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Barnes & Noble Project Management Planning

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Project Management
Wordcount: 4869 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Table of Contents


Strategic Plan

Strategic Capacity Plan

Portfolio Management Process

Project Selection Criteria

Program Management Plan

Possible Conflict Areas

Change Management Plan

Resource Utilization Plan



      Barnes & Noble Inc. was founded in 1873 in a home in Wheaton Illinois by Charles M. Barnes. In 1917, his son, William, went to New York to join G. Clifford Noble in establishing Barnes & Noble. The Barnes & Noble flagship store was opened on Fifth Avenue and 18th Street in New York City. This is where they developed a worldwide reputation for excellence for serving millions of customers with its wide selection of trade books, academic titles and textbooks, to include medical books. They are open seven days a week, in their 630 stores with an average store size of 26,000 square feet, where they feature the best service, in-depth selection and comfortable settings, including cafés where customers can enjoy food and beverages, like Starbucks coffee. Their customers can purchase the well-known NOOK devices, as well as a wide selection of books, music, DVDs, gifts, toys and games. In addition they are the largest book seller and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products.

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      The company operates 630 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states (as of January 27, 2018), and has one of the Web’s to of the line e-commerce sites, in BN.com. They also sell the NOOK through Nook Digital business, which offers the popular NOOK tablets, eReaders and a huge collection of digital reading material. With Barnes & Noble’s online site customers have the opportunity to purchase from the biggest online in-print book title selection and access to one million titles that can be immediately delivered. Customers can also print books as well. Now with all of the online sales, and a Major coffee brand like Starbucks in its stores Barnes & Nobles employed 26,000 full and part-time employees to meet the needs of its customer’s. The finances of the company in 2017 decreased from 2016 in retail sales $244.0 Million or 6.1% to $3.785 billion from $4.029 billion during the same period the previous year (Barnes & Noble 2017).

      With a holding purchase by Microsoft in 2012, Morrison Investment Holdings, Inc. (Morrison) purchased from the LLC 300,000 convertible preferred membership interests in the LLC (Series A Preferred) for an aggregate purchase price of $300.0 million. With this purchase Microsoft agreed to create a windows 8 application for eReading and digital content purchase and an intellectual property license and settlement agreement with Microsoft and Microsoft Licensing GP (Barnes & Noble 2017).

Strategic Plan

Mission Statement: To operate the best Omni-channel specialty retail business in America, helping both customers and booksellers reach their aspirations, while being a credit to the communities we serve.

Vision Statement: Barnes & Noble is utilizing the strength of its retail footprint in combination with its online and digital businesses to provide an Omni-channel experience for its customers, fulfilling its commitment to offer customers any book, anytime, anywhere and in any format. In addition to initiatives focused on growing sales through its existing store base, the Company is

also testing new bookstore formats, which it believes could foster sales growth in the future.

Strategic Capacity Plan

Capacity is translates to an ability to perform or produce. Strategic capacity plan in Barnes & Nobles refers to maximum level of output goods that the organization can possibly handle over a set period of time. Two major facts in Barnes & Nobles include a system that helps the organization to produce and the time taken to produce the items or goods. To play the field accordingly and to remain in the market there are sets of requirements of human resources and their relevant skills needed.

There are three different kind of capacity that applies to Barnes & Nobles:

1)     Maximum Capacity: which is the maximum level of output of goods that Barnes and Nobles can potentially provide in a set period of time. It means the organization will give its maximum to the consumers.

2)     Effective capacity: it is less than maximum but more effecting, it takes few factors into consideration and balance the operation, it tries to reflect the realities of changing products.

3)     Actual capacity: the output that actually achieved and can not exceed effective capacity.

All this three capacities applies to Barnes & Nobles Corporation time to time, but based on the research and result on the market, we believe that Barnes & Nobles settled on effective and actual capacity.

Now to focus more on strategic capacity planning, we can say the goal is to accomplish a specific result, Barnes & Nobles corporation use strategic capacity planning process to obtain balance in the system from use of available and suitable resources that can bring an ideal result. By using this system accordingly the organization pay more attention to details of each product, which makes this kind of attentions the keys to develop minimal wastes, minimal inventory and reduces overall costs of production.

Based on the mission statement they made in 2011 the strategic capacity planning helps the organization have a better understanding about their customers demand that matches up with Barnes & Nobles ability to adjust.

“Our mission is to operate the best specialty retail business in America, regardless of the product we sell. Because the product we sell is a book, our aspirations must be consistent with the promise and the ideals of the volumes, which line our shelves. To say that our mission exists independent of the product we sell is to demean the importance and the distinction of being booksellers.

As booksellers we are determined to be the very best in our business, regardless of the size, pedigree or inclinations of our competitors. We will continue to bring our industry nuances of style and approaches to bookselling, which are consistent with our evolving aspirations.

Above all, we expect to be a credit to the communities we serve, a valuable resource to our customers, and a place where our dedicated booksellers can grow and prosper. Toward this end we will not only listen to our customers and booksellers but also embrace the idea that the Company is at their service (Barnes and Noble, 2011). “

Portfolio Management Process

It is important for us to manager our portfolio to be able to sustain our company’s goal and mission.  Project Portfolio Management is the continuous process of selecting and managing the optimum set of project-oriented initiatives that deliver the maximum in business value or return on investment. It is a dynamic decision-making process, enabling management to reach consensus on the best use of resources to focus on projects that are achievable and strategically aligned with their business goals and objectives. The foundation for this portfolio management process is a dedicated database of information about all project-oriented initiatives designed for executives and managers to easily explore and maintain key project, organizational, financial, and performance data. This foundation provides the information needed to make informed, objective decisions about project justifications, priorities and the allocation of scarce resources and:

•   Maintain visibility of all key project information across the enterprise

•   Collaborate using common and consistent information to reach a consensus on the alignment of projects with business goals and objectives

•   Access quickly and communicate all relevant information horizontally and vertically within the organization allowing objective decisions to be made about project priorities, future investments and resource utilization

The goal of our strategy is operating the best omni-channel specialty retail business in America, helping both our customers and booksellers reach their aspirations, feature the best service, depth of selection and comfortable settings, wide selection of books, music, DVDs, gifts toys and games. Give the shoppers great experience with physically shopping. The management approach in identifying, approving, procuring, prioritizing, balancing, managing, and reporting a portfolio of programs, projects and other work to meet the organizations strategic objectives. 

Project Selection Criteria

Identify the Issue

Barnes & Noble is dealing with several issues at the current moment. The first major issue is that there is a decrease in profit margins due to an increase in competition. This means that B&N is severely losing profits due to stiff competition from companies such as Amazon, or Chegg.

Having the proper project selection criteria is essential to bringing in the right project to help maximizing return on investment and minimizing risk.
Portfolio Manager should analyze projects which are being considered as additions to the company’s portfolio. Each criterion has a specific weighted value, which will be calculated and tallied in order to make a final decision. So, there is couple questioned should be asked Portfolio manager select project.

  1. Is that project fit with company mission?
  2. How this project help increase competition level.
  3. How is return on investment.
  4. Does the project have stakeholder support?
  5. Are there clearly defined and set schedules, budget and scope for the project?
  6. How is the risk of this project?

Balanced and Weighted Scoring Methods

Project selection is only one part of managing the portfolio process or balancing the portfolio. There are a variety of tools that can be used in order to facilitate balancing the portfolio. Two simple and easy tools we can use are balanced and weighted scorecards. Balanced scorecards are commonly used to assist an organization in achieving its strategic plans. Scorecards provide clear and measurable objectives for the portfolio manager (Bender, 2010). A balanced scorecard converts a company’s driving factors, to include innovation, operational efficiency, customer service, and financial performance into defined metrics. The main challenge in using these scorecards is distributing the resources evenly across the projects being considered. Some minor objectives can take up too many resources.


(Sterling 2013)

Weighted scorecards are commonly used when companies/organizations offer multiple objectives. It is used to evaluate all the selected projects on an equal basis, as humanly possible. The portfolio manager can easily design a weighted scorecard by creating a matrix, which lists the organizations selection criteria down the left column and the projects being considered across the top.  The criteria used to compare all the projects are different from organization to organization, and from project to project, so no two matrices will be exactly the same. This matrix provides the Portfolio Manager an easy viewable diagram of all the information he/she needs in order to decide which projects to take on. It also provides a view of the perspective contribution a project may bring to the portfolio (Bender 2010).

EXAMPLE: Weighted Scoring Card


Barnes & Noble Project criteria selection would be point on those strategy.

Criteria to screen and test our strategy alternatives:

1)     Fit with mission, vision, and objectives

2)     Consistency with realities of external audit

3)     Feasibility given firm’s internal audit

4)     Ability to build upon competitive advantage

5)     Shelter from environmental changes

6)     Potential rewards

7)     Lower risk

Program Management Plan

To develop and build a solid project management plan for Barnes & Nobles:

  1. We need to identify the goal: based on our studies Barnes & Nobles goal are not only to sell but also to operate the best Omni-channel specialty retail business in America, helping both their customers and booksellers reach their aspirations, while being a credit to the communities they serve.
  2. We need to study and identify the scopes: Which in this case understanding the events and create more to attract more. As we all know Barnes and Nobles always have book signing and that is one of the things that people love about that store besides the books and coffee.

So to add up to book signing and introducing new authors we already know that will bring more customers to the stores.

  1. Develop the project: As they already mentioned on their websites their actions and personal standards reflect their missions of being the best specialty retailer in America. They focus on delivering desired results within established timeframes.
  2. Team work and Achieve the best result: the help create an environment through personal actions that nurtures open communications and enthusiasm.  They collaborate and provide feedback in a constructive manner. They follow up with their teammates in a timely manner.  They share information, provide support, and model behaviors that create a positive experience and provide them with a better and more successful result.

Possible Conflict Areas

If the cost of the projects is over budget, we as the PPM will sit down with the Project and program managers and determine what caused the project to be overrun. If the overrun was caused by scope change, then we will ensure that we have all of the contractual paperwork completed before beginning the task. This will ensure that if the project is overrun because of the scope change by the customer, then the company is not at fault and the customer will cover the remaining balance. If this is not done, then we will contact the customer and inform them that they have to cover the additional balance. This is important to have the stakeholder’s agreeance in in the event that this does happen. If the cost of the project is under run, then the remaining balance will be credited back to the customer. This will allow for a mutual respect and professionalism amongst the company and the customers.

In terms of the schedule, a schedule will be created in the planning process of the project and all of the stakeholders will be involved. This will allow for the schedule to be built in the correct order (i.e. tasks dependencies). Once the schedule is created, approval is granted, the work can then begin. There will be a bi-weekly update on the status of the tasks to include the current status of the task, the estimated completion date, and any issues that have been addressed. This will allow for early identification of anything that might hinder the completion of that specified task. The update will also include the Schedule Performance Index (SPI) to indicate the difference is the planned schedule as the current schedule to assist in keeping everything on track.

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In the event that the project falls behind schedule, we will look at what still need to be completed, how long is remaining on the project and determine the best course of action. This may result in crashing a project. If the project needs to be crashed, the cost will be reevaluated to determine the crash cost in addition to the actual cost that has been incurred at that point and determine if this is be the best course.  In the event that the project falls behind schedule due to a lack of resources, the resources will be reevaluated and reprioritized based on priority.

Quality is one of the most important things in any project that need to be as high as possible. To ensure that the stakeholders are in agreeance on the level of quality, we will meet with them in the planning process of the project. This will allow for the inputs and requirements for the stakeholders. Once the project is completed, the stakeholders will conduct a Contract Performance Assessment Report (CPAR) no later than 60 days after the final deliverable. This will provide a contractual rating on the overall program and will address each section that the stakeholders identified and addressed in the beginning of the project.

Change Management Plan

 The purpose of this change management plan is to develop a process to manage organizational and cultural change and conflict that may occur due to project, program, and portfolio implementation; and to control changes within the portfolio, program, and projects.

 The Program Manager has overall supervision for change management within the program with necessary input from associated Portfolio and Project Managers.

Roles & Responsibilities



Program Manager

Approve, deny, or modify change requests as needed.

Portfolio Managers

Prioritize submitted change requests and brief Program Manager

Project Managers

Investigate and determine priority level of submitted change requests.

Team Leaders

Identify and submit change requests to next level.

Team Members

Identify and submit change requests to next level.


 The following categories and brief descriptions listed are items that constitute and change:

  1. Budget: any item that can cause potential change to the financial aspects of the program, portfolio, or project.
  2. Document: changes to pertinent program, portfolio, or project paperwork and all associated recorded data and reports.
  3. Schedule: issues regarding timing within the program, portfolio, or project.
  4. Scope: issues regarding change in definition of defined work parameters within the program, portfolio, or project.

Change Control and Monitoring

  2. Any individual assigned to a project or other associated stakeholders may submit a request for change to the corresponding Project Manager.
  3. Project Managers will personally handle change requests at their level and provide all necessary details and pertinent information to their Portfolio Manager.
  4. Portfolio Managers will brief the Program Manager within a specified time frame based on the assigned priority of the change request.


  1. Initial documentation for change requests will be collected via email to appropriate Project Managers. 
  2. Project Managers will submit an Official Change Request Form to the Portfolio Manager assigned to oversee their project.
  3. Portfolio Managers will review and forward the change request form with authorizing signature to the Program Manager.
  4. Program Manager will review all change requests for and determine one of the following statuses:
    1. APPROVED: the change request has been authorized without modification and the associated Project Manager will initiate the change under direct supervision of their Portfolio Manager.
    2. APPROVED WITH MODIFICATIONS: change request has been authorized with noted modifications.  Project Manager will acknowledge modifications and initiate the change under direct supervision of their Portfolio Manager.
    3. REJECTED: change request has been denied for cause.  Project Manager will be notified of the denial and briefed on the reason for denial by their Portfolio Manager.
    4. DEFERRED: change request to be reevaluated later. Project Manager will be notified of the deferral and briefed on the reason for deferral by their Portfolio Manager.
  1. Program Manager will maintain a log of all received change requests received and decisions made.

Resource Utilization Plan

  1. Define Project Organizational Structure
    1. The initial step in properly managing resources of any project is to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of individuals associated with the project, to include:
      1. Project Ownership – where does the project align with the values and mission of the organization.
      2. Management – assignment and acknowledgement of parties in charge of project completion and monitoring.
      3. Team Member Roles – identification of any and all personnel required for successful project completion.
  2. Roles, Responsibilities, & Staffing Allocations
    1. Various groups may need to be assigned for completion of the project.  Each group should be properly defined and given specific guidelines concerning their roles and responsibilities in completion of the project:
      1. Project Sponsor – the ultimate authority that holds accountability for the completion of the project.  The Project Sponsor is usually delegated authority by the organization to deal with issues arising with the project outside the scope of the project.  Additionally, the Project Sponsor has the duty to ensure necessary resources and funding are allocated to the project.
      2. Primary Customer – The Primary Customer is defined as the individual or organization for whom the project is being completed.
      3. Project Manager – the Project Manager is the individual assigned by the organization conducting the project that holds responsibility for the management and execution of the day-to-day operations of the project. The Project Manager is also responsible for the development of required project plans, resolution of internal and external conflicts, and the monitoring or progress and financials associated with the project.
      4. Team Members – The project Team Members are responsible for the physical completion of the project.  The selection of the team members will be determined by the skills necessary for completion of the project and may change at any time during the life cycle of the project.
      5. Third Party – any additional entities that are brought in for completion of the project from outside the organization.  This can include service providers, suppliers, or sub-contractors.
    2. Once definition of project roles is completed, necessary personnel for the roles should be identified and associated with the project as available.  Personnel assigned to the project should be assigned based on the needs of the project, and only for the period necessary, for example “Entire Project”, or “Only required for Phase 1”
      1. If staffing requirements cannot be filled internally, now is the time to identify these shortfalls and seek the external resources necessary.
  3. Resource Requirements
    1. Key stakeholders and members of the project will be brought together to identify the physical resources needed for the project.  The assets should include the following as necessary.
      1. Facilities
      2. Equipment & Tools
      3. Physical Materials
      4. Software & Information Technology Support
      5. Other Necessities
    2. As with the personnel assigned to the project, physical resources needed to be assigned a necessary duration.
    3. Shortfalls in materials or equipment should be notated and acquired based on project priority.
  4. Managing Resources
    1. During the lifecycle of the project, additional resources may be necessary for project completion.  Conversely, resources assigned to the project may be determined to be unnecessary for any number of reasons.  It falls upon the Project Manager to maintain a positive accountability for their assigned resources, and upon the determination of a resource shortfall or excess, take appropriate action through the Project Sponsor to reallocate resources to ensure the success of the project completion.




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