Your initial work in responding to Liz’s email was a success. This delivery by you was seen as providing the right level of leadership, while still providing the documents requested. Accordingly, you have now been invited to meet with Helen and her manager, Murat, to have all your questions answered.
Murat believes he already knows what you are going to ask, so the conversation starts off a bit one-sided.“Helen and Liz tell me that they gave you very little to work from, but you were able to get them what they needed very quickly. Good.” At this point, TPZ and Liz enter the room to join the meeting. Murat had this all planned out from the beginning. “OK, your meeting. Ask us anything you want” Murat challenges you.
From the Q+A that follows, you determine some new information:
The buy-in from the Business Units Leaders, is actually missing – they were a source of not achieving prior merger cost saves
The acquisition of the competitor company will have a media announcement of the agreement
Timing of having a “fully operational” AI 2025 is far more important than the personnel cost savings, due to Wall Street expectations of The Company not delivering on sales revenue increases
All agree that your role as Project Manager has changed, and is quite broad nowIndeed you will be filling, in part, Helen’s role, to take charge of the projectAs such, your staff needs may need to flex, based on your judgement It has become apparent to you, that the culture of the company is quite behind that of more cutting edge, agile organizations. Indeed the goals you hear being discussed, seem to be “catching up” to where other companies were 10 years ago. The Company desires this image to change
You ask a few more questions, and you determine that Helen has committed to having the new AI golive 270 days from January 1, which matches with the TPZ schedule of completing the final testing of the AI. But “going live” in terms of functionality, may not include the 90 days of training Liz has in mind with the business units using the live tool, nor does that timeframe address any existing personnel layoffs from the Forecast teams. You are concerned that any announcement of such a tool will cause an exodus of the existing Forecast teams doing the work, but you also know that the Company cannot operate well without a seamless transition to the AI tool if people leave early.
The issue for IT (and now you as Project Manager) becomes one of timing: the sooner the operation is live, the sooner the Company saves on Labor by reducing the current Forecast Teams payroll by a total of 80 positions, across the two business units: totaling $10,000,000 of current cost. However, any personnel severance in the event of an involuntary layoff, could be as much as $4,000,000 for all 80personnel. You also know that such an AI initiative will receive great press, and that Wall Street will be impressed if the AI is successful (but any glitches with the tool could have disastrous impacts on the Company’s image).