Ellen Moore: Living and Working in Korea Business Case Analysis

May 7, 2011


DATE:           11/10/2010


Per recommendation from the JVI Co-Managing Director Robert Brown I am presenting to the JVI committee my evaluation of the serious issues present in the System Implementation (SI) Project that require immediate correction actions. The two major problems with the SI Project are:

• Significant Project scope creep:
At the direction of Mr. Kim the consultants on the team have been instructed to conduct the market research study. This research is clearly beyond the scope of the engagement. It would take the valuable resources from the main task of the project team. The incremental value of this market research would not justify the allocation of required resources and time.
• Falling behind the Project schedule:
By my estimate of the project status, and this has also been confirmed by Ellen’s estimate, the project is already at least one month behind the schedule. The project’s falling behind will adversely affect all consequent phases of the project.

These two issues are serious enough that they may become major problems if not dealt with in an efficient and expedient manner. The persistence of these problems will significantly jeopardize the whole project, not only the SI phase of it. Consequently, these problems will  have serious implications for all parties involved, including JVI, its respective parent companies KCI and WSI, and the client.
Upon my thorough evaluation of the situation I identified several main causes for these problems.  One of them is the SI Project team structure that is inherently unhealthy and inappropriate for the task.

At the beginning of the project I specifically negotiated and confirmed agreement on the side of the Korean partners and the client that Ellen Moore would be the project team co-manager along with Mr. Kim. Her acceptance in this role was confirmed contingent on her qualifications. I maintain, as I have been from the very beginning, that her qualifications and experience in exactly this kind of system integration projects are of extremely high value and beyond reproach.

However, during the project implementation it turned out that even in this formally equal arrangement the balance of power has been repeatedly violated.

Our goal in this joint venture and this project is not to get involved into power games, but to deliver to the client expected high quality results within the approved schedule and allocated budget. It became obvious during the engagement that the Korean members of the SI project team would benefit tremendously from the joint work with the North American members. Ellen Moore and Scott Adams have had extensive experience in this type of projects as well as general consulting experience on multiple various engagements. At the same time the Korean members of the team by their own admission lack significantly in experience for this specific type of system implementation projects, even though they are very technically talented and skilled.

Therefore I request the JVI Committee meeting to discuss the issues in detail and find the way to overcome the problems. One of the proposed solutions is to appoint Ellen Moore as a sole team manager with all subordinates reporting directly to her. To save the appearances for Mr. Kim, he could be removed from this team and assigned to another unrelated project where his expertise will be a better match. Alternatively he could be assigned the role of a senior advisor on the team without day to day decision making power.

I want to reiterate again that we do not have the luxury of error and trial in this project due to its high public profile and the high stakes for all involved parties. For WSI and KCI it could possibly mean significant loss of business reputation and future bids on this kind of consulting engagements.

We need tightly managed team with narrowly and precisely assigned tasks in order to try to get the project back on the schedule. Ellen is the perfect candidate to turn around and catch up for the lost time, and the decision needs to be made in appropriate way and timely manner.