Orion Shield Project Case Study

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13/09/17 Business Reference this

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The Orion Shield Project focused on several binding choices carried out by the SEC. Those specific actions matured into preferential treatment in the workforce that allowed distrust and ethical issues internally. I will detail the problems throughout this report outlining the hiring practices of upper management that may present irreparable harm to the company by employing inexperienced project managers. Anyone employing a project manager for a large or high visibility project must bear in mind a qualified project manager that always produce, punctual and not over cost, projects that are fitting or eclipsing partners’ prospects (Levinson, 2008). When the Director of Engineering decided to employ a novice project manager the project was doomed to fail. The novice project manager had an impeccable background as a technical engineer for SEC, but he exhibited no characteristics to successfully complete the project for all parties. There were several problems that held up the project and cost overruns that management from Space Technology Industries (STI) required daily meetings with the SEC project team to stay abreast of the milestones and schedule for the project (UMUC, 2016).

The SEC engineering branch notified the project manager that they were unable to reproduce the substance that is required for the technical specifications stated that all components must be able to operate normally and successfully through a temperature range of -65 degrees F to 145 degrees F (UMUC, 2016). The project manager then notified the Director of Engineering about the determinations from the SEC engineering branch. Who then asked the project manager to remain silent about the findings. Those types of decisions made by the Director of Engineering guaranteed the project manager would not prevail as a project manager because of his leverage on the project (UMUC, 2016).

Bad choices created by the Director of Engineering and his project manager at SEC will be scrutinized throughout this report. The first questionable decision was the hiring of the project manager with zero background in project management. This report will show the conflict of interest the Director of Engineering had with his personnel decisions for this project. Those misguided decisions led to moral concerns that besmirched SEC’s stature as a government contractor. It was compounded with his efforts to influence and intimidate his project manager to withhold data to obtain the contract (UMUC, 2016).     

What Project Management principles, if any, were violated in this case?

Project Manager – Gary Allison

Gary Allison violated the basic project management principles by not disclosing pertinent information to Space Technology Industries. He allowed himself to be coerced and influenced by Larsen without resistance. Gary should have reported the findings to Space Technology Industries once he knew the current model could not meet the technical requirements to operate normally and successfully through a temperature range of -65 degrees F to 145 degrees F (UMUC, 2016).

Based on the ethical decision tree Allison should have first should have asked “Is it legal to hide information from the client?” If so, he must notify Larsen of his decision not to adhere to his demands and notify SEC senior management of his issues. The following illustration depicts the Ethical Decision Tree. The following illustration depicts the Ethical Decision Tree.


Figure 1 – Ethical Decision Tree (Bagley, 2003)

Schwalbe (2015) stated it is necessary to operate tasks in a lawful aspect. It will bolster gaining the assurance of the community, group representatives, and the program manager. He also stated that a project manager should continually create clarity and uphold honest conversation and lawful behavior (Schwalbe, 2015).

Director of Engineering – Henry Larsen

Henry Larsen violated the project management principles by coercing Gary to conceal vital design test results from Space Technology Industries. Those actions were unethical and it led to STI awarding the contract to SEC on false information. After the contract was awarded to SEC, Larsen continued to expect Gary to provide misleading data to STI including introducing a new substance called JXB-3 that Larsen created (UMUC, 2016).

Director of Program Management – Elliot Grey

Elliot Grey did not violate any of the project management principles. He was responsible for all budgetary approvals and awards for SEC (UMUC, 2016). Grey was quite upset that Gary did not notify his office of the changes to the project and Gary’s unilateral decisions to purchase products without his approval (UMUC, 2016).

Project Engineer – Paula Arnold

Paula Arnold violated the project management principles due her conflict of interest with Henry Larsen. She has a past working history with Larsen. She stated to Gary that Larsen is under the belief that the Orion Shield is his project. She knew that Larsen would try to exploit them both in favor of his business posture. Paula’s role was to report to Larsen every day at 7:30 am about the findings of the previous day. She also was told not disclose those findings to anyone before Larsen was able to review the data. Those actions led to Larsen and Arnold testing the new material JXB-3 without the consent of Gary. She lacked honesty and the responsibility to notify SEC management about Larsen’s actions that would jeopardize the project and future endeavors (UMUC, 2016).

How does the Project Management Body Knowledge address the effects of organizational structure and culture on successful project management?

The PMBOK addresses organizational structure which is an enterprise environmental factor, can affect the availability of resources and influence how projects are conducted. The classic functional organization is a hierarchy where each employee has one clear superior. Staff members are grouped by specialty, such as production, marketing, engineering, and accounting at the top level. Specialties may be further subdivided into focused functional units, such as mechanical and electrical engineering. Each department in a functional organization will do its project work independently of other departments (Schwalbe, 2015).

Matrix organizations reflect a blend of functional and projected characteristics. Matrix organizations can be classified as weak, balanced, or strong depending on the relative level of power and influence between functional and project managers (Project Management Institute, 2016).

What guidance do project management principles give for creating effective communication?

The PMBOK states that Project Communications Management consist all of the techniques that are needed to guarantee prompt and suitable preparation, accumulation, development, dissemination, stockpile, recovery, guidance, oversight, surveilling, and the eventual grouping of project knowledge. Project leaders occupy the duration of the project exchanging information with project representatives and other project participants, even if they are in house or outside to the department. Productive exchange of information produces a link amongst assorted participants who might have varied humanizing and departmental experiences, contrasting degrees of competence, and contrasting aspects and commitments, that effect or permit a leverage consequent to the project completion or result (Project Management Institute, 2016).

Plan Communications Management is the technique of creating a suitable path and scheme for project information exchange established on participant’s factual wants and demands, and applicable departmental resources. The vital advantage of this technique is that it describes and records the path to exchange information very adequately and quickly with participants (Project Management Institute, 2016).

Preparing the project information exchange is vital to the fundamental achievement of any project. Defective exchange of information preparation can introduce issues for instance the stoppage in communication transmission, exchange of information targeted the incorrect viewers, or poor exchange of information to the participant (Project Management Institute, 2016).

Manage Communications is the technique of producing, amassing, disseminating, accumulating, reclaiming, and the eventual adjustment of project knowledge in agreement to the exchange of information management plan. The primary asset of this technique is that it allows a dynamic and productive exchange of information movement amongst project participants (Project Management Institute, 2016).

Control Communications is the technique of surveilling and regulating exchange of information during the processes of the life of the whole project to guarantee the factual requirements of the project participants are satisfied. The primary asset of this technique is that it guarantees flawless knowledge movement between every exchange of information colleague, at no specific timeframe. The effect and consequences of project information exchange shall be cautiously assessed and regulated to guarantee that the correct information is transported to the intended group at the correct moment (Project Management Institute, 2016).

How does the three requirements Henry Larsen give Gary compare with the project management body of knowledge?

Henry told Gary that he required the following three items to be a good program manager.

  • The ability to write and speak well;
  • The ability to motivate people;
  • Have total commitment to the program, no matter how much time it takes (UMUC, 2016).

Effective project managers require a balance of ethical, interpersonal, and conceptual skills that help them analyze situations and interact appropriately. They must have interpersonal skills such as leadership, team building, motivation, effective communication, influencing, decision making, political and culture awareness, negotiation, the ability to build trust amongst team members and stakeholders, managing conflict in a project environment, and coaching the project team (Project Management Institute, 2016).

How did Gary fall short on those three criteria?

Gary fell short of the criteria due his lack of desire to properly document his work or meetings. He was unable to motivate people because he did not usually follow process for each functional area. His ineptitude of balancing his work and not defining the roles and responsibilities properly affected the overall project. Gary took on roles that should have been delegated to the proper individuals so that he would have the time to monitor the project and communicated to everyone the status of the project based on the schedule and milestones to the stakeholder (UMUC, 2016).

How many departments were involved in this project, and what guidance do project management principles give for coordinating functional departments?

Several departments were involved in this project. These departments included the Engineering, Research & Development, Production, and Finance areas. When coordinating with functional departments, it features a project manager, often without much executive power acting as project coordinator (administrator, time keeper and secretary). The project coordinator is responsible for smoothing project transfer across functions and keeping everyone on target with respect to schedule and budget. In practice, he or she depends totally on the goodwill of the participating functional managers who keep ultimate control over the content and staffing of the project (Project Management Institute, 2016).

This type of project works best on simple or routine projects or, alternatively, on very large one- of-a-kind projects for which technological or engineering excellence is the determining factor (single discipline projects) and time is less of an issue (Project Management Institute, 2016).

The functional project team approach exhibits the following traits:

  • The project manager act as a facilitator to ensure smooth transfer between functions;
  • The project manager coordinates and feeds back schedule and budget information to the functional managers for them to act upon;
  • The functional manager plans and executes the work within his or her function, and;
  • The loyalty of the team members to their functions outweighs their loyalty to the project (Project Management Institute, 2016).

If SEC was awarded a sole source contract for production of the new material, why was Gary’s project perceived as a failure?

STI awarded SEC a sole source contract to produce the JXB-3 substance. A sole source contract is typically defined as any contract entered without a competitive process., based on a justification that only one known source exists or that only one single supplier can fulfill the requirements (NASPO, 2015).

Due to not disclosing the original temperature issue not meeting the technical specifications to STI, SEC wasted the budget on a new material called JXB-3. Gary was perceived as a failure because of numerous scenarios where he did notify STI of project changes, his reluctance to manage the project, not following processes of SEC functional areas when changes are made, and not notifying SEC senior management of budgetary changes (UMUC, 2016).

How success is defined for a project?    

Gary Allison needed to have a complete understanding of the role of a PM. applying the best practices known or available can significantly improve project management.

Per the State of Maryland, successful projects are those that meet business requirements, are delivered and maintained on schedule, are delivered and maintained within budget, and deliver the expected business value and return on investment. Many factors contribute to project success, but effective project management and governance practices are particularly critical (State of Maryland, 2016).

In conclusion, the hiring of an experienced project manager could have avoided ethical issues with SEC. A good project manager will interact with their complete group at full length of every aspect of the project, developing a climate that boost participation and the splitting of concepts to reach at the finest likely answers. Favorable projects depend on unity and collective admiration surrounded by colleagues, and it is most attained at the same time a project manager is respected as an effective individual who promotes informative active affiliations.

The project manager would need to take another look at the strategic plan on a normal action to conclude by what means you are advancing with regards to the timetable and financial plan. Determine actions that have been concluded at the same time as the prior duration and revise the strategic plan to depict they are completed. Observe and watch the total cost your project has in fact absorbed and decide either your real consuming is greater than initially predicted based on the labor that has been finished. Watch for indications that the project may be in jeopardy. The project team should name all established liabilities. Per liability, the project team should also specify the chance that the liability will happen and the probable effect on the project. The indicated occurrence determined as extreme liability should have a strategy situated to diminish them to avoid any occurrence.

Bagley, C. (2003). The Ethical Leader’s Decision Tree. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2003/02/the-ethical-leaders-decision-tree

Levinson, M. (2008). Six Attributes of Successful Project Managers. Retrieved from IDG Communications, Inc: http://www.cio.com/article/2433916/project-management/six-attributes-of-successful-project-managers.html

NASPO. (2015). Non-Competitive / Sole Source Procurement: Seven Questions . Retrieved from National Association of State Procurement Officials: http://www.naspo.org/solesourceprocurement/7-Question_Sole_Source_Procurement_briefing_paper-1-13-15.pdf

Project Management Institute. (2016). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Retrieved from UMUC Library eReserves: http://library.books24x7.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/assetviewer.aspx?bookid=51356&chunkid=498883016&noteMenuToggle=0&leftMenuState=1

Schwalbe, K. (2015). An introduction to project management, Fifth Edition. Minneapolis: Schwalbe Publishing.

State of Maryland. (2016). WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? Retrieved from State of Maryland: http://doit.maryland.gov/SDLC/Documents/What%20Makes%20a%20Successful%20Project.pdf

UMUC. (2016). The Orion Shield Project. Retrieved from UMUC: https://umuc.equella.ecollege.com/file/486be203-9189-4e63-85e5-0f5270f7629a/1/transcripts/03a-heny.html

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