Parks Corporation is a company that concentrated mainly on R&D business, doing projects for the Department of Defense. Parks Corporation has changed it’s focus over the years from predominantely R&D business to a low-cost production facility. The recession resulted in the company retrenching a number of employees, the staff compliment going from 6700 to 2200. In 1975, the corporate strategy changed again with the upturn of DoD spending. Parks began to beef up it’s R&D engineering staff.
Owing to the salaries that Parks was offering their access to experienced engineers was limited so they opted to employing mainly young inexperienced engineers, straight out of college, like Gary Anderson. Gary was an outstanding production engineer and was promoted to senior scientist responsible for all R&D acitivities performed in the Mechanical Engineering department.
In January 1978, Parks Corporation decided to bid for Phase I on the Blue Spider Project, with Lord Industries as the prime contractor for the Army’s Spartan Program. The project was to improve structural capabilities and the age life of the short range tactical missile, which was exhibiting fatigue failure after 6 years in the field. The criteria for a subcontractor was not only a low bid, but technical expertise and management performance. Parks Corporation felt that they had a distinct advantage over most competitors, as they had worked on other successful projects for Lord Industries.
From the beginning of the project the following problems were evident.
Project Kickoff, this was done informally and without specific guidelines. •
The Proposal was unethically won, by not disclosing the truth. •
Parks Corporation Management is deemed to have behavioural problems. •
The Operational Process needed to be improved.
The Organisation architecture / Relations needs to be clearly defined and followed. •
The 9 areas of Project Management knowledge were not used, Integration Management, Scope Management, Time Management, Cost Management, Quality Management, Human Resource Management, Communications Management, Risk Management and Procurement Management.
Solutions to Blue Spider Project being successful are:
Follow formal Project Management Methodology being followed. •
A competent project manager, involve the Programme Manager and Functional Management every step of the way. •
A competent project team, sufficient resources
Top management support and leadership.
Project aligned to Company Strategy with correct priority all through the project. •
Customer involvement and regular consultation (Lord’s Industries). •
Communication throughout the Project, proper monitoring, feedback, measurement, appraisals and review of deliverables.
With reference to the case, discuss the problems with their underlying causes.
The Blue Spider Project presented some major challenges, for Parks Corporation. At the onset of the Project there were already problems.
In this case study, the functional manager (Henry Gable, director of engineering) selects the Project Manager for this Project, in this instance there was no consultation with the director of program management, Elliot Grey. Project Management guidelines are not being followed. Henry Gable is using Gary Anderson for his own agenda, he set the standards for the proposal and he also selected the Project Manager, using Gary Anderson’s inexperience to his own advantage. Henry Gable’s integrity is questionable as Gary Anderson, technical expert, points out that there were problems meeting the specification requirements. Henry Gable, comments that “ The truth doesn’t always win proposals”. This is a leadership behavioural problem and dysfunctional behaviour.
Gary Anderson is a brilliant production engineer and senior scientist, he was too inexperienced to take the responsibility of Project Manager, on a major project. Although Parks Corporation claimed to have...
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