Seventeenth National Bank is competitive bank, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, which employs 600-700 people. Its data processing department acts a small service bureau and is currently doing computer processing for four banks other than Seventeenth National. Even though, one of the four banks has notified Seventeenth National that it intends not to renew their contract because they feel is it less costly for them to handle it in-house, the three remaining banks generate enough revenue to offset costs of doing its own computer processing.
Additionally, one of the remaining three banks is very small, but is well known, so Seventeenth National uses its name to attract new business. The bank president expects the department to aggressively pursue outside business and is willing not only to grant the department head as much authority needed to accomplish this mission, she has mentioned that she will grant reasonable budget increases if they can be justified. The bank is currently experiencing moderate growth (10 – 15%) and forecasts growth to exceed this moderate growth rate in the future.
The objectives of management are to maintain a competitive edge with the largest banks in the area and would like to expand the data processing department so that it will be able to accommodate the computer processing functions of other banks and financial institutions in addition to their own. Eventually, management would like the processing department to be a major revenue source and possibly a subsidiary to the parent bank. Currently, the data processing department is composed of three major departments: keypunch (15); computer operations (10); and programming (10).
This department has one manager and a private secretary. Although keypunch and computer operations are highly specialized departments, programming is quite the opposite. Programmers are not only involved in writing new programs, correcting problems with existing programs, documenting procedures and keypunching small amounts of data, they meet with potential clients, take classes and teach classes to clients and other programmers.
The intent of having programmers research and lead classes to other programmers is to maintain a competitive edge on new ways of handling program problems, technological enhancements or refresh their skills in selecting existing resources to solve programming issues. Much planning is involved with creating new systems for clients and work cannot initiate without adequate planning and coordination. Jobs are scheduled at least six months in advance and can take anywhere from a few days to several years to complete.
Although the staff of programmers chosen to work on a project is dependent on the size of the system, most systems designed by this department are small, so one person is assigned the task of managing the project and is called the ‘project leader. ’ The project leader is responsible for making sure the programs are written according to the design specifications, coordinates the activities of the programmers, answers questions, monitors resources for the project, initiates any changes to the original design and making sure the project is completed on time.
They are also usually assigned small program maintenance jobs which may include changes to existing programs due to new laws that need to be complied with or the clients existing program wasn’t set-up to accommodate their needs. The tasks performed in the data processing department are almost always interdependent with the work of someone else. Currently, programmers and project leaders are in two separate rooms with minimal visual barriers to help reduce and/or prevent noise. However, interruptions occur constantly.
As a result, programmers oftentimes bring their work home in order to have a higher degree of concentration and focus. The programming department is very ‘standards’ oriented and the standards are set very high, they are very clear and can be measured quite accurately. Programmers are given reviews every six months to determine whether they are eligible for a pay raise or promotion. Conversely, no raise and possible discharge if their performance is continues to be less than satisfactory are penalties programmers may face.
Meeting deadlines and high quality of work are a must to maintain satisfactory performance and be eligible for incentives, which are in the form of rewards. The current concerns of the bank President are: is the department organized as well as it should be and what should the structure of Seventeenth National Bank look like 2 years and 5 years from now, to accommodate the projected bank growth and department growth? The processing department manager is looking for direction on whether he should focus on “managing the organization” issues, “managing the people” issues or both. SECTION II: STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problems that we found in the case that greatly affected the data processing department were: 1) the organizational structure of the data processing department, specifically the structure of the programming division 2) efficiency in finishing tasks and projects and 3) the work environment of the programmers. We picked out these three specific problems because we found them to be the root causes of why projects were not being finished on a timely manner, why the programmers had to take their work home at times, and why the programmers had too many tasks and maintenance issues on their hands which disrupted the project flow.
The president of the company wants to know if the data processing department is well organized, what the structure should look like in 2 years and 5 years, and if the department will need more resources. She expects the completion of an internal mission, which is to restructure the department to be as organized as possible and the completion of an external mission, which is to expand and aggressively pursue other banks and financial institutions.
So with the current organization of the data processing department, which is composed of the key punch, computer operations, and programming, it seems as though growth and the ability to undertake more business would be out of reach. The programmers wear many different hats and occupy several positions while working on a specific project, and instead of just writing and testing programs and projects, they are also responsible for maintenance jobs which tend to be numerous and causes the original project completion date to be missed.
The physical surroundings of the programmers cause many interruptions as they work, while trying to plan, write, and schedule jobs according to an engineer’s specifications. Programmers are in one room apart from a separate room filled with project leaders. Strategically, there are visible barriers to reduce eye contact, however, they fail to prevent and reduce the noise levels for quiet and concentration. Due to this, many of the programmers get distracted and even have to take their work home in order to get the peace and quiet they need to finish their work.