Managing Hard Rock’s Rockfest
At the Hard Rock Cafe, like many organizations, project management is a key planning tool. With Hard Rock’s constant growth in hotels and cafes, remodeling of existing cafes, scheduling for Hard Rock Live concert and event venues, and planning the annual Rock fest, managers rely on project management techniques and software to maintain schedule and budget performance. “Without Microsoft Project,” says Hard Rock Vice-President Chris Tomas so, “there is no way to keep so many people on the same page.” Tomas so is in charge of the Rock fest event, which is attended by well over 100,000 enthusiastic fans. The challenge is pulling it off within a tight 9-month planning horizon. As the event approaches, Tomas so devotes greater energy to its activities. For the first 3 months, Tomas so updates his Microsoft Project charts monthly. Then at the 6-month mark, he updates his progress weekly. At the 9-month mark, he checks and corrects his schedule twice a week.
Early in the project management process, Tomas so identifies 10 major tasks (called level-2 activities in a work breakdown structure, or WBS): † talent booking, ticketing, marketing/PR, online promotion, television, show production, travel, sponsorships, operations, and merchandising. Using a WBS, each of these is further divided into a series of subtasks. Table 3.8 identifies 26 of the major activities and sub activities, their immediate predecessors, and time estimates. Tomas so enters all these into the Microsoft Project software. ‡ Tomas so alters the Microsoft Project document and the time line as the project progresses. “It’s okay to change it as long as you keep on track,” he states. The day of the rock concert it-self is not the end of the project planning. “It’s nothing but surprises. A band not being able to get to the venue because of traffic jams is a surprise, but an ‘anticipated’ surprise. We had a helicopter on stand-by ready to fly the band in,” says Tomas so. On completion of Rock fest in July, Tomas so and his team have a 3-month reprieve before starting the project planning process again.
1. Identify the critical path and its activities for Rock fest. How long does the project take?
2. Which activities have a slack time of 8 weeks or more?
3. Identify five major challenges a project manager faces in events such as this one.
4. Why is a work breakdown structure useful in a project such as this? Take the 26 activities and break them into what you think should be level-2, level-3, and level-4 tasks.
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