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As previously said, risks are uncertainties that jeopardize the achievement of a certain project goal. In contrast, risk management involves detecting, evaluating, monitoring, preventing, and mitigating or removing any discernible form of uncertainty or risk. Risks come from a multitude of sources, and as a result, we are often unable to predict their occurrence. Risks are dangerous, and failing to respond quickly on them places a company in jeopardy, usually resulting in the destruction of valuable data and, most of all, the collapse of an organization's or project's operations. Risk management has however proved to be the best course towards handling these risks. In fact, many organizations, particularly digitized one have made risk management a top priority in any each of their undertakings. However, some organizations have managed to deploy good risk management strategies while others have failed, and such is in our J.C. Penny case where poor risk management strategies have led to a big failure of the company’s CEO.
Poor risk management is associated with failure company operations, and at the same time, fall of the company affected. When risk factors such as financial uncertainties, strategic management errors, legal liabilities and natural disasters are present, risks are prone. While considering the J.C. Penny case, it is explicit that poor risk management led to the failure of its CEO. Since its establishment in 1902, J.C. Penny had been a well performing until the year 2011 when Ron Johnson took over as the company’s CEO. His efforts to rebrand and re-grow the company through the fair and square pricing strategy backfired on him since the company recorded an abnormal loss that has never been recorded before. This loss is believed to have been facilitated by lack of effective risk management strategies to countermeasure the risks associated with Johnson's ‘fair share' pricing strategy. In fact, this was the main reason to why Johnson was fired.
Failure to respond effectively to the uncertainties associated with his proposed business strategy was the primary reason for Johnson's failure, CEO of J.C. Penny. His proposed fair share pricing strategy was more tolerant of risks and risk-seeking as well. In his strategy, Johnson aimed at eliminating discounts and coupons and introducing a new approach to marketing J.C. Penny and as a lifestyle brand. In this case, failure to conduct a feasibility study to understand J.C. Penny customers was a mistake. J.C. Penny had always been a discount brand since its establishment, and therefore, compromising this particular strategy meant losing a loyal customers base that had been built for about 111 years. Failure to prospect this particular risk saw the sales of JCPenny collapse immensely.
Well, Johnson’s fair share pricing strategy might have been a good business strategy but failure to consider the risks and failure to initiate good risk management strategies in time facilitated its collapse. In a case such as Johnson's, there are various solutions to consider, primarily risk management solutions. To being with, there was the need to begin by identifying the risks associated with his strategy. This would have indeed helped him understand the type of industry he was venturing in and more importantly, the type of consumers associated with that particular industry. Such an approach would have played an important role in minimizing some of the negative risks that put Johnson under pressure. Performing a qualitative and quantitative risk analysis would have been equally other approaches to minimize the negative risks. Similarly, planning risk responses and developing a risk register to document potential risk events would have been quite effective countermeasures of any potential risks.
Part two: Self-Assessment
If I were told to grade my team, I would grade them with an A- grade. There are various reasons to why I would go for this particular grade. First of all, I would consider the fact that perfection is quite critical and to attain such a level means having and maintaining an extreme level of seriousness regarding teamwork. This was actually a challenge since the spirit of teamwork was hardly noticeable among all the team members. Based on this evaluation, I ought to identify that during the group work discussion, three of the total four members of the group displayed quite some seriousness while one slightly bothered to give the group work the attention it demanded. This one particular member submitted in his research late despite being given enough time to research on his assigned task. This, in turn, slowed down the general group discussion to evaluate and write down the final draft of the group work since we had to wait for him to table his research and commence on the discussion. Still, another member displayed some unethical behavior in that he wanted to be heard more than others which were going against or violating our team ethics. Such flaws actually defined our discussion as a less serious one and scoring all the points would have been a miracle.
Another reason to why I would go for an A- grade is based on the scope of work we covered in correspondence to what was expected from us. Despite much effort and research, some of the ideas and arguments we presented were somewhat shallow; not fully explained to give us all the points, A grade in this case. Despite the light explanations, some of the ideas lacked solid, supportive arguments. However, despite the limited scope, the group managed to present an outstanding performance during the presentation with each member actively trying to impress in their respective presentation topics. In fact, the power of presentation portrayed my group presents an adding advantage to the A- grade I would award them.
Well, the group also missed out some aspects of an important part of any project case which is project documentation. There was documentation, but its plan particularly the outline and the appendices required more in correspondence to the scope we had covered for the group to be awarded an A grade. Even our instructor acknowledged our documentation but insisted on some important aspects he felt we had left out in the outline and appendices parts.
The group also displayed someone or two challenges in regards to project control mechanisms. As anticipated at the start, the project did not successfully go as planned. Time was a major challenge in this course. Similar to what has been said earlier, one member of the group failed to submit his research in time thus interfering with the schedule set by the project members. Also, performance was quite a challenge particularly when the discussion was in progress. One other member of the group was so much talkative that even other two members failed to present and argue their ideas fully.
Likewise, another flaw that makes me give the group an A-minus grade is that at some point the group failed to utilize some of the project scheduling techniques it had identified. Despite evening having compiled the task list, following it was a challenge. Members failed in regards to their tasks, especially on the time factor. Still, on the task list, members showed limited collaboration and no one bothered to follow up on each member’s progress regarding their assigned tasks. Even after making efforts of formulating a Gantt chart, it was not properly presented according to the instructor. However, still, without the instructor's comment, I would have awarded an A-minus simply because some tasks were extremely beyond the time estimates (Heagney, 2011).
Lastly, we failed to consider some team management skills. For that reason, I give my team an A-minus grade. In this regard, I would start by acknowledging the fact that we had a good organization, but due to one reason or another it was not effected; most of us never bothered to follow that particular organization. Respect among the team members was not great. This can be told from the way communication was being handled as well as how arguments in regards to ideas were being discussed. The tone employed was quite demanding.
Individually, I had a few roles and responsibilities to execute in the group. I had the privileges of performing as the team's secretary in addition to my primary role of researching on risk management. Since we were only four of us, I also had the honors of ensuring every member was on track and within the scope of our project.
Regarding my primary role of risk management, I had to cover all aspects of risk management in correspondence to the provide case on JCPenny company. This was a good task and course since I explored extensively on the concept of risk management. I must say that I did all I could to provide a professional research on risk management. I even went further and emphasized on some simple ways to mitigate any uncertainty to avoid cases of poor performance and fall of organizations due to risks. I also got a chance to be a tutor for some minutes since I had to lecture my co-team members on the whole concept of risk management.
As the team secretary. My responsibilities were to take down notes on the progress of the group. This included the documentation of the proceedings of the group work. I must say that it was quite tiresome since there were loads of materials that needed to be written. Since I had volunteered to take the secretary’s role in had take-up all the responsibilities of a secretary as it happens in organizations. As the secretary, I ensured that the final documentation which was to be presented in class was due within the instructor’s timeline. Also, I decided to act professionally by taking the corporate responsibility of doing a follow up on everyone's progress regarding their task.
While I conclude, I would like first to acknowledge my co-team members for work well done during the presentation session. At the same time, I would like to acknowledge our instructor on a work well done in offering support where called upon. Above all, I would like to note that we did a great job and gave our best despite the few and small challenges we encountered in the course of this study. Through this group work, we learned much more particularly on the whole process of project management and on other important aspects such as teamwork and teamwork ethics.
Heagney, Joseph. Fundamentals of Project Management. New York: AMACOM, 2011. Print. Retrieved from: http://www.worldcat.org/title/fundamentals-of-project-management/oclc/1002603095
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