Understanding the Managerial Challenges of the Orion Shield Project

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Understanding the Managerial Challenges of the Orion Shield Project: A Case Study Analysis There is an ancient Chinese proverb, "A fish rots from the head." Nowhere is the wisdom of this phrase more evident than in the management of large projects or organizations. In the Orion Shield scenario provided, a variety of critical decisions made by a novice project manager jeopardized the success of the project and resulted in his demotion. The project consisted of producing materials to improve the components of the Shuttle Launch Booster, thereby increasing life span and new temperature demands. Though the Orion project was ultimately successful a myriad set of managerial, technical, ethical and legal issues significantly impacted the course of development leading to budget overruns and customer dissatisfaction. By understanding these missteps, a student of management can learn important lessons regarding managerial planning, coordination and overall system design. The beginning of the difficulties with plagued the Orion Shield Project can be traced back to its initial conception. The Director of Engineering, Henry Larsen, played a major role in project proposal development and in hiring the project staff. Larsen displayed poor judgment in hiring an inexperienced Project Manager named Gary Allison. This individual displayed poor ethics in accepting a project despite his inexperience as he simply wanted the promotion. Allison formerly worked as a talented engineer without

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