Team 5 Clearbrook

Description of the Project

Our group worked to raise money for the Clearbrook center.  With the limited time, that we had to complete the project we planned a project with little complexity to reduce risk.  After meeting with the event coordinator at Clearbrook we decided on doing a “dine and donate” with Berry-Yo in Arlington Heights on July 25th.  10% of all sales that day went to Clearbrook if they mentioned Clearbrook at the register. We also worked with the Clearbrook IT department to be set up an online donation page that would be open until the beginning of August.  The donation page helped eliminate fees and donations were able to go directly to Clearbrook.

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Factual Analysis

The objective of the project was to hold a profit sharing event where a certain % of the sales would be donated to the Clearbrook.  The event was a great success due to careful planning and effective completion of all the activities listed in the implementation plan.  Our group not only held a physical event at the Berry-Yo frozen yogurt restaurant but also ran an online donation campaign.  Once we met with the Clearbrook event coordinator and discussed all the potential restaurants that we could partner up with to hold the event, we decided to contact Berry-Yo, the frozen yogurt place in the suburbs.  Berry-Yo is owned by three siblings who have a strong sense of family and try to give back to their community as much as they can.

Once we locked the date for the event, we decided on an online donation host (which was done directly through Clearbrook), and started contacting our networks and publicizing the event. Berry-Yo owners were very supporting of our cause and posted an announcement of our event on their Facebook page, as well as advertised it in the local chamber of commerce newsletter.  The event went extremely well.  We had wonderful weather (a huge uncontrollable risk) and good amount of people that came (we estimated over 300 people streamed through the restaurant), bought ice cream and were willing to support our fundraiser.  During the event we passed out flyers and asked people to mention Clearbrook at the register.  We received very positive response even from strangers, as most people were very receptive and happy to help us raise money.  Our most likely prediction for raising money was $500 and our best case was $1000. We raised over $1250 thanks to all of the people that came to eat some ice cream and those that donated online.


Advice for Future Teams

There are many things that a team needs to think about when going through and putting together a fundraiser of this nature.  The first advice we would have is to team up with a charity that is “all in.”  We were fortunate that we found a charity in Clearbrook that was big enough to help a lot of people and have a pretty large geographic reach in the Northern Illinois community, but small enough to know how much of a help we were for them.  They wanted to help us in any way possible because they knew that by helping us we would have a better turnout for the Swirl and Care and more of a donation would go towards the charity.  Contacting Clearbrook early on to see how they can help us was something that future teams should do.  Contact them early and often.

    Another lesson is to truly think about what type of event can your team pull off in the time frame allowed.  We knew that we had a very condensed time frame and we needed to make decisions very quickly.  We had a plan on what we wanted to do, scope creep started to settle in and we reeled back everything so we can stay on time and on budget.  We knew that we wanted to team up with a restaurant in the community for a dine and donate.  If we didn’t stick to the original script, we would have faltered.

Some advice for future groups and a lesson we learned was that you need to sell A LOT of ice cream to make money.  We estimated that we drove 300 people through the shop.  The physical fundraiser money was only around 10% of the overall donation.  Think about teaming up with a restaurant with a little higher ticket item than frozen yogurt to get a higher percentage of money from the physical fundraiser.

Our last advice is to ask your network for donations and help.  And then ask again to remind them.  For many of our networks, people didn’t donate until we sent out our second and third reminders.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  People like to help other people.

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Lessons learned from managing the project

You need to have a good implementation plan to show what needs to be done, by whom, by when and with what resources. You also need to identify which activities need to be completed before others can be started and those that can be undertaken in parallel. This will give you a clear idea of the timescales you will need to work to.

Next, you need to manage the project risk by identified key risks, such as unexpected costs or technical issues, and do what you can to minimize their likelihood before they happen.  It is always recommended to have a good contingency plan if the initial plan does not work out.

Lastly, a successful project requires a team effort. It is important to have good team communication and collaboration. Periodically status report should send out to track the team project progress.  You need to work together to complete the work, resolve issues and address change requests.

Wanted: Competant Project Managers

Over the past few years there has been a significant push, especially in the United States on the importance of math and science education for the young.  There has been an understanding that emerging nations like India and China have passed the United States in graduating engineers and scientists from the university.  The math and science shortage has been felt in places like the UK, U.S. , and even Australia.  The latest stories have spotlighted the skills shortage overall in the Project Management field.

The shortage in very good, and competent project managers has significant implications for large scale projects moving forward.  The downside of having issues with project management is the reality that project overruns and extending time estimates on projects have negative effects for progress in building and other projects.  Scope creep is an effect that starts to affect large scale projects.

The article spotlights some findings that they studied in India with the help of PMI India and KPMG.  India is in a building phase in their country life cycle.  Lots of new infrastructure is needed to handle the more than 1 billion people that inhabit their country.  People will start to expect certain amenities as people start to gain a little bit of wealth and move towards the middle class.

There is an expected 1 trillion dollars in infrastructure that will be spent in the next four years.  80% of the developers of the different projects are unable to find good project managers to execute this increased infrastructure build.  The study that KMPG facilitated found that “some projects are delayed by external factors such as land acquisition or regulatory approvals which are beyond the control of the executing agency, a majority of projects are delayed by factors that can be controlled at the project level through proper planning and project management.”

While this article focuses on India, it seems to me that this is a world wide problem.  Just like there is an aversion to math and science all over the world, project managers have become something that has been very hard to find.  Project managers have a lot of responsibility on different projects.  They are forced to be “experts” in statistical analysis, manufacturing, operations, and forecasting among other things.  They need to be able to multi-task on many different jobs to be successful.

The long term effect of a shortage of math and science and project management could be catastrophic.  China is ahead of the curve by having 106 universities that focus on project management and their skills.  All countries need to focus its efforts on these skills in order to keep up with proper infrastructure.  We are getting to a point in America where we need new bridges and roads, and if every project we have continues to have scope creep, we will put our economy into a further tailspin.

Do you think that having a skills shortage for project managers is a problem?  What are the long term implications? How do you fix this problem?

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Death of American Industry

This article is interesting in many ways.  It highlights the shift that is taking place that is slowly taking shape around the world with China and their “industrial revolution.”  The steel industry has long been an American dominated industry because its superior manufacturing processes.  China has been making serious in roads to compete locally.  The article talks about the implications of opening the proverbial “can of worms” of using Chinese steel to build United States infrastructure.  It speaks of the price differential between Chinese and US steel, and it talks about the future of the steel industry.  The United States steel industry could have an uphill battle for future construction and bridge work if the steel used in the bridge projects in New York and San Francisco prove out to be high quality.

The common thought within the United States manufacturing and building sector was (and still is) that Chinese steel was inferior and could not be trusted.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was supposed to help out industries like construction and the steel industries by putting limitations on where you can buy material and employing people.  The problem with this restriction, is there has been so much consolidation in the steel industry that many items are not made by ANY American producer.  In some cases, even if there is the American alternative, the price can be much higher and the project manager needs to reassess its job priorities.  The article talks about the situation where a company was able to find material in the United States that was almost double the price of the imported steel.


The steel industry and the manufacturing world run in tandem.  Manufacturing has been sputtering in the United States and the steel industry is dependent on people buying cars, appliances, and building infrastructure.  The manufacturing sector has defected overseas to places like China and India because of cheap labor. The majority of the construction industry has stayed within the United States because of the superiority of the American made steel products.  Companies like Nucor have had a stranglehold on the construction industry because of the high quality, yet economically made steel that they were able to produce. The danger, as the article talks about, is the threat on the construction industry which has started to shift towards Chinese steel.  I think that if President Obama extends tariffs, it will have a temporary positive effect on the industry by putting China and the US on equal footing in terms of pricing, but what is the long term game?

While I agree that it is important for China and the United States to be on an equal playing field, I think that the bigger problem is the need for more planning within the industry to become a feasible and efficient producer of steel and employer of American jobs.  Assessing our risks of bringing in more capacity to the industry vs. not being a significant player will be something to watch for.  How does the industry help bring manufacturing jobs back into this country without a plan towards the future?


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