Case 4-4

Waith Manufacturing Companysdata-processing department was preparing to implement a new computerizedproduction information system at its new Madison plant. The project was dividedinto two parts. One consisted of the installation of a new computer network atthe plant and the development of new database programs. The second involvedhooking the plants network into the company intranet so that all departmentshad access to the production reports. Alonzo Mendoza was the systemsanalyst responsible for the development and implementation of the project.Janet DeLaura was a lead programmer under Mendoza working on the plant side ofthe project. Bill Synge was the other lead programmer responsible for theintranet. Mendoza scheduled a series of weekly status meetings with DeLaura andSynge to ensure that the project was moving along as scheduled and to allow fordiscussion of critical problems. One month before the scheduled implementationof the project, Mendoza called a special meeting to develop the actual seriesof tasks needed for the final system conversion. During this meeting, Mendozaoutlined the major tasks concerning the whole project that had to be done onthat last day. He then solicited input from DeLauraand Synge. DeLaura spoke up immediately and began talking about several newproblems that had surfaced on her side of the project. Mendoza interrupted her,saying those problems would be discussed at the regular status meeting becausethis meeting had been called to develop final conversion tasks only. DeLaurabecame irritated and was silent for a few minutes. Synge said he had a fewitems to add to the conversion list and covered the first two tasks. Then hesaid the last task covered reminded him of a current problem he had in theinterface program. Mendoza replied brusquely that only conversion tasks wouldbe discussed at this meeting. Neither DeLaura nor Synge had much to say duringthe rest of the meeting.

Case 4-4

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  1. What would you have done to keep the meeting on the right topic?
  2. What technique might Mendoza have used to avoid interfering with the flow of ideas?
  3. What might DeLaura and Synge have done to improve communication?

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