Case study “w6 the quantum bank”

 

W6 The Quantum Bank

Quantum Bank Inc. is a regional bank with branches throughout the southeast. In early 1999 the bank 

launched a website that provides its customers with the ability to check the balance of their accounts, and 

obtain information about the bank’s various services, obtain contact information, email questions, and link 

to a variety of other useful sources of information. Given the site’s tremendous success, competition from 

both traditional and non-traditional organizations, and the desire to expand its presence beyond its 

current geographical area, Quantum decided to significantly expand its online offerings. More specifically, 

Quantum would like to expand its website to include an online bill payment service, allow customers to 

apply for credit cards and loans online, open accounts, and manage their investment portfolios online.

Vice-President of Information Systems, Stacey Thomas, has been charged with overseeing the project. 

One of her first tasks was to select the project manager. Because of the strategic importance of the 

project, she had a strong preference for staffing the project internally as opposed to employing the 

services of one of the many consulting firms available that specialize in these types of projects. After 

developing a list of ten or so possible candidates to serve as project manager, she finally pared the list 

down to the two finalists described below.

Bill Fence: Bill joined Quantum in 1995 after graduating from a well-respected small private school with a 

degree in computer science. His first assignment as a member of the bank’s help desk provided him with 

exposure to a variety of areas in the hank. He quickly gained a reputation for capable solving difficult 

technical problems. In addition, users of the bank’s various computer systems were often heard 

commenting on how service-oriented Bill was and on his ability to describe concepts in nontechnical 

terms.

Because of both his technical knowledge related to hardware and his ability to program, Bill was selected 

to develop the bank’s website in 1998. Bill worked alone on this project and had frequent meetings with 

one of the bank’s directors of Information Systems, who supervised the project. Initially, the director did 

most of the design work and Bill did the computer programming. Bill often proposed alternative ways for 

incorporating key features into the website, and the director would choose among the options Bill 

identified. Toward the end of the development project, Bill began to take a more active role in proposing 

features to include in the site.

The development projects was largely completed on time and on budget considering the changes in the 

scope that were made as the project progressed. Several suggestions that would have extended the 

site’s functionality were tabled to be considered after the site was officially launched.

In his current position as webmaster, Bill is in charge of maintaining the bank’s website. Although Bill’s 

reports now include a programmer and a hardware specialist, his approach is very much hands on, 

staying involved with all technical aspects of the site. Bill has developed an excellent rapport with his two 

direct reports, and they have emulated much of Bill’s style including working long hours and even 

competing to see who can accumulate the largest number of soft drink cans, empty candy wrappers, and 

computer printouts on one desk.Andy Dover: Andy also joined the bank in 1995 after completing his MBA at a large public university. 

Andy entered graduate school immediately after graduating with a Civil Engineering undergraduate 

degree at the same university. Andy spent his first year rotating between various departments in the 

bank’s management training program. After completing this training, Andy requested a permanent 

assignment to the operations group. His initial assignment was to oversee the check encoding operation. 

After implementing several process improvements, Andy was promoted to senior operations analyst and 

worked on several large process improvement projects.

Performance evaluations of Andy suggested that one his greatest strengths was his ability to step back 

from a problem and understand how the various issues were interrelated. His evaluations further 

recognized him as “a highly motivated self-starter with very good organizational skills.” His organizational 

skills also helped him present effectively information, and he was often requested to make short 

presentations related to a particular project’s status to senior management.

By almost all accounts, Andy was considered highly competent, completing assigned tasks in a timely 

fashion with little or no direct supervision. At the same time, Andy always made it a point to communicate 

regularly with other project team members to keep them abreast of his progress. He was often passionate 

about his ideas and could typically get buy-in from other team members for his ideas.

Andy is almost always seen carrying his planner. As an avid stock investor, he makes it a point to stay 

abreast of trends in technology. He has a basic understanding of how the Internet works and knows all 

the important buzzwords. While he has fooled around and created a couple of web pages, he knows very 

little about more sophisticated programming languages such as Java, and knows even less about 

computer hardware beyond its basic purpose.

Questions:

1. Who would you recommend Stacey Thomas select to serve as project manager? Why?

2. How would you recommend this project be organized? Functional project? Pure project? Matrix? 

Why?

3. Do you agree with Ms. Thomas’s decision that the project should be staffed internally? Why?

4. What are the major advantages of staffing the project with Quantum employees? 

5. Are there any advantages to utilizing the services of an outside consulting firm? Describe the pros 

and cons of using outside consultants.

Justify your answers by referring to the case study and other online (only) sources.

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