Global Green Books Publishing is a successful printing and publishing company in its third year. It has survived bringing on a large new customer and all the challenges of new work that this customer needed in a very short time. Much of this work for the college is customised eBooks. As the first term progressed with Global Green Books making customised eBooks for this college, there were a number of issues that affected the quality of the eBooks produced and caused a great deal of rework for the company. The local university was unhappy as their eBook products sometimes reached campus late for use by professors and student. In some cases, the books were a week or two late. The management of Global Green Books was also challenged by these projects. The college expected them delivered ontime and at a low cost, and the company was not always doing that. Accounting was having difficulty tracking the cost for each of the books, and the shift supervisor were often having problems knowing what tasks needed to be completed and in assigning the right employees to each task. Some of the problems stemmed from the new part time employees. Since many of these workers had flexible schedules, it was not always clear which tasks they were supposed to be working on when they came in to work. Each book being produced was indeed a book; but that was all they had in common. Each book had different production steps, different content and reprint approvals required, and different layouts and cover designs. Some were just collections of articles to reprint once approvals were received, and others required extensive desktop publishing. Each eBook was a complex process, but was going to be made just once, as these eBooks were all customised for each professor and course each semester. Each eBook had to be produced on time and had to be made to match exactly what the professors requested. Understanding what each eBook needed had to be clearly documented and understood before starting production. Global Green Books had been told by the college how many different printing jobs the college would need, but they were not all arriving at once, and orders were quite unpredictable in arriving from the professors at the college. Some professors needed rush orders for their classes. Some orders arrived as projected, but some came later than anticipated. When Global Green Books finally got all their orders, some of these jobs were much larger than they had thought they would be. Each eBook needed to have a separate job order prepared that listed all the steps that needed to be completed, so that tasks could be assigned to each worker. These job orders were also becoming a problem. Not all the steps needed were getting listed in each order. Often the estimates of time for each task were not completed until after the work was done, causing problems as workers were supposed to move on to new tasks but were still finishing their previous tasks. Some tasks required specialised equipment or skills, sometimes from other groups within Global Green Books. Not all of the new student hires were trained for all of the printing and binding equipment used to print and assemble to books. Global Green Books wanted to start developing a template for job orders. This template should list all of the possible tasks that should be performed in producing an eBook for the college. These tasks could be broken down into four different phases of the work, namely Receive Order phase, Plan Order phase, Production phase, Manage Production phase, respectively.
a) How are these customised eBooks different from a standard printing process? What characteristics make a customised eBook a project? [5 Marks]
b) Who are the stakeholders in these eBook projects? How are they involved in or affected by an eBook project? [5 Marks]
c) Do you think developing a standard job template would be useful for Global Green Books? Why? What advantages could it give them in planning work? [5 Marks]
d) Why is it important to have a defined project scope? Why is it important to make sure there is agreement about the scope and what will be done in producing each eBook?