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Orion Shield Project Analysis

3489 words - 14 pages

The Orion Shield Project Analysis
Shruti Patel
University of Maryland University College

Executive Summary
Any and every project or program requires a plan to be implemented and documented to ensure its success. The Orion Shield Project is an example of a project without such a plan in place, and an inexperience manager as lead. Gary Allison was impulsively appointed to the position of Project Manager for the Orion Shield Project by Henry Larsen, the Director of Operations. This paper will analyze the the technical, ethical, contractual/legal, and program management related issues that Gary Allison encountered while managing the Orion Shield project. The paper will outline the ...view middle of the document...

This subcontract would be under NASA’s Shuttle Launch Booster Program’s prime contractor: Space Technology Industries (STI). SEC management was confident they would win the Orion Shield Project contract because they have worked on other projects for STI in the past. The Director of Engineering, Henry Larsen appointed Mr. Gary Allison as the Project Manager for the project. Mr. Allison was a decorated project engineer with over 14 years of service with the SEC, but lacked project management knowledge and experience. Gary experiences many issues and obstacles on the way to completing the Orion Shield Project’s mission. In this paper, I will analyze the problems and downfalls Gary encounters while attempting to manage this project. Specifically I will focus on the technical, ethical, contractual/legal, and program management related issues that were confronted during the project as well as what was done well and for those things that were not, I will propose potential solutions. This analysis will hopefully be a guide to good Project planning and management (The Orion Shield Project, 2003).
Technical Issues
After receiving the RFP, Gary and the technical team grappled with quite a few technical complications while struggling to fashion a product that could withstand the heat while ensuring an extended life of the product. The technical team noted that the technical specifications on the proposal state that all components must be able to functions successfully through a temperature range of -65 degrees Fahrenheit to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Gary Allison realized that the design that the SEC had initially proposed would not be able to function above 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which lead him to meet with Mr. Henry Larsen before the final proposal was due to STI. Gary wanted to inform the client- STI of the material details, but Mr. Larsen advised against it, resulting in SEC winning the Orion Shield Project (The Orion Shield Project., 2003). Even though they decided to keep quiet about the discovery of the inadequacy of the model they proposed, Mr. Larsen and Gary agreed that new materials were necessary. This initial technical issue would later lead to many more issues to be discussed further in the paper. After being awarded the contract, Gary began spending a lot of time analyzing the details and supervising as much of the technical development process as possible, at times even partaking in the research, as it was his expertise. By being hands on, Mr. Allison wanted to thwart oncoming issues while delivering solutions for the existing ones. This was an issue because the time he was spending in the lab was taking away from his administrative duties that would have helped the progress of the project. When the new materials, meeting specifications were finally found and used in testing, research concluded that the new components would meet the temperature specifications but would have an age life of less than 5 years, which was less than the initial...

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