Shield: Product Development in a Distributed Team

Professional has attempted to fulfill their believed responsibilities but with realization of the changing level of autonomy there was significant disappointment within the team and it has begun to disband. Undertaken by the new Project Manager. Analysis of this case study has found strong management presence was not replaced following the departure of the Project Managers. This resulted in a breakdown of communication and trust; also the Infinite team has taken control of the workload and is not passing it to Professional. This has put the +4 year project in Jeopardy of failing. There are a series of recommendations to rebuild the motivation of the team and deliver the project.

Assign clear roles of leadership and give individuals responsibility and authority for delivery; also re-establish the lines of communication between the two teams. Then redistribute the workload and clearly defining the responsibility of each team. Set project milestones, deliverables and programmer so the goals are clear and success is measurable. If the challenges are not received well then create an incentive scheme which is appropriate to reflect the culture of each team. Slow delivery of this project could result in a competitor cornering the market therefore the above recommendations should be implemented within a 2 month timescale. INTRODUCTION Infinite is producing a suite of software components code named ‘Shield’ for tracking and providing Digital Rights Management (DRUM).

DRUM will play an increasingly important role as the reliance on and convergence of digital technology increases the need of security and protection for the rights holder of the media. This type of product is not currently in the market therefore the objective of Shield is to have the language of expressing digital rights accepted as the industry standard and gain the position of ‘first mover’. There are two teams of software developers on the Shield project: ‘Infinite’ in USA and ‘Professional’ in India. Prior to the software entering the commercialism’s stage two of the key Manager’s departed from the team and unfortunately a decision was dad by management to not replace them but to employ engineers in the Infinite team.

This does not line up with the original project criteria to investigate the viability of outsourcing; as a result the performance of the project has decreased. The purpose of this report is to investigate the team cultures and performance management factors that have lead to the creation of this situation and to provide solutions; to resolve the issues on the Shield Project and for future Infinite projects. In undertaking this report the macro and micro cultures of the industry and organizations have been reviewed, however research material was limited to the Instead case study (Select, 2005). MANAGING GLOBAL COMPLEXITY IN THE DRUM SOFTWARE INDUSTRY predictability and increases complexity.

The management of complexity is a goal for a successful manager and requires not only using traditional organizational processes of an “organization’s design, detailed lists of assets and financial projections” but it requires an organization “collaborating, discovering, architectonic, and systems thinking” (Lane, 2006, up); this is often a new way of thinking for managers. There are five conditions which are in a constant state of change: Multiplicity, Interdependence, Ambiguity, Flux and Speed; which are indicators of the Macro level of complexity have been examined in Appendix A. Intertwined with the conditions are external drivers that influence the global DRUM software industry, these can be identified using a PEST analysis as included in Appendix B.

MULTIPLICITY Within the software industry there is a wealth of needs including: customers, competitors, cultural values, stakeholders; various political, economic and legal environments. For instance it is beneficial for third party organizations to grow through outsourcing however the company can become a competitor. The foundation organization can then find their own staff looking for protection; as a result an atmosphere of negativity, distrust and patriotism can develop. INTERDEPENDENCE Outsourcing within the industry requires a committed relationship as ‘everything is related to everything else’ (Magazines, 2007, up). The success of a project is reliant on information sharing between the teams.

A manager has to recognize that communication between the teams is central to an effective and efficient project. AMBIGUITY There is a lot of information passed between the people involved on a project which creates room for ambiguity. The workload has to be defined; the project milestones and deliverables have to be set and a programmer drawn up to enable the deadlines to be met. FLUX AND SPEED The IT industry is fast moving, constantly changing and highly competitive as there are many organizations competing to establish themselves. Organizations need to respond to changes therefore a team needs people with skill, ability and track record in place to take charge; also to create a sense of urgency to achieve the goal.

THE CULTURES OF INFINITE AND PROFESSIONAL The concept of organizational culture does not have a clear definition however the Cicero culture has been defined by Mclean & Marshall ‘The collection of traditions, values, beliefs, and attitudes that constitute a pervasive context for everything we do and think in an organization’ (Lane et al, 2006). The Shield teams are made up of people from different cultural backgrounds where there are different norms, one might be ‘seeking harmony, communicating indirectly, and saving face whereas openly criticizing each other and speaking up against leaders may be common in others’ (Lane et al, 2006). This directs each team along different trajectories. Professor Egger Hefted has researched differences in macro ultra practice and behavior of business; the following scores have been obtained from www. Egger-hefted. Com.

FIGURE 1: THE SD MODEL FOR INDIA AND USA There are three cultural dimensions that have a significant difference between India and USA, as shown in Figure 1 and analyses in Appendix C: Power Distance Index (PDP) – India traditionally has a high expectation of inequality in the distribution of power and wealth (however the younger generation conform less to this view). Professional staff had responsibility for three of the work packages but when it appeared this autonomy was removed there was significant disappointment thin the team and it began to disband. Individualism Index (DVD) – USA is an individualistic society and an expectation of looking after oneself; India has a stronger family/group ethic.

Infinite decided they can do the work themselves. They did not recognize the value Professional brought to the project; evidenced when they did not read or respond to their reports and queries. Long-Term Orientation (L TO) – India has a long term orientation to be prudent and determined; desiring to see a project to its conclusion. They have become frustrated with the project, indicated when they said “why do they need us”. The US team has a short term orientation so they “don’t care if this fails”; having a self pride which wants to have control. CULTURE MODEL – GOOFED AND JONES The Coffee and Jones (1996) model allows organizations to assess the micro culture within teams.

They stated and organization “must know how to assess their own culture and whether it fits the competitive situation. Only then can they consider the delicate techniques for transforming it. ” The framework evaluates the team culture for sociability (emotion and social concern) and solidarity (share thinking, tasks and SHAPE * MARGARET FIGURE 2: CULTURAL GRID – TWO DIMENSIONS, FOUR CULTURES The project has moved reduced it level of sociability; evidenced by Infection’s reduction in respect and concern for Professional. It has also reduced it level of solidarity; seen through the way Infinite are holding onto the projects for themselves. As a result the shield project has moved from a position of Communal culture to a Fragmented culture.

Reasons causing this change are: The Project Mangers left the organization; this broke the channels of communication and the delineation of responsibility. The management did not replace the Project Mangers but employed engineers. The Professional team started to disband when Infinite took over their work. TEAM MOTIVATION Frederick Herbert stated “factors leading to Job satisfaction are separate and distinct from those that lead to Job dissatisfaction” (Edwards et al, 2004). This theory challenges the belief that people’s primary motivators are money and tangible benefits. Part of the theory revolves around removing dissatisfaction factors; theses have been termed ‘Hygiene Factors’.

This will encourage a healthy work environment but is not sufficient to motivate the individual; ‘Motivator Factors’ are required for his. The Professional team are struggling with dissatisfaction and low motivation; as shown in Appendix D. They have been making an effort to remedy the situation but as they work for the Infinite team they have not been able to instigate change. The Infinite team is actually relatively satisfied and motivated as they are controlling the communication, have taken a position of status and are currently very busy. ‘The way to motivate the employee is to give him challenging work in which he can assume responsibility’ (Herbert, 1968, pop). The key implications from Appendix D to address are: Set project milestones and deliverables.

Clearly redefining the responsibility of each team. Assign clear roles of leadership. Re-establish lines of daily communication. Get each subgroup to produce a programmer to fit in with the overall project programmer. In summary the issues being experienced within Shield revolve around the lack of project management applied within the teams, this is not surprising as the problems started around the time the Project Manger’s left the organization. Once the members have a clear vision and a redefined challenge then the morale will be able to be restored. Accordingly the Shield teams will need to once again progress through the developmental sequence of teams (TCPMAN, 1977).

The project was “performing” with the production of the prototype however the organizations appear to no longer understand their role or specific deliverables; they need to go back to the “forming” stage and progress through “storming, morning, performing and adjourning” stages for team development. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT Performance management is defined as “a process which contributes to the effective management of individuals and teams in order to achieve high levels of organizational performance. As such, it establishes shared understanding about what is to be achieved and an approach to leading and developing people which will ensure that it is achieved”. (Armstrong and Baron 2005 in Foot and Hook 2008, up 239) If people believe they are being treated unfairly they will be dissatisfied, De- motivated and their performance will drop; whereas if people are treated fairly they are more likely to be motivated and performance better.

The motivation within Professional decreased following the reduction in communication and when Infinite started re-working their programming code. A strong interdependence is required in order for the project to succeed, therefore as the relationships breaking down the likelihood of project failure increases. GOAL-SETTING THEORY One technique of managing performance is called ‘Goal-setting Theory’ and is based on the work by Locke (1981). It is formed on the premise that goals are a significant motivator. The goals set outcomes to focus people’s actions, behavior and performance. It can also be beneficial to set ‘Stretch Goals’ to lift the level of achievement; these must be strategic and not unachievable.

A framework for setting he goals is the acronym SMART; specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and reward and recognition for achievement, which is appropriate to reflect the culture for each team. The project has moved into the commercialism’s phase of the software, which requires timely information exchange and coordination support. The team has struggled with this transition therefore a goal is to have daily updates on progress, questions, changes and the like; by appointed people within the teams to take responsibility for these deliverables. The Hefted analysis (earlier in this report) highlighted the US team would show individualist traits; they have taken work in-house when the purpose of the project is to use outsourcing. This has significantly reduced the efficiency and effectiveness of Shield’s performance.

Each team should feedback their needs and expectations to the manager. The needs of each team will look different; Professional will focus on the team and find it harder to criticism management whereas Infinite will focus on the individuals and be looking for more ownership. This process of change will take some time and will require careful management and flexibility on the part of all members of the team. Should there be members of the team that refuse to adapt then it might be appropriate to move them to another project that is better suited to their skills. If adopting change looks difficult then an incentive scheme should be engaged to support the process; specific to the individual teams.

Incentives can be given for successful delivery of element of work and for reaching a milestone. Good incentives are giving responsibility, public praise and traveling for work. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT ANALYSIS The performance management analysis (AMA) (De Wall, 2006) looks at the structural and behavioral sides within an organization. The structural side relates to the requirements and the behavioral sides relates to the people that apply performance management. Figure 3 is a radar diagram which graphically shows a brief analysis of the teams, Table 1 shows the scoring. This form of analysis indicates any disparity between the teams and provides a visual representation of changes in the perceptions within the organization.

FIGURE 5: AMA RADAR DIAGRAM TABLE 1 : AMA SCORES From Figure 3 it can be seen that Infinite has room to improve in the way they are behaving within the project. Their lowest score is where they are not acting in accordance with behavior that will enhance the delivery of the project I. E. Not responding to questions in a timely manner. To and the way they are structured to meet the requirements. Their low content score indicates they are not meeting their key performance indicators. The low integrity score shows there performance is not reliable, timely or consistent. These failing are as a direct result of the actions of Infinite because most often a sub-contractor does not have the power to influence their client.

In summary the key implication from AMA indicates the performance management thin Shield hinges upon the poor behavior of Infinite, which is having a negative impact on the performance of Professional. The performance of the teams can be restored by managing and motivating the teams towards the original (or new) expectations. CONCLUSION / RECOMMENDATION Shield is at a point where they can turn from decline and avert project failure; but only if the managers are proactive in bringing about change. The level of trust will have to be rebuilt between Infinite and Professional in order to restart interdependent working. Refer to Appendix E for the implementation plan. Redistribute the workload and clearly defining the responsibility of each team.

This will engage both teams and help avoid unnecessary delays. It will also increase the turnaround of queries and design documentation. Successful management of complexity in a globalizes project team requires not only using traditional organizational processes but it requires a new way of thinking. The Shield management has to recognize that communication between Infinite and Professional is central to producing an effective and efficient project. Engage someone with the skill, ability and track record to take charge of the daily immunization between the two teams; then re-establish the lines of communication. Management should have a stronger presence.

The Project Manger (Howard) should take a more hands on approach to the project during this reforming stage. The Deputy Project Manager (Sun Ho) must have an ability to communicate effectively and motivate the teams; this should be monitored to see that he fits this posting. Change on the part of the Infinite team will require good communication skills as they examine and rethink their approach to the project. Part of this change is to sign clear roles of leadership and give individuals responsibility and authority for delivery. There may also be a requirement to remove members of the team that refuse to adapt, possibly to another project that is better suited to their needs.

Get each subgroup to produce a programmer to fit in with the overall project programmer; urgency within the programmer; this is required because a slow delivery could result in a competitor cornering the market. The Project Manager is to address the mutual esteem and concern for colleagues between the teams and the degree to which people think in the same ways and share tasks. Infinite need to distribute the responsibility for projects and rebuilt respect and concern for Professional. When Professional believe they are being treated fairly their performance will increase and consequently motivate will develop. Set project milestones and deliverables so the goals are clear and success is measurable.

Using the SMART goals will focus people’s actions, behavior and performance to enable the project to regain its motivation, as proposed by Locke (1981). They will need to progress through the TCPMAN (1977) developmental sequence of teams; starting at “forming” and progress to a performing team. The team has struggled with communication therefore a suitable goal for the Project Manager to have daily updates between the team leaders on elements of the project that influence each other. These communications will cover topics such as progress against the programmer, current questions and issues that are being addressed, changes that have occurred and discussions on the impact of those changes.

As part of the goal setting the Project Manager is to incorporate a reward system in the form of recognition for achievement, this will need to be different for each team to reflect the culture. In re-building a team that is performing the members need to feedback their expectations and Job requirements to the managers, the feedback from each team will be different. This line of communication will strengthen the performance management so it is clear who is responsible and trust is re-established. However Infinite need a level of assurance that their Jobs are secure because an outsourcing partner can become a potential competitor. It will then be easier to release responsibility.

A method of providing this assurance is to communicate the pipeline of projects the organization is developing. Undertake a review of the progress and gather feedback from the teams on how the changes are being adopted. Have the team leaders report on the team morale, review progress against the programmer and attainment of teams/individuals SMART goals. It is of utmost importance to measure the success of change process. Start the reviews 8 weeks after the process begins and continue thereafter on a monthly basis. The overall timeshare for this realignment within the teams is over 2 month period but refer Appendix E for the time periods for individual recommendations; delay