• After studying The Orion Shield Project, critically discusses the technical, ethical, legal, contractual, and other project management issues that faced program manager Gary Allison.
• Review the teachings of Browne and Keeley book, Asking the Right Questions, A guide to Critical Thinking (Eleventh Edition), decide if there were any fallacies being used in this case study.
• Determine if what Gary has done well or not, in a succinct report that includes an executive summary.
• In terms of writing the assignment we’re looking for a classic paper here: coversheet, introduction, body, conclusion, and references. Make sure you’re responding to each of the assignment requirements – not answering the questions in the case. Then add critical thinking to get top grades. What should Gary have done? What options were there? What lessons can you draw from this that other organizations can use? Anything you can do to really put some thought into this will help push your grade higher
After you view the videos, you’ll likely agree that Gary Allison has or has not done well as Orion Shield R&D program manager.
Your task is to identify and discuss the technical, ethical, legal, contractual and other project management issues that he has faced. There are difficulties in each of these areas.
For instance, perhaps the Orion Shield contract type is wrong. What would have been a better one? For whom – the customer, the company or both?
This is no time to be politically correct. Name names as you identify the culprits in this case.
Be careful to study all the information in the case.
Remember to include a meaningful, results-filled executive summary at the beginning of your report.
Additional Resource Information
About the Orion Shield Project
Based on their new company strategy, Scientific Engineering Corporation decided to compete for Phase I of the Orion Shield Project. If successful, this R&D effort could lead into a $500 million program spread out over twenty years.
The purpose of the Orion Shield Project is to improve the structural capabilities of the Shuttle Launch Booster, a launch rocket booster used by NASA. The Shuttle Launch Booster exhibits fatigue failure after six years in the field — three years less than what the original design specifications called for. NASA wants new materials that support a longer age life for the Shuttle Launch Booster.
Space Technology Industries (STI) is the prime contractor for the NASA’s Shuttle Launch Booster Program. If Scientific Engineering Corporation successfully bids and wins the Orion Shield project, it will be a subcontractor to STI. The criteria for subcontractor selection are based not only on low bid, but also on technical expertise and management performance on other projects. SEC management believes it has a distinct advantage over most of the other competitors because they have successfully worked on other projects for Space Technology Industries.
Scientific Engineering Corporation (SEC) is a major contractor for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA).
SEC initially specialized in research and development (R&D). It gradually transitioned out of the R&D business and competed solely as a low cost production facility. It maintained an engineering organization to support its production requirements. For the last seven years, the company bid only on the production phase of large programs.
DoD/NASA contracting criteria recently changed. Companies that win the R&D and qualification phases of a program now have a definite edge when the production contract is awarded. As a result, SEC changed its corporate strategy. It now bids on the R&D phase of a program, and has been beefing up its R&D engineering staff.