CASE TITLE: “Managing hard rock’s Rockfest”
At the Hard Rock Cafe, like many organizations, project management is a key planning tool. With Hard Rock’s constant growth in hotels and cafes, remodelling of existing cafes, scheduling for Hard Rock Live concert and event venues, and planning the annual Rockfest, managers rely on project management techniques and software to maintain schedule and budget performance.
“Without Microsoft Project,” says Hard Rock Vice-President Chris Tomasso, “there is no way to keep so many people on the same page.” Tomasso is in charge of the Rockfest event, which is attended by well over 100,000 enthusiastic fans. The challenge is pulling it off within a tight 9-month planning horizon. As the event approaches, Tomasso devotes greater energy to its activities. For the first 3 months, Tomasso updates his MS Project charts monthly. Then at the 6-month mark, he updates his progress weekly. At the 9- month mark, he checks and corrects his schedule twice a week.
Early in the project management process, Tomasso identifies 10 major tasks (called level 2 activities in a work breakdown structure, or WBS):† talent booking, ticketing, marketing/PR, online promotion, television, show production, travel, sponsorships, operations, and merchandising. Using a WBS, each of these is further divided into a series of subtasks. Table 3.8 (see page 100 in textbook) identifies 26 of the major activities and sub activities, their immediate predecessors, and time estimates. Tomasso enters all of these into the MS Project software.‡ Tomasso alters the MS Project document and the time line as the project progresses. “It’s okay to change it as long as you keep on track,” he states.
The day of the rock concert itself is not the end of the project planning. “It’s nothing but surprises. A band not being able to get to the venue because of traffic jams is a surprise, but an ‘anticipated’ surprise. We had a helicopter on stand-by ready to fly the band in,” says Tomasso.
On completion of Rockfest in July, Tomasso and his team have a 3-month reprieve before starting the project planning process again.
1. Identify the critical path and its activities for Rockfest. How long does the project take?
2. Which activities have a slack time of 8 weeks or more?
3. Identify five major challenges a project manager faces in events such as this one.
4. Why is a work breakdown structure useful in a project such as this? Take the 26 activities and break them into what you think should be level 2, level 3, and level 4 tasks.
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION PREDECESSOR(S ) TIME (WEEKS)
A Finalize site and building contracts __ 7
B Select Local Promoter A 3
C Hire Production manager A 3
D Design promotional website B 5
E Set TV deal D 6
F Hire director E 4
G Plan for TV camera replacement F 2
H Target headline entertainers B 4
I Target support entertainers H 4
J Travel accommodations for talents I 10
K Set venue capacity C 2
L Ticket master contract D,K 3
M On-site ticketing L 8
N Sound and Staging C 6
O Passes and stage credentials G,R 7
P Travel accommodations for staffs B 20
Q Hire sponsor coordinator B 4
R Finalize sponsor Q 4
S Define/place signage for sponsors R,X 3
T Hire operations manager A 4
U Develop site plan T 6
V Hire security director T 7
W Set police/fire security plan V 4
X Power, plumbing, AC, toilet services U 8
Y Secure merchandise deals B 6
Z Online merchandise sales Y 6
What Is Rockfest?Hard Rock’s annual concert event, drawing over 100,000 patrons
What is the Objective?Aid in the appropriate planning/scheduling of the events many moving pieces within the allotted time span
Complete all the identified tasks within the allotted 9 month period
Continually track progress of task completion at given checkpoints
Chris Tomasso, Hard Rock Vice President
Online planning software (i.e. Microsoft Project)
Employees (i.e. marketing, PR, execution, security, etc.)
Critical Path Activities:
A – Finalize site and building contractsB – Select local promoterD – Design promotional websiteE – Set TV dealF – Hire directorG- Plan for TV camera placementO – Passes and stage credentialsALL CRITICAL PATH ACTIVITIES HAVE ZERO SLACK TIME
RISK FACTORSA (Finalize site and building contracts) – error in documents causing need for redrafting B (Select local promoter) – promoter falls throughD (Design promotional Website) – website crashesE (Set TV deal) – time slot is already takenF (Hire director) – quits mid project G (Plan for TV camera placement) -certain prime locations are fire hazards O (Passes and stage credentials) – delay from the printers
1.Continual communication and monitoring with involved parties2. Cost monitoring with a given budget3. Volume of attendees
4. Key manager/employee fall through5. Unexpected surprises
Work Breakdown Structure
useful to better prioritize tasks in high volume task situations
Level – 1 Activity:
Level – 2 Activities:
A – Finalize site and building contractsC – Hire production managerD – Design promotional websiteF – Hire directorH – Target headline entertainersJ – Travel accommodations for talentL – Ticketmaster contractQ – Hire sponsor coordinatorT – Hire operations managerV – Hire security director
Level – 3 Activities:
B – Select local promoterE – Set TV dealI – Target support entertainersK – Set venue capacityM – On-site ticketingN – Sound and stagingO – Passes and stage credentialsP – Travel accommodation for staffR – Finalize sponsorsU – Develop site planW – Set police/fire security plan
Level – 4 Activities:
G – Plan for TV camera placementS – Define/place signage for sponsorsX – Power, plumbing, AC, toilet servicesZ – Online merchandise sales
Make sure building codes are followed exactly and all contracts are proofread
Use a promoter with ample references and have a contract signed
Hire a director with ample references and have a contract signed
Map out camera placement according to code
Make sure the website is professionally designed and compatible over a variety of browsers
Use a trusted TV network in conjunction with contract
Use a trusted printing source for passes and stage credentials in conjunction with contract
Evaluate packaging options (i.e. one company to conduct multiple activities) to reduce cost
Hire on more employees prior to project start to reduce duration
Discussion Question NO.1
Identify the critical path and its activities for Rockfest. How long does the project take?
This project took 34 weeks to be completed. The critical path is A-B-D-E-F-G-O
Discussion Question NO.2
Which activities have a slack time of 8 weeks or more?
The activities that have a slack week of 8 weeks or more are;
Activity C Hire production manager
Activity K set venue capacity.
Activity N Sound and staging.
Activity Q Hire operations coordinator.
Activity R Finalize sponsors.
Activity V Hire security director.
Activity W set police/fire security plan.
Activities Y secure merchandise.
Activity Z Online merchandise sales.
Discussion Question NO.3
Identify five major challenges a project manager faces in events such as this one.
The five major challenges a project manager could face in events such as this will be;
Making sure that the activities will be done on time by the assigned individuals.
Key personnel backing out
Discussion Question NO.4
Why is a work breakdown structure useful in a project such as this? Take the 26 activities and break them into what you think should be level 2, level 3, and level 4 tasks.
LEVEL NO.1: finalize sites and building contracts
LEVEL NO.2: Select local promoters, Hire project manager, design promotional websites, Set TV deal, Hire director, Target headline entertainers, Target support entertainers, Travel accommodation for talent, Ticket master contract, on site ticketing, travel accommodation for staff, hire sponsor coordinator, Hire operation manager, hire security director, secure merchandise deals, and online merchandise sales.
LEVEL NO.3: Set venue capacity, passes and stage credentials, finalize sponsors, define/place signage for sponsors and develop site plan.
LEVEL NO.4: Plan for TV camera placement, sound and staging, set police/fire safety plan and power, plumbing, AC, toilet services.