The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of the University of Western Ontario stages a single high quality theatre production every year for the local community. This year will be a performance of HMS Pinafore. Francis Vanden Hoven was selected to be the producer of the performance and is faced with budget restrictions, tight deadlines and the challenge of producing a high quality show that will generate positive reviews. Francis is a business student at the university with no prior theatre experience. In order to prepare he has scheduled a meeting with his assistants Deb, Mona and Liz.
During the meeting many factors that affect the production were discussed. Some of which include wardrobe, set construction, marketing, volunteers, hired staff, blackout dates, budget and so on. The task at hand for Francis Vanden seems to be proper project management to ensure a successful production. The best way to attack the challenges is to organize the tasks and timelines, this can be done with a Product process matrix that displays all the jobs in a clear manner and determine the critical path of the project.
At the current stage of the theatrical production there are no formal plan that is in place. The first issue that should be addressed is to produce an organizational chart or timeline for all events. With these organizational tools it could potentially affect the communication and organization between all parties involved in the production. Also the production crew is consisting of students like Francis and his assistants and volunteers that are balancing their time between school work and the play.
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In order for the production to go off well many different activities have to be completed and with only 18 weeks to get ready, the schedule will be tight and the real danger of exhaustion for students is certainly a potential threat to the positive outcome. In December, students will be having Christmas break as well as exams; this adds a considerable threat to production and danger of exhaustion to the students involved.
Students involved in the production are on a volunteer basis, and if Francis and his assistants push them too hard it may lead to people quitting and then Francis will have to find other students to fill in, this will take considerable time and may lead to the risk of overlooking important details to make the production a success. In order for Francis and his assistants to make H. M. S. Pinafore a success, a well constructed project process matrix and a breakdown of assigned work to the people involved. ENVIRONMENTAL AND ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS
The team has approximately 4 months till the premier of the play and budget that has not been approved yet. This timeline does not take into account exam time from December 5 – December 22 or the Christmas break from December 23 to January 5 students will be occupied with examinations and will not be able t devote time for the production. Francis and his assistants have to organize all the tasks and this is where the assistance of a project process matrix chart and work breakdown structure will be effective. The budget for the production of H. M. S.
Pinafore is $28,000. If Francis and his assistants as well as the entire team of the operetta can work together and produce a successful show we hope that we will draw an average of 90% seat occupancy each night for the 10 nights the production will be put off, this figure would include an average of 50% of the attendees being students and seniors (tickets are $14 for general public and students and seniors receive $2 off the ticket price).
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Ultimately, this will provide the University with a return on investment over the duration of the performance period.
The following chart shows the budget and anticipated fixed costs. Project Budget $28,000 Fixed Expenses $14,000 Printing $3,500 Advertising Space $40 Costumes $6,500 Builder $3,360 Total Expenses $27,400 Remaining Funds $600 ALTERNATIVES AND OPTIONS The alternatives to this case are limited since all the aspects of the project are sequential and time sensitive. I believe the previous project manager from the year before would be suitable since they have had the experience before but this is not an option of course.
I believe a project process matrix and breakdown of assigned work is the crucial however management should be open to alternatives within the project goals, for example, making the a less complex stage set in favour of more sophisticated lighting depending on time and budget. The project management tools is essentially the most important part of the project and keeps everyone on the same page and allows everyone to work together to reach the main goal at a certain point in time using the allotted time given for each task in the project sequence.
Exhaustion amongst students may occur if student’s exam and course schedules and personal time is not accounted for. RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION I recommend using a project process matrix and breakdown structures for the H. M. S. Pinafore performance. The process breakdown does not require an expert but someone who is detailed oriented and is able to foresee future planning developments. If Francis is not experienced enough he can get input from his assistants and possibly the volunteers who have had experience in theatre.
Some of the major tasks for the production is hiring crew and cast by newspaper advertisement, this should be one of the first step. MONITOR AND CONTROL No. Task Name Duration Start Finish 1 Budget approval 1 day Tue 07/09/93 Tue 07/09/93 2 Hire publicity director 14 days Tue 07/09/93 Mon 20/09/93 3 Advertising to hire crew and cast 7 days Tue 21/09/93 Mon 27/09/93 4 Hire set designer 14 days Wed 08/09/93 Tue 21/09/93 5 Set designed and built 42 days Wed 27/10/93 Fri 07/01/94 6 Hire production crew 28 days Tue 28/09/93 Tue 26/10/93 7 Train production crew
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Auditions to hire cast 2 days Fri 08/10/93 Sat 09/10/93 10 Rehearsals 12 wks Sun 10/10/93 Sun 01/02/94 11 Hire orchestra 7 days Wed 08/09/93 Tue 14/09/93 12 Music 7 days Wed 15/09/93 Tue 21/09/93 13 Photograph cast, crew/ collect biographies 35 days Wed 27/10/93 Tue 30/11/93 14 Enter information into computer 1 day Wed 01/12/93 Wed 01/12/93 15 Printing 5 days Thu 02/12/93 Thu 06/01/94 16 Publicity 28 days Tue 21/09/93 Tue 19/10/93 17 Order costumes 7 days Sun 10/10/93
Sun 17/10/93 18 Costume parade and alterations 5 days Sat 08/01/94 Wed 12/01/94 19 Dress rehearsal 1 day Thu 13/01/94 Thu 13/01/94 20 Performances start 1 day Thu 13/01/94 Thu 13/01/94 The chart above can be used as a monitor and check tool for the stages of the projects to be completed. Francis must assemble a team that can pursue the same goal and they should be meeting weekly to discuss progress and make adjustments to the schedule if needed. In the meetings each team member on will give their status of the activities that their department are in charge of.