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Ben Dahl

IS372 - PIM
Video Game Delivery Project

In order for any business to succeed it needs to find some way to separate itself from its
competitors. In the case of UPS, this was product tracking. In the case of Apple it was
portability. The list of household business names goes on and on, and each one of them found
some way to delineate themselves from their competitors. This is no different in the realm of
online video game rentals. There are at least five other websites that allow users to rent games
via mail: Gamefly, Gamerang, GameznFlix, GetYourGamez, and GottaPlay. Those five
companies are merely the ones that are recommended by users as excellent, there are countless
others in existence without much press. With a market quickly approaching saturation
something must be done to differentiate any potential businesses from the competition. Based on
their initial business practices (international marketing and distribution), Company X is uniquely
poised for entry into this market.
While each of the five previously sites has their own unique attributes, there are a number
of functions at the core of each of the projects. These mandatory functions are things that must
be present in any operation of this type, so they will be modified to fit the Company X project.
Overall, most of these projects are going to stem from the coding of an enormous database to
record inventory, customers, ratings, reviews, etc. As this is a very large task, the coding will be
immense, but if performed at the same time (a work breakdown structure would be perfect here)
it will reduce duplication of labor. As such, only functions that delve into areas outside the
database are specifically described in terms of difficulty to implement and develop. All of the
discretionary functions are described below:
1. Search - This function will be implemented to allow the database of available products to be
searched. This function will be the most difficult to implement, but will essentially be a
crawler for the massive database of available titles. This function must be able to sort results
based on the following criteria, which should be viewed as mandatory sub-functions:
1.1. Platform: (PS3, PS2, PSP, XBOX360, XBOX, Wii, GameCube, GameBoy Advance,
DS, PC, Mac, Linux/Unix, and Educational System) This allows the user to select games
based solely upon what device it will be used with.
1.2. ESRB Ratings: (Early Childhood, Everyone, Everyone 10+, Teen, Mature, and Adults
Only) These ratings are defined by the Electronics Safety Ratings Board and are an
essential aspect of searching due to the nature of the market study and corporate values.
In addition, this increases customer base as parents would feel more comfortable
allowing their children to select games.
1.3. Gender Appropriate: (Male or Female) No system currently exists for this type of game
rating, so it would have to be proprietary.
1.4. Language: (Multi-lingual support) As the company aims for international market
penetration, the ability to select games of different languages is essential
1.5. Genre: (Sports [Including selection by individual sport], Racing, Shooter,
Strategy/Simulation, Multiplayer, Action/Adventure, Kids/Family, Fighting, Role-
Playing Game, Puzzle/Arcade) While market research and corporate values "suggest"
that the focus lie in sports and educational video games, the company will most
definitely need to diversify the offerings in order to increase visibility.
1.6. Reviews: (User Reviews as well as aggregated reviews from partner and affiliate sites)
User reviews are essential to the operation of any web-based business and will be
included in this project. Creation of a partnership with other reviews related sites (IGN,
Gamespot, Gamespy) would allow reviews from all over the Internet to be aggregated
for user benefit. In addition to this, it provides a basis with which to begin the project.
Not to mention the fact that a partnership with these sites would generate revenue and
customers for the project in the form of advertisements, links, and click-throughs.
2. Reviews - This function will be implemented to allow users to create reviews based on
games they have rented via the project. This will also be accessible via the search function,
but the ability to create and parse reviews will require a separate creation phase as it is
essential for an online business.
3. Order Processing (Online) - There must be a system in place that will allow the customer to
place an order with the website. A Transaction Processing System would also be put in place
to cover the duties online payment processing. The TPS system must be configured to allow
purchases to be made online (credit card, eCheck, Bank Transfer, etc), and also via a brick
and mortar system. For instance, the popular Blizzard game World Of Warcraft allows
consumers to purchase gift cards in a retail store and use them for their online account. A
system of this type increases accessibility to younger audiences and consumers without credit
cards. This function will not likely be that difficult to implement based on the assumption
that the company has an existing processing system.
4. Logistics - As the company is already an international marketing and distribution company,
they probably already have an international logistics system set up. In light of that, this
aspect of the project should not be that difficult to implement. This system would need to be
duplicated and/or modified to allow it to be used for this project. The system must be able to
track delivery to customers as well as tracking returns from customers. All of the previously
listed competitors use pre-paid mailers (much like Netflix), to expedite returns from
customers as well as new shipments to customers. This increases customer satisfaction and
reduces system downtime.
5. Queue - Coupled with Logistics and Order Processing, this function allows users to create a
list of titles that they would like and in what order they would like to receive them. This
facilitates faster order processing and delivery.
6. Marketing - This function is one of the most important in the mandatory function list. In
order for the website to have the amount of traffic necessary to generate the returns desired, it
must be publicized. As the company is already an international marketing one, it should not
be difficult to modify existing resources (physical, human, or otherwise) to accommodate.
This function also has a list of mandatory sub-functions:
6.1. Visibility - This is the most generalized "marketing" function and would be concerned
with design, layout, and generating traffic hits.
6.2. Partner and Affiliate Sites - Generating partnerships with the aforementioned businesses
(Gamespy, Gamespot, etc) will increase the amount of traffic to the site and generate
referrals.
6.3. Referrals - Referrals from partners, affiliates, and users also drives traffic and increases
returns.
6.4. Advertisements - Advertising is another very important function and increases revenue
and visibility.
7. Customers - The most important aspect of any business because that is where the money is
obviously coming from. In addition to being able to keep of record of customers (database
creation), it will allow customer usage patterns to be tracked which will be useful for the
creation of a different function, Recommendations (discussed as a non-discretionary function
later).
8. Asset Management (Inventory) - Customers are essentially "borrowing" physical property
from the company. As such, the project must include a function for management of the
physical merchandise.
9. Support - A support system involving multi-lingual staff is a necessity for international
markets. This may include any or all of the following: online 24/7 web-based support, phone
support, frequently asked questions, email, aim/icq/yahoo/msn contact).
The functions previously mentioned, along with their associated sub-functions, are discretionary
and should be implemented. In addition to those, there are a number of non-discretionary
(optional) functions that would distinguish this project from competitors. They are as follows:
1. Recommendations - Instituting a system that would recommend games a user might like
(based on previous usage patterns), could be an excellent revenue generation tool.
2. Search - Including the following features in the Search function would make it more viable.
2.1. New Releases - Search based upon the most currently released titles.
2.2. Coming Soon - This would allow customers to place items in their queue prior to their
release.
2.3. Online - Allowing customers to search for games with online capabilities (PC, Mac,
Linux/Unix, DS, XBOX360, PS3) is another recommended inclusion.
3. Free-Trial - A free-trial of the service is something that GameFly and Netflix offer that
entitles new customers to a one or two-week free trial of the service. Assuming the system
functions as it should, customers will love it so much they will want to create a long-term
relationship with the company.
4. Option to Buy - Including the option to purchase pre-used games will help the inventory to
be cycled and also generate revenue.
5. Rewards - Rewarding customers with reward points for membership, purchases, referrals, etc
will increase word of mouth business and also generate return customers. This function
would require input from the business and marketing arms of the company to determine what
would be the most effective breakdown for rewards, and would be of moderate difficulty.
Customers should be rewarded, but it also needs to present returns for the company.
The remaining functions are of a "nice to have" nature and represent the areas that I feel would
most effectively this company from any other in the business:
1. Digital Distribution - A number of platforms (Computer, PS3, XBOX360) allow games to be
downloaded directly to the device. Institution of this policy with some sort of Digital Rights
Management, potentially like Comcast OnDemand or NetFlix instant viewing, would allow
users to have games almost instantaneously. Additionally, none of the five previously
mentioned competitors offer a service of this type. This system will be the most difficult to
deliver because it has massive infrastructure requirements (hardware, bandwith, etc),
software requirements, and programming requirements. In addition, some sort of anti-piracy
(DRM, etc) measures would need to be implemented and it would likely need to be
proprietary.
2. Internet Integration - MySpace and Facebook are quickly becoming the Internet medium of
choice for people under the age of thirty. With that being said, integration of the queue and
rewards options into MySpace and Facebook would likely generate business in spades. This
is also a relatively easy programming job and would not be difficult to implement or develop.
A single decision matrix was not adequate to support all of the functions previously described, so
a separate matrix was created for every four functions. The criteria are as follows:
Customer Use - 35% - Customer use was stressed by the company as one of the most important
aspects of this project. It also happens to make or break online businesses, hence the largest
percentage. If the system is too obtuse or difficult to operate, no one will use it.
Ease of Development - 15% - As this system can be quite a tedious undertaking, development
was awarded a higher percentage than the remaining factors.
Ease of Implementation - 10% - Implementation was only awarded 10% because the
infrastructure is already largely in place.
Return on Investment - 10% - Generating revenue is something that is always important. This
was allocated at 10% because cost, expected life, development, and implementation percentages
have individual percentages.
Cost - 10% - The bottom line is something that must always be observed, hence the cost
percentage.
Visibility - 10% - Increasing visibility is something that comes into play more in the optional and
"nice to have" functions so it is included at a lesser percentage.
Expected Life - 10% - Many of the systems, once established, only require maintenance and little
upgrading. As such, it is important to allocate a percentage of the matrix to this, albeit not that
large a percentage.
Outside of "Customer Use", the percentages allocated are largely combined with each other to
reach total percentages. For instance, "Development" and "Implementation" are closely related
and represent 25% of the total allocation. Generating revenue (by lowering costs or increasing
ROI) can be viewed as a total of 40% if "ROI", "Cost", "Visibility", and "Expected Life" are
factored together. Due to the sub-division and specificity of some tasks, this is the most accurate
representation of value.
Based on the weighted projected scores that follow the Rewards function,
MySpace/Facebook, Digital Distribution, and Recommendations ranked highest among the
optional and "nice to have" functions. Search, Logistics, and Queue ranked highest among the
discretionary functions. It is my recommendation that all functions previously described as
mandatory be implemented. In addition, Rewards, MS/FB, and Recommendations should be
implemented as they provide excellent features and returns. Digital Distribution would be an
excellent feature to offer, but can be postponed until after initial rollout of the service.
Weighted Decision Matrix for Project Name
Created by: Ben Dahl Date: 30-Sep-08
Criteria Weight Search Reviews Order Process Logistics
A: Customer Use 35% 100 75 90 100
B: Ease of Development 15% 25 10 60 70
C: Ease of Implementation 10% 50 60 50 20
D: Return On Investment 10% 80 90 50 30
E: Cost 10% 30 20 50 90
F: Visibility 10% 90 90 10 10
G: Expected Life 10% 90 40 90 90
Weighted Project Scores 100% 72.75 57.75 65.5 69.5
Weighted Decision Matrix for Project Name
Created by: Ben Dahl Date: 30-Sep-08
Criteria Weight Queue Marketing Customers Inventory
A: Customer Use 35% 100 75 40 50
B: Ease of Development 15% 65 10 65 60
C: Ease of Implementation 10% 25 60 65 40
D: Return On Investment 10% 10 90 90 25
E: Cost 10% 70 30 30 90
F: Visibility 10% 30 90 10 10
G: Expected Life 10% 90 40 95 75
Weighted Project Scores 100% 67.25 58.75 52.75 50.5
Weighted Decision Matrix for Project Name
Created by: Ben Dahl Date: 30-Sep-08
Criteria Weight Support Recommend Search (Optional) Trial
A: Customer Use 35% 75 60 30 50
B: Ease of Development 15% 40 30 60 60
C: Ease of Implementation 10% 70 30 60 40
D: Return On Investment 10% 20 40 60 20
E: Cost 10% 50 40 80 90
F: Visibility 10% 30 90 40 50
G: Expected Life 10% 80 60 70 50
Weighted Project Scores 100% 57.25 51.5 50.5 51.5

Weighted Decision Matrix for Project Name

Created by: Ben Dahl Date: 30-Sep-08


MS /
Criteria Weight Buy Option Rewards Digital FB
A: Customer Use 35% 40 75 70 50
B: Ease of Development 15% 65 70 30 80
C: Ease of Implementation 10% 65 70 30 80
D: Return On Investment 10% 20 40 85 40
E: Cost 10% 50 20 20 90
F: Visibility 10% 30 75 40 50
G: Expected Life 10% 75 60 50 50
Weighted Project Scores 100% 47.75 63.25 51.5 60.5
This section outlines the financial section of the business case.

Discount rate 7%
Year
0 1 2 3 Total
Costs 500,000 600,000 720,000 720,000
Discount factor 1.00 0.93 0.87 0.82
Discounted costs 500,000 558,000 626,400 590,400 2,274,800

Benefits 0 1,000,000 2,000,000 2,000,000


Discount factor 1 0.93 0.86 0.79
Discounted benefits 0 930,000 1,720,000 1,580,000 4,230,000

Discounted benefits - costs (500,000) 372,000 1,093,600 989,600 1,955,200 NPV

Cumulative benefits - costs (500,000) (128,000) 965,600 1,955,200

ROI 86%
Payback in Year 2
Project Charter

Project Title: Video Game Delivery Project

Project Start Date: October 2, 2008 Projected Finish Date: October 2, 2009

Budget Information: The company has allocated $500,000 for this project. A significant portion of this
amount will be allocated to internal labor. The total cost of the project including maintenance is
$2,040,000 and the total benefits are $5,000,000.

Project Manager: Ben Dahl

Project Objectives: The primary objective is to develop a monthly video game rental service. Develop a
Web-based application and support structure to provide customers with video games on a monthly
rental basis. This project will include information and products in several different languages. Create a
search feature as part of the application that will allow users to search by a number of different
criterion. Modify the existing distribution functions and infrastructure as necessary to accommodate
distribution of the product. Develop a tracking system for deliveries and returns that is internally and
externally accessible. Create an application for users to review their previous rentals and their
experiences with the service. Institute a referral and advertising tracking system that will allow
corporate partners, affiliates, and the company to track usage. In addition, this project will increase
revenue, profits, and visibility while simultaneously diversifying and expanding the current customer
base.

Approach:

• Develop a survey to review existing video game rental services.


• Review current infrastructure to assess the capability of existing systems to support additional
tasks.
• Implement additional systems or upgrades to existing infrastructure if it is necessary to support
the additional tasks.
• Develop a database to track inventory, customers, orders, product tracking, referrals, and usage.
This information will need to be internally accessible and also externally accessible for certain
aspects.
• Develop the Web-based application using an iterative approach.
• Assess the costs of product acquisition and potential shipping locations internationally.
• Develop a user review system that will be integrated into the search feature.
• Determine the feasibility of a recommendation system and a digital delivery system.
• Determine a way to measure the benefits of the Web-based application as it relates to increased
customer base and new revenue.
Roles and Responsibilities
Role Name Organization/ Contact
Information
Position
Project Sponsor Lori The Company, VP of
Marketing
Project Manager Ben Dahl External Consultant /
Gaming Expert
Team Member The Company, Web
Programmer
Team Member The Company, Web
Programmer
Team Member The Company,
Marketing / Design

Team Member The Company, Database


Programmer

Team Member External, User


Experience Expert

Team Member The Company, Server


Admin

Advisor The Company, Client


Relations Expert

Advisor The Company, Logistics


Expert

Advisor The Company, Business


/ Accounting Specialist

Sign-off: (Signatures of all above stakeholders. Can sign by their names in table above.)

Comments: (Handwritten or typed comments from above stakeholders, if applicable)


Ben Dahl

Change Control System

Any project is going to have an element of change, this is a just a fact of life. In light of this,

there must be an effective, time-sensitive integrated change control process in place to facilitate these

changes. Changes must be addressed as quickly as possible, proceed through the proper channels, and

involve a level of communication that keeps all stakeholders abreast of the changes. As the Project

Manager, I am responsible for keeping the project on track and integrating project changes. In order for

the change control system to be effective, a formal change control system must be established. This

includes development and implementation of a number of things.

The first aspect of this change control system is the institution of a Change Control Board. The

Change Control Board's purpose is to create guidelines for change requests, evaluate these requests,

and finally manage the implementation of the change. Once the guidelines for this project are created

by the Change Control Board, it is imperative that this be communicated to all necessary personnel. The

Change Control Board would be composed of stakeholders in the company, as well as stakeholders in

the project. This distinction is necessary because there must be members external to the project, as

well as member internal to the project.

The Change Control Board for the Video Game Delivery Project would including the following

suggested members: Lori (As a VP and the sponsor, she represents internal and external controls),

programmer (to determine feasibility of the changes), marketing associate (to determine how the

change will affect the visibility, users, etc), business/accounting associate (to determine how the change

will affect scope, overhead, etc). In addition to this, there will be a rotating group of three members

based upon what stage the project is in. This brings the member total to seven, preventing the

possibility of a tie vote.


The second aspect of this system would be the design of a change request form. This form

would be available digitally and in paper form, and is necessary to facilitate tracking of changes. This

form would include areas for: name, date submitted, date received, change category, description,

discretionary status, justification, impact on the previous categories, and suggested implementation.

Once the change request is submitted, it would be reviewed by the Change Control Board and either

approved or rejected. In order to facilitate a greater system of checks and balances, a "Seventy-two

Hour Policy" will be implemented. This policy will allow a member of senior management to override

Change Control Board decisions within seventy-two hours of the decision. Having Lori present on the

CCB will likely reduce the amount this policy is exercised, but it is necessary to have the senior

management on board.

In order to foster support for the project, communication is an imperative that cannot be

overlooked. In order to identify and manage change, written and oral reports will be used. Additionally,

a weekly email will be sent to all stakeholders detailing any proposed changes and how they would

affect the project. An open-door policy will also be implemented for both Lori and myself, in an effort to

reduce communication barriers.

As it relates to my position as the project manager, there are personal implementations that I

will make. Creating a personal change log will allow me to track the changes that need to be made,

changes proposed, deadlines, cost, etc. This allows me to have a personal record to reference to keep

the project on track. In addition, it will allow the final project audit to be completed in a much more

efficient fashion. Establishing sub-deadlines for the project will allow me to track the overall progress of

the project and keep changes in check.


References

http://www.esrb.org/index-js.jsp

http://www.gamefly.com/

http://www.gamerang.com/

http://www.gameznflix.com/hello/default.htm

https://www.getyourgamez.com/index.php

http://www.gottaplay.com/

http://www.netflix.com/