Q6: Are you familiar with any helpful tools of growth management for activities such as scheduling, risk management, decision making or auditing?

Both respondents said they were familiar with helpful, tools specifically; they both mentioned auditing software.

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Q7: Which tools (from Q6) does your company apply for growth management?

Both firms applied more or less the same tools; in this case, they both incorporated software for cost and time management. They also incorporated quality control tools such as the ISO certification so as to deliver high quality and standard wedding products. However, the CEO mentioned also the use of risk management graphic representations of which the VP did not mention. It can be assumed that the VP had no or was assuming the need of PPM risk management tools for the being of his company.

Q10: Are there any growth projects you are overseeing? If so which tools (if any) are you applying to manage growth? (Such as software for scheduling, cost management etc.)

 All the respondents from both firms affirmed that they were overseeing some projects in their departments. In firm B, the finance manager was overseeing a project aimed at developing an online finance system that was impenetrable by outsiders. The human resource was overseeing a project aimed at setting up quality standard recruitment protocol for employees. The projects were similar in Firm A only more complex.

For firm A, they applied software for cost and scheduling as the common tools in both departments. Specifically the finance department did incorporate risk management tools where the manager attested to their benefits in the firm, ‘…they really help us curb unwanted financial costs and reduce risky investments…’

For Firm B, the tools used are those of cost and schedule management. These tools are in form of computer software. Interestingly, both department managers attested to the benefits of these tools in the same way the financial manager of Firm A did.   

Q14: Are you aware of any tools applied by your firm to control growth in terms of time, cost or risk management such as software etc.?

It is interesting that some of the low-level managers are unaware of any PPM tools applied in their firm. The design and decorations supervisors of Firm B were not aware of any PPM tools applied in the firm even though they play major important roles in growth management as seen from the higher level managers. However the foreman was seen to be quite aware of the tools and their applications.

In firm A, at least all the interviewed members of staff were aware of the existence and application of these tools.

4.2.1.7 Roles of PPM tools in growth management

Q8: What tools (apart from money) would you need as a company for a more effective growth management of your firm?

The CEO pointed out the firm lacked proper resource management so far and that is the reason why they were yet not able to source much funds for growth. In other words, he said that they were unable to manage resources especially those associated with ‘most of the orders’ and therefore take the right measures even if it meant cutting down some of the distribution channels. He also acknowledged that most of the enterprise resources were well met.

The VP said that ‘…we have difficulties anticipating for risks…’ further he did mention that at times the communication between the members of staff was quite informal and they ‘…could use some help…’ in making it more efficient.

Clearly the two firms’ top managers do recognize the need of and thus the role played by the helpful tools they lack for the management of their growth.

Q12: What additional tools applied would you suggest to incorporate in your in a bid to control growth of your firm?

The finance manager and the human resource manager of Firm A acknowledged that more tools should be incorporated for management of the growth of the firm. To point out a part of a response of the Finance manager, ‘…management tools that will enhance the control of the growth rate so that we do not overspend…’ this clearly implied that the firm did lack a ‘perfect’ auditing system and thus was susceptible to growth irregularities that accompany overspending. From another point of view, the company was susceptible to poor allocation of funds and thus having inequality in the growth of the firm which is certainly unhealthy for the business. The human resource manager of the same firm did sight the need of better resource management tools especially on the enterprise resources. These suggestions for helpful tools seemed to be related for both managers.

The finance manager of firm B mentioned the firm lacked tools ‘for anticipating transactions and proper investments’ this could be since they lacked established risk management tools at that time. The human resource manager in firm B attested that were in need of the resource management tools especially for application in his sector, there is normally much waste of resources allocated in various projects he handles not to forget that there would be much easier recruitment criterions for new employees. Again these responses acknowledge the importance of the missing tools which from a critical point of view are PPM tools.

Q15: If so, do you think they are effective according to your interactions with the customers?

The foremen of both firms agreed that they are effective since they always ensure that they deliver strategic and well planned for services to their customers due to proper scheduling attained by the PPM tools. What was striking was the fact that PPM tools used by the design and decoration supervisors included the ISO certified products so as to ensure proper quality of the products they deliver to the customers (fittings, flowers). The design supervisor of firm B said that ‘…the standards must be met…’ for the customer to be satisfied with the products delivered to him/her.

4.2.2 Discussion of Qualitative findings

4.2.2.1Growth model

One of the firms was seen to have adapted a growth model which composed five main phases: existence, survival, success, take-off, and resource maturity. Research shows that this model is referred to as ‘Churchill and Lewis model’ and it can be likened to the Scott and Bruce model discussed in section 2.5.2 (Scott and Bruce model, 1987). The models adopted by Firm A is a very good model as it is comprised of detailed explanations of the characteristics of the evolution points and the crisis expected at those specific evolution points (Churchill and Lewis, 2016). This, as the CEO put it enables the firm to have a better and easier mode of developing growth strategy.