Rapid Prototyping (RP) is the modern technology which is capable of developing the exact replica of in the form of three dimensional models of real equipment or machines . These smaller sized three dimensional prototypes are built to check the efficiency curve or other related parameters.
To brief about the background of the case, an engineering graduate Frank Billings, was very much enthusiastic to become a leader in the field of RP. After waiting for nearly 3 long years, he got the first break from Cocable to build four prototypes of the machine as per the given specifications. Once Frank got the job, he jumped in to for completing the job and handover to client at the earliest.
The main issue being highlighted in the case study is that the scope of work was clear to Frank and Cocable, but the issue remained is that the scope was wrong. The mercy of the situation is that, this became highlighted at the end of the project phase when Frank was doing the final testing of the prototype in presence of Cocable personnel. But the reason why it has happened may be many. Below are the possible reasons for the issues:
The issue has happened due to the absence of scope verification step in their project management practices. After Frank received contract from Cocable, he should have verified the scope of work according to the practice of project management . I feel the ‘Kick-Off’ meeting was also not organized after the handing over of the contract, as in kick-off meeting itself the scope are made clear by the clients and moreover Frank could have got the opportunity to have interaction with GE and know their expectations . The proper procurement procedures as provided in PMBoK are not followed and it is only because this reason the problem has occurred. I feel the Cocable, who is the in-between party between Frank and GE has the main fault of not getting the scope verified by GE and blindly handed the technical documents to Frank for further development.
None of the Project Management Methodologies used
The project’s main objective was to deliver the four prototypes at the earliest and Cocable & Frank just did the same, but forgot to follow the standard set of procedures defined in the project management methodologies . The procedure tells that the very first stage of the project management is the development of business case report and the project charter; these are the document which allows the project to go ahead and selection of project manager who takes the ownership of the project, which is missing in this case. The documents should have been developed before start of the job, the scope could have got clarified by GE and this much of man-hours loss could have been prevented.
The very next stage of the above discussed process is the assessment of stakeholder expectations, in this stage the stakeholders are identified, expectations are documented, the procedure to meet the expectations are discussed and finalized, the place of issue resolution is decided beforehand, method of communication is finalized and the future progress reporting format, time intervals, media of distribution and all other such issues are discussed and documented properly . This stage was totally missing in the case.
There are many project controlling stages which are available in project management techniques, like the project change control procedure where the procedures are documented on how to act whenever there is any change of scope of work or the extra requirement which can impact the triple constraints of the project. If this document would have been available then, in current situation the methods would have been clear to all the stakeholders regarding the procedures need to be followed to resolve the situation.
After thoroughly going through the case study, it can be observed since beginning that the issue was only related to the scope verification, but then the question also arises that why Frank did not cross verified it with Cocable before start of the work. But I feel the one simple root cause of the issue is the ‘negligence of project management methodologies’ throughout the project life cycle. None of the stages as documented in PMBoK is followed and directly the work started without assessing the risks, scope, quality requirements, finalizing communication matrix and many more.
So the main lessons learnt can be summarized as, for all and any kind of project irrespective of its size, the delivery time, the urgency, size of scope etc. the project management analysis and developing of minimum documents are mandatory and the stages of Initiation and Planning stages need to be performed before jumping to the execution stage, even the monitoring and controlling stages must also be performed according to the standards and ultimately the close-out by documenting the lessons learnt of the project.
This is to summarize the whole report, the possible causes of the issues is identified as the non-availability of clear scope of work till the end of project, none of the project management methodologies are followed, the initiation stage of the project management technique is totally neglected and neither the business case study nor the project charter was developed. Even the stakeholder management procedure was also not developed and the change control system too. Otherwise the issue which arose at the fag-end of the project could have been identified at mush earlier stages.
So, now we need to conclude that who need to pay for the changes. At first it looks that Cocable is the problem party who neither verified scope with GE nor handed the correct specifications to Frank, but after going through the report, it can be concluded that all the parties are equally responsible for the issue, as neither of the party insisted for a gathering and finalizing the project management strategies and it is the only reason of the issue being highlighted so late.
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OpenCampus. (2017) Manage Stakeholder Engagement. [Online].