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Management article
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Reference no. R0912B
Authors: Sarah Green
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Originally published in: "Harvard Business Review", 2009
Revision date: 05-Mar-2013
Length: 9 pages

Abstract

This HBR Case Study includes both the case and the commentary. For teaching purposes, this reprint is also available in two other versions: case study-only and commentary-only. A week before Christmas, Tim O'Connell, a manager at Driscoll Software, gets a call from Hybara Casinos. The former client's system has crashed, and the company wants to be rescued by New Year's Day. The project will generate much-needed revenue, but it involves six weeks' worth of work crammed into two - and over the holidays, no less. Tim's star programmer, Alessandra Sandoval, quit several months earlier, and the rookie Kristen Hammersmith has taken her place. Should Tim contract the project out to Alessandra or trust Kristen to lead the team? Three experts comment in this fictional case study. Tim should hire Alessandra immediately, says Michael Schrage, a researcher at Sloan School of Management's Center for Digital Business. Kristen is in over her head. But more important, Tim is a shockingly poor manager. Carol A Walker, the founder and principal of the consulting firm Prepared to Lead, agrees that Tim isn't doing his job and outlines a scenario whereby he demonstrates his confidence in, and support for, Kristen and prepares her to succeed. Paul Muller, Hewlett-Packard's vice president of strategic marketing for software products, says that in this severely condensed time frame, Driscoll and Hybara need to assess the risks and costs involved in rushing the project. If they decide to go ahead, Tim should empower Kristen to lead.

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Abstract

This HBR Case Study includes both the case and the commentary. For teaching purposes, this reprint is also available in two other versions: case study-only and commentary-only. A week before Christmas, Tim O'Connell, a manager at Driscoll Software, gets a call from Hybara Casinos. The former client's system has crashed, and the company wants to be rescued by New Year's Day. The project will generate much-needed revenue, but it involves six weeks' worth of work crammed into two - and over the holidays, no less. Tim's star programmer, Alessandra Sandoval, quit several months earlier, and the rookie Kristen Hammersmith has taken her place. Should Tim contract the project out to Alessandra or trust Kristen to lead the team? Three experts comment in this fictional case study. Tim should hire Alessandra immediately, says Michael Schrage, a researcher at Sloan School of Management's Center for Digital Business. Kristen is in over her head. But more important, Tim is a shockingly poor manager. Carol A Walker, the founder and principal of the consulting firm Prepared to Lead, agrees that Tim isn't doing his job and outlines a scenario whereby he demonstrates his confidence in, and support for, Kristen and prepares her to succeed. Paul Muller, Hewlett-Packard's vice president of strategic marketing for software products, says that in this severely condensed time frame, Driscoll and Hybara need to assess the risks and costs involved in rushing the project. If they decide to go ahead, Tim should empower Kristen to lead.

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