Project Planing




Kloud BV and Sakura Bank K.K.

This case was prepared by Alistair Brandon-Jones at University of Bath and Nigel

Spinks at Henley Business School for educational purposes and is not intended to

illustrate good or bad management practice.


“Well that’s the bad news!” said Tao, the Managing Director of Kloud BV, a consulting and

executive development firm headquartered in Amsterdam specialising in operations and

supply chain improvement. “The good news is that Chao should be out of hospital in a

couple of weeks. It may take a few months before he’s fully fit, but it all looks very

promising”. Maria was pleased to hear that things were looking more positive for Chao

after his accident. She had only been at the company for six weeks, having taken up a role

as a junior project manager, but had already grown to respect and like Chao.

“But,” continued Tao, “that does leave us in a tricky situation. As you know, Chao was in

charge of the big project with Sakura Bank in Tokyo, which I’m going to look after until he’s

back at work. He was also just setting up a smaller project for them, training senior

managers, which will run out of their facilities in Osaka. I appreciate you’re pretty new here,

but I’d like you to take on the project management for this one. Chao recommended you,

so it seems you’ve made a very good impression!”. Maria was pleased to hear that Chao,

her immediate boss, had a good impression of her. “Well, I’m very happy to take this on

Tao” she said as she quickly looked through the draft proposal for the project that Chao

had been developing for Sakura Bank just before his accident.

Exhibit 1: Extract from draft proposal for Sakura Bank K.K operations improvement

executive development


Kloud BV is delighted to submit a proposal for the design, development and delivery of a three-

week executive training programme to equip your managers with the latest operations improvement

insights from around the world. The initial programme will form the basis for future cohorts over the

next three years.

Overall approach

The programme is to be delivered to a cohort of 12 managers selected by Sakura Bank K.K from

their global talent pool. Our approach is to combine online pre-programme activities to help

participants prepare for the face-to-face component of the programme, which will be delivered by


our experienced and dedicated team of operations improvement experts, using up to date and

creative teaching strategies focused on practical application. Throughout the project, the training

team will be supported by Kloud’s own programme management team who will also be responsible

for evaluating and reporting on programme outcomes to Sakura’s senior management team.

Programme structure

Once participants have been selected for the programme, they will be asked to undertake a

structured series of online activities to ensure that they all have a sound level of knowledge of basic

operations improvement concepts. This will enable participants to get the best value out of the

residential programme by avoiding loss of time on teaching topics that are known to most of the

group. The three-week residential training programme will combine plenary knowledge-transfer

sessions with individual and group discussions. The final programme is subject to agreement with

Sakura Bank K.K, but will take place in three blocks, each lasting five days (as requested by the client

in initial conversations). Evaluation is a core component of the programme in order to assess its

impact for participants and Sakura Bank K.K. Post-programme evaluation will be undertaken to

measure participant satisfaction and their knowledge of programme topics. Full reporting of findings

will be provided to you.

Programme design

The programme design will leverage Kloud’s expertise in operations improvement consulting and

executive development delivered to our global client base. Nevertheless, we believe strongly in the

need to tailor design and delivery to specific client needs. We therefore propose to work

collaboratively with Sakura Bank K.K., including on-site training needs analysis, as part of the final

programme design. Following delivery of this first programme, the design and materials will then be

used for subsequent follow-on cohorts in other regions, as required by Sakura Bank K.K.

Kloud’s delivery team

Kloud’s delivery team will be led by Chao Xining as programme manager and Kavita as training lead.

Both will be supported throughout by our specialists in web design and programme evaluation. We

will be drawing on our highly experienced team of training professionals for online support and


programme delivery. The final training team will be confirmed on finalisation of the programme

agenda with Sakura Bank K.K


The pricing in the table below covers the delivery of all programme components described above.

As discussed, these costs are based on using your training facilities in Osaka, Japan. The pricing

excludes flights, accommodation, and expenses for the Kloud’s delivery team during residential

training but includes all other programme component expenses. Subsequent programme iterations

would not incur programme design costs. Payment is in two parts: €16,500 upon contract

commencement and €32,500 upon delivery of final report. Payment excludes any applicable taxes.

Programme component Total cost

Programme design €10,500

Pre-programme activities €6,000

Residential training €30,000

Evaluation and reporting €2,500

Total €49,000

As Maria read through the proposal, she got a clearer idea of what was needed, but she still

had a number of questions. “There’s plenty of information for me here Tao. Still, what

constraints do I need to be aware of?”. Tao picked up a notebook from the corner of his

desk “Good question! I was chatting to Chao earlier today and he mentioned a few things.

The client kick-off meeting takes place online next Monday – so that’s week 1 on this

project. Sakura have already said that ideally, they’d like the residential programme to start

in week 6. Do you think that’s a realistic timeframe? They’re also pretty keen that pre-

programme activities and the residential programme elements start on Mondays, and that

Saturdays and Sundays are non-working days”. Maria and Tao’s discussion then moved to

how best to resource the project. Within about ten minutes, they had identified most of the

key players who would be involved:


• Project sponsor – Tao (attend online client kick-off meeting and final review with

client; will review final report).

• Project manager – Maria to replace Chao (run client and kick-off meetings, sign off

trainer contracting and programme design, and do final report, client management).

• Training lead – Kavita in Tokyo office (training needs analysis, identify trainers and

detailed programme design; on-site lead for residential training).

• Web design – Li Wei in Shanghai office (liaise with Kavita and Una)

• Project support/admin – Krister (distribute contracts, confirm

travel/accommodation/meal bookings, etc. for the meetings/residential


• Training – 3 x external trainers (Finalise names once training agenda is completed);

prepare materials, support pre-programme online training; one trainer per week for

residential training, supported by Kavita as training lead. Most likely 3 trainers: 2

days each to develop materials (extra 2 days internal time to review content, check

for overlaps etc); 3-4 days each on online support for pre-programme activities and

5 days each on residential delivery

• Survey – Una in Shanghai office (design, distribution and analysis of final survey;

discuss with Kavita).

• Invoicing and budget support – Ruben (track invoicing and do budget close for


Maria then turned her attention to an additional note that Chao had made on the key

activities in the project, including their time estimates, predecessors, and average daily



Exhibit 2: Chao’s notes on the Sakura Bank K.K. project activities and costs


component Activity














1. Client kick-off

meeting (online) 1 1 1 n/a 500

2. Training needs

analysis 3 3 6 1 500

3. Trainer

contracting 2 3 4 2 150

4. Programme

design 4 5 8 2 500

5. Client review

meeting 1 1 1 3, 4 500

6. Internal kick-off

meeting 1 1 1 5 450

7. Training material

creation 6 8 14 6 350




8. Website set-up 5 5 7 6 250

9. Website go live 1 1 2 7, 8 250

10. Pre-programme

activities 9 10 14 9 350



11. Programme



8 10 12 6 150

12. Residential

training programme 15 15 15 10, 11 1500




13. Post-course

survey 3 4 5 12 150

14. Final report 2 2 4 13 500

15. Project closure 2 2 3 14 250


Maria thought for a moment. She assumed that Chao had developed his time estimates for

each activity based on normal costing but wasn’t sure what options there might be to

reduce the time of some of these activities. “Tao, I don’t suppose Chao made any notes on

possible activity ‘crashing’ did he?” After rummaging around his desk for what seemed like

an age, Tao found a bright pink post-it note hiding under a collection of files, “Phew, I was

starting to think I’d lost this! So, it looks like the training needs analysis could be shortened

to 2 days, but it’ll increase the daily cost to €850; the programme design activity can be

shortened from 5 days to 4 days, but daily costs will increase to €750; for a fixed fee of

€4,000, we could get a single more experienced trainer to do the training material creation

in 4 days; and website set-up could be done in 3 days, but daily costs will increase to €500

per day.” Maria looked up from her notes, “OK, that’s good to know. Anything else?” Tao

took a sip of water, “Well, I guess it’s important to say that Sakura is an important new

client. There’s a lot of potential for growth if we can deliver this project and the one I’ll be

leading effectively! We’ve heard from a few other firms who’ve worked with them that they

can be quite a challenging client – apparently, they often change their mind on

specifications! Oh, and I nearly forgot, to ensure that any project is viable for Kloud, we

typically work on the basis of a 20% mark-up between our costs and the price we charge

the client. I think that the margin will be pretty tight on this one.”

Maria left the Managing Director’s office and headed for her desk. Tao’s final words were

ringing in her ears: “Meet me tomorrow so we can prepare for the kick-off meeting next

Monday”. Sitting down, she looked back over the notes she’d made. Where to begin?



Based on the information you have, develop a project plan for the Sakura Bank K.K.

operations improvement training programme, to share with Tao, the Managing Director of

Kloud BV. This should include:

• Project timing: complete a critical path analysis, create a Gannt chart, and consider

any uncertainties in time estimates.

• Project costing: create a project budget and consider options for ‘crashing’


• Project resourcing: create a RACI matrix to determine the key responsibilities for

those involved in the project.

• Project risk: Note any risks you are concerned with and possible mitigation