MBA576 Week 8 Discussion

 Unit 8: Discussion


Congratulations on making it to Unit 8, the final unit of the course.  For the past 7 units you have had the opportunity to learn from the Kibby and Strand simulation scenarios, and you feel you have everything down in the company’s operational process. You understand how receiving, production, and shipping integrate together and potential impacts if you start tweaking one of the departments. Basically, you are in your comfort zone with regards to managing Kibby and Strand’s operations and you have receiving, production, and shipping running like a sewing machine. Well things are about to change!

Remember that decision the CEO was contemplating about leasing the building next door, moving production to that building, and expanding receiving and shipping in the existing building to utilize the production department’s current space? Well, the lease on that building fell through and it is no longer available.  However, the CEO still has concerns because of the quality issue that occurred last quarter and your supply chain management analysis revealed that production capacity needs to be increased to accommodate the shorter delivery times customers are pushing for. The good news is the CEO was so impressed with your operations management work to date that she has assigned you as the project manager for the project below.  You think, “this is going to be a piece of cake compared to running production”, but do not get over confident.

Many operations managers fall into this trap when they face their first project management assignment. Why? The reason is operations managers deal with business objectives and on-going processes, which usually have a steady state. Once the operational process is up and running it is easier to manage. The main challenge is starting the operational process, getting it to steady-state, and shutting the process down gracefully when required. One could say that once an operational process reaches steady state then you control it more than manage it. Basically, you keep the operational process inside of its parameters when you have it up and running.

Whereas operational processes are on-going, projects are short term, have a definite end state, usually contain many parallel tasks, and the objectives are specific to the project. There is more uncertainty with projects because we don’t do them that often, hence there is more risk management required. The project manager is given a defined end state for the project, a list of specific objectives the project must accomplish, a budget, resources, and a delivery date for the project. It is the project manager’s responsibility to utilize the resources effectively to deliver the project within the budget and by the delivery date. That’s it….the project manager is held accountable to deliver the project on time and within budget. Let’s see how you do on your first project management plan.


Stevenson, W. J.  (2015). Operations Management.  New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

Unit Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of project management techniques to include: work breakdown structure, Gantt Charts, PERT charts, and Critical Path Method (CPM). (CLO 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7)
  2. Determine the project life cycle for a project an organization is considering. (CLO 5 and 6)
  3. Construct network diagrams and identify the critical path for a project. (CLO 1, 6, and 7)
  4. Identify potential risk in a project and create a risk management plan. (CLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7)
  5. Calculate waiting line metrics such as average wait time and average queue length. (CLO 2, 4, and 5)


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Initial Posting

Back in Unit 5 you were told the CEO of Kibby and Strand was considering an expansion of production capacity by leasing a building next door. Well, a lot has changed since then. Kibby and Strand recently signed a contract with Amazon to market and distribute some of its products. As a result, the CEO decided to build a new addition to the current building to accommodate the need for more shipping dock space. Shipping will move to the new addition and Production will expand into the space Shipping currently uses.

You are the Operations Manager and the CEO has tasked you to come up with a project plan for moving the Shipping Department to the new addition and expanding the Production Department into Shipping’s old space.  Your guidance is, “come up with a plan to shift move Shipping to the new addition and expand production capacity using Shipping’s current space with minimal impact to operations. We need to meet our contractual deadlines.” You are told that you will be able to buy new machines for production’s increasing capacity, but the current machines in the production department will still be used. In other words, you can’t throw away the existing machines in production. 

Develop a project plan that will allow production to continue while the movement of machines and staff into their new locations is taking place. The plan needs to list assumptions, constraints, and a network diagram for the move. Also, identify the critical path in your plan and its length in days.

Instruction Guidance: It would be prudent to consider content covered in chapters 17 and 18 of the textbook; however, there are many other useful resources available on the Internet and in the literature to support the construction of your project plan. 

The project plan should be prepared as a Microsoft™ Word document, and then attached to the unit discussion thread. There is no minimum or maximum in terms of the word count; however, the response should explicitly address all required components of this discussion assignment. The document should be prepared consistent with the APA writing style and reflect higher level cognitive processing (analysis, synthesis and or evaluation).  

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