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Week 4 Individual Project

Individual Project:
Project Proposal

Your task for Week 4 is to prepare a project proposal
on how to set up the start-up company successfully, while ensuring that the
executive team and the supplier teams remain motivated. Your proposal must
indicate all the tasks that you will complete to ensure a successful start-up
along with the schedule for completion of these tasks. Your proposal should
have a brief project introduction, aproblem
statement, the project objectives, and conclusion. All references should be in
the Harvard Referencing System.

One example
of a project proposal can be found at the following Web site:Plutonic Power
Corporation East Toba River and Montrose Creek Hydroelectric Project proposed
construction schedule
[Online]. (n.d.). Available from:.gov.bc.ca/appsdata/epic/documents/p245/d21140/1137607116785_57cca76fbbb94930bfb5cd42fc4020fb.pdf”>http://a100.gov.bc.ca/appsdata/epic/documents/p245/d21140/1137607116785_57cca76fbbb94930bfb5cd42fc4020fb.pdf(Accessed: 15
September 2009).

The case study on which the project is based is as

Project Background: Assume that you are a project
manager who has delivered a number of projects exceeding customer expectations
within the schedule and budget in high-technology sectors including aerospace
and robotics. So far in your career, you have been managing projects under
different organisational forms including functional, projectized, and matrix
structures. You have completed projects to initiate new business units in
existing organisations. However, you do not have experience in starting an
organisation, in particular an organisation where the time to allow the
employees to work collectively as a team is limited.

An entrepreneur, Dr. Ryan O’Neal, and an investor,
Jeff Hoffman, approach you with a business idea and a funding of $12 million.
Ryan and Jeff would like you to develop an innovative system in warehouse order
fulfilment. The system will consist of a group of autonomous mobile vehicles
which will move quickly through the warehouse and load and move orders to the
fulfilment platform. Dr. O’Neal is an expert in mobile robotics while Jeff
Hoffman is an investor with a strong background in warehouse management, supply
chain management, and fulfilment technologies. A critical project requirement
is to implement the business idea and launch the product within 10 months. Ryan
and Jeff are both convinced that if the product is launched in 10 months, there
will be a set of committed customers in the U.S. to sustain future venture
funding. Ryan and Jeff estimated that about 100 professionals will be needed
for eight months to undertake the necessary technical and engineering work.
This translates to 1,000 staff-months.

The brief project statement that you wrote together
with Ryan and Jeff is:

To create the start-up company so that the product (as
defined in a charter document) is available for installing at customer sites in
10 months from the start date and a production operation is also in place by
that time to develop the vehicles at a rate of 50 units per week and control
station at one per week.

The proposed name for the new organisation is Sturata
Inc. and it will be setup in Vermont, USA. You will be the interim COO (Chief
Operating Officer) of the company until successful completion of the setup
phase. Jeff Hoffman will be the president and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of
the company at least during the setup phase, while Dr. O’Neal will be vice
president, engineering and the CTO (Chief Technical Officer).

Let us assume that after discussion with your family
and friends you decide to become the key player of the executive team together
with Jeff Hoffman and Dr. O’Neal. Miss Yamaguchi, a young Japanese-American
with a degree from The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University
and an MBA, was hired as VP, Administration. Miss Yamaguchi has earlier
experience of setting up two start-ups in cross-cultural configurations. The
position of a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is still vacant, however.

There are a number of issues involved with this
project, including the following:

    • The
      product needs to be extensively tested in a live warehouse environment
      before it can be rolled out or even before performing test installations
      on potential customer sites.
    • Safety
      regulations must be met because the mobile vehicles will work in
      warehouses together with human workers. These safety regulations are
      different for different states in the U.S.
    • The
      project team needs to be assembled. As the overall project is of
      significant size and challenging in multiple dimensions, you need to
      employ staff quickly and the team members you recruit need to start
      contributing as soon as they are hired. On the other hand, as the project
      is at the “idea level” at this point in time, it will take some
      time before work can be assigned. Therefore, employing staff should be
      done accordingly.
    • The
      project consists of two phases, work on which must continue on an ongoing
      basis: Phase A) Research, Design and Development and Phase B) Production.
      Although production will lag the first phase, the infrastructure needs to
      be ready before production begins and therefore production planning
      should start very early during the first phase.
    • The
      management of and relationship with the suppliers of components and
      subsystems needed in developing autonomous mobile vehicles (or robots)
      and other technical systems is an important aspect of the project. The
      autonomous mobile vehicles and other technical systems will be designed
      in-house, but an estimated 100 suppliers will supply necessary components
      even during the first phase. Moreover, production needs to begin and the
      supply chain should be in place for production needs by the end of Phase
    • The
      project also involves some challenging research work. Dr. O’Neal has
      background in research and has contacts in some best schools around the
      world especially in the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Germany, and
      California, and the UK. However, a liaison function needs to be developed
      to interface with the academics involved in the project.
    • No
      company has been set up to undertake the project so far. Therefore, all
      legal and administrative work to form a legal business is also included
      in the project.

Acquisition Proposal: Jeff Hoffman discovered a small
company called Ryoichi in Tokyo, Japan, which undertakes contract work. The
company is comprised of 13 closely-knit engineers. Jeff reported that the team
at Ryoichi had the skills and expertise Sturata Inc. needs to design autonomous
mobile vehicles. Jeff knows a few people from within Ryoichi. In fact, one of
them was his student at a course which he taught at UC Berkeley. Dr. O’Neal was
also impressed by the portfolio of contract work Ryoichi has delivered. He
agreed that their skills and expertise correspond to the needs of Sturata Inc.
Jeff wants to buy Ryoichi, using a mix of stock options and cash to finance the
purchase. Ryan instead wants to use Ryoichi as a contract company because he is
concerned about difficulties in communications (only five people from Ryoichi
speak fluent English), the entrepreneurial spirit of that team, and the fact
that the team members are very tightly knit together.

Assume that after discussions and negotiations
mediated by you, Sturata Inc. decided to acquire Ryoichi and use it as a design
and development centre. A formal offer is being prepared to acquire Ryoichi for
US$1.25 million 30/70 cash/options ratio (ratio
of cash to the underwritten value of stock options that a buying company offers
to the shareholders of the company being purchased). As a start-up company,
Sturata can only offer stock options and not marketable securities with cash or
other tangible assets.It was also agreed that the team will look into the
possibility of opening up a production centre in China. This has further
complicated the overall project.

Recent Developments:Each member of the executive team
spent 60 hours during the first week just to develop a hiring plan and to
engage recruiters. During the second week of operations, a series of
unfortunate events occurred. Ryoichi requested a revision in the buyout offer
to a 50/50 cash/options ratio. Jeff Hoffman suffered a mild heart-attack and is
currently hospitalised. Dr. O’Neal had to take a leave of five days to travel
to Ireland for the funeral of his grandmother. These events have almost
destroyed the original start-up project plan you had designed. Things were
changing too fast and you found yourself under immense pressure to keep the
project on schedule. More than half of your project contingency buffer has
already been absorbed in a matter of just one week. There is no more room for
error, and obviously, you are under immense pressure.

In a conference call, the executive team emphasised
that start-ups are high-stress and high-stake undertakings and thought that
there should be a way to control leadership stress.

Final Project Requirements (Due at
the end of Week 8):

Your project deliverables will include:

An organisational design plan for
the start-up showing its evolution over 10 months. Include the following in
this plan:

Your decision for the initial
organisational form. What should the organisational form look like as the
project progresses towards completion? Provide explanations to support your

An interface diagram to show
interfaces between various teams and units within the organisation and their
interfaces with external organisations and regulatory bodies. For each internal
and external interface, identify stakeholders. Describe what form of leadership
skills will be needed for interaction at these interfaces.

Concrete activities and a plan to
resolve the potential conflict between Jeff Hoffman and Dr. O’Neal about

Assessment of any behavioural issues
with regard to Sturata Inc. buying Ryoichi and whether you should put a
structure in place so that Ryoichi employees are assimilated cohesively within
the new organisation. Explain your answer.

A plan to manage leadership and team
member stress individually and collectively. You need to research to find and
the best ways to control leadership stress. Your description for these should
not exceed two paragraphs. Your research should not be limited to the
recommended text. Explain how leaders can reduce stress for team members.

A Code of Ethics for Sturata Inc.
highlighting the value system the organisation should embrace keeping in view
its multi-cultural and cross-functional nature. The code should include one
short paragraph to explain each of the following:

General employee conduct in a
multicultural environment

Conflict of interest and post-work

Recording organizational

Relationship with suppliers

Relationship with customers and

Gifts, favours, and commissions

Responsibility to society and environment

Glindinning. M. (2009) ‘Kiva robots save Zappos
shoe leather’, Material Handling Wholesaler[Online]. Available from:.mhwmag.com/article.cfm?id=27246&PageNum=1″>http://www.mhwmag.com/article.cfm?id=27246&PageNum=1 (Accessed: 22 February 2009).

Please make sure that you cite and reference all your outside sources
properly, as per the Harvard Referencing System.

Use the Turnitin link below to submit your assignment.


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