The Blue Spider Project

Topics: Project management, Program management, Management Pages: 21 (6819 words) Published: May 17, 2012
7.1.1Group Assignment 1 Due date: 20 /05/2012

Complete the assignment below after reading attentively through the case study The Blue Spider Project (which appears after the assignment questions):

After the final testing and the programme report were completed, Henry Gable decided to look back with introspection and identified a number of challenges along the “Blue Spider Project” life-cycle which were not clear but in need of solutions (for example: project manager qualification; authority of a project manager; functional employees of the customer and contractor communication set-up; project management system). He realised that Parks Corporation (PC) was in need of professional help if it wanted to face future projects like “Blue Spider” and even bigger ones with certainty and balanced approach towards success. He managed to convince the vice-president, Ms Esther Mokonyane, to push the idea of approaching Luthando, Prinsloo & Gopal (Pty) Ltd, an executive project management company, and request professional help using PC’s current experience in the ongoing “Blue Spider Project” to re-organise for the future and turn PC into a modern, fully fledged project-oriented organisation (POO).

As a senior partner of Luthando, Prinsloo & Gopal (Pty) Ltd, you have been formally approached by PC to work closely with Henry Gable and present the following to PC senior executives within 40 working days:

(i)How “Project Blue Spider” could have been approached at strategic level(40%) (ii)What PC should do to become a modern POO(60%)

Please read the case study “The Blue Spider Project” below very carefully and make sure that the two assignments (above) are presented with sufficient substantiation on issues of “Why?” and “How?” in order to help PC senior management to make an informed decision on the way forward and positioning PC as fully fledged POO.

Credit will be given for clear demonstration of good understanding of executive project management (EPM) fundamentals. Unsupported arguments will be penalised.

“This is impossible! Just totally impossible! Ten months ago I was sitting on top of the world. Upper- level management considered me one of the best, if not the best, engineer in the plant. Now look at me! I have bags under my eyes, I haven’t slept soundly in the last six months, and here I am, cleaning out my desk. I’m sure glad they gave me back my old job in engineering. I guess I could have saved myself a lot of grief and aggravation had I not accepted the promotion to project manager.”


Gary Anderson had accepted a position with Parks Corporation (in Atlanta, USA) right out of college. With a PhD in the mechanical engineering, Gary was ready to solve the world’s most traumatic problems. At first, Parks Corporation offered Gary little opportunity to do the pure research that he eagerly wanted to undertake. However, things soon changed. Parks grew into a major electronics and structural design corporation during the big boom of the late 1950s and early 1960s when Department of Defence (DoD) contracts were plentiful.

Parks Corporation grew from a handful of engineers to a major DoD contractor, employing some 6 500 people. During the recession of the late 1960s, money became scarce and major layoffs resulted in lowering the employment level to 2 200 employees. At that time, Parks decided to get out of the research and development (R&D) business and compete as a low-cost production facility while maintaining an engineering organisation solely to support production requirements.

After attempts at virtually every project management organisational structure, Parks Corporation selected the matrix form. Each project had a programme manager who reported to the director of programme management. Each project also maintained an assistant project manager – normally a project engineer – who reported directly to the project manager and indirectly to...
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