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LONT043 International Project Management

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  • Course Code: LONT043
  • University: Coventry University
  • Country: United Kingdom

Question:

Background

You should by now have a good understanding of the unique characteristics of international projects. You should have a firm grasp of the way in which uncertainty impacts on a number of project management activities, in particular how the culture of international stakeholders affects the planning and execution of projects. Your task now is to analyse and critique an international project in terms of how well it is being conducted, the problem areas and possible improvements.

Scenario

You have been appointed by Murasaki Aircraft Corporation (MAC), a relatively new aircraft manufacturer in Japan, as the Project Director. MAC’s shareholders include parent company Murasaki Heavy Industries (MHI) 64%, Toyota Motor Corporation (10%) and Mitsubishi Corporation (10%) and Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsui & Co with minor shares. MAC is only producing Regional Jets and has no ambition to compete with Boeing and Airbus, especially since MAC is manufacturing Boeing’s 787’s wings.  However, the CEO, Lisanne wishes to grow the company to the next level by entering into the medium size passenger jet market directly competing with the Big Two. She wishes to use Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner lightweight construction technology to reduce the weight of the aircraft and the partnering strategy (international consortium approach) that Boeing and Airbus employed for the 787 and A380 aircraft respectively to spread the manufacturing risks – although the partnering proved to be problematic for both companies. In order to develop the concept, Lisanne has asked you to collect as much information on the 787 and A380 projects as possible and determine what they did well and in which areas they should have paid more attention, and perhaps performed better, in order to avoid the problems that plagued their projects. Lisanne needs the information to determine how feasible her concept is from a project perspective and to ultimately build a business case to persuade the shareholders, if the issues identified by you can be resolved.

Read through the case study material carefully.

  • Click here to access the Airbus A380 & The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Case Study.

Scope of the task

In effect, the CEO, Lisanne, is seeking from you:

  1. a ‘lessons learned’ brief of the two projects, and
  2. how these learnings can be adopted into MAC’s growth ambition project.
 

Answer:

Introduction

Project management can be stated as the proper practice of initiation, planning, execution, controlling and finally closing the work of team for the core purpose of achieving the specified goals and objectives and then meeting the specified success criteria within the given time (Kerzner & Kerzner, 2017). The following essay outlines a brief discussion on the case study of Murasaki Aircraft Corporation. MAC is a new aircraft manufacturer in Japan and has shares from three major companies of Murasaki Heavy Industries, Toyota Motor Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation. They wish to use Boeing 787’s Dreamliner lightweight construction technology for reducing the aircraft weight and partnering strategy. This essay provides the critical examination of the organizational actions and proper assumptions. Relevant recommendations would also be provided here.

Brief Idea of the Case Study

MAC is a new manufacturer of aircraft in Japan and they have appointed a project director. They are producing Regional Jets and is manufacturing wings of Boeing 787. The CEO of this organization, Lisanne wants to expand the company to the next level by simply entering into the market of medium size passenger jet and directly competing with Airbus A380 and Boeing 787. Lisanne wishes to utilize the Boeing 787 Dreamliner lightweight construction technology for the core purpose of reducing the weight of the aircraft and even the partnering strategy of international consortium approaches, undertaken by Airbus and Boeing 787 companies. Lisanne wishes to avoid the issues, faced by these two companies and gain more success.

 

Critical Examination of the Actions of the Two Companies in Project Management Cycle

The unique products, services and results are easily produced with the help of the project management (Burke, 2013). The project typically comprises of a definite beginning and end and is usually specified to bring certain beneficial changes and added values. Hence, project management is mandatory here to make sure that each and every goal is achieved within the constraints like scope, budget, time and quality. The subsequent completion of every project objective is the major challenge of every project manager (Marchewka, 2014). This project is the unique and the temporary creation, which consumes the resources and has a definite starting and ending point to operate as per the specific funding as well as budgetary constraints.

The project management cycle comprises of four distinct phases of initiation, planning, execution and closing (Larson et al., 2014). These four phases make up the path for taking the project from staring to end. There is a fifth phase as well as known as controlling and monitoring. The controlling and monitoring phases are included in the execution phase.

  1. Boeing 787 Dreamliner Project: The project of Boeing 787 Dreamliner had some of the major faults in their project management strategy. The strategy was completely improper and inefficient and thus they suffered from failure (Kotha & Srikanth, 2013). For the project management cycle, the actions of Boeing 787 Dreamliner are given below:
  2. Initiation: Boeing 787 decided to develop their project of 787 Dreamliner and this was one of their most popular and the largest project. They decided to provide value to both airlines and passengers (Fleming & Koppelman, 2016). In the initiation phase, the main problem identified was lack of strategies. They lacked stronger links amongst the mission, objectives for the proper strategic implementation. Moreover, the process of strategic management ensures proper identification of strategic gaps and this was missing in this project.
  3. Planning: The lack of long term orientation or long range goals was the major fault in the planning phase. This eventually resulted in the subsequent identification of issues in the later stages of project and hence they had to change the entire system design of 787 Dreamliner (Walker, 2015). They aimed of reducing the extra weight of the aircraft; however ended up in the development of a heavier airliner. It could have been avoided easily by properly setting a clean goal and objective for this project.
  4. Execution (Monitoring): The execution phase is divided into two phases called monitoring and controlling. The project was not monitored properly and a project priority system was not developed here (Harrison & Lock, 2017). Hence, the core possibility of the resource conflict and implementation gap was not prevented in Boeing 787 Dreamliner project. Furthermore, they did not keep a portfolio management to estimate the project NPV as well as the CBA or cost benefit analysis. It would have saved them over budgeting. The project portfolio is responsible for balancing the risks that are involved in a project and is also responsible to help in prioritizing the proposal of the project as per the project criteria (Fuller et al., 2017). Hence, project monitoring would had been better for them.
  5. Execution (Controlling): This is the second part of the execution phase of project management cycle. The risk management program is one of the most significant and important requirement in every project. Boeing 787 did not comprise of any specific plan of risk management and this resulted the organization in incurring major financial losses (Heagney, 2016). This risk management plan is responsible to identify, analyse as well as eliminate the significant risks associated with the project. This organization did not consider or estimate the various software and technical glitches, which the aircraft might experience. Complete testing was needed to recognize the glitches within the system and for properly dealing with these several risks, the risk management plan was substantially required. Hence, controlling would have been easier for them.
 

Methodologies: Regarding the issues in the four phases of project management cycle, certain methodologies of PM would have been effective for them. For the initiation phase, Lean methodology would had been effective (Mir & Pinnington, 2014). For planning, six sigma would had been effective and for the execution monitoring phase, Scrum would had been much effective. For the final phase of controlling, Lean would be effective.

  1. II) Airbus A380 Project: The project of Airbus A380 is considered as one of the major aircraft project that could have easily usher the new era of the super jumbo jets. This particular Airbus A380 had the capability of carrying up to 853 passengers as well as crew. This was supposed to be launched in the year of 2002 (Dörfler & Baumann, 2014). The organization of Airbus then further undertook additional or extra steps for the core purpose of integrating the consortium and then announced a completely new administrative structure of the project. They made the plan of making this structure in such a manner that it could physically locate the top managers from one of the 16 sites within one location. However, the changes were not at adequate.

For the project management cycle, the actions of this company are as follows:

  1. Initiation: The first and the foremost problem in the initiation phase of this project of Airbus A380 was the lack of project objectives. Apart from the technical problems, there were significant managerial issues in this project (Nicholas & Steyn, 2017). Due to the lack of proper management and managerial coordination, the project lacked its objectives. This was extremely important for them to reduce the issues in this particular phase.
  2. Planning: For this phase, the major phases identified here were the lack of planning. The efficient project management needs controlled scope and resource focus as per the respective organizational needs and thus Airbus A380 project lacked effective planning. There was a lack of concrete plan in their project and they did not have clear objectives in the beginning (Leach, 2014). Thus, decision making was also difficult in the project. Project delays were the other effect of this lack of planning.
  3. Execution (Monitoring): In this phase, the main issue was the extensive design changes. The stakeholders of the project brought some of the major changes here and this increased the project cost in high level. Thus, project monitoring was not successful.
  4. Execution(Controlling): Regarding the risk management, they did not make any plan for technical issues and strategic issues. The consortium was expected to provide the best and hence they took the decision of structural changes (Hwang & Ng, 2013). However, the movement of the management in the central location failed miserably and they were not ready with it. Hence, they did not consider risk management plan for management failures.

Methodologies: For the initiation phase, the PM methodology of Six Sigma would be effective (Kerzner, 2018). For planning phase, CPM would have been better and for both the divisions of execution phase, Lean methodology would be effective.

 

Recommendations of Strategies for the Japanese Company of MAC

Murasaki Aircraft Corporation or MAC is a Japanese aircraft company with a female CEO, namely Lisanne. They have supply partners in the entire world and is quite efficient and effective in terms of their products and services. The CEO of this organization of MAC wishes to use the experience and effectiveness of Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 projects and hence has asked her project director to collect as much as information possible for these two above mentioned projects. These two projects of Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 have faced some of the major and the most significant issues related to their cultural differences and various other issues. Since, these two were international projects, such issues were absolutely unique for them. Lisanne does not want to face similar issues in her organization. The following recommendations are some of the important strategies for Murasaki Aircraft Corporation to avoid these types of issues within the company.

  1. i) Reduction of Differing Standards: The first and the foremost recommendation that could be extremely effective and efficient for this organization of Murasaki Aircraft Corporation is the proper reduction of the differing of standards. The major problem with these standards is quite high globally as well as in the international project management. Since, the standards are different and vary from country to country, it is highly considered that such standards would be utilized in multiple methods as needed. Some of the major and the most significant areas of consideration are the cultural differences and time zone changes.
  2. ii) Power Distance: The second important and significant recommendation is the alignment of power distance. It is the specific gap between equality as well as acceptance of the respective power distribution. Boeing 787 was a failure because of the flat management structure. This flat management structure has a low power distance since there are greater enface on the equality. In the environment of an international project management, the stakeholders could be properly engaged and hence the high power distance is being applied.

iii) Long Term Orientation: The next subsequent and noteworthy recommendation of strategy is the involvement of long term orientation. Boeing 787 project was unable to manage their supply chain and hence this became a major failure. MAC should undertake some of the measures as per the preference of long term orientation. The value within the applications in the international project management is properly checked from the engagement perspective. Moreover, with the long term orientation, there is little value of sticking to the short term deadline.  

  1. iv) Proper and Efficient Project Management Strategy: The fourth and the next significant recommendation is the proper and efficient project management strategy. The project of 787 Dreamliner suffered from multiple laybacks in project execution for their improper and inefficient strategy. This could be avoided by MAC by their implementation of an effective and efficient strategy. Hence, they would be able to remove the issues.
 

Conclusion

Therefore, from the above discussion, conclusion could be drawn that project management is the significant method to organize each and every activity that is associated to the project. The major purpose of the project eventually range from the development of new product to the service launching. The international project management is stated as the proper management of the projects internationally or across the cultures and borders and hence, international project management needs a specified set of skills for the purpose of ensuring major success while managing these projects. There are various challenges of the international project management and these are extremely common for all international projects. The above essay has outlined the case study of MAC. It is a new company of aircraft manufacturer and has various strategies. This essay has clearly described the various actions of the company with proper recommendations.

 

References

Burke, R. (2013). Project management: planning and control techniques. New Jersey, USA.

Dörfler, I., & Baumann, O. (2014). Learning from a drastic failure: the case of the Airbus A380 program. Industry and Innovation, 21(3), 197-214.

Fleming, Q. W., & Koppelman, J. M. (2016, December). Earned value project management. Project Management Institute.

Fuller, M. A., Valacich, J. S., George, J. F., & Schneider, C. (2017). Information Systems Project Management: A Process and Team Approach, Edition 1.1. Prospect Press.

Harrison, F., & Lock, D. (2017). Advanced project management: a structured approach. Routledge.

Heagney, J. (2016). Fundamentals of project management. Amacom.

Hwang, B. G., & Ng, W. J. (2013). Project management knowledge and skills for green construction: Overcoming challenges. International Journal of Project Management, 31(2), 272-284.

Kerzner, H. (2018). Project management best practices: Achieving global excellence. John Wiley & Sons.

Kerzner, H., & Kerzner, H. R. (2017). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Kotha, S., & Srikanth, K. (2013). Managing A Global Partnership Model: Lessons from the B oeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’Program. Global Strategy Journal, 3(1), 41-66.

Larson, E. W., Gray, C. F., Danlin, U., Honig, B., & Bacarini, D. (2014). Project management: The managerial process (Vol. 6). Grandview Heights, OH: McGraw-Hill Education.

Leach, L. P. (2014). Critical chain project management. Artech House.

Marchewka, J. T. (2014). Information technology project management. John Wiley & Sons.

Mir, F. A., & Pinnington, A. H. (2014). Exploring the value of project management: linking project management performance and project success. International journal of project management, 32(2), 202-217.

Nicholas, J. M., & Steyn, H. (2017). Project management for engineering, business and technology. Routledge.

Walker, A. (2015). Project management in construction. John Wiley & Sons.

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