The Orion Shield Project was analyzed, particularly in regard to the program manager, Gary Allison. Having never managed a program before, Gary was given an opportunity to do so on this valuable project. Several stakeholders came into play; some that helped contribute to Gary’s demise, and others who were often left to pick up the pieces where Gary may have failed. Ultimately, it was determined that in more than one way, Gary was not a successful program manager. Technical, ethical, legal, and contractual shortfalls were addressed to see where Gary and his team may have gone wrong.
A good project manager knows that they must set a good example in order to lead their team to success. They are ultimately aware of the greater needs of their stakeholders, organizations, and clients, and are thus able to guide the project to a successful end (Schwalbe, 2012, p.20). In the Orion Shield Project, Gary Allison was given to opportunity to become the Research and Development Program Manager for an important client of Scientific Engineering Corporation (SEC). While it was his first time being in such a role, his supervisor, Henry Larsen, felt he was well suited for the opportunity. Upon reviewing the summary of the Orion Shield Project, it became clear that Gary Allison did not succeed in being an effective program manager. There were many areas with room for improvement, including difficulties in regards to technical, ethical, legal, and contractual issues. The balance of this report will seek to identify and discuss these areas of difficulty and where Gary Allen went wrong, along with the other stakeholders in this project.
To being, there were several instances within the timeframe of the project that technical issues surfaced. These issues were often related to staffing, scheduling, and prioritization issues. One of the first technical issues that Gary came across was the staffing of the program. While Gary felt from the beginning that the whole of his company, Scientific Engineering Corporation (SEC), was behind the Orion Shield Project, when it came to recruiting staff for the program, he was met with some hesitation. Basically, the engineering managers were reluctant to give up their staff for the Orion Shield Project. Ultimately, Gary managed to staff the program without too much challenge, and the project proceeded on according to schedule.
Another technical area of difficulty in Gary’s program management seemed to be prioritizing his duties as manager of the program. At first, Gary worked diligently alongside Paula Arnold, the chief project engineer, in the lab, allowing the administrative duties to fall on other project office personnel. While this seemed to work at first, he quickly realized he needed to spend more time on administrative duties when he was reprimanded by Sarah Wilson, an executive from Space Technology Industries (STI), the company that was contracting SEC for the project. After this, Gary then worked diligently to produce minutes for STI, spending a few weeks developing these minutes, a task Gary deemed somewhat of a waste of time. This basic unbalanced structure of Gary’s responsibilities continued throughout the project, as he would either spend too much time on administrative duties and not enough on the engineering or vice versa. More or less, Gary was not effective at balancing his responsibilities and prioritizing his duties.
The final issues that fall into the technical realm of the project involve scheduling. On two separate occasions Gary failed to adequately schedule or give sufficient notification to the production department. In the first instance, production of the new material needed to happen the week after the engineering department developed the test matrix, and Ed Anderson in the production department said they could not be expected to reschedule production around Orion. Ultimately,...