Ericsson case: project management team and roles
In the Ericsson Japan project, the project management team had an important role. Discuss the project management team’s way of leading and organizing the project from a suitable organization or control theory that you are familiar with from previous studies within the areas of organization, management and/or leadership. Focus particularly on what the interviewed project managers in the Ericsson case said about the leadership and management task. Organizing – it is some kind of work, authority and sources distribution between organization members and their coordination process, which allows to reach organization goals and aims.
In earlier GSM project used model core was in which different activities and parts of the project were done sequentially and sharply separated form each other by well – defined entry and exit criteria. It takes a lot of time. How project manager said it is important to learn from mistakes which were made previously. So in case of Ericsson Japan project it was used another model which basic aim was to organize all works on the same time. It allowed to reduce length of project and ended it until the day the deadline was planned.
The work that is necessary to the project was made by functional
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People who are focused on one project are kind of a temporary organization in which they are round up to realize the ideas of the project manager. So how it is in all organizations it is the same within a project team. Leading is very important in projects. Leading means organizing people’s activities to reach the organization’s goals and to make these activities work in good conditions. The project management team has chosen the “fountain” model because of lack of time. On that way project management team could allocate responsibility for many project activities and sub – parts of the product to separate functional teams.
Because of that we can do inference that this management structure is linear – functional model. This model points out that the organization manager takes decisions considering functional managers’ opinion and suggestions. In other words organization manager is helping to make solutions, coordinate and control project activities by core team. So this makes project implementation easier. Executive manager do not have to know all stuffs best, he just have to make sure that all project activities are on their way.
But in order to allow the project to go forward in the right direction, each divisions need to communicate a lot so that everyone knows what need to be done and can also talk about the different issues that appeared during the different stages of the project. Besides project manager has to find out what is the easiest and the most difficult parts in the project, because solving at first the most difficult parts could ensure that when the deadline will be close, there will be only little problem that will occur because if big problem are recognized at the end of the project it will be too late to solve them.
It is also the case for failures because when they occur at the beginning of the project it would be easier to correct them. Balancing the interplay between planning and action – strategy and tactics – may be a project manager’s most important job. 5. Discuss the project management’s way of leading and organizing by using the concepts and framework presented in the article by Nonaka & Konno (1998). What type of knowledge is produced in a project like the Ericsson Japan project? What were the most important mechanisms for integrating knowledge in the Ericsson Japan case?
What type of Ba do you observe in the Ericsson project? For Nonaka and Konno the most important to lead and organize to project management is knowledge. That’s why in their article “The concept of “Ba”: Building a foundation for knowledge creation” they introduce the Japanese concept of “Ba” which means “place” in English. The Ba is considered as a shared place for the rising of relationships. For them the concept of Ba is the basis and increases the knowledge creation thanks to the interactions between people.
The Ba could be a physical space like an office, a virtual place (e-mail) or a mental place like shared experiences or ideas. 1 To develop this Ba, the working groups, the project teams, meeting and informal circles are recommended. The socialization and the company’s culture are very important to increase creation and knowledge. They also discuss the two different kinds of knowledge: the explicit and the tacit knowledge. The first one is more formal and rational, they can be expressed in words and numbers and the second one (the tacit knowledge) is more personal for example intuitions or subjective insights.
The tacit knowledge can be expressed thanks to the Ba and the company’s culture (sympathizing with colleagues for examples) and this tacit knowledge is important for creation. 2 In their article, they also analyze the four characteristics of Ba as one can see on the following diagram: 3 The Originating ba is the first ba during the socialization phase. It is the place where people can share feelings and experience. These experiences are good to develop and transfer the tacit knowledge. Interacting ba is the externalization process where the tacit knowledge is made explicit.
Cyber ba is composed by the virtual word where the individuals can create an environment utilizing information technology. For Nonaka & Konno, “Exercising ba supports the internalization phase”. It is where the explicit knowledge becomes tacit knowledge. 4 After analyzing the project management’s way of leading and organizing of Nonaka & Konno we can compare it with the Ericsson Japan project. In this case the deadline was a problem for the individuals so they searched for a ‘global’ reflection and join each others. All this pressure increase and transfer the tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge.
This tacit knowledge helped them to create their new model, “the fountain model”. The managers clearly signaled a very high involvement in the project. They used the Originating ba and the Interacting ba to find a solution to this time problem doing brainstorming and helping each others. 6. From reading about and analyzing the case, what do you think are the most important lessons learned for managers? Please identify the three most important points that you would like to share with the rest of the class. Please also make sure that these points build on the previous theoretical analyses.
We think that the most important lessons learned from managers are: The involvement of experienced people. The most important thing is to know how to involve all the persons who have experience in doing things and to select them by the “know-how” criteria. If people are involved in the project they will work more efficiently and feel as a part of the project. One of the advantage of taking in a process an experienced manager is that he or she knows how everything is working, there won’t be a “non-undertand ” problem, when it needs time to train and explain everything.
Using the innovative ideas. There is nothing impossible. The beginning of using new ideas or methods can be frightening, but the results mostly are incredible. It can be taken like a challenge. At the beginning the Ericsson project was seen as being an “impossible mission” for the managers but they decided to make changes by adopting “Fountain model” and they succeeded. Motivation. Once having a real leader in a team, who is creative, hardworking, experienced, are not afraid of taking risks, can be a great motivation for the team members.
“Project managers have to realize that influencing others arises at least as much from personal competence as it does from formal authority. Effective project managers continually work to build the personal power that comes from honesty and integrity. ” 5 Of course it can be used other motivational tools, for example rewarding. And not only financial reward could encourage team to work harder and with more passion. After every assignment that is done, it is important to let everybody know what one or other person has done, praising in front of colleagues can be flattering.