Yankee Chair CompanyThe Yankee Chair Company was anxious to get a new model rocking chaironto the market. Past efforts to introduce new models had resulted infrustrating failures. Bret Ricks, president of Yankee Chair, wasdetermined that it would not happen again with the newest model. He hadno confidence in his current management team, so he hired Jan Dymore, alocal consultant, to organize and manage this project. He assigned aYankee Chair manager, Tom Gort, to work with Dymore to start developingsome talent for project management within the company. Dymore decided toset up a PERT network and guided Gort through the process of listingactivities, assigning precedence, and estimating completion times. Shealso explained the critical path concept to Gort, who by this time had areasonable grasp of the project direction. At the first review sessionwith Mr. Ricks, the PERT approach was accepted enthusiastically, buttoward the end of the review Dymore made some critical remarks about theproduct design and was subsequently released from the project.Ricks then asked Gort if he could carry on the PERT approach byhimself. Gort jumped at the chance, but later in his office he began toquestion whether or not he really could use the PERT networkeffectively. Dymore had made a guess at what the critical path would beand how long the project would take, but she had also told Gort thatseveral other calculations had to be made in order to calculate theexact time estimates for each activity and the variances of thoseactivity times. Gort really did not understand the mathematics involvedand certainly did not want to look bad in Ricks’ eyes, so he decided totake Dymore’s guess at the critical path and get the best possibleestimates of those activity times. By concentrating his attention on thecritical path activities and ignoring the variance issues, he figuredhe could bring the project in on time.Questions: Will Gort’s approach work? How much more of a gamble isGort taking than any project manager normally takes? What should Gortwatch out for?
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