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1:An employee is working on a task for you. You ask him how it's going. He says, “I'm 90 percent done.” What does this mean?
  1. He had 100 widgets to process and he has processed 90 of them; therefore 10 remain to be done.

  2. He's done a whole bunch of work over the last few days.

  3. He had 10 days to do the task and this is the ninth one. Therefore, he must be 90 percent done.

  4. The deadline is approaching fast and he wants to make both you and himself feel good.

A1: (a) 5 points

Yes, this could indeed be true. However, in most knowledge and high-tech industries, things are rarely as clear cut as this.

(b) 0 points

I'm sure he has. How that might lead him to believe he is 90 percent done is not clear to me.

(c) 0 points

One of the great illusions of all time. The amount of time the employee has expended on this task might actually bear no relation to the amount of progress he has made. (Read the preceding again if you gave this answer.)

(d) 0 points

I'm sure it is and I'm sure he does. The worrying thing is that in many cases, he'll succeed (in making you feel good, I mean).

2:Things are running according to plan. However, you have a vague feeling that morale is not good and that it's only a matter of time before everything goes horribly wrong. What's your best response to this situation?
  1. Do nothing. If things are going according to plan, then that's all you need to know.

  2. Begin some morale-boosting activities—the usual suspects: t-shirts, nights out, and so on.

  3. Publicize how well things are going and how all of the team are pulling together to make the plan happen.

  4. Investigate why you think there might be morale problems and what these might be.

A2: (a) 4 points

I've given you most of the points, but I'd just have that worry that there might be something afoot.

(b) 3 points

I've given you one less point than the preceding answer on the basis that if this is all you do, and there is a morale problem, blindly doing this won't necessarily fix it.

(c) 4 points

If there is a problem with morale, this might help to improve it. Keeping people in touch with how plans are progressing certainly can't hurt.

(d) 5 points

Of course, you'd be far better off trying to find what the problem—if there is one—is in the first place.

3:You are part of a project. You finish a job several days early. If it turned out that your job was on the critical path (i.e., was on the shortest path through the project) then the project could be shortened by the same number of days. You go to the project manager and tell him or her. What is most likely to happen to the gift of several days that you hand the project manager?
  1. It depends on whether it's on the critical path. If it is, the project manager will use it wisely to shorten the project. If not it'll just get frittered away.

  2. The project manager will give you something else to do to fill the several days.

  3. Nothing. It'll just get frittered away.

  4. You don't care. It's not your problem.

A3: (a) 0 points

In my experience this is generally not what happens. However, using it wisely is what should happen.

(b) 5 points

This will almost always happen! However, if the project manager's only interest was to ensure that you had something to keep you busy, then he or she missed the point totally.

(c) 5 points

In my experience, this is what is most likely to happen.

(d) 0 points

Technically, this might be true. However, you should care about the problem.



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