Popular Book Co. Publishing was established four years ago by two friends, Edward Cullen and Jacob Black, who met while studying at Asia Pacific University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the new business, Edward who majored in business, focused on editing, sales and marketing while Jacob who majored in IT, did the electronic assembly and publishing of books for Popular Book Co. Their business was successful and profitable in the first two years, largely due to contracts from two big businesses.

In their third year, they were very busy with their third major customer, a local university that needed customized e-Books. They hired several part time employees to help them with their publishing business, but by the end of the third year of operations, Popular Book Co. started experiencing critical problems. They were unable to:

  1. leverage all the new employees effectively,
  2. deliver eBooks to their customers on schedule,
  3. provide quality texts: time and money was being spent fixing defects in their products,
  4. control costs: their business was not profitable in the third year.

Popular Book Co. saw a significant rise in issues, a lot of unpleasant “surprises” were cropping up, such as, their business was performing badly, poor management of resources, and poor planning of some projects. The local university was unhappy as their e-Book products were delivered at their campus late. In some cases, the books were delivered one or two weeks late and the professors and students were unable to use these books on time. Since the courses must start on schedule and students need their books at the beginning of their courses, the new lucrative university customer was unhappy.

One of the new part-time employees Bella Swan was hired by Edward. Bella who had taken a project management course while studying was excited about using the discipline of project management while working with Popular Book Co. Bella an opportunity to apply and gain working experience in her project management skills. One fine day, Edward invited Bella, for a lunch meeting. He was aware that Bella was familiar with project management and wanted to hear what she had to say about the problems he and Jacob were facing. Over lunch he questioned why their small business which had operated and implemented projects so successfully over the first two years was being challenged significantly now. He specifically listed the problems they were facing and asked for input to solve them. Bella asked for more time to research all the issues but noted that Popular Book Co., while being innovative, completed projects without a roadmap or a project plan and lacked a disciplined approach to project management. She noted that Edward and Jacob did not use any project software for scheduling, and they did not use tools or techniques to estimate, budget or to communicate with stakeholders. Finally, they had no processes in place to manage project risks and quality.

Impressed with this and other conversations, Edward asked Bella if she would consider joining them as a project associate or project manager on a full-time basis to help them introduce project management practices and help them tide over their current crisis. Bella accepted the offer! She has several key skills—she is an excellent communicator with very good interpersonal skills and detail-oriented. Within the first three months in her new role as Project Manager, she introduced formal project management processes, created a Project Management manual, and trained the employees to get the work done well.

Within nine months Bella had fully turned things around. Due to proactive risk analysis and risk response planning, project issues were greatly reduced. Communication with stakeholders was enhanced. Jacob and Edward noted that the company was delivering projects on schedule, the quality processes worked—and customers were happy with the products!


  1. Measuring is a key element of managing projects. One of the key measures for quality in projects is the price of non-conformance (PONC). The PONC is the cost incurred in the project where quality targets are not being achieved.
  1. As mentioned in the case study, Popular Book Co. was experiencing several critical problems. Discuss and elaborate with examples, any THREE (3) project issues contributing to PONC negatively for Popular Book Co. Publishing. Minor rephrasing needed
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