venture project management

South American Adventures Unlimited was formed four years ago by Michael and Jill Rodriguez, operating out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Michael is a trained geologist, while Jill has a master’s degree in Spanish. They are both avid outdoor enthusiasts and fell in love while trekking across the Andes in Chile. Upon graduation they seized upon the idea of starting their own specialized tour business that would focus on organizing and leading “high-end” adventure trips in South America. Their first trip was a three-week excursion across Ecuador and Peru. The trip was a resounding success, and they became convinced that they could make a livelihood doing something they both enjoyed. After the first year, SA Adventures began to slowly expand the size and scope of the business. The Rodriguez’s strategy was a simple one. They recruited experienced, reliable people who shared their passion for South America and the outdoors. They helped these people organize specific trips and advertised the excursion over the Internet and in travel magazines. SA Adventures has grown from offering 4 trips a year to having 16 different excursions scheduled, including trips to Central America. They now have an administrative support staff of three people and a relatively stable group of five trip planners/guides whom they hire on a trip-by-trip contract basis. They also maintain a small marketing department. The company enjoys a high level of repeat business and often uses their customers’ suggestions to organize future trips. Although the Rodriguez’s are pleased with the success of their venture, they are beginning to encounter problems that worry them about the future. Recently a couple of the tours went over budget because of unanticipated costs, which eroded that year’s profit. In one case, they had to refund 30 percent of the tour fee because a group was stranded five days in Blanco Puente after missing a train connection. They were also having a hard time maintaining the high level of customer satisfaction to which they were accustomed. Customers were beginning to complain about the quality of the accommodations and the price of the tours. One group, unfortunately, was struck by a bad case of food poisoning. Finally, the Rodriguez’s were having a hard time tracking costs across projects and typically did not know how well they did until after their taxes were prepared. This made it difficult to plan future excursions. While dealing with all these day to day issues of operating the business, Michael and Jill want to grow their business. They know that a key part of this is to define what their business is and where they want it to go in the future. In addition to a strategic plan, they would like a marketing communications plan to be recommended to support this growth. Using your knowledge of marketing communications and project management, can you help the Rodriguez’s with their next steps? They would benefit from the analysis of a strategic management process as well as some project options for moving forward.
Your client is South American Adventures Unlimited (SAA). They have requested your consulting expertise on how project management might benefit their company. I have given you some information on the company, but you are free to ask me more specific questions as you see fit. You are also free to make reasonable assumptions where you feel information is lacking. If you do make assumptions, please state them. Your written report is expected to be professional, comprehensive and cover the following information: 1. An opening executive summary, that applies the project management definition to this case study. Using the project management definition, explain why (and how) this is a suitable project management case. 2. SAA is in need of a positioning statement. I would like you to apply a strategic management process to SAA. Therefore, I would need help to write a mission statement, 2 company goals, 4 objectives (2 for each goal) and would need help to write brief situation analysis. This situation analysis should include a brief SWOT and a brief description of the target market (which you can define). The SWOT and target market helps me put your version of the SAA report in context. (TIP: Remember that when thinking about objectives, think about how you would evaluate them — what metric you would use to determine their success; are you able to control/influence that metric?) 3. Suggest 5 possible marketing communications projects (remember the formal definition of a project) that you feel would help SAA increase their corporate visibility and success. Project prioritizing: develop 5 criteria that you would suggest be used to evaluate any project suggestions. (TIP: These criteria normally align with the company’s goals.) Present the 5 project suggestions in the appropriate screening matrix to determine the priority project. Explain your matrix. 4. Choose the priority project and need help to prepare project scope statement using the “checklist” as a reference tool. 5. Need help to Prepare work breakdown structure. Indicate 3 major deliverables and break out the sub-deliverables and tasks in as much detail as possible. (You do not need to identify responsibility or duration in your WBS.) 6. Need help to Prepare risk response chart and a risk assessment matrix as a client tool. Identify a minimum of 5 risks associated with your chosen project. 7. Project conclusion and evaluation – how would you determine if your objectives were met?

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