A Correlation


After completing my project management course at DePaul, the dots began to connect. The course has created a well round view of what goes into managing a project. The various tools, skills, and resources necessary to being a successful project manager. From estimating project cost and timelines, managing risk, to scheduling resources and cost, this course has taken me from an unclear idea of what project management is to a more refine idea of what a project manager does. The experiences I have encountered while working on our group project and the individual interview helped immensely define and illustrate the responsibilities of a project manager.

Furthermore, after reading the article “Keeping Tabs on Projects,” I have drawn similarities to my experience in the group project and to Kevin Wood’s experiences (the person I interviewed) as a project manager. Projects have a lot of moving parts as I have discovered in our teams experience. I would imagine at a company, one might even have multiple projects going on simultaneously. To successfully run a project, being able to keep tabs on every aspect of the project is vital. In my experience with my group we did this extensively through emails, meetings, formal reports for class, and informal conversations over the phone/texting. In the interview with Kevin, this was one of the topics we discussed in-depth. He mentioned some days he only spends reporting on various aspects of his project, whether its to his supervisor or his client.

“Keeping Tabs on Projects” discusses implementing a systematic way to keep tabs on everything without having to dig through emails and notepads. My group did this by creating a workflow chart. Its important to keep upper management informed along the way. By doing so, it can make the project easier with them as far as support and proper resource implementation.

In the article it discusses that in the beginning of the project its important to identify the roles every player will be responsible for. By identifying those individuals and what roles they each will play, the project manager will understand what information they will need for further execution. By keeping tabs on the individual deliverables, it allows the project manager and the group to help identify problems and potential roadblocks. In my groups experience, I was responsible for finding potential locations for our event. By getting the appropriate information to my group early on, we were able to make a sound decision on where our event would best benefit our cause.


Introducing iPhone 6’s new shape: Bent

Apple reveals iPhone 6 sales

With the recent introduction of the new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, there has been a lot of controversy over one of the characteristics that constitutes its quality.  Both the new iPhones are a lot larger than the iPhone 5, but also a lot thinner. The current trend is moving towards thinner everything, so you might think this is great idea to create a thin iPhone. That is, until you realize that this feature can also turn awry.  As it turns out, in just the first 6 days, 9 customers complained about the iPhone bending from being carried in the back pocket.

For a prominent company such as Apple, which is known for their quality products, these news are terrible. Some might say that 9 is a very low number of instances comparing to the 10 million they sold. But, the publicity this issue is getting can drastically decrease the sales of the new iPhone, and its future products.


A company such as apple puts its products through so many different quality control checks, before they reach the market. Employees and machines, at different points in the process have to check the quality before it can move onto the next task. Apparently though, as mentioned in the statement by Apple, “Testing of the phones did not show any problems with bending or warping. IPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of the high quality standards to endure everyday, real life use.” Nevertheless, it is difficult to believe this issue never came up. Sometimes people overlook quality issues hoping someone else will catch them. And sometimes, it is just too costly to point out quality issues. If a product is already in production with an announced deadline of introduction, a design issue will cause a delay and an additional budget to fix the issue. This will create a bad reputation for the company. However, so will a bad quality product.


Releasing a statement that confirms the product has successfully gone through three-point-bending test, a sit test etc., does not fix the issue. Unfortunately the person, who has had their iPhone bent, might not be as happy with the company as he previously had been. And we all know, that the best form of advertising is from friends and family. If your friend has it and it is performing well, you want it. But, the same goes for when your friend has it and its not that great. Then, your opinion of it changes as well. Unfortunately, this may cause Apple to lose lots of loyal clients, and tons of sales.


What do you think about the bent iPhone?

Did you purchase the new iPhone? If so, any issues with bending?

Does this change your perspective on apple?

Will you continue purchasing apple products?



Arthur, Charles. “‘Bending’ IPhone 6.” The Guardian. N.p., 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.


How Forecasting May Forever Change Hollywood

Is it possible to forecast how much money a movie will make just by reading a script?  Statistics professor and movie guru, Vinny Bruzzese says you can.

Mr. Bruzzese and his team have supposedly come up with an equation to forecast how much money a movie will make in the box office, just by reading the script. For only $20,000 his company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, will read any movie scrip and will compare it to other narratives with comparable story lines, Facebook likes, and data taken from focus groups consisting of over 1,500 moviegoers. With this information, he can dissect any scrip or screenplay, and help directors see how much money their movie will (or will not) make.

Based on statistics and moviegoer opinions, Bruzzese reads a script, and uses data to determine if characters are likable, or should be changed. He uses corresponding data with certain celebrities to determine how many people will attend a movie just because that person is in the film. His recommendations usually come in a 30 page report, and include both minor and large corrections.  Mr. Bruzzese also said that he will not hesitate to inform a writer that the movie is crap, and characters need to be developed into something completely different in order to for the audience to be engaged enough to see the movie in theaters.

So far, Mr. Bruzzese has reviewed over 100 scripts in Hollywood, including “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which earned $484.8 million in the box office. His services also include reviewing scripts for TV shows and Broadway productions. Although his price may be high, Hollywood directors seem to be interested in his operation, and many have found it to be incredibly useful. However, he clearly states to each screenwriter that he will not be held responsible if the movie flops, and his equation is not correct. As we learned, forecasting is rarely 100% correct, and is used as more of a guideline than an indicator of fact.

But what are the implications of using statistical forecasting on an art form like movie making?  Some people are not as excited about the idea. One movie critic wrote, “It’s the enemy of creativity, nothing more than an attempt to mimic that which has worked before. It can only result in an increasingly bland homogenization, a pell-mell rush for the middle of the road” (Ol Parker).

So do you think forecasting of new moves will inhibit creativity in scriptwriters? Do you think Hollywood directors should only focus on their movies making the most amount of money? Will Hollywood movies just become cookie cutters of the previous ones before them? Or do you believe an equation made for forecasting movie success help make new movies better?


Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/business/media/solving-equation-of-a-hit-film-script-with-data.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&smid=fb-share&adxnnlx=1368414010-4e41KEMI8B67C1EjLSjPvg

Comeback of the Orange

Home improvement retail companies profited when the real estate industry bloomed. However, the good times did not last long. The “housing meltdown” caused them to have large number of excess stock on hand that were not going anywhere. Needless to say, their year-end numbers did not look appealing to investors.

In the past years, Home Depot stood out, in terms of growth, as compared to their competitors, Lowe’s and Menards. In order to increase sales, the Home Depot decided to concentrate more on products for the interior of the house. These included household cleaning supplies, decorative goods, plants, and interior design products.  As mentioned in Chapter 2, you have to understand the market and learn to improve operations. Home Depot studied the market to understand it. They saw that consumers were not looking to build any more houses so they changed their direction to selling products that go inside the houses.

Home Depot’s mission statement is, “The Home Depot is in the home improvement business and our goal is to provide the highest level of service, the broadest selection of products and the most competitive prices.” Within their mission statement, they also mentioned their eight core values. Some of these include, “excellent customer service, doing the right thing, and taking care of our people.” They believed by providing the best service will bring in more customers and create a loyal customer base. Home Depot implemented many different services that their competitors don’t provide. Some of these include installation services, rental services, matching and beating competitors’ prices, and providing an order online, pick up in store service. They are competing against other home improvement retail companies by utilizing their uniqueness.

Home Depot made a strategic decision by providing the service, meet and beat competitors prices. They are willing to match the competitors’ price and give an additional discount to make the customers feel good about shopping at the Home Depot. This service will help them create a loyal customer who will come back to shop. Personally, I have some previous experience working at the Home Depot and providing great customer service is the value that Home Depot management stressed upon. Every associate is given a certain dollar amount that they are able to discount to make the customer satisfied with their purchases.

It seems like their strategic decisions and services that differentiate them from their competitors are working well. Some will say that this company was “rebuilt to last .” Recently, Home Depot reported a 32% increase in profits during their fourth fiscal quarter. Their overall sales increased by 14%. In addition, the company also saw an increase in their installation services.

Do you agree that this company is “rebuilt to last?” Have you shopped at The Home Depot recently? Did you notice the changes mentioned in the article? Which other companies have you noticed recently that experienced immense growth?




Cheng, A. (2013, Feb 26). Home depot profit jumps. Wall Street Journal (Online). Retrieved from https://login.ezproxy1.lib.depaul.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1312448910?accountid=10477





Changing Customs?

The Chicago Department of Aviation announced that O’Hare International Airport will be implementing a new procedure in order to reduce the time that customers stand in the customs line. The new procedure is for U.S. passport holders who are returning to the United States on international flights, to improve their customer service experience with customs officials and decrease wait time in line. It is intended that by July 1st, in the midst of the travel season, customers will no longer fill out the paper customs declaration forms on the plane. Instead, after departing the plane, U.S. passport holders will be directed to a self-service kiosk. Once they are at the kiosk, the U.S. passport holder will scan his/her passport to start the claiming process, all before any interaction with a customs official.  The customer is then issued a receipt from the machine, with the answers to questions they have answered at the kiosk, to give to the customs official for verification.

This new customs process is an adaption to keep customers satisfied by keeping lines short. The new procedure also includes a few of the five service dimensions that we have learned in class. O’Hare is demonstrating the second service dimension, responsiveness. Implementing the self-service kiosks is in response to the additional four international airlines that will be servicing out of O’Hare this summer.  The Chicago Department of Aviation, allowing O’Hare to use the new self-service kiosk devices, is also showing empathy towards the customers. O’Hare and The Chicago Department of Aviation are considering and empathizing with customers by recognizing the stressfulness of standing in line for hours and waiting to complete the customs process upon re-entry into the county. The tangible service dimension is also considered in the new and, what is expected to be improved, paperless customs process. The whole process of communicating with the customs officials is being altered with this new equipment.

The system has been tested with the Canada Border Services Agency and has proved to be useful at the Vancouver International Airport over the past year. The successful trial in Vancouver encouraged The Chicago Department of Aviation to put the new self-service kiosk into action at O’Hare International Airport. This new technology is a breakthrough improvement. There has been little to no change to improve and expedite the re-entry in to the U.S. customs process in the recent past.  This new change is much needed.

Personally, after first hand experiences of standing in the customs control line for hours, I am excited for the self-service kiosks to be put into action. For frequent fliers, once they learn the new technology, they will be flying through the line.

How do you feel about the self-service kiosks for the purpose of speeding up the process of re-entry into the United States? Do you think this will be helpful/beneficial to both travelers and customs officials? Do you foresee any problems that may arise from this change?




Saving Minutes With Facebook

Facebook has come out with a messenger app that allows free voice calling for iPhone users. How convenient would that be?! Instead of using our minutes, we could get free minutes! That is like a dream come true, right? There are positives and negatives about this app as well. Because this is a new app, it is understandable that there might be a few glitches, like almost every new product out there.

Some positives about this new free calling messenger app is:

1. This app does not need to be updated in order to be used.

2. You save your minutes! It is really helpful if you just happened to use all of your minutes, or your family used them up for you if you have a family plan.

3. You can get free calling in a tap of a button. There will be a circled “I” icon in the conversation that the user is in. The user can press that button and tap free call to have this free messenger app call the person.

4. You can leave voice messages.

5. This is like a regular messenger where there are emoticons that you can choose from.

Based on the following positive traits stated in the article, it does seem tempting to just switch over to Facebook. It is a phone and a regular messenger all in one! You can call, leave voice messages, and emoticons! Because I could leave “stickers”, which are emoticons, I would assume that I can leave text messages as well. Then again, there would have to be more information about the texting.

According to this article, the only negative to the new Facebook messenger app is that the quality is really poor. The sound of the other person was fuzzy and tinny. I would not want to spend time to just understand what the person is saying on the other side. People do not like lag! They want this convenient. Don’t you just not like it when someone is talking, and they are cutting up and you can’t hear what they are saying? In this situation, I get frustrated and want to attempt to make my internet faster. This is, again, understandable because it is a new app.

I have rarely seen a new released product that does not have a negative side to it. Because Facebook let people sample on them, they would get their feedback and, I would hope, further enhance the new messenger. By doing this, they would need an update.

Question: Would this new Facebook app be a new trend? I know there are many other messengers out there that have free texting and free calling, but they only give you so many minutes. After you use them up, you would have to pay for them. Therefore, with unlimited minutes, would people start to just go over to the Facebook application for calling, even with low quality? If this Facebook messenger application was enhanced with higher quality, would you decide to switch over to use this new Facebook messenger app?




787 Dreamliner Debut…finally a dream come true?

Inside the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with CEO Jeff Smisek (video)

After years of production delays and costs overruns, November 4 marked the date for the historic use of the Boeing Dreamliner to finally take flight in North America. With suppliers located all over the world in a large-scale collaboration, delays should have been expected. Originally planned for its first flight in August 2007, problems with excess weight and manufacturing and other problems caused for five delays and the first model was delivered in September 2011. The first commercial flight service was on October 26, 2011. Orders for the plane came in before initial production and these delays have caused many unhappy customers and calls for compensation.

It’s amazing that even with all of the delays, many airline companies have still continued to place orders. This extraordinary airplane has promised features that will supposedly astound not only its passengers but its flight crew and potential customers as well. With Boeing finally delivering on this exulted and greatly advertised product, will this plane meet its high expectations?For many of the people on this historic flight, the answer is yes.

United Airlines is the first airline in North America to operate the use of the Dreamliner with a commercial flight from the George Bush International Airport in Houston to O’Hare Airport in Chicago. United Airlines celebrated this historic event with a ceremonial ribbon cutting attended at the departure gate by its senior level management and the 200-plus passengers.

Many passengers commented on the design of the 219-seat interior plane as well as the tranquil atmosphere they experienced. Many noted the reduced noise from the engines, wings, and landing gears along with many of the other special features of the plane. Many new features include 30% larger windows with adjustable tint windows, spacious storage, dynamic LED lighting, a quieter cabin, and a smoother ride. The plane’s composition produces greater fuel economy, less maintenance, lower cabin pressure, and less time out of service. Attached above is a short video of the interior of the Dreamliner.

Even with the delivery of this one Dreamliner, there is the possibility that Boeing can still face problems with its suppliers which in turn causes further delays with providing its customers finished products. So my question is even with all of these fantastic features of the Dreamliner, does it make up for the years of delayed delivery? With multiple airlines carrying this Dreamliner, what does that mean for the competitive advantage of a company? And with all the past production delays, is it possible that there are still faults with the Dreamliner?




You can’t please them all…or can you?

Outsourcing is very important to the business world and helps many companies in a variety of aspects. Creating partnerships with outsourcing companies is vital for companies to survive in this day and age. It also saves a lot of money for many companies, which benefits them greatly. India’s business-process-outsourcing (BPO) companies are a $50 billion industry however has recently been experiencing problems. They have started to struggle to attract the right kind of people to work there. The image of a business-process-outsourcing used to be considered prestigious and financially beneficial, but that has changed. Now people rather work in traditional sectors. They have realized that to change people’s perception of the profession, rebranding would be needed to help with that. If BPO employees would feel loyalty toward and support their companies, it would send a good message of the industry to others. A study conducted, based on Gallup data, has shown that as long as the numbers are dropping, BPO companies will not be able to change people’s perception of them. This data shows that only 28% of employees intend to stay with their companies for the next few years and that they would promote their company to others. This low level of loyalty is why the business is experiencing so much turnover and lost productivity. Word of mouth in very important in society today, however in India it is vital for businesses to survive. Indians tend to rely on advice from other people, especially trusted people, when it comes to making big decisions. This is how the problem is arising, because people who would have normally gone into the BPO industry and being advised to pick other professions now.

The industry will not survive if business owners do not start taking care of their employees. In order for the BPO to turn around, business owners need to direct their focus on making sure that their employees are happy. If they do not succeed with this, then they will not be able to obtain new employees which is ultimately what they need. Employees need to feel important in what they do and like they are making a difference somehow. They have need to feel that they are learning and growing while at their job, because let’s face it; no one wants to stay at a dead end job where they are not actually getting anything from. Employees must feel empowered and engaged in what they do.

What do you think are other ways that the BPO can raise their workforce number? Should employers focus on their current employees in order to get new ones in the future? Or should getting new employees be their main focus instead?



Software to Simplify Project Management

Learning about the aspects of project management was interesting to me because a business can be successful unless it manages it projects successfully.  I worked at a painting company one summer and our project management was directly linked to how successfully we completed a job.  The owners of the company had to assess how much time would need to be dedicated to a project and how much it would cost to complete.  They would also choose which employees they wanted to do which job.  The employees who performed the best were put on the most important projects.  Project management was successful at our company because we had clearly defined goals, each job was unique, the jobs required our specialized skills, and all of the projects were temporary but each was essential to the success of the company. 

 It was also essential for our company to use the process of planning, scheduling, and controlling.  The planning stage included figuring out what products or tools would be needed to complete a job, figuring out who would be put on the job, figuring out transportation, and other things of that nature.  The scheduling stage would include decisions like the jobs start date and the estimated end date.  They would also need to schedule when they wanted the job to be completed during the day.  Some jobs could only be worked on at night because the business could not be disturbed during the day. The controlling aspect would be making sure that everything is going according to schedule and that the quality of the work met company standards. If a job was substandard then adjustments had to be made to scheduling to fix the problem. 

The owners of the company also had to decide which projects took precedence over others.  Sometimes we would be told to put a current project on hold because more important project required more attention.  Deciding which projects take precedence is essential to the company’s success because you need to be able to understand which accounts are most important to your business so you can keep them happy. 

Keeping track of all of this would be very stressful.  However technology is being designed to make managing projects a little bit easier.  The company semYOU has come out with new project management software called sem.ProjectPoint(http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cloud-project-management-semyou-releases-new-version-of-semprojectpoint-159862105.html).  This is cloud based software so it allows you to store and easily share information throughout a company.  It also allows you to view information about your company in useful ways such as in pie charts or other forms.  This allows you to quickly find overviews of what’s going on in your organization and will help to identify a company’s needs.  Would integrating this new technology into a company’s project management process be beneficial to an organization, or would it interfere with their existing methods?

Service Productivity

This week we learned about Service Productivity. It reminded me of one of the Finance Retreats at my last internship with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). The CHA provides a service to the residents of public housing and section 8 voucher holders. The retreats were led by the CFO, and designed as a way for finance staff members to leave the office building, meet at a central location for the purpose of doing team building exercises and brainstorming as a group on how to be more productive around the office. This productivity included saving the company money, how to work cross-departmental cohesively, and how to bring extra revenue into the company. One of the reasons it is so important to conserve money at the CHA, is because they are one of the few housing authorities across the country who are given money by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to use where they need it, for things such as resident programs. Other housing authorities are told by HUD where they must spend the money.


We came up with the following solutions:


Saving the CHA money

  • We had several unused industrial sized printers sitting in the hallway. We decided to sell them and use the money to purchase new ones.
  • Instead of each group within Finance (budget, financial reporting, treasury etc.) ordering their own supplies, one person would be responsible for ordering supplies. This would cut down on extra unused supplies and double ordering.


Working cross-departmental cohesively

  • We determined that employees in one area of finance may not be respecting due dates, which would cause another area to be late submitting reports, in turn lowering productivity. For example, financial reporting may depend on certain numbers from Accounts Payable (AP) within a given time frame. If they don’t receive those numbers, they cannot complete their reports.


Bringing in additional revenue

  • The CHA is one of the largest housing authorities (HA) in the country. We decided to use our staff as consultants to advise smaller housing authorities on various issues.


Productivity is defined as the ratio of outputs (in this case service) divided by the inputs (labor and capital). In these three cases, the CHA is using its employees as input and the output is the savings of money and employee time, as well as revenue generated which translates into money that can be used to further service the residents.


What are some ways you have improved service productivity at your company?