Essay on Orion Shield Project

2240 WordsOct 20, 20119 Pages
Executive Summary The Orion Shield scenario presented a novice project manager’s actions, inactions and subsequent results during a project to produce materials for an orbiter’s launch booster rocket. While the contracted company eventually succeeded in producing a product, the project was plagued with numerous challenges that could have resulted in failure and did indeed result in the demotion of the project manager. There were business strategy, structural, contractual, ethical, and communication issues that impacted the successful completion of the project, causing cost overruns, strained internal relationships and customer distrust and dissatisfaction. Various solutions are recommended to decrease the incidence of issues in the…show more content…
Another potential issue was related to the contract itself. Once the proposal was accepted, the contract was set for 10 months, at $2.2 million fixed price incentive fee. This type of contract allows for a base payment with incentives for meeting parameters of exceptional performance (http://project-management-knowledge.com/definitions/f/fixed-price-incentive-fee-contract/). While this is advantageous for the contracting company, as it allows for a reasonable base price, it may not have been the best vehicle for the subcontractor. With the subcontractor being new to R &D, it could be a challenge to attain the performance required for the incentive payment. Additionally, being a relative novice also means more risk, in terms of unforeseen problems, causing scheduling and/or cost tensions; as the price is fixed, those costs would have to be borne by the subcontractor, taking funds away from other activities. The project manager had ethical issues from the inception of the proposal. When there were problems with the original design material functioning at the required temperatures, the initial response of the director of engineering was to lie about the situation to the contracting company. The director also instructed the manager to lie about the funding of project activities later on. The project manager relied on the director for support (in getting staffing, etc.) and direction (as he claimed ownership for the project), so he felt
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