Harden, Harden, & Harden is a venerable Wall Street stock brokerage firm. It has its business offices located in downtown Manhattan in the Wall Street district. Its information technology offices are located across the Hudson River in Jersey City.
One of HHH’s most important corporate clients is Mammoth Capital Corporation. For years, HHH has been handling Mammoth’s financial security transactions in a semi-automated fashion. Mammoth would supply HHH with financial data generated from its financial systems formatted in accordance with Mammoth requirements. This data would have to go through a multi-step reformatting process so that HHH could deal with it. Similarly, when HHH needed to send data back to Mammoth, it would have to be reformatted so that Mammoth’s computers could accept it.
It was obvious that this process was time-consuming, costly, and error prone. Mammoth approached its principal account executive at HHH and said that it would be willing to fund a project that would enable to engage in seamless financial transactions with HHH. It established some special requirements. For example, instructions to and queries of the system should be web-based. Also, data security protocols would have to be established to assure the financial integrity of the transactions.
Songsri Singh of HHH’s Information Technology Department was put in charge of the project. She had two IT professionals to help her, including an expert on web based transactions. All three of these people worked in Jersey City, a forty minute train ride from headquarters on Wall Street.
Songsri also identified four business people from headquarters. One was the account executive, who was familiar with the wants and needs of Mammoth. The other three were experts on financial processes relevant to the project’s requirements.
Songsri also included a specialist from Mammoth’s IT department, who would coordinate activities from the Mammoth perspective. His name was Joseph, and he and his department were located in Phoenix, two time zones away from Songsri. Mammoth’s business headquarters were located in Chicago, one time zone away from Songsri. The project “owner” was located there. He was a Senior Vice President at Mammoth. He assured HHH that he would make three or four business experts available to help out with the project, when their expertise was needed.
A careful analysis of business and technical requirements suggested that the project would take nine months to complete. While most of this time entailed standard software development, testing, and integration activity, a significant portion was also dedicated to getting approvals from senior managers in both companies at crucial milestones (e.g., HHH had a rule requiring all web-based activities of substantial size to undergo a legal review by the legal department. This review typically would take from two to six weeks).
Clearly, Songsri was leading a virtual project team, with important players located in three different time zones. A major challenge she faced was establishing effective communications among the players.
- Identify at least four significant team communication challenges she would be facing on this project that would be tied to the fact that she was working with a virtual team. Explain carefully the problems associated with each challenge. Describe the negative impact the project would face if these challenges were not successfully handled.
- For each of the challenges, describe how Songsri could deal with them. Explain why you think your proposed solutions would make things better.
Important! Don’t provide superficial comments. The situation Songsri faces is becoming common in modern organizations. Dealing with this situation effectively is crucially important. In developing your response, take into account a range of factors, such as organizational issues, psychological issues, geographical issues, group dynamic issues, and technical issues.
You should devote 3-5 pages (single spaced, 12 point font) to your answer.
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