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Background and Objectives

It was in late May 2002 when Jan Vesely, sales manager for Southeast Asia and the Pacific region at International Instruments, Inc., received a call from RisingSun, one of its key accounts in Japan. “They told us that they were interested in our 1001 series monitors if we were able to provide audio capability —a feature that our competitor already had implemented in their product,” Jan said. “Additionally, RisingSun wanted us to deliver the product in 11 months, which was an aggressive time- t o- market goal. Since RisingSun was one of our most important customers, we jumped into action.” International Instruments, Inc. was a global market leader in the field of monitoring systems, and the 1001 series was their main product line of monitors addressing the biggest segment of the overall market.

The audio capability for the 1001 series monitors was previously discussed because, as mentioned, a major competitor had already brought a monitor with audio capability to the market. But Manuel Scriba, the segment manager for the 1001 product line, found the market too small to justify adding the audio feature, but the telephone call from RisingSun changed everything. As recalled by Manuel, “Suddenly the program, named Shogun, would help us to meet our financial, market share, customer relationship, and competitive business goals,” he said. “First and foremost,” he commented, “a new program had to fulfil our business goals. That’s what it is all about— the business goals.”

As for the financial goal, the order was large enough to cover the development and research cost associated with the program and make the desired contribution to the company bottom line. But it was more than that. International Instruments, Inc. was focused on market share and customer relationship as key strategic goals. It was clear that Shogun would support the achievement of these strategic goals. “We had excellent customer relationships before this program, and if an important customer wanted to have the new feature — and the program was financially viable — what else could we do but satisfy them?” asked Manuel. “On top of that,” Manuel added, “Shogun would also provide gain in market share for this monitor product line. Not only could we increase our market share, but we could attain our competitive goal, which was to pre- empt our competitor from gaining more market share in Japan.”

Manuel proposed the new program to Robin Weiland, vice - president of International Instruments, Inc. “We had the chance to increase our market share,” recalled Robin. “It was tough, but feasible. So, the question was no longer, does it make sense? but rather, can we get this done in only 11 months?” The next steps were to assign a program manager and set up the program as soon as possible.

Meeting Business Goals through Shogun Program

With $467 million in total budget and 144 months in duration, Planet Orbits is an ambitious program. Its objective is to build a spacecraft with a photometer for identifying the terrestrial planets in the universe. Scientists believe that this program will eventually help them understand the extent of life on the planets and across much of the universe. “It represents, fundamentally, a breakthrough in science that has the potential to change mankind’ s views about his position and place in the universe,” according to Eric Anderson, the Planet Orbits program manager.

Next week the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) will be held. The review committee is expected to be tough, and Eric knows from experience that the program has to be in excellent shape in order to be granted approval to move to the next phase of development (from definition to the design phase). Eric believes the program is progressing well technically, but is aware of some interpersonal and human relations issues that may be a concern to the committee. Additionally, Eric is concerned that the latest schedule has some serious disconnects with senior management’s delivery expectations. However, he feels that the program core team can push the team sufficiently hard enough to make up any schedule shortfall that they may encounter during the next few development phases. However, these issues could create barriers for a PDR approval decision.

Eric is excited to have the Planet Orbits program finally ready to advance to the next phase of development. He thought to himself, “I t took us almost 10 years to achieve funding approval for this program. When we submitted the proposal to the program selection committee, it required several iterations to finally reach the necessary approval to move forward to actual development.” It has been three years since the program was approved. Eric still feels that the objective of the program fits well with the mission of the space agency - exploring life in the universe.

Eric has been through the status of the program several times already in preparation for the PDR meeting with the committee. However, it may be useful to recap with some of his key team members one more time to ensure all issues and concerns have been properly addressed. Eric reviewed his status documentation in preparation of Charles Wright’s arrival to his office. Charles is the project manager of the local site for the Planet Orbits program. When Charles arrived, they proceeded to review the program again in comprehensive detail.

“Wait a minute!” said Bali Balebi, the Silverbow program manager, while passionately waving his hands. “Do I understand you correctly that senior management is saying that my program must hit the release date, and if that requires dropping the two automation features, it is okay?”

Lessons Learned and Recommendations

“Yes,” responded Christine Smiley, the PMO director, “you understood me. But please calm down. We need cool heads now.”

Bali continued, “So, first we add the automation features despite the program team telling us that the planned program duration of 21 months would only allow for the 8 original features. Now, we are in the integrate phase three months before we get to deployment, and I’m being asked to drop the automation features because we’ r e a month behind schedule? I’m sorry if I’m having a tough time keeping a cool head, but we can’t do that.”

“They are not asking you, they are directing you to remove the features in order to get back on schedule. The delivery date is crucial,” replied Christine. “Again, please calm down and tell me why we can’t drop the automation features. Give me a logical argument that I can take back to senior management. I can’t just go back to them and say we can’t remove the features because the program manager is passionately against it.”

“OK,” said Bali. “Two reasons: First, I have already made an announcement to our lead customers that the automation features will be included in the next release. Second, the features have already been integrated with the other features in the release. It may take longer to back them out and redo the integration than to just continue with the integration as is.”

“Oh, now I understand the problem,” responded Christine. “Let me talk to Matt Short (vice - president of enterprise software), and you sit down with your team and review all possible options to make the original delivery date, both with and without the automation features. Also, call the lead customers who we know plan to purchase the new release. Tell them about the possible delay of the two automation features until the next release and see how they react.”

Review the content in the case study (1), and consider the scenario provided with a view to providing detailed commentary, analysis and synthesis of key concepts against the backdrop of the Standard for Program Management (Version 4). You must refer to scholarly writings to and support your portfolio entry and it must meet the academic standards outlined in the assignment brief, learning outcomes and Unit Plan.

1. Comment on the overall success of the program in terms of its tangible benefits.

2. What aspects of the program were done well (when related to program management theory).

3. What are the lessons learnt in this case study?

4. What would your recommendations be to improve the program if done again in the future?

Review the content in the case study (1), and consider the scenario provided with a view to providing detailed commentary, analysis and synthesis of key concepts against the backdrop of the Standard for Program Management (Version 4). You must refer to scholarly writings to and support your portfolio entry and it must meet the academic standards outlined in the assignment brief, learning outcomes and Unit Plan.

1. Summarise the key program management aspects of the case study, noting the key “takeaways” and highlights.

2. How should the earthly issues and the cosmic glory of Planet Orbits be balanced in terms of the success measures?

3. What are the major challenges of the Planet Orbits structure?

4. Explain why soft skills are so important, especially in this case study.

Review the content in the case study (1), and consider the scenario provided with a view to providing detailed commentary, analysis and synthesis of key concepts against the backdrop of the Standard for Program Management (Version 4). You must refer to scholarly writings to and support your portfolio entry and it must meet the academic standards outlined in the assignment brief, learning outcomes and Unit Plan.

  1. Summarise the key program management aspects of the case study, noting the key “takeaways” and highlights.
  2. Explain how project management can be used to achieve business strategy
  3. Which ONE of the three options listed in the case study would you choose and give reasons for the choice (as aligned to the Standard for Program Management).
  4. What are the lessons learnt in this case study?
Background and Objectives

Success of the program

The company of Southeast Asia and the Pacific region at International Instruments received a contract from RisingSun to provide audio capability in instruments within 11 months. For this project, the company established a team named as Shogun and different goals to meet the target, such as they focused on the international market share and customer relationship as well as compete with the market. To achieve the goal in a short time(Dreyer, 2018), the team set a program management office who trained their team members to work upon their business goal. Those are profitability index, market share and development and product cost, time management and product cost. To achieve those goals, Shogun identified that projects are interdependent, and to get successful, they have to work with coordinated strategic planning (Kost, Hewitt, Betron & O'Donnell, 2019). Moreover, they applied a flexible work program and coordinated management that helped them to finish their assigned target that they made audio capable instruments in short time duration. The tangible benefits of the company were that by using program management office, Shogun successfully met the goal that helped them to position the market internationally (Lasrado, Arif & Rizvi, 2015). Moreover, they successfully competed with their rivals and achieved gains in market share as well as gained noticeable profits. As per my opinion, the major benefit of the company was that they were successful in capturing the international business market.

Program management theory

In order to achieve the company’s target, they made a program management team who helped the company plan understanding the resources. In this context, the program management team dived into some categories which worked individually in every part of the project (Thiry, 2016).  There were 12 team members, and they were supervising marketing sector, mechanical engineering, manufacturing, purchasing and finance sectors well (Archibald & Archibald, 2016). Moreover, the team worked on systems like engineering hardware, Software, promotion for the new products, and quality control of the manufactured products. This independent project management strategy worked effectively for the program to achieve the functional objectives of the business (Todorovi?, Petrovi?, Mihi?, Obradovi? & Bushuyev, 2015). On the other hand, the program was successful in managing the budget for manufacturing the international instruments (Cools, Stouthuysen & Van den Abbeele, 2017). To achieve their target, they regularly observed customer validation and the market requirement that helped them to make competitive advantages (Olsson & Bosch, 2015). The manager developed a project work breakdown structure (WBS) to deliver the products on time. Staying aligned with the other project, the program managed to continue its task efficiently with the help of WBS. To maintain their work quality, they hired an efficient project manager that was a major step for the program for the mean of a company's success. Furthermore, the program helped to create a better communication framework that enhanced the path of the program in a good manner. As a result of it, the company was maintaining a good relationship with customers.

Meeting Business Goals through Shogun Program

From this case study, I have learned a lesson that if any organization can do proper strategic planning, then it can achieve their goal successfully. In order to do a successful business, a company should set its objective firstly. Then it should make a program management team and assign every work as per the efficacy of workers that manufactured products will be highly acceptable to the customers for its quality. In this context, companies should develop a strategy based on the resources and budget that can fulfil the ultimate goal of it to achieve the market position. Companies should give individualized attention by empowering their employees who can work efficiently to meet the goal.

By using the program management office, they maintained they were successful to meet their objective to do flexible financial planning as well as implementing proper strategies at the unfavourable condition (Kerzner, 2017). I think proper relationship maintenance is the key to achieve an efficient workforce that can support the company by providing quality work. In this perspective, the management team should be friendly in behaviour that every employee can freely communicate with the management if they face any trouble or distress. The program management team should motivate their followers in a positive way that they can enhance their confidence to meet the target. On the other hand, the marketing sector should be capable of promoting effective. It is the responsibility of the team to supervise. Moreover, I think, the key responsibility of the management team is maintaining team collaboration with the strategic implementation.

Recommendations for future improvement

As per my opinion, I would recommend the company to improve project understanding concerning the size. According to Quirke (2017), the project size and target, the company should involve their workforce that can help to become successful. As the company started an international business, they should hire employees who can communicate in various languages. We noticed in the case study that their customer was unable to communicate with the company manager being a Japanese. In this case, if the company would have a translator, that would be beneficial for the company and customer both. Moreover, it would be helpful for them if they incorporate some strategy during the progress of the project understanding the requirements of the customers. In order to achieve the goal, I can recommend the company to make a group which can handle stress with maintaining the work quality. Otherwise, an excessively short time can hamper the quality of the product. However, the manager of the team should be capable of identifying the talent of the team and the organization that the manager can allocate work as per their ability (Schermerhorn, 2016). The understanding of the critical phase of the company, the manager can motivate the followers and can support employees giving them training (Kashyap, 2018). The company should align their strategic objectives with the company's goal that the company can successfully achieve the target.

Lessons Learned and Recommendations

Summary of program management

The project is called ‘Planet Orbits’, which is made with a total budget of $467 million. Along with that, the engineers and scientists have spent 144 months to prepare the ambitious project.  They are so many project managers of different management are involved to ensure that all the required functions can work properly. In this part of the program, management aspects will be discussed below.

The project has different program components which are handled by various management groups such as program management, ground management and flight segment management. Based on the requirement, several mission management partners have been selected; such as Spacecraft Laboratory, it will help to reduce the risk of the space program. In addition to that, Technology Corporation was chosen as the industrial partner of the Planet Orbits program. A program management office (PMO) has also created for a specific period for this project. PMO is responsible for providing various administrative and managerial support for this sophisticated program like Plant Orbits. 

On the basis of requirement, the managers recruit employees with several qualities such as competency, dedication, experience and enthusiasm. The managers have also hired the employees from different Technology corporation and Spacecraft Laboratory for this project.

Several takeaways can be described in this study, that the management has been able to build a strong team with high moral, recruited employees with top experiences in the space sectors, the goals and the strategies are properly defined among all the employees. This will help them have a proper understanding of the project; the program scheduling was very challenging for the scientists. Furthermore, it is manageable; the different strategies have been taken to counter the issues that may affect the project negatively,  the project has a strong management team which is focused on delivering their best work to make Planet Obits successful.

It can be observed that Planet Orbits is a very complex project in terms of other projects. In any project, there are several issues that can be observed which creates hurdles for the overall progress and the success of the project (Serrador & Turner, 2015). To avoid the issues, the managers have taken several steps to enhance the strategic values of Planet Orbit to get the best result. Those strategies steps will be highlighted below.

The project aims to create a spacecraft with the help of a photometer for space exploration. Photometer sends electrical signals which are correspondence to radiant flux energy (Wydra, 2019). To acquire success in a space program, it is important to manage the cost, schedule and technical integrity. As a result, the definitions of the product, the value of the product are required to meet the success criteria. A photometer is attached with the spacecraft and with its ground system. With the help of the photometer, the terrestrial planets, which are inhabitable zones of the other stars, can be found (Conde, 2019). Along with that, the development and testing the photometer and the overall ground segment. Developing the flight system and the orbits check system are the key areas that are required to focus

Key Program Management Aspects of the Case Study

The scientist of this project has identified several values. All of the values must be aligned to understand the requirement of the different strategic plans. The program values consist of finding the answer to several questions such as to find any existence of lives in the other planets other than earth and to find out any Earth-like planets in other galaxies, beyond our solar system (Cain, 2019). To determine the success of this project based on the values, the time, performance and cost are the major aspects. The program must be initiated within the target date, which is next year. The program must identify the issues which can decrease the performance of the spacecraft. In terms of development cost, the project cannot cross the funding profile and development cost cap.

Several challenges have been faced by the scientists and the project engineers in Planet Orbit. The cross-site coordination was an issue which was not going with the expectation (UOC, 2019). The function was creating several time delays and showing inefficiencies. The training that has been provided by the organization was turned out to be ineffective. To counter the issue, their certain software applications that have been implemented, such as Live - Link have enhanced the overall situation positively. The management must have done the work more effectively by the program manager to decrease the errors which have been faced by the scientists.

On the other hand, it can be observed that several issues have been identified with the scheduling by the different agencies. The completion of the project was decided to 36 months by the senior management. While the date had been accepted by the program team without analyzing the schedule appropriately. On the later stage, at the time of reviewing the last milestone, the completion date was not achievable by the team.

Several soft skills are required for this case study. Maintaining proper communication and the interactions with the other people are required for taking correct decisions (Barnard, 2019). The soft skills help to create new ideas that can be considered as a valuable asset for this case study. Planet Orbit is a space program that requires proper identification of the schedules, understanding the project properly and make all the other team members under stable are the skills which are highly required for this project. Teamwork, leadership skills, meeting the goals are the key areas which need to be achieved in order to be successful in the project Planet Orbits.

Balancing Earthly Issues and Cosmic Glory in Success Measures

Summary of program management aspects 

ConSoul is one of the Software which was developed for the construction software industry. Matt Short is the vice president of the ConSoul Software. It allows, to develop an enterprise that produces software solutions for payroll, accounting, management, human resources, customer relations and e-commerce applications. In order to handle the entire business and the development process, the company requires good management aspects that will be discussed below.  

The strategic values of ConSoul are focused on several principles such as improving the level of customer satisfaction, best product and service quality, on-time market delivery. These principles help to develop the business strategy of the organization. It has also allowed the company to improve sustainability in this competitive market. The company has also provided a road map of the business planning over a two-year timeframe.

Along with these management aspects, the managers are sharing the key responsibilities to develop the best ideas for organization and project. The business is led by three functional directors such as director of engineering, program management director and director of technical communications. It is the responsibility of a program manager to deliver the entire product through multiple software releases. The software test or quality assurance and development is reported directly to the engineering functional organization.

The case study has analyzed that different project managers are handling various projects, and they are responsible for ensuring the right product quality throughout the console PLC phases. All of these phases must be passed for the proper development of ConSoul Software. With the help of the different management skills and the development phases, a final product is released in the market. 

In most of the scenarios, it can be observed that organizations manage programs, projects and portfolios based on the measurable and traditional output (Langley, 2019). Without tracking the capabilities that if the organization would be achievable or not. With the help of this analysis, the gap between project management and business strategy can be witnessed.

In the case of ConSoul, the managers are maintaining proper quality by focusing on several aspects (Papke-Shields & Boyer-Wright, 2017). The organization is focused on providing the products, which are the best in class. Rapid software release cycles are necessary to support the product delivery schedule. The managers are also focusing on improving integrated solutions, which will help the users to use the Software with ease (Kim, Zimmermann, DeLine & Begel, 2016). Providing a product in competitive pricing is another strategy of managers which can affect the business performance positively. According to Tonchia (2018), Delivering all these aspects in a project by the managers will increase the customer satisfaction, will increase the customer's faith by the product quality and demand will be fulfilled on time, it will create customer delight for ConSoul. Without proper management support, a project cannot achieve these milestones. Based on the capabilities and the correct project planning to achieve a specific milestone can be considered as a good business strategy (Sajad & Sadiq, 2019). Hence, it can be observed that well-maintained project management can help to deliver a sustainable business strategy for ConSoul.

Major Challenges of Planet Orbits Structure

To develop Software, three options have been provided to the senior managers to get the best decision from them. In my perspective, option two will be better to choose among all other available options. Option 2 elaborates to keep all the features intact and hit the announced release date. The basic strategy of this project is to make the project faster in the development stage, outsource the required resources to deliver the project on time. By breaking the dependencies and speed up the schedule are the prime focus of this option.  

There are always two results can be achieved, positive and negative. Based on this option, the project can get to achieve a new milestone for developing the project in a record time frame (Harrison & Lock, 2017). The product can be released as per the scheduled date. Apart from that, most importantly, the customers will be very to get the overall productivity within the timeframe (Gousios, Storey & Bacchelli, 2016). There are also some of the lacks that can make various issues such as by making the track of the project fast, and it is important to maintain quality, which can be compromised (Cleden, 2017). As the fast-tracking process is a new process for the team, so the possibility of error is increased in this scenario (Kerzner, 2019). All of these aspects are considered as challenges, at the same time if the challenges are bypassed, then the company can avail a large number of profits from the market.               

ConSoul is a software development organization whose focus is to enhance the quality and deliver the product on time. Software development is a complex process which takes multiple stages or phases to develop. Along with that, making customers, satisfaction are the best option for any firm to develop the business profile in the market. ConSoul are following a particular process and a time frame to ensure the best quality (Grant, 2016). With the help of the different managers, the organization is focused on creating different strategies to enhance business performance (Gousios, Zaidman, Deursen & Storey, 2015). The case study has successfully elaborated my opinions and my selections upon the best option, among other options. In this option, creating and delivering project following with the scheduling date have been analyzed. It will create delight ness among the customers to get the product on time while maintaining good quality.

Importance of Soft Skills in the Case Study

Managing program is very important for an organization to run a successful business. Those helps an organization to grow the large business and in more complex condition every year. Program management refers that an organization establishes some strategies to fulfil their objectives or to complete a project. For successful program management, several people work hard with dedication and efficiently to make their project successful. There are a management team of an organization, which direct other team members and divide their work as per their efficacy. Moreover, they maintain responsibility, delivering a project on time and within the budget that meets customers’ expectations. I think to make successful program management; there are several steps that should be managed by companies.  

Gauge program complexity: At the initiation process of many projects, sometimes projects get started without proper understanding the complexity and size of it by stakeholders. As projects progress, it has the full possibility of accounting failure. However, a project gets too late to adjust budget, resources and delivery date. It is known that; a true understanding of project complexity ensures the successfulness of the project. For this reason, before starting a project, management program should be arranged properly, and a full proof unique strategic plan is required for each project (Gioia, 2017).

Facilitate internal communication:  A good internal communication builds good relationships that facilitate a projects management program. Through effective communication, the management team can guide their team members without facing any trouble. In this context, the program management team manager stays at the centre of the program as it is a major responsibility to make understand the objective of the project to the employees of an organization. In case, any employees face an issue; they can communicate with the project manager, if the issue remains unresolved, then the senior management team get involved in this issue by the project manager.

Integrate key element: Understanding the project complexity the program management team should incorporate the key elements to the agenda of the project to deliver it on time with an estimated budget. In this perspective, the management team should figure out the cost control, resource allocation and configuration management.

Instil measurable control: Scheduled program management doesn't need to be done before the initiation of the program. During the project, understanding any issue, management can take measures to cope up with the issue.

Effective implementation strategy:  for the success of the project, a perfect implementation of an effective strategy is essential. Understanding an organization's budget and resources, the strategy should be implemented effectively. Failure of strategic implementation, a company can meet undesired outcome that might not be beneficial for the company.

Comprehensive program evaluation: Before initiating a project, the management should be aware that every team member understands the project properly. Moreover, the management team can evaluate their project outcome before project initiation using some software tools that help them extensively.

Understand requirements: Before the initiation of a program, managers should understand the framework based on the organizational requirements as well as project requirements. By evaluating the organizational potential, it should be analyzed by the team manager, the requirement of the company.

Align customer and contractor expectations: For the success of a project, a company should align the customer and contractor expectation, as the mutual understanding and collaboration are essential for achieving the company’s goal.

Develop an attitude: A positive attitude towards project handling can enhance the opportunity of the project success

Leadership commitment: In the path of a successful program, leadership is a pillar that operates the whole program in the best possible way that is required. Leaders motivate their followers to enhance their work efficiency and support them when followers give up.

For an example of my view, Amazon following a way that projects drive innovation. This practice helped the company to maintain project management, and it explains the procedure that increases Brightwork visibility that helped to track the task. This practice enabled the management process among different groups in a way that brought the company at the peak of their desire. Amazon started Brightwork journey with the free SharePoint Project Management template that worked as effective implementation of a strategy to ensure the growth of it. Using this strategy, Amazon has grown 300different groups in 30 countries with more than 30,000 active users.

Healthcare company named Siemens Healthiness manage more than 100 projects of different types such as operational and new product development. This company also implemented the Brightwork strategy to track project progress by using standard SharePoint list and sites. By using Brightwork project Lite and Project standard templates, they were successful in understanding the project size and type, and this makes the project visually clear to all team members. This template also helped the company to evaluate and milestone trend analysis that is the most important thing for project management.

Triumph Group manufacturing company, founded in 1993, who manufactures aerospace structures, systems and components. In 2016, the company tried for a wide transformation which led the centralization of process and systems. This strategy impacted on the project management and results in the creation of a project management office to understand the project. They used SharePoint 2010 template that successfully captures the project underway and provides proper understanding. This practice helped in integration and automation and existing SharePoint within Triumph (Windsor, 2018).

Camden National Bank formed its Office of project management when they experienced that the company’s exponential growth. By using the SharePoint site, they successfully evaluated the company’s growth and requirement, but the site was not consistent. After that, they used Brightwork that helped them in the operation of Bank project management. Furthermore, the company used portfolio dashboards and standardized templates to improve communication between team members. Thus, we can consider program management an effective way for the success of an organization in different conditions.


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