Return to Previous Page

A Case Based Comparative Analysis of Project Management Leadership Styles

ET Cases, 15 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Arnab Banerjee, Principal Consultant, Enterprise Application Services – Oracle Supply Chain Competency, Infosys Ltd

Case Preview

A case based comparative analysis of project management leadership styles


It was rainy and humid as Dr. Arnab Banerjee looked out of the window. Summer had arrived in Germany and so had the good time. Dr. Arnab Banerjee told the team, “Looking back, this is the time we have been waiting for.” The happy moment was well cherished by Dr. Banerjee as it was a month since the German Driveshaft Manufacturing Plant of Dream Driveline Corporation had gone live and things were going pretty well. ‘It is time to review and analyze the work my team has been doing since last 12 months in Europe,’ he thought to himself. He recollected his onboarding to the project some 12-13 months ago when his company (Systems Group) won the project to transform the supply chain of Dream Driveline Corporation’s three plants in Europe. Dr. Banerjee, as the program manager for the transformation project in Europe, led a talented team of consultants. The transformational project consisted of business process re-engineering (BPR) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation for the plants in France, Sweden and Germany. The overall outcome of the European sojourn was a mixed bag: It was mediocre success in the beginning, disappointing in the middle and successful towards the end. ’Although tough, working on the project has been a great learning experience which needs to be shared with others,’ Dr. Banerjee thought and smiled, as he returned to France from Germany.

While bidding adieu to his friends in Europe over a farewell dinner with some nice wines, baguettes and cheese, everyone was eager to hear from Dr. Banerjee about his experience in Europe. Dr. Banerjee said professionally there was one aspect he would reminisce most about. With the eager listeners looking at him in anticipation, Dr. Banerjee continued while sipping a glass of wine, “I worked in three plants for the transformation project. One plant based out of France, another in Sweden and the third in Germany, each of which had its own plant manager responsible for the respective Information Technology (IT) led process re-engineering transformation followed by ERP implementation in their respective plants. I can definitely say the failure or success of the massive transformation project, to a great extent, hinged on these three people. The results in the three plants were different in each case, and can be attributed largely to the different project management styles of the three plant managers............

The Manufacturing Plant in Nimes, France: Out of the three manufacturing plants in Europe, the one in France was the smallest. Owing to the size of the plant, the manpower was limited. Although the plant was manufacturing far more complex products compared to the Sweden and German plant but due to its size and other circumstantial reasons the number of people serving the plant were less.................

Cutover Process

Both the business team and IT team were involved in the cutover process. Together, they first discussed about how to handle the cutover process. The IT team decided to split the cutover process into four phases, and fixed the estimated time for all the phases. The first phase was the cutover data migration process which was marked at around seven hours. The second phase was the preparation for smoke test, a critical phase, was provided with five hours for the job............

Post Go Live Support Scenario

After the Go Live (Cutover to new system), Mr. Gerard threw a big party to celebrate it with his team. He invited everyone directly involved with the project, and wholeheartedly appreciated their efforts. He lauded the successful fulfillment of the function leads’ responsibilities, and asked the next level reportees to step up and get involved in issue identification and resolution. Mr. Gerard then draw out a strategy to share the learnings and ownerships of the IT system from Managers who were directly involved in the transformation to their subordinates............

The Manufacturing plant in Gothenberg, Sweden

The plant in Gothenberg, Sweden was twice in size compared to the Nimes plant in France. The plant produced both sub-assemblies (like joints) and driveshafts for its customer, and hence the business process was much more complex. Some of the major customers of the plant were very demanding due to their sheer dependence on the plant. The plant was led by Lucas Olsson. Lucas has joined the company as its Plant Manager four years ago...............

User Acceptance Testing: The user acceptance test was held, with Johan leading the testing. He himself tested most of the function (while it should have been the function leads doing it) and he invited the function leads to demonstrate the system. The demo was disastrous....................

Go Live Postponement: Dr. Banerjee had a meeting with Lucas and the financial heads, and explained to them that the plant was nowhere ready to use the new system and that it was now in complete mess. The sentiments in all departments and areas were very clear..............

Cutover Process: Lucas and Johan together with other plant IT team members discussed the cutover process. No function leads were involved in the discussion. Based on experience in Nimes plant, time availability was revised but Lucas was clear that the requested time was not feasible (to be provided) and was thus reduced..............

Go Live and Post Go Live: With the renewed preparation and direct involvement of functional leads in the cutover process, the team showed good progress. The cutover was smooth. Immediately after go live there were problems in system execution, as there were design and training issues. As usual, the blame was passed on to Systems Group team and Dr. Banerjee was held responsible for it................

The Manufacturing Plant in Dusseldorf and Munich, Germany

In Germany, there were two plants: one at Dusseldorf and the other at Munich, both huge manufacturing units. Both acted as feeder plants catering with components to many commercial vehicle plants in Europe. Also, it was serving some of the biggest customers of the company in Europe, not only in Germany but in Italy, Austria, Spain, Netherland and Poland. Both plants together were almost four times the size of Gothenberg plant............

Cutover Process: Business and IT team both discussed the details of the cutover process for both the plants. The team unanimously decided on the four-phase cutover process. The businesses were able to involve themselves due to their involvement in the testing phase..............

Post Go Live Support Scenario: After the go live (Cutover to new system), Hubert acknowledged everyone’s efforts not only from his team but from Dr. Banerjee’s IT team as well. He lauded the efforts of the function leads. He then asked the next level reportees to step up and get involved in issue identification, resolution and stabilizing.............

Comparative Analysis

Dr. Banerjee reviewed the stories of the three project managers and decided to do a comparative analysis in two buckets. The first is the project management aspect and second the softer aspects focusing more on human touch/soft skill. This was important, as he believed that both of these skills matter as a manager and students need to understand their importance. Each of the three managers were rated as they fared in each bucket in individual skills............


Exhibit I: Comparative Analysis of Project Management Skills

Exhibit II: Comparative Analysis of Soft and People-Oriented Skills

Teaching Note Preview

A case based comparative analysis of project management leadership styles



The case study begins with the main protagonist Dr. Banerjee reflecting on his European sojourn which has been a mixed bag of success. He decides to pen down the experience so that it can be taught as a case on Information Technology [IT] Project Management in business schools. The story revolves around IT-driven transformational project of Dream Driveline Corporations ’three plants in France, Sweden and Germany. The case focuses on the project management aspect in the transformational journey, and highlights the details of project management styles of each of the plant’s project managers. Dr. Banerjee, who works closely with the three protagonists “ Mr. Gerard of France, Mr. Lucas of Sweden and Mr. Hubert of Germany “ the Plant and Project Manager for the three units, explores the decisions taken by the managers in various phases of the project and how it impacted the overall project results. The project first starts in France and it goes well till the design and testing phase, after which it runs into troubled waters. There are certain decisions and attitudinal e aspects that help Mr. Gerard of France overcome the problems. The project then moves to Sweden, and gets into trouble from the very beginning. The reasons are certain decisions taken by Mr. Lucas in the Sweden plant. Decisions and attitude both work against the project, and it remains a troubled experience for everyone, with no good results till the end. The project then moves to Germany, and is led by Mr. Hubert. The decisions and attitude of Mr. Hubert work favorably well for the project, under his leadership, and end results are good. The case helps draw a comparison among the three project managers with regard to project management and people-oriented skills, and how they fared against each other in almost same situations. A comparative analysis is drawn with a reference of the decisions that worked good for the project and those that worked against the project. The comparative analysis and findings help compare the characters of the project managers. This paves the way to determine the ideal traits and skills of a successful project manager for such transformation projects..................

Rs 0
Product code: OM-1-0043, OM-1-0043A


The case study describes the Information Technology (IT) driven transformational project of Dream Driveline Corporation’s three plants in France, Sweden and Germany, from the perspective of project management. There are three stories – one about each of the three manufacturing plants –highlighting the individual project  management styles of the plants’ project and-plant managers. The protagonist of the case is the Program Manager of the organization’s IT team, Dr. Banerjee, who works closely with the three plant managers, Gerard of France, Lucas of Sweden and Hubert of Germany, who represent their respective business teams. The case study explores the decisions taken by the three managers in various phases of the project and how these impacted the overall project results. The case then draws a  comparative analysis through a relative rating of the three managers for different project tasks. A comparison is drawn among the managers’ project management skills and soft skills. The comparative analysis and findings help compare the personality traits/personal qualities and characteristics of the project managers. The protagonist then draws out traits and skills of an ideal project manager for such transformational projects.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To help students understand the various roles, responsibilities, traits, skills, situation handling abilities required and expected of a project manager for IT and ERP transformational projects
  • Appreciate the Importance of Soft and People skills to get into a project management role. Awareness and learnings about how to deal with subordinates, counterparts and managers in a project environment for a successful end result
  • To learn about the potential pitfalls of wrong decisions in a transformational project

Case Positioning and Setting

  • Information Technology
  • Project Management
  • Project Management in Information Technology
  • Strategy Management

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)

**Electronic downloadable links (PDFs, PPTs, Supplements etc.) are available immediately after purchase. Please use Indian Currency Option (INR) when you are Making Payment within India. "No. of Copies" reflects the number of permissions you intend to use in Classroom Discussions / Corporate Trainings.

No. of Copies
Rs 0

Related products

Request for an Inspection Copy

(Strictly for Review Purpose, Not to be Used for Classroom Discussion/Trainings)