, the launch

date would have to be slipped, thus giving Quantum Telecom a wind ow of

only six months to sell the products before obsolescence would occur.

By the fourth gate review, the technical breakthrough had not yet

occurred but did still seem plausible. Both project managers were still

advocating the cancellation of the projects, and the situation was getting

worse. Yet, in order to "save face" within the corporation, both sponsors

allowed the projects to continue to completion. They asserted that, "If the

new products could not be sold in sufficient quantity to recover the R&D


costs, then the fault lies with marketing and sales, not with us." The sponsors

were now off the hook, so to speak.

Both projects were completed six months late. The salesforce could not

sell as much as one unit, and obsolescence occurred qui ckly. Marketing and

sales were blamed for the failures, not the project sponsors.


QUESTIONS

1. How can we delevop a methodology where termination of a project is not viewed as a failure? 

Quantum Telecom
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Top Answer

Hello student, I can handle your question though it requires a lot of work for you to get the... View the full answer

1 comment
  • sure no problem :)
    • engsengtan
    • Jul 20, 2016 at 1:57am

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