A training technique for developing project managers

what it takes to be a good one

Nicki S. Kirchof

School of Business

Western Carolina University

Author's Note: There are currently a large number of people, both consultants and academicians, who teach project management theory and techniques. The courses range from full-scale, university-supported, formal credit-granting courses to short two or three day, intensive and specialized workshops. While the volume of training and education courses has expanded rapidly in recent years, there has been little development of a means for exchanging materials and ideas among project management trainers and educators. Such an exchange, however, is essential to the improvement of project management training in general. This paper is an effort to initiate such an exchange, and it is submitted with the hope that the Project Management Quarterly may become the vehicle for developing a continuing dialog on methods and materials among those who would teach project management.

Introduction

The issues faced by the academician and the consultant in educating and training project managers are markedly different in detail and complexity. The academician searches for examples and materials which can demonstrate to the student the types of problems, pressures, and responsibilities faced by the “typical” project manager. The material provided in this article is useful as presented in satisfying this need. The consultant, on the other hand, must face the very real problem of developing and training project managers to meet a specific organization's needs. We in the project management field have been singularly unsuccessful to date in agreeing on specific, universal skills needed by all project managers. This situation, in turn, has made it practically impossible for universities to develop formal educational programs which adequately prepare the student for specialized project management positions. Faced with disagreement among practitioners concerning the required skills and an almost complete lack of formal university educational programs, top management in most large project-oriented companies has opted for extensive practical experience, rather than textbook knowledge, as the criteria for selecting new project managers. Since the vast majority of younger professional personnel these top managers have to choose from are engineers, and since “good engineering work” is relatively easy to evaluate and identify, most new project managers are engineers first and managers a distant second by both education and experience. They tend to have little formal management training. Perhaps as a result they frequently display a decided lack of interest in the managerial aspects of the job, at least when first assigned to project management duties. However, as these individuals are faced with the practical concerns of conducting the project, and especially as the difficulties of communication and coordination become predominant, they soon recognize the critical importance of good management skills.

Developing management skills after assignment to the project, however, is no easy task. Learning on the job is dangerous and can lead to many costly mistakes. Most active project managers cannot spare the time to pursue lengthy, formal university-style management courses, even if the appropriate courses exist. Further, most general management university courses contain much information that is superfluous to the immediate needs of the project manager. The net result is that most companies look for short, specific, practical-oriented training programs designed to help the new engineer adapt to his new management tasks. This preference is documented by the current high demand for short, two to five day training seminars and workshops emphasizing specific management techniques (conflict management, negotiation techniques, planning and control methods, etc.) carefully adapted to the project situation.

Unfortunately, many of the available training sessions are generalized “canned” packages developed by consultants and educators who have little or no knowledge of the specific working conditions faced by the participants in their company jobs. Particularly when these packages are presented to the general public, little effort is made to identify the specific needs of the participants, much less modify or adapt the material to satisfy those needs. Yet the fact remains that the specific working situation that exists within the company and the industry largely determines the way in which these managerial techniques must be applied if they are to be used successfully. The best that can be expected from this approach is a good, open discussion of project management concerns and an exposure to general management theory. While this may be useful, it typically does little to show the new project manager how to deal with his specific management problems. What is needed is a training method which will provide for both the identification of a company's specific needs and the adaptation of the management material directly to the specific situation.

One training technique exists which will accomplish this purpose, but is seldom used in this manner. It is a type of case study which uses the company or the project as the case and involves group interactions to deal with memos, letters, and similar documents which describe the organization's situation. These documents are frequently drawn from the organization's files, though they must frequently be modified for training purposes to provide the required anonymity. The participants are required to make decisions, write memos and formal letters, arrange and conduct meetings, and establish schedules acting as the project manager. As a small group, these participants exchange views and compete with others for the most appropriate results. As a general approach, this technique is known as the “In Basket” exercise and is normally used for manager evaluations. As a specialized project management training technique, the in-basket must be carefully designed to reflect the specific organization's situation, and can thus be used most effectively only with groups of participants from that organization. The purposes of this article are to describe the theory of the in-basket and its adaptation to project management training, and to provide an example of one such program that was developed to meet the needs of a large U.S. public utility company. This example is provided in the Appendix.

The In-Basket as a Training Device

The in-basket was originally conceived by Norman Frederiksen of the U.S. Educational Testing Service in response to needs stated by the U.S. Air Force.1 It was developed in 1953 because of the increasing requirement to identify, select and develop managers with the ability to hold key positions in modern, evermore-complex business and government organizations.2 In general, the exercise is a simulation that sets up a hypothetical situation requiring high level managerial performance in a highly stressful, competitive situation. The participant, in competition with others, must deal effectively with a variety of items which have presumedly accumulated in a specific manager's “in-basket.” As originally conceived, the documents formed a standard set of problems which were distributed to each participant. The subject resolved these problems and was scored as an individual, and the score was used as an aid for predicting successful on-the-job administrative behavior.3 By the early 1960's, the “in-basket” had been reviewed in the psychological and management literature as both an individual and group exercise. Even in the group situation, the exercise was characterized by its ability to evaluate each individual's performance along with that of his group. The exercises have been widely commercially prepared and distributed. Their use has spread rapidly as an assessment center exercise to evaluate managerial behavior, and as a training technique to teach small group behavior.

Adapting the technique to the task of training an organization's project managers requires an analyst who can evaluate the organization and either select or develop the materials which reflect the main components of the project manager's job. The realities of the job must be reflected in the range of information provided. Each item in the set of materials will be more or less relevant to the key aspects of the job. The participant must be able to prioritize his work efforts based on the information given and his personal knowledge of the organization. The objectives of the exercise can vary widely, from “providing a perspective of the coordination required in the company for specific project tasks,” to “training in the use of detailed scheduling techniques.” In any event, the materials are the key to tailoring the exercise to the organization.

Structure of the Exercise

In general, the tailored in-basket consists of three major parts — a set of background materials, a set of problems, and appropriate feedback procedures. The background materials describe an organization's situation and provide instructions to the participants. A detailed description of the organization is provided from the perspective of the project manager, including both the project and its orientation within the larger organization. This background material should include such items as the details of the project, organization charts for both the project and the larger organization, job descriptions, financial statements, policy documentation, and other pertinent data. This material may have to be simplified to make it usable within reasonable time limits, but the climate of the organization must be retained while emphasizing those factors important to the objective. Within the instructions is a description of some unanticipated event, such as the death or sudden departure of the present project manager. This situation needs to be plausible so that the participants can identify with and assume the role of the project manager quickly.

The second part of the in-basket includes a set of problems and working materials. The problems are introduced by providing selected memos, letters, telephone messages, meetings agendas, schedules, and other items that exist in the manager's “in-basket.” These items must reflect the training to be accomplished in the program, and may be actual documents modified to emphasize particular aspects of the job. A given problem may be represented, for example, by two letters and a note separated by several other items, so that the participant must organize the materials before prioritizing the work. The problems should reflect four characteristics which the participant can use as criteria for determining the amount of attention each deserves. These characteristics include: (1) an indication of the impact the problem might have on the project; (2) time pressure, which provides motivation and a valid reason for immediate action ; (3) some indication of the search, or the amount of additional information needed to make a decision; and (4) social consequences, the real and understandable result each decision is likely to have on others. Ideally, these problems will provide a mix of light, very complex, technical and administrative issues which reflect the range of concerns with which the project manager must deal. In addition, the participant will require letterhead, memo pads, a calculator, and other materials with which to participate in the exercise. It should be apparent that the exercise can be made to last as long as desired, and be as complex as the funds and facilities allow, simply by the selection of materials that make up this problem set.

The final section consists of the procedures used by the participants to record, score, and explain their actions. For use as a specialized project management training program, the participants should be asked to work in small groups of 5 or 6 persons, with the group assuming the identity of the project manager. Ideally the group will consist of prospective project managers, experienced project managers, and representatives of the various staff agencies with which the project manager in this organization must coordinate his work. This arrangement facilitates an exchange of viewpoints across the organization concerning the problems faced by the project manager and the appropriate procedures effective in the particular organization for dealing with the issue. In this manner, the participants provide immediate feedback to each other, evaluating the other's ideas and defining acceptable behavior. The instructor acts as an observer and can review the actions and decisions of the group after the fact from the standpoint of the theory and techniques applicable to the situation. In large training programs, the groups can also present their solutions to each other critiquing and being critiqued in turn.

Conclusion

Extensive research has established that the in-basket can provide an excellent evaluation tool for managerial talent and a training technique particularly adapted to small group dynamics. The project management academician can use a general, project-oriented in-basket to demonstrate the types of problems, pressures and work faced by the “typical” project manager. The technique's use as a means for tailoring training programs to a specific organization's needs, however, has been largely overlooked in the literature. When used as described in this article, after being tailored to an organization's needs by a qualified analyst, the technique is particularly useful for developing an understanding of:

  • the complex requirements of the project manager's job,
  • other people's views of the project and its relevance to the organization,
  • the need for coordination with and the support of other agencies, both within the organization and external to it, and
  • the formal structure and the political climate of the organization, as well as the relationships among them.

Finally, the tailored in-basket also provides the project manager with much needed practice in generating decision alternatives, in selecting from among them and, most important, in having them evaluated by a variety of other professionals. In conjunction with the presentation of more theoretical material, it provides a valuable and perhaps unique method of providing managerial experience and education to young project managers.

Appendix: Pasamaquady Power Project

(Note — This is an actual situation. The names, dates, and locations have been changed to assure anonymity.)

Objectives

(1) To create a realistic, but stressful managerial situation, in which the participants must make project management decisions and/or recommendations;

(2) To compete with other participants for the best quality of work with the given data; (3) To exchange views of the project manager and the project management function in this organization.

Preparation

Read the background and become familiar with the situation. Then STOP. The instructor will have further instructions.

Case Background

Jim Parks is manager of the Pasamaquady Power Project, a major expansion effort of the Maine State Electric Corporation (MSEC). The project is to provide two new 600 megawatt generation units, nearly doubling the capacity of MSEC. Construction began in 1974, with planned generator on-line dates of 1976 and 1978 for the two units. The project, however, has had four major delays since that time; two of them involved extensive redesign efforts to comply with changing environmental standards, and two resulted from a re-evaluation of the area's projected growth in electrical consumption.

The generating units were originally planned to be fired by oil, but included the capability for easy conversion to coal. The project had involved all necessary facilities for using either oil or coal. These facilities included all of the following units:

Coal handling:

  • 540,000 ton inactive storage capacity
  • 60,000 ton active storage capacity
  • Pulverizer with a 600 ton/hour capacity
  • Docks and handling facilities for barge delivery of lump coal
  • Railroad siding and unloading facilities for lump coal
  • All necessary handling, transport and processing equipment

Oil handling:

  • 4-71/2 million gallon oil storage tanks
  • Railroad siding and unloading facilities for oil
  • Docks and unloading facilities for tankers
  • All necessary piping and valving

The two units operating at capacity were designed to consume 500 tons of coal or 85,000 gallons of oil per hour.

In 1979, Parks received a proposed prohibition order from the U.S. Department of Energy restraining MSEC from using oil as a primary power source at Pasamaquady. Although this was only a proposal, the decision was made immediately to convert both units to coal. The capacity to convert back to oil, however, was retained. The compliance grade (less than 1% sulfur content) coal will be shipped in rought lump form and pulverized onsite for burning in powdered form. It was simultaneously decided to integrate certain of Pasamaquady's facilities with those of the neighboring Pnobscot Plant, an older power plant housing three 300 megawatt generators. The first two of these units were oil fired, while the third used coal. MSEC changed the Pasamaquady Project by eliminating two of the oil storage tanks, integrating the remaining two with the oil storage facilities at Pnobscot, and adding the handling and transport equipment to supply Pnobscot's coal needs from Pasamaquady. Tentative plans were also laid for converting the two oil-fired Pnobscot units to coal.

The accompanying organization charts show the structure of the corporate organization and the relationship between the various functions within the plant. A detailed organization chart for the Pasamaquady Project is also included.

Jim Parks has been quietly dissatisfied with his job for quite some time. There had been conflicts with other members of the corporation, both subordinates and superiors, as a result of the massive delays and changes in his project. Jim felt that this severely limited his chances of advancement in the company and he had been quietly spending his spare time researching the job market. On March 23, he was suddenly offered a position constituting a major promotion and salary increase. The new position was located in California and required that he report to the job site immediately. Jim resigned from the Pasamaquady Electric Project on March 24, with no prior notice. He reported to his new position on March 27, leaving his family to join him later. The new job site is in a remote location, and Jim indicated he would be unavailable for any assistance or consultation, by phone or otherwise. It was noted that Jim had been negligent in keeping up with the project correspondence and records in recent weeks.

John Stephens was appointed project manager on Saturday, March 25, in a special meeting of the President and senior managers of the firm. John was transferred from a smaller but also critical project involving international transfer of electrical power. He had a remaining commitment to attend the Multinational Electric Power Exchange Commission meeting, lasting 10 days, starting on Monday. He walked into the office at the construction site on Sunday morning and surveyed his surroundings. He was isolated on the project site. After surveying the scattered correspondence, memos, and other papers on his new desk, he knew he would not be home for lunch. When he tried to call his wife to let her know, however, he found the phone was not working. This fact made John uneasy. He now knew he would have to rely totally on his own effort and intelligence. He had worked on smaller projects of this type, however, so he felt well qualified. Further, he recognized that whatever actions he took today would establish his presence and managerial style as the project manager, and would thus have a major impact on his ability to manage his people in the future. He had to get the project under control within four hours so that he could leave for the airport by 2:00 p.m.

Instructions for Group Assignment:

Today is Sunday, March 26, 19XX. John Stephens has just come into the office for the first time, at 10:00 a.m. He must leave for the airport no later than 2:00 p.m. in order to catch his plane for an important meeting, a prior commitment, which will be conducted out-of-country. He will not return until April 6th. His secretary is Kathy Lee, who was secretary to Jim Parks before he left. The materials in this packet were left in the in-basket on his desk by his secretary, Kathy Lee.

Your group is to assume the role of John Stephens and go through the entire packet of materials, taking whatever action you deem appropriate for each item. Every action the group wishes to take should be written down including memos to the secretary, memos to “yourself” (John Stephens), etc. Draft letters are appropriate. Write out any plans or agenda for meetings or conferences that you plan. Detail instructions you wish to pass on to your subordinates. These letters, memos, notes, etc. may be in “rough draft” form. You are to use your combined experiences as the basis for action in assuming the role of John Stephens.

REMEMBER!!

The day is Sunday, March 26th, time 10:00 a.m. Write down every action you take on any item. You cannot call on anyone for assistance, since the telephones are not operating. You must work with the materials at hand. You will be away from the office from 2:00 p.m. today until April 6th. Be sure to record every action, whether memo, letter, meeting plan, etc.

The solution of your group will be compared with that of other groups, and a winner will be determined. This is a test of your group's ability to work together on problems the project manager may typically face in meeting his “production” goal.

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OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 25, 19XX

TO: Mr. John Stephens

FROM: Kathy Lee, Secretary

SUBJECT: Welcome

I heard that Mr. Parks had left, that you had been assigned to the project, and that you'd be out of town for the next few days. Thought you might be in over the week-end, so I came in today (Saturday, March 25th) to put some of the more important items together for you. I'm afraid Mr. Parks’ mind was on other things the last few days, and some items have slipped pretty badly. I believe the items in this stack are the most critical, and I've made a few notes for you.

Please let me know how I can help you.

Kathy


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

TO: Mr. Jim Parks     February 17, 19XX

FROM: John Draper

Constr. Test and Start-Up Engineer

SUBJECT: Steam System Start-Up Difficulties

My engineers were reviewing the schedule for startup testing for Unit #l's steam system with Chuck Middleton yesterday. If you remember, that part of the system was installed before most of our project delays, so much of the high pressure steam system has been in place but unused for a number of years. Now that we're approaching the startup of Unit #1, Perry Miller visually inspected the condition of this system and found that certain critical pressure seals may have deteriorated. It also appears that corrosion may have severely damaged some of the valving externally, and we don't really know the internal condition. The current schedule calls for the system low and high pressure tests to be conducted sequentially, and only three weeks have been allocated for this effort. Chuck tells me that portion of the schedule has not been revised since the original network was developed back in 1973.

Jim, as you know, these tests are critical early steps in the Unit #1 start-up procedures, which are scheduled to begin soon. If the system has deteriorated as much as it appears, these tests may take three months or more considering the maintenance, replacement and retesting that may be required. My folks really don't know much about long term corrosion effects. Could we get some help from Tom Murphy's Maintenance Engineering Specialists?

John


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 23, 19XX

TO: Jim Parks

FROM: Tom McKay, Project Construction Supervisor

SUBJECT: Storage Space for the Construction Contractor's Equipment and Supplies

Jim, as I mentioned before, we have a serious problem with the construction contractor, Hughes Building and Construction. I wrote you a memo on this some time ago, but matters seem to be coming to a head now.

I checked and the construction contract does call for us to provide adequate storage for the contractor's equipment and critical supplies. Hughes’ claims we have not been doing this and is threatening to invoke his penalty clause. That could cost us up to $1000 per day. Now I know we don't have any normal unused storage facilities in the area, especially covered storage. However, we do have those two 71/2 million gallon oil storage tanks that were finished several months ago and never used. Now you say we're going to use all coal in the boilers. If that's so, how about cutting about a 20 ‘square access in the side and using one of the oil tanks? A sliding wooden door should be easy and fast to install to provide security. Awaiting your decision.

Tom


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 25, 19XX

TO: John Stephens

FROM: Kathy Lee, Secretary

SUBJECT: Storage Space for Construction Equipment and Supplies

Just a note to tell you that Tom McKay did send a memo several days ago concerning storing Hughes Building and Construction's equipment and supplies. I've attached a copy of his note. To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Parks didn't do anything about it.

Kathy


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 15, 19XX

TO: Jim Parks

FROM: Tom McKay, Project Construction Supervisor

SUBJECT: Storage Space for Hughes’ Equipment and Supplies

Jim, I'm likely to run into trouble with the construction contractor in the near future. He's just getting started on the critical aspects of his work, and he's worried about what our salt air, humidity, and snow will do to some of his sensitive equipment and supplies. He's been telling me that his contract states we will provide adequate covered storage for his materials. I'll check into that part, Jim, but perhaps you'd better be looking for some “adequate storage.” I know we are awfully cramped here, but I also know that Hughes has a penalty clause against us in the contract, and he's been willing to use it in the past. He's going to want about 5000 to 6000 square feet of covered storage with a good high ceiling — about 15’ or so, so he can use high-lift forklifts and such.


Tom

OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 25, 19XX

TO: Jim Parks

FROM: Charles Middleton, Cost Control and Scheduling

SUBJECT: Extended Coffee Breaks

This morning, after the project meeting, I noticed a number of Tom McKay's people hanging around the coffee pot and candy machine. I timed them, and 8 people spent over an hour there. Assuming this is common practice for Tom's people, this amounts to over 4500 manhours wasted each year at a cost to the company of over $50,000. I can control this in my operation, and I feel this is a matter you should see is dealt with by the other supervisors.

Chuck


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 25, 19XX

TO: Mr. John Stephens

FROM: Kathy Lee, Secretary

SUBJECT: Plant Startup for Unit #1

Mr. Parker called on March 23rd and, when he couldn't reach Mr. Parks, left this message with me.

“Jim, I told the Staff Meeting earlier this week that, as we had discussed, Unit #1 was ready to go through its scheduled nine-month plant start-up program whenever the Unit would be needed. Tom McKay got back to me today and said go ahead. You'll get a copy of the letter in a day or so. Looks like we're ready — let's get it started.”

Carl Parker, V.P.

Engineering and Construction

I know Mr. Parks saw this note, but the letter from Mr. McKay just came in yesterday. I don't think Mr. Parks ever got back to Mr. Parker.

Kathy


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 22, 19XX

TO: Mr. Carl Parker, Vice President Engineering and Construction

FROM: Frank Samuels, Vice President Consumer Services

SUBJECT: Start-up of Pasamaquady Unit #1

As I mentioned in the staff meeting yesterday, Carl, our growth in consumer demand is finally catching up to the level that was predicted for 1976. By December we expect to be operating about as near capacity as we dare push it, and a particularly severe winter with its increased power demands could put us in a real bind. In addition, my Plant Maintenance Crew tells me we'll be ready to convert the old Kelly plant from oil to coal in January, so we should shut that plant down then for about three months for the changeover and other periodic maintenance activities. I know we had planned a nine-month startup program for Unit #1 at Pasamaquady, and I was pleased to hear you say in the staff meeting that you were still prepared to meet that kind of schedule. Let's push ahead and plan to put Pasamaquady on line about the first of January. That should provide our needed cushion as well as cover for the Kelly outage. I've notified the personnel people to begin the hiring process for the additional operating personnel I'll need, so they'll be trained and ready to go by Christmas.

Many thanks.

Frank

cc: Roger F. Keener, President

Jim Parks, Mgr., Pasamaquady Power Project

Tom Murphy, Mgr., Maintenance Engineering


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 20th

TO: Jim Parks

Project Manager

FROM: Tom McKay

General Supervisor

Project Construction

SUBJECT: Cecilia Jones

This is just a short note to let you know how well Cecilia Jones is working out on the job. She is not only attractive, but intelligent as well. The men notice her because she is attractive, but they also respect her fairness and intelligent decisions. I am glad we can meet government quotas and not lose any productivity. Just to let you know you have no problems in this area.

Tom


Man, this Cecilia Jones is hot! Can you guys hire some more like her?

March 21st

Mr. Parks:

We found this slipped into the mailbox this morning.

Kathy


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 25, 19XX

TO: Mr. John Stephens

FROM: Kathy Lee, Secretary

SUBJECT: Rotary Presentation

Mr. Parks did nothing that I know of about developing the program scheduled for April 7th, except to have me give Mr. Johnson the title by telephone. The title was announced to the members some time ago. I don't think Mr. Parks discussed the matter with any of the Project people.

Kathy


The Rotary Club of Pasamaquady

P.O. Box 2119

Pasamaquady, Maine

March 19, 19XX

Mr. Jim Parks

Project Manager

Pasamaquady Power Project

Pasamaquady, Maine 15692

Dear Jim:

This is just a reminder that we are counting on you and the Maine State Electric Corporation (MSEC) to provide us with the three-hour evening program for our April 7th meeting.

I know you and your boys will provide a stimulating and worthwhile program. The title of the program you are to present, “The Impact of Pasamaquady Power Station on the Town and County”, is of great interest to us and has some controversial aspects as you know. The dinner and program “sold out” so early that we moved it to the larger facilities available at the Country Club and opened the meeting to guests. The Daily News has asked permission to attend, and if you have no objection they will be welcomed. You can look forward to a full house on the night of your presentation.

Could you please prepare a brief outline of the program and the text of any speeches that will be presented, indicating who will present them, so that we can go ahead with the programs and press releases?

We are all looking forward to seeing you then.

Best Regards,

Paul Johnson, Secretary

The Rotary Club of Pasamaquady

PJ:gg


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 17th

TO: Jim Parks

FROM: R.B. McConnell

Project Engineer

SUBJECT: Performance of Cecilia Jones, Field Construction Inspector

I would like to express my feelings on Cecilia Jones, the new field construction inspector. It is becoming somewhat obvious that she is a woman, a small and attractive one at that, and that this fact is detrimental to her job performance. First of all, she is inspecting and accepting the work of a lot of rough, uneducated union workers who have definite problems relating to a female as any form of superior. My engineers have noticed this problem. McKay and Duffy should know that women do not belong in this kind of work. These union workers have been making lewd and unseemly gestures and jokes about “Ms.” Jones. “They” know she does not belong here no matter what the government quota says and, obviously, she cannot give orders with any believability. Above all, she is attractive and tantalizing to the men. She detracts from their work performance. I recognize your EEO requirements, but she must be removed from the construction work site as soon as possible. I leave this in your hands.

Ray


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Personal

March 23, 19XX

TO: Mr. Jim Parks

FROM: Charles Middleton

SUBJECT: Anton Endler

I have heard through the “grapevine” and “unimpeachable” sources that Anton Endler has been looking around and has an outside job offer on which he is going to give a firm answer next week. I just happened to run into it. I understand that he has been offered more money than we can presently offer him based on current wage and salary policy. As you know, Anton has only been with the Company a short time and is already making somewhat more than others of his rank. This presents a problem that needs to be ironed out. I'm afraid I mentioned the possibility of just such a situation as this when you instituted the “Fast Burner” Personnel Advancement Plan last November. Perhaps we should reconsider some aspects of the plan before making any more offers.

I know that you and Tom McKay feel that Anton is one of the most valuable men in the Construction area, and I thought I'd let you know about this for whatever action you want to take.

Chuck


Maine State Environmental Protection Agency

State Office Building

Agusta, Maine 00374

March 21, 19XX

Mr. Jim Parks, Project Manager,

Pasamaquady Power Project

Maine State Electric Corporation

P.O. Box 2119

Pasamaquady, Maine

Dear Mr. Parks:

In reviewing the initial environmental impact statement for the Pasamaquady Power Project we noted that your plans are to exhaust gases from the main stack at a temperature of 300 °F. We recognize that this provides for the most efficient extraction of energy from the coal burned. However, our studies indicate that increased quantities of effluents are expelled from such power units as yours as the exhaust temperature drops below 750 °F. The Commission has recommended a minimum exhaust temperature of 600 °F statewide for all major coal-burning plants.

Although the 600 °F recommendation is not yet mandatory, the proposed regulations requiring this minimum exhaust temperature are scheduled for formal hearings before the State Environmental Protection Commission within three weeks, and rapid approval is expected. Your corporation is welcome to testify before the Commission if you so desire. However, assuming the proposed regulations are approved, you will be expected to immediately submit your plans for complying with the increased exhaust temperature requirement.

In addition to the above, if you believe your specific situation should warrant a waiver of the proposed regulation, you may prepare and forward your justification to this office in writing prior to April 20th. Any later receipt of this request would not be considered in the current session, but would be carried forward to next year's formal hearings.

I will be pleased to discuss this matter further should you have any questions.

Jamison M. Noyes

Director


OFFICE MEMORANDUM

March 25, 19XX

TO: Jim Parks, Manager,

Pasamaquady Power Project

FROM: Jack Carver, Contract and Project Services

SUBJECT: Productivity of Contractor Personnel

Ed Dowling in Corporate Staff Services just forwarded to me the report of the study his people performed on the productivity of the construction contractor's employees on our project. On the basis of 21,000 documented onsite observations over a four-week period, the contractor's employees are spending 31 % of their time on direct labor. Wish I could get by with that level of activity in my shop!

What can we do to get these union crafts to do the job we're paying them for?

Jack


FOOTNOTES

1F.M. Lopez, Evaluating Executive Decision Making. New York: American Management Association, Inc., 1966, p. 20.

2Lopez, p. 20.

3Lopez, p. 40.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gibson, G. A New Dimension for ‘In-Basket’ Training. Personnel, 1961, 38, 76-79.

Howard, A. An Assessment of Assessment Centers. Academy of Management Journal, 1974, 17, 115-134.

Lopez, F.M., Jr. Evaluating Executive Decision Making. New York: American Management Association, Inc., 1966.

Meyer, H.H. The Validity of the In-Basket Test as a Measure of Managerial Performance. Personnel Psychology, 1970, 23, 297-307.


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You are cordially invited to offer papers for presentation at PMI's 16th Annual Seminar/Symposium to be held in Philadelphia on October 8-10, 1984.

The theme for PMI‘84 is Innovation, the antithesis of the control concept that George Orwell so vividly portrayed in the novel 1984. We are seeking papers that will stress different approaches to basic project management, whether successful or unsuccessful, novel solutions to long-standing problems and even untried methods that might stimulate creative thinking. In keeping with the Seminar/Symposium's theme, we are putting no limits on scope or subject.

You will have the opportunity to present your ideas to over 1000 professionals and, in turn, to receive constructive feedback. You will have added opportunities to discuss your ideas with other authors and panel participants.

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Paper Proposal Requirements and Timing

As a first step in the paper selection process we ask that you prepare a proposal for our review. Your proposal shall include:

  • A 500 word maximum abstract, typed in English.
  • A brief biographical sketch.

Please submit 3 copies of your proposal by December 31, 1983 to:

Eric D. Schwartz, Technical Program Manager

Kelley Schwartz, Inc.

32 Strawberry Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

We will give you notice of acceptance no later than February 1, 1984. Specific guidance on format will accompany the notice.

Paper Requirements and Timing

Your paper shall be limited to 10,000 words and shall be suitable for a 30 minute presentation. All papers must be received by April 31, 1984.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

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