EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Parks Corporation is a company that concentrated mainly on R&D business, doing projects for the Department of Defense. Parks Corporation has changed it’s focus over the years from predominantely R&D business to a low-cost production facility. The recession resulted in the company retrenching a number of employees, the staff compliment going from 6700 to 2200. In 1975, the corporate strategy changed again with the upturn of DoD spending. Parks began to beef up it’s R&D engineering staff.
Owing to the salaries that Parks was offering their access to experienced engineers was limited so they opted to employing mainly young inexperienced engineers, straight out of college, like Gary Anderson. Gary was an outstanding production engineer and was promoted to senior scientist responsible for all R&D acitivities performed in the Mechanical Engineering department. In January 1978, Parks Corporation decided to bid for Phase I on the Blue Spider Project, with Lord Industries as the prime contractor for the Army’s Spartan Program.
The project was to improve structural capabilities and the age life of the short range tactical missile, which was exhibiting fatigue failure after 6 years in the field. The criteria for a subcontractor was not only a low bid, but technical expertise and management performance. Parks Corporation felt that they had a distinct advantage over most competitors, as they had worked on other successful projects for Lord Industries. From the beginning of the project the following problems were evident. •Project Kickoff, this was done informally and without specific guidelines. The Proposal was unethically won, by not disclosing the truth. •Parks Corporation Management is deemed to have behavioural problems. •The Operational Process need...
ed to be improved. •The Organisation architecture / Relations needs to be clearly defined and followed. •The 9 areas of Project Management knowledge were not used, Integration Management, Scope Management, Time Management, Cost Management, Quality Management, Human Resource Management, Communications Management, Risk Management and Procurement Management. Solutions to Blue Spider Project being successful are: Follow formal Project Management Methodology being followed. •A competent project manager, involve the Programme Manager and Functional Management every step of the way. •A competent project team, sufficient resources •Top management support and leadership. •Project aligned to Company Strategy with correct priority all through the project. •Customer involvement and regular consultation (Lord’s Industries). •Communication throughout the Project, proper monitoring, feedback, measurement, appraisals and review of deliverables. . 1With reference to the case, discuss the problems with their underlying causes. The Blue Spider Project presented some major challenges, for Parks Corporation. At the onset of the Project there were already problems. In this case study, the functional manager (Henry Gable, director of engineering) selects the Project Manager for this Project, in this instance there was no consultation with the director of program management, Elliot Grey. Project Management guidelines are not being followed.
Henry Gable is using Gary Anderson for his own agenda, he set the standards for the proposal and he also selected the Project Manager, using Gary Anderson’s inexperience to his own advantage. Henry Gable’s integrity is questionable as Gary Anderson, technical expert, points out that there were problems meeting the specification requirements. Henry Gable, comments tha
“ The truth doesn’t always win proposals”. This is a leadership behavioural problem and dysfunctional behaviour.
Gary Anderson is a brilliant production engineer and senior scientist, he was too inexperienced to take the responsibility of Project Manager, on a major project. Although Parks Corporation claimed to have the Matrix structure in place, it was not fully functional in this project. Henry Gable intimidates Gary Anderson with his underlying threats of not succeeding. The Blue Spider project did not get a priority in Parks Corporation, only production programs, seemed to get priority, resulting in poor project prioritization.
Gary was worried from the beginning that the test matrix called out in the technical volume of the proposal would not produce results that could satisfy specifications, yet he does not raise this as an issue or escalate the problem. Gary was too “hands on” and not managing the project/ progam, he took it upon himself to do all the tasks himself. He was not clear on the duties of a Project/ Program Manager. His communication to the customer (Lord Industries) and internally is very poor. There is no evidence of regular Project Meetings taking place with all the stakeholders (internal and external).
Parks Corporation does not have a good Human Resources follow through, as Gary Anderson was promoted to the Project Manager and no induction took place. After the proposal was won, there was very poor functional management support. Gary put all the pressure on himself to deliver and did not use his team effectively. He was not maintaining a good balance between his technical and administrative responsibilities. With Lords Industries threatening to establish a customer office in Parks Corporation this shows a major lack of trust.
Henry Gable is also issuing instructions to Paul Evans and secretly testing material that was not part of the original specification. Thus creating mistrust between the functional departments within Parks Corporation and also wasting valuable resources, as they were testing the existing material for the past two months. This has also caused mistrust between Parks Corporation and Lord’s Industries. Once again the dysfunctional behaviour of Henry Gable is displayed as he was spear heading the new research with he customer’s money, without consultation with the Project Office or the customer. When Gary submitted the handout package to Lord’s Industries, he did not give them enough time to review the new findings, causing them to postpone the meeting. The integrity of Parks Corporation is challenged by Lord’s Industries, this is not a good situation to be in as the customer does not trust the service provider and now wants to increase the written communication between the parties and supervise all acitivities, by looking over Park’s shoulder at every turn.
Gary did not keep accurate time on the project, causing the manufacturing plans to be behind schedule. He also did not draw up and communicate a work schedule to the functional departments, and let managers know of any potential problems. He did not follow procedures therefore his costs on the project are affected. Gary was not skilled in motivating his staff and this was causing everything to slow down. He then calls a
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