Project management case studies

5.2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle
1). Scope Creep, defined as the continuous readjustment of project specifications, is a common problem in project management. The Bradley was affected by scope creep in an extensive way. Due to the continuous readjustment of specifications for the Bradley, the final design varied greatly with the initial conception. The project`s original idea was to develop an Armored Personnel Carrier with a capacity of 12 soldiers, with strong side armor, top speed sufficient to match other armored vehicle, amphibious capability, and light travel. The final design was completely the opposite of the original design as it had lower carrying capacity of six soldiers only, weak side armor, was not amphibious as it sunk in water like a stone and had heavy weaponry which hindered high speed. Such a vehicle did not meet the initial project objectives and hence the project can be termed a failure.
2). Scope creep in project management can be useful or dangerous depending on circumstances. It is useful when it allows beneficiaries of a project such as customers to gain more than anticipated. Scope creep also enables the project team to include new developments such as technology changes in the final design. When a managed well, scope creep enables firms to be more competitive by responding to market changes in a timely manner. For the project team, scope creep offers an opportunity to reevaluate internal processes in an effort to lower possibility of scope creep in future projects. On the contrary, scope creep is dangerous where it increases cost estimates by far or time required to complete the project. In certain circumstances, organizations might refuse to freeze project design. Such circumstances include responses to changes in the market, changes in the law and legal requirements affecting the project or an updated technology relevant to the project.
3). In the case of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, there were a number of early warning signs of scope creep which were not hindered. The first was the lack of clear goals and objectives of the project. Second was the ballooning of the initial budget estimates. Thirdly was the repetitive redesign and modifications. Fourth was the extended time in completing the project which amounted to two decades.
4. For the Bradley Fighting Vehicle project, all stakeholders should have presented their needs, suggestions and needs. All these needs should have been clustered into the most convenient groups, possibly two. This would have given rise to two designs for the project. One design was for the armored scout vehicle and the other for the armored personnel carrier. Having two vehicle designs would have met the goals of the two clusters of stakeholder in the army and would have taken lesser time to develop and lesser resources alternatively used in redesign and modifications.
5.3 Dotcom.com
1). The problems relating to project outcomes and project scope at Dotcom.com can be easily addressed through inclusion of one or two representatives from the client`s side into the project team. From the case, it appears that clients only provide a one day presentation of what they expect from Dotcom.com and then wait for the product to be delivered. This cannot work, as the project team needs to be constantly updated and reminded about the key issues the product must address. For this reason, the client and the team need to be in constant communication.
2). Inclusion of clients` representatives in project teams as suggested above increases chances of scope creep. To balance scope creep and scope freeze, Dotcom.com needs to develop a clear link chart between product modification and the impact on costs, schedule, and explain it to clients. This way, clients can understand how modifications of the original product impacts on the costs and schedule. Again, this is only possible through constant communication between clients and dotcom.com.
3). Project change control and configuration management are hard to perform because in most cases, clients do not understand the complexities of software development and where configuration management should occur specifically. As such, clients end up reacting to a negative product rather than tracking its developing on various stages and giving their input at various levels. As such technology firms such as Dotcom.com are unwilling to modify products midway in development as the initially contracted terms might become meaningless.
4). Dotcom.com requires project closeout for training material or for auditing procedures or even for legal purposes. To benefit utmost from this, the firm should create a closeout plan at the onset and create proper documentation as the project progresses. Keeping proper records at various stages will allow for revaluation procedures when the product fails or encounters difficulties. Furthermore, it records any modifications done on the project. This will ultimately improve efficacy in project management at Dotcom.com.
7.1 DeHavilland`s falling comet
1). The Comet faced a number of risks. Financially, DeHavilland had invested a significant amount of money in the development of the Comet and believed it would enjoy first mover success. Commercially, DeHavilland targeted the budding commercial jet aircraft market and was set to dominate competition by dominating the market. In so doing, it was navigating in uncharted waters. On a technical level, DeHavilland`s new Comet aircrafts had blended in so many features at a go without really adequately testing each one of them at a time. The risk was enormous as indicated by the number of incidences that the Comets were involved in.
Risk assessment matrix
Probability
Consequences
Minor Moderate major
Low Moderate High
Commercial
Financial
Technical
2). Risk management techniques could have aided the Comet in its development in various ways. Most importantly, risk management calls for sufficient assessment of each particular risk. Each of the new components in the Comet, the pressurized cabins, square windows and wing root could have been tested independently. Each fault would have been probably identified and modifications made to avert the disasters that followed the Comet. Without a risk management plan, the risk assessments were hurried and overlooked critical issues.
3). The fact that modifications of the Comet produced an effective aircraft still used by the British army today shows that the original design was great but poorly tested. The allure of money probably pressurized by investors saw the firm launch a product hurriedly into the market without addressing all the issues. Though DeHavilland made an effective product finally, its name in commercial aircraft marked is too soiled to make an effective comeback.
4). Failure is the price we pay for technological advancement not only in aircraft manufacturing but also in communication, transports, science, buildings and constructions, medicine and the like. With the allure of first mover advantage and huge profits, projects on innovation should be adequately tested to avoid disaster. Firms should develop self control measures that allow them to pursue their goals and objectives with minimal risk to its people and the public. It should be noted that the higher the projected risks in any project, the more vigorous the risk assessment and risk mitigation processes should be.
7.2 Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge
1). The project`s basic design was appropriate and was executed well as per the review after the collapse. The project addressed the issue of gravity of the bridge and only addressed the issue of aerodynamics in part through recommendation of open girders. However, the project planning scope management ignored some basic guidelines on project management. One of the key unnecessary risks of the project was the changes in the deliverables, specifically girders which directly relates to poor supervision. A local construction engineer changed veered from the original plan to used open girders and used solid girders on the sides of the bridge. The planners thus started taking unnecessary risk from the onset by failing to provide a Proper project scope statement document and lacked deeper understanding of the issue of aerodynamics. A project statement often includes product scope description and all information on project deliverables. The risk of scope that did not fully address the risk of aerodynamics caused the change in the girders used. To assess the risks to the project, it would require a closer address to the issue of aerodynamics and how the positioning of the bridge, the length and width ratio affected the stability of the bridge. This would minimize the risks and prolong its life since the execution of the plan was perfect except for the scope not addressing aerodynamic issues.
2). Quantitative risk analysis
Probability
Consequences
Minor Moderate major
Low Moderate High
Positioning
Scope
1)Aerodynamics
2) length and width ratio
3). The most potent risks for this project would be keeping to aerodynamics requirements, scope of the project, positioning of the bridge and the bridge`s length/width ratio.
To manage the risks, I would use the following methods:
Expand the project scope to cover aerodynamics requirements that would cater for the bridges positioning, length/width ratio. This would preserve the bridge for longer.
Transfer risk: This would involve passing on the risk to a third party most commonly through taking insurance cover.
Mitigate the risk. This can be done by seeking expert advice on aerodynamic issues on bridge constructions.
8.2 The millennium Dome
1). I disagree with the statement that “Government-funded projects intended to serve as “prestige projects” such as the millennium dome should not be judged on the basis of cost.” This is because adhering to costs estimates is a standard measure of the success of a project. Furthermore, some government funded prestige projects should not be exempted from standard cost control based on their intended purposes. The success of Millennium Dome project for instance should be judged on costs because besides being a `prestige project`, it was supposed to generate revenue which is failed to achieve. The Millennium Dome thus fails in three ways first, the project failed to stick within the estimated project budget. Secondly since its opening up to now, it does not offer the predicted prestige to the British people as it lacks basic amenities and thirdly because it did not raise revenues as projected.
2). O2`s decision to take over the site and spend Pound600 million to redevelop it does not make sense. The site has garnered so much negativity over the years which might be hard to erase. This means that it would require more effort for the firm to entice people to visit the site as they already have a negative perception. Although the firm has managed to raise increase visitor numbers, the numbers are still considerably low. Furthermore, the maintenance bill estimated at Pound1 million per month is considerably high. This means that firm can hardly make profit. Comparing the Millennium Dome to other prestige mega-projects such as the Crystal palace, it was a wrong decision by O2 to invest in it. Nonetheless, renovating and putting the dome to alternative use is a good move. For instance, O2 choose to convert the place into a concert destination and in the process becoming the most popular music venue in the world by ticket sales (Tobin 2012). Other interests for the dome which point to future prospects for the dome are proposals by Charlton Athletic Football Club to covert the dome into a football stadium (Tobin 2012). As a stadium, the dome could still make decent revenues. As such, the dome can effectively become a money maker for nay investor when put into alternative use such as football stadium or a concert arena.
3). The success or failure of the Millennium Dome debacle can best be judged by comparing the domes initial goals and objectives to the present use. First, the idea of the dome was conceived by John Major`s conservative government which passed it on to Tony Blair`s government. The Millennium Dome gained its name from its core objective to celebrate British achievements in the last millennium and celebrate the third millennium through the Millennium experience. As such, the dome was to house a number of attractions organized into 14 zones. At the centre such was a play area named Timekeepers of the Millennium. In the initial project plan under John Major`s government, the project was small. However, on assuming power in 1997, Tony Blair`s Labour government expanded the project size scope and budget.
The project begun with the formation of The Millennium Commission set up by the Conservative Government in 1993 to source funds for the celebration of the new millennium. After fronting the idea of a millennium exhibition area, private investors did not like the idea forcing the government to source funds through the national Lottery. The Millennium Central Ltd, which later changed to the New Millennium Experience Company Ltd (NMEC) was commissioned with overseeing the project. Construction began in June 1998 and was complete by end of 2000. The initial cost for the project was Pound40 million which shot up to Pound600 million. In 2004, NMEC was liquated to give way to the government agency, English Partnerships. After failing to attract the expected number of visitors, the dome and adjacent land on the Greenwich Peninsula were sold to O2 under its flagship company, Meridian Ltd. The company planned to develop a 26,000-capacity arena and build 10,000 new homes in the surrounding area thereby creating 24,000 jobs. In light of this, the project was a total failure, as it did not live up to its objectives. Its planned budget increased by a huge percentage (from Pound40 million to Pound600 million). The anticipated source of funds in terms of private investors never materialized and the dome or part of what remains of the dome today does not mark any type of millennium experience as promised in the initial plans.
Work cited
Pinto, Jeffrey, Project Management Achieving Competitive Advantage, International Edition, Second
Edition, New York, Pearson Education, 2010. Print.
Tobin, Lucy. Millennium Dome: The white elephant that learnt to fly. The Independent. Thursday 20
September 2012. Web.