Case studies | Management homework help
The final paper will require the student to complete two (2) case studies from the Pinto text (one from Chapter 13 and one from chapter 14). You should incorporate outside resources into their paper. A minimum of five (5) outside sources will need to be referenced.
1) Respond to the following case study from Pinto Chapters 13
Case Study 13.2
2) Respond to the following case study from Pinto Chapters 14
Case Study 14.3
CASE STUDY 13.2:
Conceived in the 1980s as a device to accelerate particles in high-energy physics research, the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) was a political and technical hot potato from the beginning. The technical challenges as- sociated with the SSC were daunting. Its purpose was to smash subatomic particles together at near the speed of light. That would require energy levels of 40 trillion elec- tron volts. Using the physics of quantum mechanics, the goal of the project was to shed light on some of the fun- damental questions about the formation of the universe. The SSC was designed to be the largest particle accelera- tor ever constructed, far bigger than its counterpart at Fermi Laboratory. In order to achieve these energy levels, a set of 10,000 magnets was needed. Each of the magnets, cylindrical in shape (1 foot in diameter and 57 feet long), would need to operate at peak levels if the accelerator were to achieve the necessary energy levels for proton collision. The expected price tag just for the construction of the magnets was estimated at $1.5 billion.
The technical difficulties were only part of the over- all scope of the project. Construction of the SSC would be an undertaking of unique proportions. Scientists deter- mined that the accelerator required a racetrack-shaped form, buried underground for easier use. The overall circumference of the planned SSC required 54 miles of tunnel to be bored 165 to 200 feet underground. The ini- tial budget estimate for completing the project was $5 billion, and the estimated schedule would require eight years to finish the construction and technical assemblies.
The SSC’s problems began almost immediately after President Reagan’s 1988 kickoff of the project. First, the public (including Congress) had little understand- ing of the purpose of the project. A goal as nebulous as “particle acceleration” for high-energy physics was not one easily embraced by a majority of citizens. The origi- nal operating consortium, URA, consisted of 80 public and private American research centers and universities, but it was expected that European and Asian scientists also would wish to conduct experiments with the SSC. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Energy hoped to offset some of the cost through other countries. While initially receptive to the idea of participating in the project, these countries became vague about their levels of contribution and time frame for payment.
Another huge problem was finding a suitable loca- tion for the site of the SSC. At its peak, work on the SSC was expected to employ 4,500 workers. Further, once in full-time operation, the SSC would require a perma- nent staff of 2,500 employees and an annual operating budget of $270 million. Clearly, it was to almost every state’s interest to lure the SSC. The result was a political nightmare as the National Research Council appointed a site review committee to evaluate proposals from 43 states. After making their judgments based on a series of performance and capability criteria, the committee narrowed their list to eight states. Finally, in late 1988, the contract for the SSC was awarded to Waxahachie, Texas, on a 16,000-acre tract south of Dallas. While Texas was thrilled with the award, the decision meant ruffled feathers for a number of other states and their disappointed congressional representatives.
The final problem with the SSC almost from the beginning was the mounting federal budget deficit, which caused more and more politicians to question the decision to allocate money at a time when Congress was looking for ways to cut more than $30 billion from the budget. This concern ended up being a long-term problem, as the SSC was allocated only $100 million for 1989, less than one third of its initial $348 million fund- ing request. Budget battles would be a constant refrain throughout the SSC’s short life.
Work proceeded slowly on the Waxahachie site throughout the early 1990s. Meanwhile, European finan- cial support for the project was not forthcoming. The various governments privately suspected that the project would never be completed. Their fears were becoming increasingly justified as the cost of the project contin- ued to rise. By 1993, the original $5 billion estimate had ballooned to $11 billion. Meanwhile, less than 20% of the construction had been completed. The process was further slowed when Congress began investigating expenditures and determined that accounting proce- dures were inadequate. Clearly, control of the project’s budget and schedule had become a serious concern.
In a last desperate move to save SSC funding, Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary fired URA as prime contractor for the construction project. There was talk of replacing URA with a proven contractor—Martin Marietta and Bechtel were the two leading candidates. By then, however, it was a case of too little, too late. Costs continued to climb and work proceeded at such a snail’s pace that when the 1994 federal budget was put together, funding for the SSC had been removed entirely. The project was dead. The nonrecoverable costs to the U.S. taxpayer from the aborted project have been estimated at anywhere between $1 billion and $2 billion.
Few questioned the government’s capability to construct such a facility. The technology, though lead- ing-edge, had been used previously in other research laboratories. The problem was that the pro- and anti- SSC camps tended to split between proponents of pure research and those who argued (increasingly swaying political support their way) that multibil- lion-dollar research having no immediate discernible impact on society was a luxury we could not afford, particularly in an era of federal budget cuts and hard choices. The SSC position was further weakened by the activities of the research consortium super- vising the project, URA. Its behavior was termed increasingly arrogant by congressional oversight groups that began asking legitimate questions about expenditures and skyrocketing budget requests. In place of evidence of definable progress, the project offered only a sense of out-of-control costs and poor oversight—clearly not the message to send when American taxpayers were questioning their decision to foot a multibillion-dollar bill.17
1. Suppose you were a consultant called into the project by the federal government in 1990, when it still seemed viable. Given the start to the project, what steps would you have taken to reintroduce some positive “spin” on the Superconducting Supercollider?
2. What were the warning signs of impending fail- ure as the project progressed? Could these signs have been recognized so that problems could have been foreseen and addressed or, in your opinion, was the project simply impossible to achieve? Take a position and argue its merits.
3. Search for “superconducting supercollider” on the Internet. How do the majority of stories about the project present it? Given the negative perspective, what are the top three lessons to be learned from this project?
CASE STUDY 14.3:
In midsummer 2008, the U.S. Navy announced its decision to cancel the DDG 1000 Zumwalt destroyer, after the first two were completed at shipyards in Maine and Mississippi. This decision, originally stated as due to the ship’s high construction cost, points to a highly controversial and, it could be argued, poor scope management process since the beginning.
The Zumwalt class of destroyers was conceived for a unique role. They were to operate close offshore (in what is referred to as the littoral environment) and provide close-in bombardment support against enemy targets, using their 155-millimeter guns and cruise missiles. With a displacement of 14,500 tons and a length of 600 feet, the ships have a crew of only 142 people due to advanced automated systems used throughout. Additional features of the Zumwalt class include advanced “dual-band” radar systems for accu- rate targeting and fire support, as well as threat iden- tification and tracking. The sonar is also considered superior for tracking submarines in shallow, coastal waterways. However, the most noticeable characteris- tic of the Zumwalt class was the decision to employ “stealth” technology in its design, in order to make the destroyer difficult for enemy radar to track. This technology included the use of composite, “radar- absorbing” materials and a unique, wave-piercing hull design. Thus, the Zumwalt, in development since the late 1990s, was poised to become the newest and most impressive addition to the Navy’s fleet.
Unfortunately, the ship was hampered from the beginning by several fundamental flaws. First, its price tag, which was originally expected to be nearly $2.5 billion per vessel, ballooned to an estimated $5 billion for each ship. In contrast, the Navy’s current state- of-the-art Arleigh Burke class of destroyers cost $1.3 billion per ship. Cost overruns became so great that the original 32 ships of the Zumwalt class the Navy intended to build were first reduced to 12 and then to seven. Finally, after another congressional review, the third destroyer in the class, to be built at Maine’s Bath Iron Works, was funded with the proviso that this would be the last built, effectively killing the program after three destroyers were completed. The first ship of the class was christened in April 2014 at the Bath Iron Works shipyard and is expected to be delivered to the Navy in September.
In addition to the high cost, of significantly more concern were the design and conceptual flaws in the Zumwalt destroyers, a topic the Navy has been keen to avoid until recently. For example, the ship is not fit- ted with an effective antiship missile system. In other words, the Zumwalt cannot defend itself against bal- listic antiship missiles. Considering that the mission of the Zumwalt is close-in support and shore bombard- ment, the inability to effectively defend itself against antiship missiles is a critical flaw. Critics have con- tended that the Navy knew all along that the Zumwalt could not employ a reasonable antiship missile defense. The Navy argues that the ship can carry such missiles of its own but acknowledges that it cannot guide those missiles toward a target. This raises the question: If these ships need nonstealth vessels around them for protection against incoming threats, what is the point of creating a stealth ship in the first place?
Another problem has emerged from a closer examination of the role the Navy envisioned for the Zumwalt. If its main purpose was truly to serve as an offshore bombardment platform, why use it at all? Couldn’t carrier-based aircraft hit these targets just as easily? How about GPS-guided cruise missiles? The then-deputy chief of naval operations, Vice Admiral Barry McCullough, conceded this critical point in acknowledging, “With the accelerated advancement of precision munitions and targeting, excess fire capacity already exists from tactical aviation.” In other words, why take the chance of exposing nearly defenseless ships near enemy shorelines to destroy the same tar- gets that air power can eliminate at much lower risk?
In short, despite initially protesting that the Zumwalt was a crucial new weapon platform to support the Navy’s role, critics and the Navy’s own analysis have confirmed that the DDG 1000 destroyer class represents an investment in risky technology based on a questionable need. It is too expensive, cannot adequately defend itself, and is intended to do a job for which other options are bet- ter suited. The cancellation of the Zumwalt destroyer project was ultimately the correct decision, albeit a tardy one, in that it has cost the American taxpayers an estimated $13 billion in R&D and budget funding to build three ships that are likely to have no imme- diate or useful role in the near future.
Sadly, it is debatable whether the Navy truly learned the hard lessons of the Zumwalt destroyer development, as its newest generation of ship, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), is currently being sub- jected to the same kind of scrutiny and criticism that characterized the long controversy of the Zumwalt. For example, with initial cost overruns corrected, the LCS class is estimated to cost $400 million per ship, which is a substantial savings over the DDG- 1000. However, critics charge that, as with the Zumwalt destroyer, the Navy continues to cram too much cutting-edge and unproven technology into the ships, without a clear sense of the mission they were designed to undertake. Small and fragile, crit- ics have contended that even the Navy’s own assess- ment admits that placing these craft in harm’s way will invite severe problems, with one report conclud- ing, “LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hos- tile combat environment . . . .” Finally, the decision to continue making hull and weapon modifications to the ship, even as the first of the class are in produc- tion, leads to concern about the stability of the pro- gram. Will the missions the latter ships are capable of performing even resemble the role designed for them today? Although the Navy envisioned building 52 of the craft, current plans are to limit production to 32, with senior Congressmen demanding that no more than 24 ever be produced. Over budget, with a too- complicated design and uncertain mission capabili- ties—it appears that the LCS is taking the place of the Zumwalt, with the Navy still relearning its lessons.31
1. The U.S. Department of Defense has a long his- tory of sponsoring projects that have questionable usefulness. If you were assigned as a member of a project review team for a defense project, what cri- teria would you insist such a project has in order to be supported? In other words, what are the bare essentials needed to support such a project?
2. Why, in your opinion, is there such a long his- tory of defense projects overshooting their bud- gets or failing some critical performance metrics? (Consider other project cases in this text, includ- ing the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle discussed in Chapter 5.)
3. “The mystery is not that the Zumwalt was can- celed. The mystery is why it took so long for it to be canceled.” Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not?
4. Google “criticisms of the Littoral Combat Ship” and identify some of the problems that critics have listed. In light of these problems, why do you think the Navy has pressed ahead with the development of the LCS?
The Title page and the Reference page do NOT count toward the page requirement.
3-5 pages means 3-5 pages. It does not mean 1 page, 1 1/2 pages or 2 pages. It also does not mean that you use 15-pitch font as opposed to 12-pitch font.
Use the APA format; Times New Roman and 12pt font.
Do NOT restate the case. I read it. I understand it.
Avoid general statements. Be specific.
Proof read your work.
Stop trying to solve the issues. Break the case down. Analyze it. What happened? Where did it go wrong? What should have happened? [This is called analysis]
Next, provide a synthesis of the key Project Management concepts of each of the texts.
You were to analyze the case and incorporate the processes and tools that the Project Manager has available.
Use the rationale provided in the text and outside sources to support your responses/comments, and conclusions. This is how you strengthen your work in Academia.
You must display your understanding of the Project Management processes and tools as you progress from week to week.