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Case Study: Bicycles To Go Manufacturing Company
Background Bicycles To Go is a manufacturer of specialised bicycles and bicycle parts as well as bicycle accessories, which are sold to bicycle manufacturers and various retail outlets. Their head office is in Melbourne, which is also the headquarters for their main sales office. A secondary sales office is also located in Sydney, NSW. The company has two manufacturing plants in Australia: one in Melbourne, and one in Sydney. Distribution centres are also located at each of the current manufacturing plants. The company has recently added a China manufacturing division which includes a small sales and distribution centre. The company is also keen to expand further and establish a partnership with Giant Bikes.
Until now all of the separate offices and manufacturing plants for Bicycles To Go have acted as independent companies, maintaining a separate set of accounts, inventory and customer details. The company feels that consolidating their information and processes will allow for better efficiencies, allowing for process standardization, centralized procurement and sales functions, and consolidated financial reporting. This is a big task and cannot be done immediately or all at once – therefore individualised projects will have to be selectively proposed, chosen from the business drivers.
Bicycles To Go is a world class bicycle company which serves the professional and “prosumer” cyclists for touring and off-road racing. Bicycles To Go’s riders demand the highest level of quality, toughness, safety and performance from their bikes and accessories.
Product development is the most critical element of Bicycles To Go’s past and future growth. Bicycles To Go has invested heavily in this area, focusing on innovation, quality, safety and speed to market. Bicycles To Go has an extensive innovation network to source ideas from riders, dealers and professionals to continuously improve the performance, reliability and quality of its bicycles.
In the touring bike category, Bicycles To Go’s handcrafted bicycles have won numerous design awards and sell in over 10 countries. Bicycles To Go’s signature composite frames are world-renowned for their strength, low weight and easy maintenance. Bicycles To Go’s research and development arm is keen to develop ‘fixed-gear’ and ‘singlespeed coasties’ wheel bikes. (Fixed gear means a one-speed (one gear) bike where the pedals move whenever the bike moves). A fixed gear has real advantages but it does not allow coasting. Whereas the term singlespeed coasties bike (a one-speed bike with a freewheel, that is a bike that can coast without the pedals moving).
Bicycles To Go also sells accessories product lines which are comprised of helmets, t-shirts and other riding accessories. Bicycles To Go partners with only the highest quality suppliers of accessories which will help enhance riders’ performance and comfort while riding Bicycles To Go bikes.
Current Situation: Bicycles To Go is growing rapidly but their current IT systems and business processes lack the flexibility and scalability to support this growth. Furthermore the current systems do not provide the information needed to analyse and project the costs and profitability of different products, sales regions and manufacturing plants. Bicycles To Go is also looking to expand their reach into other markets by manufacturing parts for new bicycle manufacturers.
Bicycles to go is confronted with a number of issues: the purchase of the consumable items and raw materials from local Australian suppliers is becoming too expensive for the company, and the Executive team is considering sourcing and purchasing materials and sub-
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assemblies from India and Vietnam and off-shoring some of their manufacturing to these countries.
The key vision for Bicycles To Go is the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction by delivering their product at the right time, in right place, and at the right price. The company is structured around processes focused on the value added to their customers: bicycle manufacturers and retail outlets.
Strategic Business Drivers: The main business drivers that Bicycles To Go want to focus on for the next 3-5 years are; 1. Maintain a central master customer file so that all departments and regions can retrieve and update information about customers from a central repository. This system also needs to be able to provide support to the company as they expand into new markets and finalize partnerships with new bicycle manufacturers. 2. Generate a single consolidated set of financial accounts. This will allow management to
make informed decisions about the company as a whole. The financial system should allow for global and region specific reporting. 3. The sales manager feels it is critical to be able to generate sales reports that both track
current figures as well as provide projections of future growth. She requires a solution that will allow for reporting by sales region and product. 4. Both the Sales and manufacturing departments feel that they will benefit from making use
of new IT technologies such as enabling portable hand held mobile devices and B2B capabilities, preferably in the cloud. This will enhance the ability of the sales force to work on site not out of an office. This would require all data to be fed back to a central data repository. Although they do not have a clear idea of requirements they believe the ability to determine stock levels and plant capacity as well as place orders and generate invoices whilst on site with customers or suppliers will be advantageous. 5. Bicycles To Go has not developed an online sales portal as they did not see the need.
This was mainly due to the fact that they sold their products to manufacturers and retail departments. These sales were done primarily in person. There has been an influx of smaller service and retail companies who want the ability to order parts on an ad hoc basis. This has hastened the need to create an online shopping cart based purchasing system. The Board feels that a Cloud based system is preferable.
Additional Information: The company consists of approximately 2000 permanent staff worldwide. There are 5 top level managers, a range of middle managers and operational managers and a variety of contractors. The end users of their internal IT systems can be broken down into four main groups with various levels of computer literacy: experienced enterprise system users, inexperienced enterprise system core users, inexperienced casual users, and users requiring simple system awareness. All these stakeholders will be impacted by the implementation in various ways, and these impacts need to be considered.
Bicycles To Go has recently identified a number of competitors that are aggressively expanding into their niche area of the market and are concerned that any project that doesn’t deliver any value for a significant amount of time may not meet their immediate needs. Any solution however also needs to address the companies longer term strategy for growth and customer service.
Instructions A. You are employed by Bicycles To Go as Business Systems Requirements Analysts on a
contractual basis. You have had extensive experience with project managing software implementations in manufacturing organisations, you have been asked by the Board to work on the “Get-Going” project. There will be a number of projects identified from the
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strategic business drivers that are included in the “Get-Going” project. You are required to CHOOSE ONLY ONE project for your assignment requirements.
composition is based on the complementary knowledge and skills the team members possess. A good gender balance is also important.
deducted where components do not follow the template requirements OR look as though they have been included at the last minute). Use the business case instructions.
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Description of a Business Case A business case is a structured proposal for a business change or initiative that is (more often than not) justified in terms of costs and benefits. It is a typical prerequisite for the initiation of a project (large and small) and is explicitly required by many Project Management Methodologies.
The Business Case addresses, at a high level, the business need that the project seeks to resolve. It normally includes:
? project description– which in this case includes justification for the project ? the options considered (with reasons for rejecting or carrying forward each option) ? Implementation methodology proposed ? project management plan complete with WBS ? the expected benefits vs costs of the project using ROI (where known or appropriate)
It is from this business case that the justification for the project is derived and approval to continue may be granted. It also acts as a justification for any further required funding and is used throughout the project as a living document.
The business case is generally reviewed at the initiation of the project (before the go/no-go decision is made) and periodically during the running of the project (e.g. at stage or sub- project boundaries) to ensure that:
As a result of this review the project may be terminated or future development pathways amended.
The business case may also be subject to amendment if the review concludes that the business need has abated or changed, this will have a knock on effect on the project outcome.
Learning Outcomes: at the end of this assignment you will be able to: 1 Write a clearly articulated and content sound business case for the “Get-Going” Project 2 Demonstrate your ability to identify an appropriate project solution from the requirements
of the case study and strategic business drivers of BicyclesTo Go. 3 Demonstrate your ability to choose an appropriate project management lifecycle approach
to suite the project 4 Define a project implementation plan to include a coherent work breakdown structure 5 Correctly calculate the expected budgetary costs for the project – some assumptions will
have to be made
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BUSINESS CASE TEMPLATE (Group Component)
No more than 2/3rds of a page Should provide an overview of the report outcomes
Major headings in initial capitals 14 point Arial consecutively numbered 2nd level headings in 12 point Arial bold – consecutively numbered 3rd level headings 12 point font, bold italics – consecutively numbered page numbering included in the header on the top right hand side and your name, the unit code and unit name on the left hand side in the footer include the date Use default margins
All text in 12 point times roman Single spaced You may use bullets for lists
? Citations should be in Harvard style. This involves references to Smith (1979) or to a publication (Smith, 1979). Multiple authors (three or more) are referred to in the body of the text only as Anderson et al. (1982). Multiple publications by the same author within the same year are differentiated as Jones (1983a, 1983b). Where the author is unknown, or is an organisation, an appropriate surname or organisation name or acronym is used, e.g. (OECD 1985, BCS 1980).
You will be required to provide a brief overview of the business case and the structure of the business case.
1.1. Purpose (2nd level heading) This section discusses what the report covers
1.2. Scope This section discusses the breadth and depth of the project
1.3. Audience This section discusses who the report is going to
1.4. Limitations and Constraints This section discusses the limitations and constraints on the report
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3. Expected Costs vs benefits This section discusses the potential cost of the project to the business and should include a detailed breakdown of the costs vs benefits pertaining to the project. Your estimate of different kinds of cost should be supported by some internet research, but the accuracy of your estimate is not critical for this assignment. For example when estimating software costs, it is rare that the cost of a software package is more than half the total software implementation cost, which includes the cost of adapting and integrating the package into the IT environment. Your costs can be set out in the form of a table to show total budgeted costs – you may use any suitable financial costing method.
3.1 Identify the costing method you have chosen
3.2 Explain why you have chosen this costing method.
3.3 Show the formula you have used to identify the costs.
3.4 In the form of a table show the workings out – all costs should be clearly labelled; you will have to assume certain costs
3.5 Describe your findings to justify for or against the company adopting your project
4.1 Identify the project solution you propose to implement and project manage.
4.2 To ensure that the selected project best suits the needs of the organisation, fully justify why this project was chosen over the other possible project needs outlined in the strategic business drivers – remember you are only TO CHOOSE ONE PROJECT.
For example why has your team chosen to implement Business Driver 1: Maintain a central master customer file so that all departments and regions can retrieve and update information about customers from a central repository.
NB: 4.2 must clearly demonstrate a link to the business drivers and organisational requirements of Bicycles To Go.
4.3 Explain how the selected project will provide value to the organisation once it has been implemented.
5.1 State which software development lifecycle or combination of lifecycles you have chosen
to manage the project.
5.2 Describe why you have chosen this particular lifecycle for this project.
5.3 Demonstrate how this software lifecycle will effectively be used over the life of the project.
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6. Project Management Plan
6.1 Based on the software development lifecycle you chose in 5. above, outline how the
PMBOK project management lifecycle and associated process groups (from initiation to closure) will support the chosen software development lifecycle to ensure there is a successful conclusion to the project:
need to be conducted to ensure this is a successful project
6.2 Translate the project plan into a work breakdown structure suitable to complete the
project over the next XX months. Check points: How long will the project take?
What tasks/activities are required to be completed within each process group? What combination of team skills do these tasks/activities demand? Identify which resources are needed within each process group Estimate how long each task/activity will take (you may prefer to use “Story Points” not days if your software lifecycle is Agile).
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Risk management refers to identification, analysis as well as response to information technology risk factors associated with IT projects. It has to be in line with the objective of the project and the focus is to control possible events that can occur in future. Therefore, the aim is to be proactive but not reactive.
Internal project risks are generally infrastructural problems such as availability of softwares, servers, and IT support. It also includes basic items such as supply of electricity to the project. Notably the risks of basic infrastructure depends on the project location and may or may not require consideration the process of risk assessment.
The importance of identifying and managing internal project risks is essential for successful completion of a project. This is because the potential risks are envisaged and their unforeseen impacts are nabbed at the initial stages. This is a sole responsibility of the project manager.
|Risk factor||Description||Author and year|
|Complexity of the project||The potential project is only understood by the technicians not the IT project manager||Beer, Eisenstat, & Spector; 1990|
|Resistivity to change||The workers resist new ideas to be implemented||Dawson; 2003|
|Market dynamics||The market keeps on changing due to technological advancement with the potential impact of rendering the product obsolete||Hagel & Brown; 2005|
|Poor project planning||This occurs when the timeframe for the project is not well spelt||Paré & Jutras; 2004|
|Funding limitations||The financial allocation for the IT project may not be enough||Umblea; 2003|
|Poor government policy||There may not be government incentives in regards to IT project||Beer et al. ;1990|
Bicycle to go is a company that whose core objective is to manufacture, sell, distribute and export bicycle spare parts. The company is based in Australia. This report has the aim of exploring facts that made the “Bicycle to go” IT projects a success. On the other hand, the principal objective of Bicycle to go IT department is to improve organizational effectiveness and working environment of employees so as to produce quality spare parts. This case study makes a follow-up on the “The Challenges of Complex IT Projects” as described by the British Computer Society (BCS) Royal Academy of Engineering report and “Case Study of Successful Complex IT Projects” published by Lancaster University MSc E-Business and Innovation students for the BCS. The report focuses on a company to be called “Bicycle to go”. The organization undertakes research, design and manufacturing of bicycle spare parts that is likely to benefit both the domestic customers, distributers and exporters of the spares. Studies on the potential of Bicycle to go were done using both primary and secondary data as on-going and real examples of IT projects that are successful. When analyzing the project success, it's important to explain the project failure by recognizing it as a crucial part of the success. One of the most significant contributors to an IT project failure is complexity. The project environment and organization are an important internal factor that typically helps in detection of external factors that influence complexity and subsequently how to address and manage these external factors (Hartman 2000, p.111).
Studies from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Computer Society (2004) found out that less than 15% of Information Technology projects are successful. Therefore, it is important to study the processes and factors that result in complexity of Information Technology projects that produces quality bicycle spare parts. This normally influence the management of the complex factors and even having a great in the depth of why some of the IT projects fail (Richards 2006, p.2).
Complexity is as a result of managing diverse issues in IT projects. It is because the interrelationship between all the players needs to be carefully nurtured and moreover addressed. The case Study involving Successful Complex IT Projects, focuses on the system being implemented which involves communication with clients considered as heterogeneous, so as to unravel their requirements within the microenvironment framework. At Bicycle to go, minor changes kept on being adjusted to adapt to the software operational system even after developing and implementing the software so as to ensure that the software gives maximum benefit to the potential client. The soft wares are used to design various spare parts of the pedal bicycle. There is usually a scope of Bicycle to go to sell their software to other firms by offering after-sale services and franchise opportunities. These normally provide a better method of getting first-hand feedback to initiate the much-needed change ultimately. The company has also ensured safety markings by the use of information labeling on the bicycle components that needs to be occasionally adjusted. This is engraved by certain soft wares. There are also permanent and legible makings covering Bicycle to go in Australia, suppliers, and distributors of the company's spares. Engraved in the software is its identification number (Sirkin et al 2005, p.47). Moreover, each spare has maintenance instructions, and a soft copy manual that comes with it.
The factors that have positively impacted on Bicycle to go can be broadly termed as critical success factors (CSFs) as illustrated by Butler and Fitzgerald (1999). The CSFs are considered as functions where items must accomplish so as to achieve the firm’s mission. CSFs summarizes IT project pre-implementation, implementation and post-implementation stages. These stages have had identification through interviews and academic researchers. Some of the factors include:
4.1 Market research One of the core pillars of Bicycle to go as a spare parts manufacturer and distributor is that a project manager must take responsibility for timely and accurate investigations before any critical IT project to improve any spare part commence. This is to establish the potential of the project and the expected market demand. It is conducted to clarify the path the IT project would take and the mission of the project to ensure the primary achievement of CSFs (Johnson and Scholes 1999, p.76).
At Bicycle to go, the IT project manager is required to have a well-defined and structured project plan. The project plan entails estimating the period of completion, spare parts quality, projected financial budget, and other miscellaneous resources that are required as well as the project scope and limitation. The project plan usually lists all action stages necessary for a successful IT project implementation, and it is considered as daily control tool for the project manager of Information Technology.
The technical team working on IT projects in Bicycle to go has a broad range of expertise that allows them to develop, design, evaluate and implement the software that is being created. The team is usually adaptable to the technological issues arising and prioritizes tasks to complete the IT project as stipulated in the original time frame based on the financial budget. It is normally achieved by having a particular framework for each information technology project. Moreover, the technical and scientific issues are rarely locked up at the technical department, instead it is normally shared with the top management and across the entire organization for more diverse inputs. This normally ensures that demands seen as unreasonable are not placed on the technical team by some other departments. For example, the marketing team may demand certain software functionality that may be unrealistic and even unfeasible to develop at the company technical level (Beer et al. 1990, p.93).
Any IT project can only be successful through effective management. This is normally brought about by change management in Bicycle to go. The drivers for change include technology advancement, knowledge acquisition, and the business environment. Change management in Bicycle to go includes monitoring and managing changes to reduce risks, maintain control and maximize the potential advantages of the IT project. Change environment at Bicycle to go is carefully and precisely carried out because the project can go from the beginning to completion with no major overhaul effected. Bicycle to go normally ensures that the project is a success by involving many micro-changes. The minor changes usually vary from basic adjustment to complete overhaul (Ward 1997, p.108). There is a minimum commitment to organizational change, which is usually required for effective organizational change. Therefore, nobody feels coerced or intimidated by Bicycle to go. It is usually achieved by creating awareness through educating and involving team members at every level. Also hiring of workers who are ready to embrace change has greatly benefited the organization.
Bicycle to go usually engages many stakeholders with diverse interests in complex IT projects to ensure the outcome of the project is a success. Some success factors are dependent on heterogeneous stakeholders. The stakeholders have different capabilities, views, contribution and interests of the potential project. The project manager of Bicycle to go has to take advantage of these divergent views.
Risks as considered inherent in every IT project. The software being developed usually become faulty sometimes as a result of unseen risks. This is regardless of the technical complexity and size of the IT project. IT project risks vary widely and may include operational, resource, financial and strategic risks (Tchankova 2002, p.212). To overcome these challenges, Bicycle to go has ensured that there are proper measures to manage risks applicable for every information technology projects the company is engaged in. Also, the project manager is required to identify all inevitable risks and implement appropriate measures to mitigate such risks (Nokes 2003, p.19). Identification of potential risks plays a role in cushioning the company and customers from unseen losses that may occur as the result of poor programming of the software. It is very essential to achieve longer lasting change than the temporary change in an organization so as to avert the unforeseen risks. This has been achieved in Bicycle to go through a top-notch decision-making process involving the participation of all stakeholders ranging from the low-level software user at the firms spare parts yard to the top most management.
This case study found out that changes affect both technical (hardware and software) and social (management of people) matters. Change is vital when management and IT are integrated as was in the case of Bicycle to go. Notably, when change management procedures are done at an opportune time, it can help avoid failure of an IT project. Bicycle to go has always put in place measures that allows the IT technicians to accept change however inevitable. The IT technicians recruited in the firm are always trained on the aspect of versatility and being able to work in different environmental conditions and able to deliver maximum output. This has resulted in increased efficiency at the company processing and implementation levels. According to Paré (2004, p.30), change management rarely reach optimum levels. Therefore, there is usually a room to adjust on the process as well as the outcome of an IT project. The project manager is left to weigh whether to focus his/ her attention to increasing success to detect and reduce complexity (Umblea, 2003) of the software. Paré (2004, p.13) also acknowledges that changes realized through learning experiences from little setbacks also affects the objectives of the any manufacturing firm, Bicycle to go included. A case example is that at Bicycle to go time or small cost overruns could only be accepted on condition that the final outcome are not negatively affected and in addition unplanned and planned outcomes may still yield a system that will be successful. According to Carnall (1991, p.9), crucial success factors include implementing changes, establishing appropriate management structure, employing extensive planning for final implementation and engaging effective leadership. These factors usually interrelate.
Dawson (2003, p.7) came up with a conceptual framework that can be validate and used in this case study based on the following characteristics;
|Risk No||Risk Name||Risk description||Likelihood||Impact||Risk score||Risk class||Risk Control measures||Risk owner|
|1||Complexity of the project||Projects too difficult to understand||10||6||16||High||-Engage competent technicians
-Review the project
|Beer, Eisenstat, & Spector; 1990|
|2||Resistivity to change||Employees not ready for change||8||5||13||Moderate||-Offer incentives to workers
-Employ versatile workers
|3||Market dynamics||Market keep on changing||8||2||10||Moderate||-Do proper market research
-Be ready to adapt to the changing market
|Hagel & Brown; 2005|
|4||Poor project planning||This occurs when the time frame for the project is not well spelt||7||2||9||Low||-Involve professional planners
-Have flexible time-frame
|Paré & Jutras; 2004|
|5||Funding limitations||Financial constraints||8||5||12||Moderate||-Look for partners
-Consider both domestic and foregn borrowing
|6||Poor government policy||Lack of incentives||5||3||8||Low||-Seek audience with the government
-Influence government policies
|Beer et al. ;1990|
Legend: Likelihood - 10 Extreme; Impact 10 Extreme; Risk class: High
The goal of this report is to explore basically facts that made the Bicycle to go information technology projects a success. Studies from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Computer Society (2004) found out that less than 15% of Information Technology projects are successful. Bicycle to go usually engages many stakeholders with diverse interests in complex IT projects to ensure the outcome of the project is a success when manufacturing and ultimately distributing the bicycle spares. By identifying complexity as risk as have been discussed above, the cost of production will be worked out and reduced. This will consequently reduce the time-frame for producing the bicycle spares. Ultimate the scope of production will be projected and the quality of the spares will be improved. This case study found out that changes affect both technical (hardware and software) and social (management of people) matters.
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