Case about IBM: continued

Remember the case about IBM that i posted last week?

Well, today i pretty much finished my part of our written report. I concentrated on key success factors for IBM and their successfull implementation. In my opinion, two of the critical success factors where:

  1. Involving the management in the change
    Involving and getting support from the senior executives at IBM helped in keeping the initiative active but also had an effect on the change of other parts of the business. This was a difficult task as IBM had traditionally been anti-union which created a strong resistance. Many executives were reluctant to the idea of letting the employees organize.
  2. The 5-minute drill
    One problem that IBM had was that executive managers would only nominate candidates (for managerial positions) within the own unit instead of across the whole company. This lead to discrimination where women and minorities where under-represented as potential manager-material. The five-minute drill made executives accountable for their choices regarding promotions. They would have to answer to why minorities and females weren’t chosen. He then asked the executives to come up with ideas on what had to be done in order for them to regard these excluded groups in the promotion-process.

These two different parts might seem like small but in the long-run, they made all the difference and helped IBM to really take advantage of it’s diverse workforce.

Something to think about:

People naturally will hire and promote people like themselves. Its just nature.”
-Black Manager, IBM


Completion of Group Assignment in Project Management


The last couple of days + weekend has been spent on finishing our group assignment in the course of Project Management. It has been a pretty funny assignment where we where supposed to plan a project. Below are some of the different parts of our project plan:

* Identify project goals
* System/Project Requirements + Prerequisites
* Situation analysis (including SWOT + Stakeholder mapping)
* Planning (Using Network Diagram, WBS, Gantt, Resource Lists etc.)
* Budgeting
* Communications Plan
* Quality Assurance

and much more!

I focused mainly on the planning parts, creating a WBS, network diagram, Gantt chart and resource lists. I used a combination of OmniPlan and OmniGraffle, which i would really recommend for people using Mac!
I think our report landed at around 60 pages. Most of it can be found in the appendix, though! ;-) . Below is an image of our finished Gantt chart, looks pretty nifty if you ask me.

It has been a good group with three different nationalities present (Sweden, China and Germany). Sometimes i feel that i learn more from interacting with people from different cultures than just doing the actual assignments.

Today, i’ve also written a shorter reflection based on the same assigment where one group member weren’t working together with the rest of the group. We therefor had to argue for two different choices; Keep / Fire.
Clearly there are pro’s and con’s with both and since it is very much connected to the case, it doesn’t make much sense to write anything more about it here (since then i would have to describe the whole case).

Case About IBM

IBM's logo

Today i’ve been in school for a couple of hours, working on a case based on IBM and how they’ve been working with their organization from a gender-perspective. This is ofcourse interesting from a managerial perspective although I often find myself a bit puzzled about the whole discussion about equality and gender. I’m not saying that it isn’t important, because i think it is, it’s just that for me it’s pretty obvious that it’s what you do that is important, and not so much who you are (minority, male, female, etc.). And the subject also leads me to the question about quotation, which i must say i don’t agree with at all. As i said, the person most suitable should be hired. The risk here is that you get like an reversed discrimination.

I guess that this is also an issue that can be looked at based on different age-groups in society where young people have a more equal way of looking at male/female (at least that’s my experience). So, hopefully this will be a non-issue in the future! ;-) .

Anyways, i also learned some interesting stuff about IBM and especially their history which was more or less an unexplored area for me personally.

We we’re pretty productive today and i really tried to prepare before our meeting which was a winning strategy as we could get going with the work straight away. Will probably finish my parts on the report during the coming days, will add more information about our findings as we complete the case.

Now i will try to focus on reading about IBM’s 5-minute drill and get some thoughts down. After that it’s off to GF’s brother as it is his birthday today!