Background: Mike, a newly hired IT project manager with many years of experience, works for A-Parts, a midsize automobile parts manufacturer located in Kalamazoo, Michi- gan. The company has experienced major revenue growth over the past couple years and needs to upgrade many of its old software applications. Jeff Smith, the owner and CEO of the privately owned company, has realized that the company needs to do a better job of running projects to cope with the new large upgrade projects, so he hired Mike. A-Parts is organized around job functions (see the following organizational chart). The first major project Mike has been asked to run is the new accounting and inventory control software upgrade. The entire suite of accounting software will be replaced, along with the inventory control software used in the warehouse. The two systems will be linked together such that data updates that occur in ei- ther system will be recorded in the other system simultaneously. Therefore, it will be extremely important for the two groups to work together to make sure the project is a success.

Current Situation: The project is 30 days old and is already in some trouble. The two key sponsors, the vice president of accounting and the vice president of manufacturing, can’t seem to agree on one application solution. Each wants a solution that fulfills her needs best, and the IT department would need to write custom code to get the applications to share information. The two sponsors are also not very willing to relinquish their best personnel to work on the project because they fear that these individuals will not be able to fulfill their current work responsibilities. Mike has been trying to create an amiable solution, with both parties giving up something, but so far he’s had no luck. Jeff has been reluctant to step in; he prefers they handle it themselves. Part of the problem is that Mike reports to the IT supervisor, who reports to the vice president of accounting, so he is feeling pressured to do things that favor the accounting department over manufacturing. Mike decides that maybe a different organizational structure is necessary to help solve some of the issues. Discussion: Describe the current organizational structure for A-Parts and summarize its strength and weaknesses. What suggestions do you have for Mike to improve the situation at A-Parts? Do you feel that a different organizational structure would help the situation? If so, which one? Explain.

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