A Case in Point

A Case in Point

The case study method has been used throughout project management training to frame the student within the real world. This blog makes wide use of the Chinese Railway Passenger Reservation System Prototype Case Study. The case study is designed to parallel a real-life client situation. Therefore, in many areas there may be more data provided than actually used for the prototype. There will be uncertain situations where information may conflict. Many pieces of data will be presented without sufficient discussion - very much like the real world. This case study is useful for instructors as a graded project with class project teams providing their solutions. The Chinese Railway Passenger Reservation System will be visited in each section with further information and new tasks from the client.

The Chinese Railway Passenger Reservation System Prototype takes place outside of your corporation's home country and therefore some of the restrictions will be different from what you are normally used to. The opportunity to build up this prototype will allow you to acquire the skills required to compete for the final project. To have a chance in being named one of the competitors to build the actual information system, you must have a successful prototype. The first step in this process is the competition with other organizations to build a system feasibility prototype.

You have been sent as a team to set up a project plan to construct this limited prototype of the Chinese Railway Passenger Reservation System. The following is a list of the known conditions of your work:

● None of your team speaks the language of this country and you must rely on interpreters to speak with those who do not speak English.

● This country will not allow you to bring programmers or analysts into the country to work on this project. You will be limited to bringing only your team to manage the project and must work with the personnel and equipment resources supplied by the Chinese Railroad Ministry (CRM).

● The local programmers have a fairly solid computer science background but lack most typical software engineering skills. Also, they are weak in object-oriented development skills (they have read and studied OO development) and telecommunications skills. Only recently has China been able to buy telecommunications software from the U.S. and other western countries.

● The CRM prides itself on having state-of-the-art hardware and software. While this is not essentially true, there is enough hardware and software available for a workstation-based client/server approach. Even though there are object-oriented software packages readily available, none of the personnel at the CRM have experience developing object-oriented systems.

● The CRM attempted to develop a full-blown reservation system before and failed miserably.
This was prior to good telecommunications technology being available, so the conditions were fairly rustic.

● You will be allowed to interview whatever customers, employees, and managers you need to enable you to correctly develop the project plan.


software engineering, project management, project plan
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