Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Parout's "Bone Marrow Drive" Project management.(Instructor's Note)

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Parout's "Bone Marrow Drive" Project management.(Instructor's Note)

Article excerpt


The primary subject matter of this case is project scheduling and resource loading. Secondary issues examined include strategy and human resource management. This case study is appropriate for upper level undergraduate students and MBA students taking operations management related courses. The case is designed to be used in conjunction with two to three hours of in-class discussion followed by approximately three to four hours of outside classroom analysis and report writing. In class discussion topics may include project scheduling based on critical path method, resource loading using spread sheet and leadership issues.


Parout Stores, a chain of super centers known as one of the largest retailers in the nation, was struggling with its public image after bad press on its now improved labor practices. The national office instructed local branches to begin conspicuous local community service initiatives to help the company in rebuilding its reputation at the community level. Robert McClelland, the manager of a Parout branch in a small Texas border town with a largely Hispanic population, stumbled across an opportunity to serve the Hispanic community nation-wide. The idea evolved from a brief conversation between McClelland and the founder of, a non-profit organization dedicated to registering more minorities on the National Marrow Donor Registry so that minority cancer patients have a better chance of finding a match for marrow transplants. Villanueva, the founder of, was willing to fly to the community and publicly thank any organization that recruits over 1,000 donors. One major problem was that Villanueva was scheduled to travel abroad within four weeks. Hence, McClelland only had a month to achieve this feat. He needed to strategically plan a community outreach program to register 1,000 donors in less than a month as well as convince his team that this opportunity was worth all the extra hours needed to plan and execute this project on such short notice.


Qualitative Aspects

Although the emphasis of this case study is largely on quantitative analysis, discussions on a qualitative side can benefit the students. Several different human resource management and strategic issues can be discussed in class in order to guide students in answering problem numbers 1, 7, and 8.

1) Gaining Acceptance from Stakeholders

Gaining the buy-in from various stakeholders will not be an easy task. Both in-house employees and community volunteers need to be approached with clear explanations of the project's goals. The importance of communicating and thus sharing the same project goal should be emphasized to students. Students should discuss methods of selling the project to stakeholders (for example, possible tactics may include using incentives and/or affective and motivational appeals),

7) Potential Problems

This project has very tight schedule and any slippage in schedule can delay the project completion. Class discussion can involve students about how to minimize the likelihood of delays. The importance of careful planning should be discussed. Signing up and keeping key players, especially the medical technicians, can pose a major challenge. How McClelland will persuade, lead and motivate all participants throughout the project should be discussed.

8) Creating Permanent Change

It should be debated whether this project is a permanent solution to the existing company image problem or the mere beginning of a longer process. Clearly, this project alone would not fix the damaged image. However, this project can be a good starting point for future projects to be built on for turning around the poor image.

Quantitative Aspects

There are two spreadsheet files included with this case. The first spreadsheet, named "Parout Charts," is the file of charts that the instructor may present or withhold from students according to the level of difficulty desired. …

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