Posted: August 29th, 2013
Social Technical Change
Social Technical Change
John Parker had received a highlight of the challenges that were awaiting him in the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) position he was interviewing for in the year 2001 at A.G. Edwards. Before joining A.G Edwards, he was the vice president of information at Northwest Airlines from the year 1999 to 2001. When Parker was in Northwest Airlines, he had been involved in many successful fast-track projects. A.G Edwards was sure that he would of considerable significance to the company thus bringing the needed change.
As at the time Parker was taking over, A.G. Edwards was in a bad state as far as project budgeting and completion were concerned. The company had IT costs that were above its limit. The projects could take years before their completion, if they were ever completed. The retail brokerage based in St. Louis had written off the derailed projects. As far as project management was concerned, the company was hitting the bottom line.
At the time of Parker’s employment, a five-year migration of a mission-critical mainframe system worth $196 million needed to be overseen. Its smooth running would bring a significant change to the company. As Parker confirmed when he finally took office, half of the projects that had been taken up were not completed. In addition, these same projects were above the set budget. To precise, most of the projects were 54% over the set budget and 54% over the estimated completion period. Out of the hundreds of projects taken up by the company, 1-2% of the projects would be written off.
By the year 2006, the rate of project success was at 88%. This is in terms of the completion of projects in time, within the set budget and in terms of projects that brought good business to the company. Between the years 2002 to 2005, the Security exchange commission showed that costs of IT and telecom reduced from $295 million to $241 million. This was in concurrence with the continuation of mainframe migration investments. There was an increase in net profits between the years 2002 and 2005. This increase occurred when the profits moved from $71 million to $186 million.
Parker had to make a few changes in order to achieve the changed results. He had to transform the operations of IT. This included changing of project management office and IT interactions. First, he had to bring change to the top managers. This included asking the managers to categorize the projects in relation to their importance, and then he offered leadership training courses to them so that their business’ credibility would be improved.
An expert in project management by the name Ed Pilewski was also brought. He later became the vice president in IT productivity. Pilewski’s main role was to implement discipline in the whole process. A standard framework for monitoring, measuring and reporting the progress of the project was implemented. This was done in order to offer flexibility to the managers and ensure that accountability and transparency were in order. The project management office was reinvented thus allowing the project managers to report to their functional groups instead of a centralized office.
When Parker took office, he knew that every employee was significant, and the employees had to know about it. He taught the managers that they did not have men and women of “yes”. The achievement of the set goals was not only significant to the company, but was also significant to them. This included offering them with the right training. Setting the managers as bona fide leaders would make the other employees respect their opinions. It would also create a good relationship between the employees and their managers rather than the dictator-manager relationship.
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