Report of the lessons learnt in the Blue Spider Project Case studies. The Blue Spider Project that Gary Anderson managed for Parks Corporation was a good example of an unsuccessful project. There were many aspects that increased project risk and contributed to the problems encountered. Some of those problems could have been prevented or resolved if Gary Anderson applied proper project management methodology. In any project, one of the most important success factor is the project manager being able to communicate effectively. Gary Anderson failed to communicate effectively both internally and externally. Internally, Gary had been consistently not updating the status of the project or any decision made to other functional managers. For example, when Gary started testing the new material JXB-3, he didn’t notify the testing manager and as a result, work that was no longer required were done which not only increased the cost of the project but also made the testing manger being upset as he needed to play catch-up and reallocate his resource. Gary Anderson repeated the mistake of having poor communication with internal staff when he didn’t notify the production manager of the rescheduling of the verification mix and forced the production of the mix to be performed during overtime which again increased the cost of project and caused the production staff making a mistake in the mix. More importantly Gary failed to maintain a strong external communication with the customer right from the start of the project. In the beginning of the project when Gary was ‘living’ in the research lab, it was basically impossible for the customer to contact Gary if they wanted an update of the project or had any questions. The customer didn’t have a clue of whether Park had started doing any work yet and they would be very concerned as Lord’s contract worth much more. Gary had broken the trust from Lord at the start of the project and as a result, Lord decided to demand more frequent communication from Gary which increased Gary’s work burden and the cost of the project. Once again Gary haven’t learnt his lesson on communication and done the same thing again when he didn’t informed Lord of using the new material – JXB-3 in the interchange meeting which Gary supposed to exchange information with the customer. This suddenly change of using the new material eventually upset Lord and the Army (The prime customer) and as a result Lord lost even more trust in Parks and Gary and required Gary to have weekly interchange meeting which led to even more work for Gary. Another aspect that increased the risk of the project was fact that Park wasn’t honest in the tender by not stating the fact that the design they had couldn’t meet the required specification, Park already considered forcing the customer to change the specification as the project progress. This meant even before the project started, Gary was faced with the problem of developing an alternative test matrix that would meet the specification requirement which involved many hours of additional work that wasn’t budgeted. Another issue was that Gary was provided the opportunity to be the project manager because of his strong technical R&D background. He had no prior project management experience or skills to manage a project. Gary failed to become like an ‘outsider’ to maintain a proper balance between technical and administrative responsibility. In the beginning of the project, Gary still thought that he was an engineer and focused too much time on R&D in the lab. This was due to the fact that Gary has too much pride in his technical skills and thought he was best engineer in the plant therefore he wasn’t willing to delegate the technical responsibly to the chief project engineer as he wanted to proof that he was more capable. Gary did no administrative work at all. He had other project office personnel running the weekly team meeting and presenting the administrative...
References: Dyer, R. (1984), ‘Planning and execution of a major R & D project’, International Journal of Project Management, 2(1), Pages 6-9
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