Executive Summary The Synaptic Corporation is a biotechnology company based out of San Diego, CA. The company develops drugs based on proteins and peptides. To date, one drug has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) but there are two other drugs that are currently in clinical trials. Synaptic is a fairly large company with 1,200 employees. The two main departments that are of issue are the Information Management (IM) and the Computational Biology department. There are no clear define roles and responsibilities of the Synaptic staff and there is a lack of leadership and organizational culture.
Additionally, it is unsure exactly what Synapic’s organizational goals and objectives are. This paper will provide a situation analysis of Synaptic’s organizational problems and will also present recommendations on how to deal with these risks that plaque the company not only for the short term but for the long term as well. Situation Analysis The Synaptic Corporation is faced with some internal challenges.
It lacks a Management Plan that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all positions and departments.
There are cultural differences that exist among the Computational Biology and IM departments that have grown into communication and collaboration problems. The scientists value innovation, originality, and speed, preferring to work alone. The computer professionals are concerned with stability, business continuity, documentation, and long term planning. The IM director has complained that the scientists throw things together without consulting with the IM department and expect their actions to be compatible with the company’s IT architecture.
There is no basic acceptance or understanding of the procedures and/or processes of either department. Additionally, there is lack of monitoring and control within the organization in terms of projects. The Computational Biology department feels that the IM Department’s development is too slow and demands for documentation and governance that they feel is bureaucratic and wasteful. Another example is when Steve Levitt branched out on his own in creating and storing key computational biology business processes, no one was able to influence Steve or his manager in having Steve document his computational process.
It also appears that each department refuses to rely on the other, causing projects to be abandoned. For example, responsibilities at times do overlap between the IM and Computational Biology group. At times the Computational Biology group will initiate a project that requires the support of the IM department. Since the Computational Biology department did not coordinate with the IM department, they have no way of knowing if their ad-hoc (improvised) projects are even suited for the system.
This is a clear example of not only poor communication but also poor collaboration among employees. The development of ad-hoc projects also exemplifies the nonexistence of Synaptic’s organizational goals and objectives. Responsibility and leadership are characteristics that no one seems to have at the Synaptic Corporation. When errors were found on the main database, following two months of investigating, the errors were traced back to Steve. Steve had experimented with the calculation, years prior, but he and his manager forgot and did not ever correct the calculations.
The Director of IM Research not able to correct the problem because he did not understand Steve’s process and procedures. Clearly Steve did not know what his role and responsibilities were, including the Computational Biology Director, and his superior the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). Once things went from bad to worse, someone had to take the blame and the Director of IM Research was fired, though he is not part of nor in charge of the Computational Biology Department. This displayed Steve’s lack of concern and loyalty to his Synaptic and his unwillingness to take responsibility for his mistakes.
The CSO exhibited poor leadership skills because he was not able to guide Steve into following proper procedure. Prior attempts to resolve the conflicts between the departments have failed, with each department communicating less and refusing to try and work together to accomplish projects. Currently, it appears that both departments want to blame each other for the downfalls of the company as well as projects. The situation has progressed to the point that some of the scientists in the Computational Biology department has turned to a third party (Fast, Inc. instead of Synaptic’s own in house IM department. This displays another example of procedure and processes not being followed. With a Fast, Inc. providing IM support, Synaptic still does not have documentation of any research or work performed and to make matters worse, Fast owns all rights to anything it creates for Synaptic. This situation analysis shows that Synaptic has many risks that they are facing and have failed in managing their employees, projects, and has failed in creating an organizational culture that meets its needs and the needs of its customers.
Since Synaptic has accepted the actions of its employees because it is not able to come up with a manageable solution, I have been asked to propose a strategy to improve cooperation between the IM and the Computational Biology departments. Recommendations The employees of Synaptic need to know what their roles and responsibilities are and the hierarchy of the company needs to be reestablished. In the short term, I recommend that a Human Resource Plan be established and enforced by Synaptic. A Human Resource Plan “provides guidance on how project human resources should be defined, staffed, controlled, and eventually needed” (PMBOK, 2008, p. 22). The Human resource plan concentrates on the roles and responsibilities of employees, a project organizational chart, and a staff management plan. A Human Resource Plan will also facilitate communication because each employee will know who they report to, who they must collaborate with, and who what their role and responsibilities are. Additionally, a quick refresher course to upper management needs to be given, reminding management that they need to exhibit leadership skills, instilling the Human Resource Plan in them and letting them know exactly what Synaptic expects of them.
Conflict Resolution training and a Team Building and Motivating Skills class need to be implemented, requiring all employees of Synaptic to attend. Refresher courses should also be given every 6 months to establish a consistent expectation of communication and collaboration. In the long term a Project Management Plan needs to be established, which will help Synaptic’s with establishing a new solid organizational culture. A Project Management Plan “is a document that defines how the project is executed, monitored, and controlled and maybe composed of one or more subsidiary management plans or other managing documents” (PMBOK, 2008, p. 43). The elements of Synaptic’s Project Management Plan should include, at a minimum: ? Project Scope Statement ?Work Breakdown Structure ?Plan Quality •Standards and Regulations •Quality Policy ?Human Resource Plan ?Risk Management Plan •Risk Identification •Risk Assessment •Probability and Impact •Risk Response Plan •Risk Monitor and Control Project scope needs to be defined in a statement. A project scope is “the work that must be performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions” (PMBOK, 2008, p. 03). It is important that Synaptic has a clear sense of direction so that all employees and/or teams (leadership, management, and subordinates) have project direction and a clear outline of the work required to meet project deliverables. The project scope statement will “guide the work of the team during” the life cycle of the project, and if changes are needed, “they must be evaluated against the scope statement and denied if the change is outside the bounds of the project scope” (Heldman, 2009, p. 114).
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) needs to be created. A WBS “is a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables, with each descending level of the WBS representing an increasingly detailed definition of the project work” (PMBOK, 2008, p. 116). The WBS serves as the basis for organizing and coordinating the project. Major deliverables will be broken-down into small work packages, which can be easily assigned to a team.
The work will be broken-down “to the point where the responsibility and accountability for each work package can be assigned to an organizational unit or a team of people. The WBS will serve as the foundation for organizing and coordinating projects. The major deliverables are broken-down into small work packages that can be easily assigned to a department or team. The WBS will also detail responsibility and accountability for each work package that is assigned to a department or a team.
At Synaptic, the IM department is divided into three divisions; Research, Manufacturing, and Infrastructure and there is one Computational Biology department. The project manager be in charge and will collaborate and coordinate with the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and the Chief Information Office (CIO) to assign work packages, activities, and/or tasks. Additionally, this will prevent the departments from blaming each other for project failures because each employee will know what their roles, responsibility, and assigned tasks are.
Since, the CIO has decided to create an additional position that will service as the middleman between the IM and the scientic department. I recommend that the new position be that of a Project Manager (PM). The PM will coordinate with the IM Director and the Director of Computational Biology. This will ensure that projects will have the correct amount of resources needs and the Directors of both departments can start to establish communication and collaboration with each other.
This will also display to subordinates that managers can lead by example and use their leadership training to guide their subordinates in finding mutual ground and understand of each other’s departments. Plan Quality “targets standards that are relevant to the project at hand and devising a plan to meet and satisfy those standards” (Heldman, 2009, p. 310). At a minimum the quality plan needs to contain standards, regulations, guidelines, or rules and a quality policy that will relate to or have an effect on the work of the project. Standards are what are set by Synaptic or any other organization that have shown to have the best proven techniques, such as rules, guidelines, or characteristics that should be followed”. (Heldman, 2009, p. 311). ?Regulations are mandatory and are normally set by Federal, State, or Local governments (Heldman, 2009, p. 311). It is always advisable that regulations are followed, in order to advert penalties and/or fines that will increase project costs and could possibility delay the project or cause the project to be abandoned. Guidelines should determine a course of action that should be taken in order to simplify specific procedures according to Synaptic’s acceptable work processes. ?Rules are a set of predetermined standardization of activities that are to be followed that will regulate procedure and/or control conduct. ?Quality policy is a “guideline published by executive management that describes what quality polices should be adopted for project that are undertaken by” Synaptic (Heldman, 2009, p. 312).
Currently a quality policy does not exist, so the PM will need to coordinate with the CSO, COO, CFO, and CIO in order to create a quality policy. Additionally, a Plan Quality will lay the foundation for straight across the board quality expectations. Management and Executive Management have failed to lead by example. Establishing a Plan Quality will let all employees know that, no matter what position is held, everyone is expected to follow the quality procedures, with superiors leading by example.
This should also assist in preventing departments from creating improvised projects and should also lay out the guideline for documenting project from start to finish. The Human Resource Plan that was identified and initiated in the short term plan will be integrated into the Project Management Plan. “Risk Management is the process of conducting risk management planning, identification, analysis, response planning, and monitoring and control on the project” (PMBOK, 2008, p. 282). A risk management plan provides stability and direction throughout the life of a project.
Utilizing a risk management plan, the PM should be able to identify risks, determine the probability and impact of each risk, develop a risk response plan, all facilitating the PM’s ability to delegate responsibility to the appropriate team members, and will facilitate the monitoring and control of risks (PMBOK, 2008). Most importantly, the reporting formats and/or documents for risk management information will be identified and how the information will be documented for future reference (Heldman. 011, p. 240). The Risk Management Plan will contain risk identification, how to perform a risk assessment utilizing a probability and impact matrix on the identified risks, a risk response plan, and how the risks are to be monitored and controlled. “Risk is a product of two factors: the expected consequences of the event and the probability that the event might occur” (Kendrick, 2011, p. 2). Risk Identification will help determine risks that could either pose a threat or an opportunity on the project.
The risk register contains all identified risks, which are described in detail, and states potential response plans (PMBOK, 2008, p. 288). Identifying risks of Synaptic must be perform and documented throughout the life cycle of the project. A risk assessment will list all identified risks or opportunities and will be evaluated as to the probably and impact each risk will have on the project displayed in a matrix form. The probability and impact matrix contain identified risks, who is responsible for the risk, the risk rating, and the probability rating of the risk.
According to Heldman (2011) it will determine what impact the identified risks will have on the project objectives and the probability they will occur” (p. 253). A risk response plan will help to reduce the likelihood of a risk occurring or reduce the impact of a risk if it does occur. Additionally, it details what action should be taken if a specific risk should occur, such as a contingency plan. A Risk response plan “is a process of deciding what actions to take to reduce threats and take advantage of the opportunities discovered during the risk analysis processes” (Heldman, 2011, p. 268).
Monitoring and controlling of risks is the process of “continuously identifying new risks, reassessing current risks, and closing out outdated risks” (PMBOK, 2008, p. 310). This is how all risks will be monitored and controlled throughout the life of the project. All information should be documented so that it can be used as a reference for future projects and to help discover what possibly could have gone wrong, which will facilitate in determining a corrective action. Finally, I recommend that Synaptic determine the exact system that they want to utilize so that all systems are updated with the same current software and technology.
The relationship between the Computational Biology department and Fast is a risk, because Synaptic does not retain any rights to the software that is developed for them and Fast is using Synaptic as an opportunity to expand their bottom line. The PM will need to work with the CSO and the CIO to determine the system requirements and coordinate to develop Synaptic’s own computational infrastructure, thus ending the relationship with Fast, Inc. This will also create an opportunity for Synaptic to expand into other areas of industry, such as software development. Conclusion
These long term plans have to be established in order to put Synaptic back on the right path. Without some sound planning for the short term and long term, Synaptic’s poor management practices and poor leadership skills, mixed with the cultural diversity of departments, and lack of communication and collaboration will cause the company to have project failures. In preventing Synaptic from experiencing a technological disaster a Project Management Plan must not only be created but followed. This will take the effort of all Executives, Upper Management, and Directors following the utlined Project Management Plan. In adding a PM to manage projects, the position will not only create a path to team work but it will also create a mutual understanding and respect among departments. Risk management benefits can provide more control of project outcomes, help to avoid or mitigate the consequences, reduce the probability and impact of undesirable events, and help to establish priorities and make better decisions. The Human Resource Plan as well as the Risk Management Plan will be integrated and become part of the overall Project Management Plan for the Synaptic Corporation.
The elements of the newly established Project Management Plan will eventually become part of Synaptic’s organizational culture, which will increase productivity, efficiency, communication, and collaboration. References Heldman, K. (2011). Pmp, project management professional exam study guide. (6th ed. ). Indiananpolis: Sybex. Kendrick, T. (2009). Identifying and managing project risk, essential tools for failure-proofing your project. (2nd ed. ). New York: Amacom Books. PMBOK. (2008). A guide to the project management body of knowledge. (4th ed. ). Newtown Square: Project Management Inst.
Cite this Synaptic Corporation
Synaptic Corporation. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/synaptic-corporation/