Barry has recently been assigned to a project team that will be developing a new retail store management system for a chain of submarine sandwich shops. Barry has several years of experience in programming, but has not done much analysis in his career. He was a little nervous about the new work he would be doing, but was confident that he could handle any assignment he was given.
One of Barry's first assignments was to visit one of the submarine sandwich shops and prepare an observation report on how the store operates. Barry planned to arrive at the store around noon, but he chose a store in an area of town he was unfamiliar with, and due to traffic delays and difficulty in finding the store, he did not arrive until 1:30 P.M. The store manager was not expecting him and refused to let a stranger behind the counter until Barry had him contact the project sponsor (the director of store management) back at company headquarters to verify who he was and what his purpose was.
After finally securing permission to observe, Barry stationed himself prominently in the work area behind the counter so that he could see everything. The staff had to maneuver around him as they went about their tasks; however, there were only occasional minor collisions.
Barry noticed that the store staff seemed to be going about their work very slowly and deliberately, but he supposed that was because the store wasn't very busy. At first, Barry questioned each worker about what he or she was doing, but the store manager eventually asked him not to interrupt their work so much- he was interfering with their service to the customers.
By 3:30, Barry was a little bored. He decided to leave, figuring that he could get back to the office and prepare his report before 5:00 P.M. that day. He was sure that his team leader would be pleased with his quick completion of his assignment. As he drove, he reflected, "There really won't be much to say in this report. All they do is take the order, make the sandwich, collect the payment, and hand over the order. It's really simple!" Barry's confidence in his analytical skills soared as he anticipated his team leader's praise.

Back at the store, the store manager shook his head, commenting to his staff, “He comes here at the slowest time of day on the slowest day of the week. He never even looked at all the work I was doing in the back room while he was here—summarizing yesterday’s sales, checking inventory on hand, making up resupply orders for the weekend . plus he never even considered our store opening and closing procedures. I hate to think that the new store management system is going to be built by someone like that. I’d better contact Chuck (the director of store management) and let him know what went on here today.” Evaluate Barry’s conduct of the observation assignment.

  • CreatedMarch 13, 2013
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