Goat Breeders Society

Goat Breeders Society
Prepared by Hazel Taylor
Professor Hazel Taylor prepared this case solely to provide material for class discussion. The author does not intend to
illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation.
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Item 1: Student Assignment Instructions
You will work in teams of four or five to conduct an initial investigation. Your exercise is
intentionally unstructured, and it is up to you to determine how to organize your team and
how to proceed.
You should assume you are new employees of the software consulting and development
firm, Software Unlimited. This firm specializes in providing business solutions for small
and medium sized organizations, and has established a reputation as a firm that doesn't
automatically promote 'the computer' as the answer to all problems. It particularly prides
itself on the Kanban solution it developed with a manufacturing firm a couple of years
You will be provided with a memo from your boss, detailing your assignment. One class
session will be set aside for you to conduct the interview. Certain documentation may
also be available to you (if you ask the right questions). Your peers will assess your
interview techniques and processes. Please note only certain people are available during
the interview, and they can only be interviewed individually. You are required to prepare
recommendations for your boss for a project to deal with the firm's request. You will also
be required to deliver a presentation to the clients on your findings. You will be expected
to answer questions at this presentation.
A draw will be held to establish the order of the interviews.
Goat Breeders Society
The assessment will be based on the following:
 The interview: peer assessment of your interviewing techniques.
 The report to your boss: your analysis of the people and problems of the
organization. You can support your analysis with any documentation you
choose. Any modeling techniques should be used effectively, not just for
the sake of doing them.
 The presentation to the client: how well you address the issues that are
concerning the client from the client's perspective; whether the client
accepts your recommendations; how well you handle the client's
questions; professionalism (peer assessed)
 Team work: how well you organized your team and allocated tasks; how
well you capitalized on each other's strengths, and supported each other's
weaknesses (self and group assessment).
Goat Breeders Society
Item 2: Memo from Software Unlimited Boss to Students
15 AUGUST, 1997
A couple of weekends ago, I spent some time with Val Campbell, one of my old school
teachers, now retired and pursuing her hobby of breeding dairy goats. I've now received
the attached letter from her. Val has just been elected President of the Dairy Goat
Breeders Society, a non-profit organization, which maintains goat breeding and
performance records, and aims to foster interest in and education about milking goats.
She is looking for help in analyzing some problems that have arisen in the Society. I
think this might be a good problem for you to 'cut your teeth on' - small enough to handle,
but with sufficient complexity to extend you! I'd like you to meet with Val and some of
her Dairy Goat Breeders committee to explore their situation.
From what Val says in her memo, and from my previous discussion with her, I'd suggest
that you carefully consider the Goat Breeders' situation. I'm not sure how clear they are
about what their problems really are. I don't know how much you can find out from one
interview with Val and her committee, so I don't expect you to come up with a complete
solution from just this one meeting. In fact I don't think Val expects an immediate
What I'd like you to do is meet with Val and her committee and find out what kind of
help they'd like from us, and what we can offer them. This will be a 'free' session, part of
developing potential business for us with the Society. After you have met, organize your
thoughts into a report for me on what kind of analysis we might do for the Dairy Goat
Breeders Society. Prepare a presentation that you can take to a full Society committee
meeting to sell our business analysis and software services.
Val is a pretty astute person, although she's still learning about the workings of the
Society. So you'll have to develop a clear proposal and figure out what key points are
necessary to sell our services. This should be a good opportunity for you to show me that
you can generate new business for our company. How's that for a challenge?
Good luck!
Goat Breeders Society
Item 3: Letter from Goat Breeders to Software Unlimited
15 August, 1997
Hazel Taylor
Software Unlimited
Dear Hazel,
Hazel, it was good to see you again last weekend. I'm so pleased to hear how much you're
enjoying your work. I always knew you'd do well!
Thank you for listening so carefully to all my woes about the Goat Breeders! As I said, I
haven't been involved much with the Society up ‘till now as I've been too busy teaching,
and I had no idea how much I was taking on when I agreed to stand for President. Even
after a month in office, I still have a lot to learn. My problem is that the Society is
changing so rapidly at the moment, with the boom in interest in dairy goats, and I seem to
be getting so much conflicting advice about what we should do. I've been thinking all
weekend about your offer to help us look at our problems, and I think you just might be
able to help. Let me try and explain our situation again.
The Goat Breeders Society had small beginnings, being essentially a group of hobbyists,
like myself, who kept goats for pleasure, and perhaps for the health reasons attributed to
the milk. We pursued an interest in livestock breeding and competing at local A. and P.
shows. However this has all changed rather suddenly in the past few years. Commercial
markets have been found overseas for goat milk, in particular dried milk powder, and a
small commercial cheese factory has been established. This has led to a dramatic increase
in interest in dairy goats and goat breeding, and a corresponding increase, both in
membership of the Society, and in the number and type of goats registered.
Now our Secretary/Registrar, Margaret Morris, who has acted in a voluntary capacity for
the past four years, has decided to resign. She says the workload's become impossible,
but there've also been a few rumblings from the membership about the quality of her
work. I'm not sure how much of the problem is the increased numbers, and how much is
just that she's getting a bit tired of the job. What makes it all more difficult is that she
says she'd stay on if we paid her wages for the time she spends, and she has been very
loyal to the Society, and worked hard to promote it.
Goat Breeders Society
I think she probably has a good point, but not all our committee agrees with me, and
that's my problem. I don't know whose advice to trust, and I'm not sure where to start to
work out what's best to do.
One of our committee members, Dave Gold, says all we need is a computer, and he could
set it up and run it 'in his sleep'! The trouble with that is that I have no idea what he really
knows about computers, although he works as a technician at Lincoln Research Center
down in the South Island so I guess he probably knows a bit. And we also have Colin
Thorp, who's a prime mover in the commercial side of the goat world. He thinks we
should employ a full-time manager, and knows just the right chap. But a lot of our
members are suspicious of Colin's motives.
I know you people are real computer experts, and from what I hear, a computer might be
able to help with some of our problems. But we're a non-profit organization, and have to
be careful with members' funds. And we have different people throughout the country
running the various parts of our administration, so I'm not sure how it would all work.
What I'd like to do is take up your offer of an initial meeting with your business
consultants, to discuss how you might be able to help us. Then maybe you can give me a
proposal or outline on how we could proceed from there. I can't get the whole committee
together for this, but I will be in Hamilton to judge at an A. and P. show in two weeks,
and Margaret and Colin will be available then too. I'll call you in a couple of days to
arrange a time.
Val Campbell
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