THE CATA4 CROUP
Group is one of the world’s largest food and support services companies.
Operating in 55 countries they have annual revenues of over 13 billion, serving
4 billion meals a year.
having 2 parts to their business: retail and contract catering they have
undergone a growth of over 1,000% mostly due to acquisitions, they’re in dire
need of finding ways to better Integrate the largely autonomous business units
in terms of business processes, data structures, charts of accounts information
systems and culture.
working on the CATA4 case I found various issues such as time management,
resources management, quality, scope management, procurement, stakeholder
management but I found time management as the major issue that CATA4 group had
to deal with.
1. Project Time management: Managing the time when
working on a project plays a vital role in the success of a project. A business
has to perform various tasks and functions at the same time in order to achieve
the business goals.
A regulatory change has been announced and
the CATA4 has 3 years for the implementation of this change. The retail
implementation of SAP had taken 12 months and were still facing serious
problems in obtaining usable management information from the systems which
delayed the contracts implementation of SAP by 3 months.
Various aspects of project time management
such as planning scheduled management, defining activities, sequencing the
activities, estimation of the resources and the duration of each activity,
developing the schedule and controlling the schedule are required for the
completion of the project on time.
Rolling wave planning, precedence diagramming
method, leads and lags are the tools and techniques that will help me resolve
the time management issue CATA4 group is facing.
reading the CATA4 case study, there were a few questions that struck my mind
and I would like to highlight a few –
can be done to catch up with the work lagging behind?
How will the delayed work affect the other activities of the business?
COURSE CONCEPTS, PRINCIPLES, TOOLS AND
1. Rolling wave planning: It is a technique in
project management where the project is planned in waves as the project
proceeds and later the details become clear.
goodpasture) states that it is not often possible to foresee the
future activities in a project with consistent detail over the entire period of
the project. Therefore, planning is often done in “waves” or stages,
with the activities in the near term planned in detail and the activities in
the longer distance of time left for future detail planning.
In the initial stages of the project when the
information is less characterized, it becomes very difficult to plan for the
later stages of the project. Using the rolling wave planning technique, the
project team members get a clear picture of the project overall but the
detailed planning is done in the later stages as and when the information gets
above image shows as how the planning is done at each stage of the project to
accomplish the objectives of the project in a sequential manner.
Fig. 2: six
steps of rolling wave planning
(THE PDMA TOOL BOOK FOR NEW PRDUCT DEVELOPMENT)
Step 1: Get the team
and strategy in place
The first stage of
rolling wave planning is to get the right team and the right strategy in place.
The communication amongst the team members drives the project speed and
Step 2: Perform
The work break down
structure (WBS) is implemented in this stage. The work breakdown
structure is a hierarchical listing of all the work of the project. WBS helps
in identifying the costs, risks, responsibilities and so on.
Step3: The baseline
The tasks are
allotted with the required resources and a deadline. It is the committed scope, schedule, budget, risk,
and so on against which the project team will monitor its actual performance
Step 4: Execute the
planned work in first time wave
The planned tasks are
executed in the first wave. Plan your work and work your plan.
Step 5: Iterate
through planning horizon and close the project.
Assessing the teams
learning, and starting with the next phase of the project.
assessment: insights and idea
According to me the major problem that CATA4
group faced was time management. The legacy systems would become obsolete and
the SAP1 ERP systems were not in place. Most of the resources were held back in
the retail implementation project which resulted in the delay of the contracts
implementation by 3 months. Human resources were lost at a crucial time and the
CATA4 group did not have enough time in training new individuals. Due to the
complexity of the project, the team did not have enough confidence which
resulted in poor understanding of the job and hence all the business activities
were taking much longer than expected.
Rolling wave is a technique which would help
the CATA4 group in planning the activities in phases which would help them
concentrate on the issues which has a close dead line.
The first stage of rolling wave planning is
getting the team and strategy in place. The CATA4 group should have appointed
Chris Miller as a program director in the earlier stages of the implementation
of SAP ERP systems. This would have given the CATA4 group a good idea as how to
proceed for a full fletched implementation. The implementation plan was
considered an IT change and not a business change and hence the project team
had taken this implementation lightly. The second stage of the rolling wave
planning is the top-down planning. The entire project should be broken down
into small units which would help the CATA4 team in analyzing the risks, costs
and the required resources for the implementation of the SAP ERP systems.
Stage 3 of rolling wave planning deals with
allocation of the tasks to the team. The entire team should be divided into
smaller teams with a team leader and tasks should be allotted amongst
themselves. This will help the CATA4 group in achieving various tasks or
business activities in short period of time. The team leaders should report
directly to the project director. The project director and the project leaders
can discuss the requirements of the resources and hence the resources can be
The fourth stage of rolling wave planning is
execution of the planned work in first wave. The planned tasks should be
executed as per the plan keeping in the availability of the resources and the
time allotted for each task. A team should be appointed by the program director
to keep a track of the execution phase. This way the director can have a direct
control on the activities that are being performed.
The fifth stage of rolling wave planning is
assessing the performed activities. The actual performance is measured with the
desired performance. A complete review should be done which provides
information of the resources that have been used. If the actual performance
matches the desired performance, the next phase of the project should start. If
the actual performance does not match the required performance then alternative
steps should be taken to match the actual performance with the desired
performance. This will help the CATA4 group in setting up the right base for
the next phase of the project.
The CATA4 group has to implement the rolling
wave planning technique in the retail business as it is much easier to
implement SAP ERP systems in the retail business than the contract
business. This way CATA4 group can
finish the implementation of the SAP ERP on the retail business, learn from the
mistakes and then move on to the contracts implementations as it is much
Key learning points and actions
The reflective paper was a lengthy one I was
able to identify my mistakes that I committed in the past experiences. There
were a few instances that matched my past experiences and I was keen on
exploring these issues.
The key leaning for the whole organization is
that along with planning stage it is important to implement the plan and the
manage the time and the resources effectively.
There are many tools and techniques for
managing an issue but choosing the right tools and techniques is the key to the
success of the project. My proposed tools and techniques are easier to be
implemented at any stage of the project and hence these tools were chosen by
me. The cata4 group lacked in managing their time and hence a lot of
difficulties were faced.
Increase in confidence level, clarity of the
job role to the team and better integration of the processes can be analyzed by
the top level management if they manage their time and execute the plan as
The task of preparing this reflective paper has provided me with immense
knowledge as to how a project should be managed. This project involved a lot of
research and source material which I read thoroughly and learnt new concepts. Working
on this paper has taught me that time management plays a vital role in any
assignments or project.
Initially I faced a lot of problems expressing my ideas but as my
research progressed I got better.
However there are certain areas such as improving my writing skills and
language skills where I have to focus.
Referencing is another aspect which I learnt as the Indian education
system does not focus on it.
Preparing this reflective paper
was a new experience and in future I can perform better since I have a good
understanding now as how to write a reflective paper. Overall this paper has
provided me with immense knowledge about project management and has helped me
identify my strengths and my weakness.