Learner Question about How to Scope Project Before March 25

Posted by azidulka on February 16, 2019 - 6:45am
Use group defaults

Brad has given me permission to share our email exchange, which I believe will be relevant to many class members. His basic question is around how to have a conversation about a client about potential OMP topics, when it is normal that, once learners start working with their advisors their topics can shift a bit.

The Question

Hi Amy,
 
I am going to be meeting with a potential OMP "client" next weekFr. om our correspondence so far, I suspect they may be focused on marketing. 
 
One of the things that had previously struck me from your presentation was that the research question could be on something so narrow as crafting a social media strategy, which incidentally, might be both be something the clients needs to improve on and something that I've done a couple times already in my career. 
 
My question is to how best set their expectations given I'm not entirely sure of the desired scope of OMPs myself.  Is it possible for an OMP to narrowly focus on something I was already proficient on before entering the MBA? I would hope to stretch my learning a bit of course, and also be able to tell the client that I'd need to explore their management issues more broadly and touch on a variety of matters... without dismissing their own assessment or preferences (or my own skillset for that matter). My worry is that a client might be dismissive of editing the focus especially if they "assign" me to deal a specific director as the point of contact based on where they already know their organizational weakness to be. 
 
Thanks for any suggestions you might have - hope this is understandable and my anxiety isn't showing too much.  Much appreciated!
 
Brad

The Answer

Hi Brad, 
 
You are able to work on something that you are already proficient in, like a social media strategy. The OMP would allow you to deepen in your knowledge, in terms of reviewing the latest research on the topic.
 
That said, it is best if you be transparent with the company that, at this point, you are just making contact and exploring possibilities. The client would need to be open to potential changes, depending on what unfolds when you speak to your advisor. It is not uncommon that the framing of an OMP gets revised a bit as you move forward. If you are working with a specific director, you would still be able to meet that director’s needs—we can always figure that out—but the director would need to be open to a follow up conversation to finalize the direction in the final week of March or first week of April. 
 
Amy

Comments

#1

Posted by Vy Luu on

Hi all, sharing the exchange I had with Professor Zidulka in case it can benefit others. I asked for directional confirmation on a potential problem statement and research question for my OMP. The client I will work with shared that the organization is planning for the future of staffing given the competition for talent. They would like to attract and retain top performing talent and recognize that work from home or remote work could be ways to widen the talent pool, yet their management team is divided on the success of this idea.  

I'm personally interested in researching this area as it could apply to my workplace too. My thought on a possible research path is how could a work from anywhere program be implemented to attract and retain top employees.

Professor Zidulka advised that this would be a suitable project and while some adjustments may be made after we begin the class, this is a good starting point. Looking forward to hearing about others' OMP topics!

#2

Posted by Janeen Scott on

Hello Vy, At the risk of jumping ahead, if you do pursue this topic I have some resources and research on dispersed workforces that may be helpful. A contact of mine in Calgary did her Ph.D. on the topic. 

Janeen

#3

Posted by Thomas Gamble on

Is it required to use a Canadian based company for the OMP? And is the project likely to require an on-site visit? Or can the OMP’s be as effective in a remote sense? My curiosity is prompted by the proximity of companies in the Seattle area, but an uncertainty in the ability or means to travel to the company sites, particularly for some companies further south.

#4

Posted by azidulka on
The company does not need to be Canadian. There is no requirement that you physically visit the organization, and many MBA learners work remotely on their OMP.
 
However, whether it is necessary to visit the site really depends on the nature of the organization and the problem you are seeking to address. For some OMPs, it is important to get a feel for the environment and/or talk to people face-to-face. For others, that is not necessary. To provide one example, if you were to do external market research for an organization, in which you analyzed the competitive landscape in which they were operating, you probably wouldn't need a site visit.
#5

Posted by Denise Belanger on

Hi Amy,

Do you have a template to use for the research proposal between students and the host organization? My proposal will need to undergo several levels of approval, so may not be in place for March 10.

Also, are there forms for the host organizations to use for feedback, or is this informal? Do they need to be completed at set times?

Thanks,

Denise

#6

Posted by azidulka on

Hi Denise,

Great questions!

To begin, you are only required to acquire the client's signature if you are doing the OMP-C.

If you are doing the OMP-C, the client must sign off on a version of your draft or final OMP proposal. The idea is that the client must agree to the scope of the project--your research question, your problem statement, your proposed deliverables, and the work you plan to do in order to assist the client.

I say that the client must sign a version of your draft or final proposal, because there is no formal document. As long as the client agrees to the scope of the work, then you are satisfying the requirement. Some students give their whole draft proposal to the client. Others do not see the need to share information like their literature review, and so provide an abridged summary for the client's signature.

There is some ambiguity here. However, you will fulfill the OMP-C requirements as long as the client signs off on the proposed scope, as I have described it above.

You can include the signed document as an Appendix in your final OMP, which is due in February 2020. So the March deadline is not an issue.

Does that answer your questions?

 

 

#7

Posted by azidulka on

Hi Denise,

Great questions!

To begin, you are only required to acquire the client's signature if you are doing the OMP-C.

If you are doing the OMP-C, the client must sign off on a version of your draft or final OMP proposal. The idea is that the client must agree to the scope of the project--your research question, your problem statement, your proposed deliverables, and the work you plan to do in order to assist the client.

I say that the client must sign a version of your draft or final proposal, because there is no formal document. As long as the client agrees to the scope of the work, then you are satisfying the requirement. Some students give their whole draft proposal to the client. Others do not see the need to share information like their literature review, and so provide an abridged summary for the client's signature.

There is some ambiguity here. However, you will fulfill the OMP-C requirements as long as the client signs off on the proposed scope, as I have described it above.

You can include the signed document as an Appendix in your final OMP, which is due in February 2020. So the March deadline is not an issue.

Does that answer your questions?