Project Description

Project Description

The Chinese Railroad Ministry (CRM) is requesting proposals to build a prototype of an automated railway reservation system (ARRS). The cornerstone of this proposal will be the project plan. The project plan will be estimated on its merits as a practicable development plan and process description. There is serious competition between prospective providers. If the organization is successful in convincing the CRM of the prototype's feasibility and portraying a successful ARRS, the organization will be given preferential consideration to manage the overall development of the final ARRS.

You do not yet have the advantage of a completed requirements analysis or design. The information provided here is intended to give you enough data to scope the effort and build the initial project plan.

Submitted plans are estimated on their management approach and suitability to the project at hand. The CRM fully expects the winning vendor to update its plan as the project progresses.

Some overall statistics on train travel in China are as follows:

  There are over 10,000 train stations in China.

  Some of the peak travel lines experience extremely heavy traffic. Between Beijing and Shanghai the number of passengers traveling averages in the millions each month.

  Some of the remote regions have as few as one train per week.

  It is believed everyone in China uses a train at least once a year (there are 1.2 billion people in China).

Your Project Management Situation

You are the matrixed project manager of a team to build a limited prototype of the Chinese Railway Passenger Reservation System. 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.

  China will not allow you to bring programmers or analysts into the country to work on this project. You will be limited to bringing only a four-person management team to manage the project and must work with the personnel and equipment resources supplied by the Chinese Railroad Ministry (CRM). The limit to the number of the in-country team includes you as the project manager.

  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 necessarily true, there is adequate 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.


The CRM wishes to use its own programmers for this project. This means the winning vendor organization will be expected to act as a management team and will be allowed to bring only that team into the country. Since the CRM also has outstanding equipment resources, the vendor organization may not bring additional production equipment into the country.

You will have access to 26 software development professionals:

  One development manager who speaks and writes English well;

  Three analysts who have had vast experience in developing applications, none of whom speak English, although all read English and have a fair ability to write in English;

  One programmer/analyst who has extensive telecommunications skills and communicates fairly well in English;

  11 programmers with five or more years of experience in developing extensive applications - three have excellent English communication skills;

  10 programmers with less than five years of experience; the ministry is very interested in these people receiving on-the-job training so they must be used; only two can communicate in English.

The CRM will also give a facilitator to help make arrangements with government authorities, make travel arrangements, and serve as a host in China.


project manager, software engineering, prototype
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