The “Now” Wedding

For this project I reviewed the case, The “Now” Wedding – Part A, out of the textbook, Project Management the Managerial Process. The case is summarized below and 10 questions are also answered about what the current situation is, what needs to happen, what the constraints are, what resources are required, who is responsible for the resources, what the timeframe of the project is, what the costs are, what the return on investment is, what the risks are and what is the method of tracking. The questions associated with the case study are also included. A project network and schedule are featured in the appendixes. Summary of Case Study

Lauren and her boyfriend Connor have just announced to Lauren’s parents that they will be getting married in 21 days, on January 21, because Connor is in the National Guard and will be going overseas in thirty days, on January 30, and the couple wanted a week for a honeymoon. Lauren’s parents have a discussion about all of the things that need to be done for the wedding, how much it will cost and how long it will take. Lauren’s mom has experience in planning a wedding because she had to plan Lauren’s sister’s wedding. After the discussion, Lauren’s mom offers to give the couple $3,000 to elope to save them from having to plan a wedding with such short notice, she stated that it cost her $2,400 to plan Lauren’s sister’s wedding so Lauren would be getting more (Larson & Gray, 2011). The challenge is to develop a plan and create a schedule to see if it is possible to meet the January 21 deadline, if not than Lauren and Connor may have to take the money and elope. Current Situation

Figure 1 in Appendix I is a list of all of the things that need to be taken care of for the wedding along with how much time each task will take to complete and any extra costs associated with them. There are several things that need to be done; the church and reception hall need to be reserved and later decorated; the maid of honor needs to either drive or fly to the wedding; the cake and decorations need to be picked out; the pattern for the dresses need to be picked out, material needs to be ordered and then they need to be sewn, fitted and cleaned and pressed; and the invitations need to be picked out and the guest list needs to be written so the invitations can be addressed and mailed out (Larson & Gray, 2011). Based on the amount of time given it is possible to get all these things done in time, but it would mean paying extra money for quicker services and things would still be getting done with no room to spare so if something was to go wrong there is no buffer time to fix the situation. What Needs to Happen

According to the article, Project Plans in the new World, by James Rosenwinkel, not all projects require a plan. A project plan is a waste of time for some projects. However, it is necessary to maintain a clear objective and a high level of motivation. Everyone needs to have a common understanding of what the priorities are and what each of their roles are for the project. The author’s argument is that project plans could be more useful for bigger projects that need more organization because big projects have more details and unknowns. Also, people motivated differently and have different mind-sets, skill-sets, perspectives and personalities (Rosenwinkle, 1995). With that being said, a project plan is not really necessary for the wedding project because it is a small project and there is a small group of people that will work together to complete the activities. The textbook asks me to create a project network; this will help to outline what activities need to be completed in order for the wedding to happen. In this case, the project network comes in the form of a yellow sticky

A yellow sticky approach, Figure 2 in Appendix II shows the activities that need to happen in order for the wedding to take place. The yellow sticky approach is used for small project networks; projects that have 25 to 100 activities. This approach is typically done using Post-it stickers. The stickers are usually posted on a whiteboard in clear visibility to all of the team members. The team members start by identifying the activities that do not have predecessors. Then the stickers that represent those activities are attached to the whiteboard beginning with the start node. The stickers are then connected by arrows to show what will come first and next and so and so forth. When the activities have successors, stickers are added below and they are connected with dependency arrows. The process is continued until all of the stickers are attached to the whiteboard. If so desired, the process can be reversed and the completion of the project can be the end node (Larson & Gray, 2011).

For the wedding project I decided to use the traditional method of the yellow sticky approach where I started with the first activity, reserving the church and the reception hall. It is the first activity because, if there was not a place to hold the wedding there would be no wedding and the time that the church and reception hall needs for notice in advance is the longest time, 14 days, compared to all of the other activities. However, if the family pays an extra $200 they are able to provide seven days notice instead. The activities that come after reserving the church and the reception hall are the activities that need to happen next and some of those activities have successor activities; things that have to happen that relate to the activity, but that cannot happen until their predecessor activities occur. Constraints

There are three types of resource constraints; people, materials and equipment. People are the most important resource in a project because they bring skills and expertise to the project. Materials can be a variety of different things from chemicals to survey data. Equipment is defined by type, size and quantity. It is also commonly overlooked as a resource constraint (Larson & Gray, 2011). One of the resource constraints in the wedding project is that the maid of honor is currently in the Peace Corps and living in Guatemala so it is difficult for her to travel to the wedding. She has the option of driving, which will take 10 days or she can fly, but that would cost the family $1000, which is money that could be spent elsewhere.

It is possible to get the maid of honor to the where the wedding is in time for her to have the final fitting for her dress and be in the wedding without having to pay $1,000 to fly her to the wedding. Money is a constraint as well, Lauren’s parents offered to give her $3,000 to elope, which is more than they paid for her sister’s wedding which cost them $2,400. It is the assumption that the $3,000 is all of the money that the family has to spend on the wedding, which is difficult when you factor in extra costs to try and expedite getting some things done sooner to meet the deadline of January 21. Resources Required

The resources that are required to perform activities move from one stage to another and so the main objective becomes to maintain the continuity of work of the resources so that there is a minimum amount of idle time of resources. The requirement is referred to as work continuity constraints and involves an exchange of total project duration and the resource idle time (Vanhoucke, 2006). The point in this wedding project is to put the resources to best use so that all of the activities can be accomplished before the deadline. In this case, the family is the resources because they will be making all of the decisions on the cake, decorations, dresses and invitations. Lauren’s mom is a resource because she is making the guest list. The money that the family has to spend on the wedding is another resource. The family is responsible for the resources since they are in control of the money and they are the resources themselves. Timeframe of Project

The textbook asks me to create a schedule for the project using MS Project; however that is not software that I have available to me so I have developed a schedule of project using the ERM Project method. The schedule is Figure 3 located in Appendix III. The schedule shows the activities of the project that need to occur in order for the wedding to happen. The schedule took a while to put together because I had to figure out which activities needed to happen first based on how long it takes for each of them to be completed based on the information that was provided in the case study. I ended up having to have Lauren and her family completing multiple activities in one day in order to get done what needed to get done on time.

I still am not sure that the wedding is possible simply because of the bridesmaid dresses; it takes three days to choose a pattern and then the material needs to be ordered which takes eight days. Once the material is in then Mrs. Jacks can be hired to sew the dresses in six days and after that the final fitting needs to be done which takes two days. Lastly, the dresses need to be cleaned and pressed which takes an additional two days. That is a total of 21 days which is how long they have until the actual day of the wedding. If the dresses can be picked up from the cleaners before the wedding begins then it is possible to still have the wedding, but if it is not possible then the wedding will not be able to happen and Lauren and Connor will have to take the option of eloping with the money that her parents are offering her. Costs

Almost every activity in the wedding project is going to cost the family some amount of money. There are costs associated with reserving the church and reception hall; getting the maid of honor to the wedding; hiring a caterer; having bridesmaid dresses made; and having invitations made and sent out. It is possible to have some activities completed in a shorter amount of time, but it will cost the family extra money. The family can pay an extra $200 to give a seven day notice to the church and reception hall, rather than 14 days. They can pay $1,000 to fly the maid of honor to the wedding in two days rather than having her spend 10 days driving. One advantage of having there sooner is that she can help with all of the planning and decorating. The family can be an extra $20 to have the dress material air freighted to them in five days, rather than eight.

This is necessary, because if the material would take eight days then the dresses would not get done in time. They can pay Mrs. Jacks $48 per day saved to sew the dresses for them in six days, rather than the 11 days it would take the family to sew the dresses themselves. This is also the only option, because if the family sewed the dresses themselves then they would not be ready in time for the wedding. The family can pay an extra $20 to Bob’s Printing Shop to get the invitations made in six days, rather than seven. The one extra day does make a difference. They can also pay part-time girls to address the invitations $40 per day saved, so they can be done in one day, rather than three days. This is important, because if the invitations are not sent out within 10 days from the wedding then Aunt Ethel will decrease her gift by $200 (Larson & Gray, 2011). Return on Investment

The project management return on investment is how project managers refer to the investment in project management tools, systems and practices (Kwak & Ibbs, 2000). Return on Investment (ROI) is calculated by taking Gain from Investment and subtracting Cost of Investment and dividing the result by Cost of Investment (Return on Investment – ROI, 2011). In this case the gain is that Lauren and Connor are able to be married before Connor goes overseas with the National Guard. It is difficult to calculate the return on investment because the gain is not a dollar amount and cannot be measured by any number. The cost, however, is able to be calculated when all of the costs of the wedding are added together. The best way to figure out the return on investment for this particular project is to decide if the stress of planning a wedding in such a short amount of time is worth the stress and hard work that will be associated with the project.

In my opinion, the stress of planning a wedding is not worth the end result, so if it were my choice I would take the $3,000 and elope with my fiancé. I was in the military and my husband is in the military and we got married by the Justice of the Peace because we could afford it and it was stress-free. Also, Connor is getting ready to go overseas so I would think that he and Lauren would want to spend as much time together as possible before he is scheduled to leave. The activities that are involved with planning a wedding take up a lot of time and effort and I am sure that the family also has jobs that they need to work at during the same time. In the schedule I worked out for this project I had many of the activities going on at the same time so that there was enough time to get them done before the deadline. This may not even be possible if there are not enough people in the family willing and able to help get the tasks done. Risks

The risk associated with planning the wedding versus eloping is that all of the activities might not be completed in time. The dresses might not be made in enough time and the invitations might not get sent out soon enough to have guests attend the wedding. Lauren and Connor would have to accept that even if they attempt to go ahead with the wedding that it might not be able to happen after all and the might end up having to elope anyway and in that case they would be out the money that they have already spent planning the wedding.

Method of Tracking the Project
The Gantt chart would be a good method of tracking the wedding project because it is easy to read and understand (Larson & Gray, 2011). They provide a visual of the progress of a project in a specialized chart. Originally, these charts were used to track the progress of building ships. The chart has a time scale on the horizontal axis that shows either absolute time or in relative time referenced to the beginning of the project. The time is usually shown in weeks or months (Gantt Chart, 2010). In this case the time would be shown in days. Conclusion

In conclusion, it is really up to Lauren and Connor as to whether or not to have the wedding, but I think that it would be in their best interest to elope and save themselves the trouble. Planning a wedding is stressful and there are many activities that need to occur to make the wedding happen. Lauren and her family may not be able to get all of the activities done in enough time; the risk is a real possibility. They need to decide if the risk is worth the effort.

Gantt Chart. (2010). Retrieved September 15, 2011, from NetMBA: Kwak, Y., & Ibbs, W. (2000). Calculating Project Management’s Return on Investment. Project Management Journal , 38-47. Larson, E., & Gray, C. (2011). Project Management the Managerial Process. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Return on Investment – ROI. (2011). Retrieved September 22, 2011, from Investopedia: Rosenwinkle, J. (1995). Project Plans in the new World. Journal of Systems Management , 34-37. Vanhoucke, M. (2006). Work Continuity Constraints in Project Scheduling . Journal of Construction Engineering and Management , 14-25.