Other : Decision Making Process
Case Study #1 : Alex and Dave (Due in Week 4)
Alex is the general manager of Allied Software Corporations
Tysons Corner, Virginia division office. His company
develops large software systems for the defense department.
Alex has four program managers reporting to him, each with a
program worth between $3 and $6 million. Dave was one of
those program managers. Recently hired, Dave wanted this job
to work out well. Daves team was made up of 15 system
analysts and programmers working on a one-year program worth about
$4 million. The program had a short turnaround time for a
program of this magnitude and Dave felt that the deadlines were
almost impossible to meet. In fact, he was facing a critical
deadline on Monday and it was Friday. They were already a
week late. Moreover, some of the department computers were
down for service and a few of his people didnt seem familiar
enough with the programming skills needed to create this part of
the software. Still, he needed this job to work for him so
complaining to Alex was out of the question. Dave knew that
some of his subordinates were very disgruntled about being
overlooked for the job Dave now held and they may take the
opportunity to criticize him. Nine of the 15 department
members were old timers at the job while the remaining programmers
were there only two years. The department was noted for
being good and while tensions ran high everyone seemed to work well
together in a crunch. Dave knew he could count on his team
to meet deadlines, but did not know why they always had to be in
crunch mode to get the group to work together. He guessed
this coming weekend would be one more crunch. Dave was
fairly sure that Alex was not aware of the department dynamics and
he wanted to keep it that way least Alex think that he could not
handle the job. He and the department would just make the
deadline work by putting in some long weekend hours.
Alex arrived at work one Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. By
8:01 a.m., every member of the finance department was lined up
outside his office complaining that someone had stolen all the
computers right off their desks.
Robbery foremost in his mind, Alex searched the departments and
by 8:15 a.m. he knew the answer. No robbery had occurred. The
computers were not taken from the building but just had been moved.
All of the computers from the finance department had been
found on the desks of Daves engineering team. Alex
instructed the financial staff to leave the computers on the
engineers desks for now, until he could figure out exactly what
happened. The financial staff was understandably ready to tar
and feather Dave, but Alex was able to keep everybody calm until
Dave came to work.
The first of his team to arrive, Dave came in at 8:30.
Immediately upon his arrival Alex asked to see Dave in his
office, alone. What the heck happened, Dave? Alex did not
yell it out, but he emphasized the word What.
Dave calmly explained that his team had promised the customer
that specific work that was overdue would be in the customers
hands by Monday morning. The team decided the only way to get
it done was to work through the weekend. By Saturday
afternoon they realized they were not going to get it done unless
they had more computing power. So they took the computers off the
desks of the finance department. They worked through Sunday and
late into Sunday night and delivered the product to the customer
very late Sunday night for its promised time, Monday morning.
When they left late Sunday evening they were just too tired
to put the computers back on the desks of the financial staff.
They just thought they would do it in the morning. Dave
assumed that the others would be there at the usual time of 7:45 to
return the computers. He did not think it necessary to leave
Still a little upset but thoughtful, Alex asked, Why did you
need more computing power? We just did not have enough
machines up for everyone to use. The service guy was not due
until Tuesday. Dave replied. Why didnt you have the work done
before this? Alex asked. Not looking him in the eye, Dave said,
We hit a few snags on the programming end of things and we just
couldnt get past them. It cost us a weeks time, so being late
already we all decided that we would work over the weekend to get
the material in on Monday. While I appreciate your team meeting
the deadline, which was the most important task, Dave, not letting
the finance department know that the machines could be found in
your offices or leaving a note was not a good decision. They lost a
lot of time without computing power today. You need to
address Joe and his department and explain the debacle.
My bigger concern here Alex continued, is that your
department seems to need a crisis to get the work done. This isnt
good. Do you have any ideas? Anxious to deflect Alex Dave said, I
think you and I should work closer to set more realistic deadlines
with the customer. Also a better service policy would help.
Alex nodded his head, but was not convinced.Alex asked
Dave if he thought more computers or different software would help.
Dave replied, “It couldn’t hurt.” Thinking he dodged a
bullet. Dave left Alexs office and went straight to the
finance department to mend fences. He felt better when he left
there and went back to his department.
It appeared that Dave needed help in some way but Alex wasn’t
sure what was needed. Dave left Alex feeling uncomfortable and he
was still unsure if he had gotten enough concrete information to
solve his dilemma.
Alex decided to have an informal meeting of Daves department
and get the rest of the staff’s opinions. The meeting seemed to
yield the same answers Dave gave. However, Alex’s suspicion that
there was more information to be gotten was confirmed. He
noticed that everyone kept looking at Dave and each other trying to
take Dave’s lead and not suggest other ideas. Also, Dave
seemed miffed that the team had to be consulted after he had given
Alex his opinions.Alex left the meeting wondering if he was
making more of the last minute crunch time phenomena than was
necessary. Maybe he should take Dave at his word; work on the
deadline setting and get him a new service policy.
After reviewing his concerns with his own supervisor, Alex
decided that he wanted to learn more about Daves department and
how they operated. He asked Dave to have dinner with him
after work. He did not discuss work at all, but only
personalities. He just wanted to find out more about him to
try to determine if he was controlling the troops or just new to
the job and eager to please. Alex discovered that he had some
similar interests with Dave but most importantly that Dave just
found out his wife was expecting their first child. Dave was
worried about being a new father and doing well in his new job.
Alex also discovered that Dave was encountering some
resistance among the older members of the team. They were
testing Dave, Alex gleaned. They did not trust Dave. Armed
with this new information, Alex decided that Dave needed to do
something similar. He told Dave to take his team out to Dave
and Busters for lunch for the afternoon where they could play games
like many of the team enjoyed doing and getting to know one
another. The only conditions were that Dave was to make sure
that he teamed the younger members with the older members Dave was
also to play with them. Further, the games chosen had to be new to
everyone! (Dave needed to get help from Dave and Busters for that
The following Monday Daves department hit Dave and
Busters. The groups compared scores at the end of the first
round and the younger members were winning. After the second
round the younger members were still ahead so Dave shook up the
groups by placing some of the younger members with the older
members. The scores not only improved for all the teams but
the scores among the teams were also closely matched. Dave
noticed that the older members, forced with a new game, listened to
the younger ones because their initial scores were higher. By
the end of the afternoon there seemed to be a new respect for each
other that had not been there before. The older members seemed to
listen more and react less especially to Dave.
Back in the office with the encounter fresh in their minds, Alex
and Dave decided to break the team in to groups again, mixing
younger members with older members, and posed the problem of
resources and scheduling again. Daves fear of losing his job
was now removed from the meeting. The older members less
reactive to change and armed with a better understanding of Dave
created a new atmosphere to the exchange of ideas. The younger
talent who now felt their ideas would be listened to felt more like
they could discuss ideas rather than stay silent. The new team
discussion resulted in the following information:
Scheduling was too client-driven, not taking into account the
Alex, now armed with the revelations from Daves group wonders
about his other three IT teams and whether they have similar
issues. Should he incorporate the other teams into the
decision statement or keep it initially limited to Dave. His
questions make him seek additional information. The costs of
new hardware for all 15 computers would run $75,000 ($5,000 per
computer). Educational training for everyone would cost $25,000.
(For the older ones only $10,000) The cost of hiring a new tech
would be $175,000 including benefits. The cost of a new hardware
service policy giving white glove treatment is likely to be
$20,000 more a year than the current policy, but he was promised
that time would be kept down time to less than three hours as
opposed to the 24-48 hour policy they currently have.
In speaking with his other program managers Alex discovers they
have the same service problems as Dave, but less project turnover
because the assigned projects to date have been larger. They
take longer to produce and have less content turnover.
Deadlines are fewer because they have more lead time for projects.
He sees that in the other departments that training is
needed for some of the older members, although fewer in number than
in Daves department. However, the program managers would
like more help. They feel they do not have enough staff and
while the hardware for the most part is sufficient two new
computers in each department would be beneficial. Alex reviews this
information with his supervisor and is given a budget of $400,000
to solve the problems in the entire Tysons Corner division.
Assignment 1 (Due in Week 4)
In the first four weeks of this class students explored the idea
of how people make decisions and how the application of a decision
making process can increase the likelihood of a better set of
decision outcomes. Students will be assigned a case study that they
will read and apply a decision making process to make a decision.
The case study can be found under week 4 content area.
The purpose of this assignment is for students to demonstrate
they understand that decision making is a process that can be used
to make decisions with better outcomes for the business.
Step 1:Review How to Analyze a Case Study
under Week 4 Content.
Step 2: Create a Word or Rich Text Format
(RTF) document that is double-spaced, 12-point font. The
final product will be between 3-4 pages in length excluding the
title page and reference page.
Step 3:Review the grading rubric for the
Step 4: Follow this format:
Step 5: In writing a case study, the writing
is in the third person. What this means is that there are no
words such as I, me, my, we, or us (first person writing), nor is
there use of you or your (second person writing). If
uncertain how to write in the third person, view this link:
Step 6: In writing this assignment, students
are asked to support the reasoning using in-text citations and a
reference list. A reference within a reference list cannot
exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa.
View the sample APA paper under Week 1 content.
Step 7: In writing this assignment, students
are expected to paraphrase and not use direct quotes. Learn
to paraphrase by reviewing this link:
Step 8: Read critically and analyze the
scenario provided under Week 4 Content.
Step 9: Write down or highlight key facts
from the scenario. Consider making an outline to capture key
points in the paper.
Step 10: In your paper, respond to the
following elements of decision making:
Step 11:Using the grading rubric as a
comparison, read through the paper to ensure all required elements
Step 12:Proofread the paper for spelling and
grammatical issues, and third person writing.
Step 13: Submit the paper in the Assignment