BOLDFlash Project Milestone One Essay

BOLDFlash Milestone One: Area of Focus and Framework

Alexander O. DiStefano

IT-520 Technical Communications


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BOLDFlash Project Milestone One Essay
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Doctor Kwame

Southern New Hampshire University

Background and Area of Focus

BOLDFlash’s internal communication environment is acutely unhealthy, especially with regards to their Mobile Division and their internal communication processes. Its greatest problems stem from interdepartmental conflict, as discovered by Roger Cahill during his tenure with the company as its CEO. BOLDFlash “…had fallen behind its competitors on several fronts. It was experiencing pressure on both prices and the ability to get new products to market quickly.

” (Beer & Shelton, 2012) Disturbed by this, Cahill immediately set about analyzing the situation and how to best rectify it. It seemed that his predecessor, Jim Harrison, was “…perceived as an autocrat who fostered a compliant culture in which people protected themselves and their territory from his strong top-down directives.” (Beer & Shelton, 2012) This caused Cahill to believe that his predecessor’s management style may have fostered many of the conflicts he was now working to resolve.

Specifically, he noticed conflict occurring between the Product Development, Marketing and Sales, and Manufacturing departments within the division. However, he needed to conduct a more thorough analysis before he could render a clear judgement on the situation.

After several months as the CEO, Cahill believed he had done enough observation to adequately sum up the situation. “There was a lot of unproductive conflict between the functional departments, particularly around the product development process. Manufacturing was the dominant function and seemed to be pulling its weight, but overall he saw a division that was underperforming and struggled with communication and teamwork.” (Beer & Shelton, 2012) Further, Cahill had been shocked to learn that Harrison had failed to attend quarterly product development meetings and instead left meeting leadership in the hands of the Marketing Department. He decided to attend the meeting himself and in his own words, ‘‘I did not see the strong leadership that I would expect from a team with this much talent. The meeting lasted two days, yet I had a hard time summarizing what we had accomplished.’’ (Beer & Shelton, 2012) Ultimately, this left the product development process to be highly dysfunctional. This was further exacerbated by several communications issues.

The primary area of focus in rectifying this must be their internal communication processes, effectively a combination of their business processes and technical service communication, as both are faulty in this scenario. The processes and methods of communication directly dictate and affect how the departments work with one another, directly affecting the company’s success. Further, there are several areas of concern that must be addressed while improving the situation. Foremost is the fact that communications often make use of ambiguous language and that department managers have a notable gap in knowledge about the other departments. This is most exemplified in the communication from Kavita Pavel, the head of marketing. Her email talks about how customers “are looking for more enhancements to existing products” (Appendix C) and that BOLDFlash’s competitors are paying more attention this need, but is overall highly ambiguous as to what the “enhancements” will solve or improve, as she is looking to “…generate some ‘flash’ in the marketplace for our product.” (Appendix C) This is further compounded by assumptions about processes or input. The division’s own processes often lack proper definition, with it being noted by Karl Melzer, the Director of Product Development, that “The new manufacturing package will no longer include special notes, because we already send these to Kevin’s admin assistant. We’re also dropping the product documentation because that’s sitting on a server so already out there.” (Appendix A) There is a severe disconnect here, as this is by no means a proper process for communication. The admin assistant is a single point of failure for communication of important information, as is the server that is “already out there.” This means that potentially vital information will be lost or not communicated. Thus, it is a necessity that proper communication processes be instituted, as the memos that Cahill brought the department heads clearly illustrate an untenable situation with the company’s internal communications. Assuming that something need not be included because it is “sitting on a server” is utterly unacceptable, as to is using ambiguous and non-specific language when communicating with other departments.

Key Stake Holders

The key stake holders in this scenario are the department managers:

Kevin Cheng, Director of Manufacturing

Karl Melzer, Director of Product Development

Kavita Patel, Director of Marketing

Chip Bryant, Director of Sales

All of these individuals will directly be involved in developing or otherwise overhauling communication processes. It will be their responsibility to implement any proposed changes, so their inclusion is vital. This will also provide them perspective on areas of the division that are outside their immediate purview. Preferably, this will “encourage and foster a culture of collaboration” ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {“citationID”:”5tp2i5ht8″,”properties”:{“formattedCitation”:”(Lash, 2012)”,”plainCitation”:”(Lash, 2012)”},”citationItems”:[{“id”:330,”uris”:[” Collaboration Imperative | Ivey Business Journal”,”container-title”:”Ivey Business Journal”,”issue”:”January/February 2012″,”URL”:” (Lash, 2012) between the departments to help drive future success, as this is one of the major powers and responsibilities of executives and management.

Established Practices and Framework for Communication

To create an effective framework for communication, BOLDFlash must create standardized and clear processes across all departments. Further, regular process audits must be done to ensure that the integrity of business processes is maintained. “A process audit is not simply following a trail through a department from input to output – this is a transaction audit. Processes generate results therefore for an audit to be a process audit it has to establish whether the results are being generated by an effectively managed process.” (“Process Auditing,” n.d.) This must be done to avoid the problems that came from the Sales department such as the following: “Sales reps will check in with Manufacturing on product availability against our requested ship date. If we don’t hear anything back within 2 business days, we will assume that the order can be filled and shipped per our requested date, and we’ll confirm back to the customer.” (Appendix B) This is not a tenable situation, as it will result in back logged orders or orders otherwise not being filled properly due to a lack of products that are ready to be shipped. Shipping order dates not being met is a severe problem, but launching a new policy based on assumptions is not a viable solution.

Regarding the company’s internal communication policies, there are several established methods that can be used. First, as communication often involves many departments, context should be included in the communication. Including specific details and information is a good way to accomplish and avoid ambiguity. As an example, in the memo from Product Development (Appendix A) instead of just saying “Kevin’s admin assistant” the memo should instead include her name. Including a link to the product documentation or otherwise providing instructions on how to acquire or request are also required. The Marketing memo (Appendix C) should have gone into detail as to what benefit the enhancements will provide or what problems they will solve.

Further, the language used by internal communications must be clear and concise at all times. It should be free of idioms or colloquialisms such as “rock the boat” and or attempts at humor such “generate some ‘flash’” (Appendix C) These are unprofessional and unnecessarily clutter technical communications. Abbreviations or use of acronyms such as “Mfg.” (Appendix A) should be avoided. It is important to keep in mind that even within the same division; different departments will have different cultures and understandings of terminology. Because of this, it is important to understand that your current audience may not be your future one, and inappropriate use of acronyms and idioms will result in communication problems and interdepartmental conflict.

Finally, communication of issues should be done in a problem/solution setup, as this would make the communications overall more effective. Presenting the problem and then offering a solution will provide stakeholders with the context and information they need to make an effective decision. As an example, the Sales memo (Appendix B) should have included not just the problem, in this case delivery dates not being met, but what was believed to be the cause of the problem and how it could potentially have been fixed.

At the current time, BOLDFlash’s communications environment needs an overhaul. It is rife with counterproductive policies and processes all of which simply result in interdepartmental conflict. This must be rectified and to do so the company should take steps to ensure that communications provide specific details using clear language, and regular process audits including all key stakeholders should be held to evaluate the continued success of the framework.


Beer, M., & Shelton, R. (2012). BoldFlash: Cross-Functional Challenges in the Mobile Division

Harvard Business Publishing: Harvard Business School.

Gerson, S. J., & Gerson, S. M. (2016). Technical Communication: Process and Product. Pearson.

Lash, R. (2012). The Collaboration Imperative | Ivey Business Journal. Ivey Business Journal, (January/February 2012). Retrieved from Auditing. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2015, from

Appendix A – Product Development Memo

Appendix B – Sales Memo

Appendix C – Marketing Memo

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