Are traditional management
tools sufficient for diverse
Mathew B. Smith, Jr
Chevron Products Co., San Francisco, California, USA
Managing in today’s environment provides many challenges. We constantly
find ourselves confronted with situations which challenge the traditional ways
organizations have been managed and require new and unique approaches.
Two terms we hear more and more often today are diversity and teams. Dealing
with the mutual inconsistency these two terms imply is a challenge to most of
today’s managers and successfully managing the combination of the two terms,
a diverse team, requires innovative modifications to many of our traditional
tools and techniques.
In 1995 Chevron Products Co. undertook a major project in preparation of
converting its antiquated accounting system to a new SAP based system. This
project, which required a total of approximately 7000 workdays of effort, was
successfully completed by a diverse team on time and underbudget. In
accomplishing this goal the teams leadership found that many of their
traditional methods had to be modified and enhanced to successfully cope with
the new environment. This article has been prepared to document the major
lessons the team felt were learned about managing a complex project with tight
timelines using a team with diverse skills and backgrounds.
The Fixed Asset Verification Project was undertaken in May 1995 by Chevron
Products Co. in anticipation of the installation of a new SAP based accounting
system in the summer of 1996. The objective of the project was to create an
accurate and verified record of fixed assets with significantly more detail than
the existing system provided. An updated fixed asset record would provide a
detailed database to serve as the basis for the new accounting system’s
improved fixed asset processes. Chevron Products fixed assets have a gross
book value of approximately $8500 MM and are comprised of approximately
Team Performance Management,
Vol. 3 No. 1, 1997, pp. 3-11.
© MCB University Press
The author would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the members of the Fixed Asset
Verification Project for their help and advice in making this article possible. Without their
willingness to try new ways of doing things, learn as we went along and keep a sense of humor
throughout the whole process, the success of the project would have been in doubt and this paper
would have been impossible to write.