Discuss about the Project Management and Key Leadership.
There were two teams of developers working separately. One specialized in developing hardware while the other was concerned in software development. These two groups were not well planned to maintain required coordination. There was a situation that posed a problem when Hardware engineers managed to come up with a phone design and working prototype but there was no functioning software to run the models. This was as a result of lack of measures to coordinate control process that needed to govern production.
Poor risk management
Risk management of this project was not considered worth analyzing. Apple tried to enter into contract with other stakeholders without considering how to manage arising risk. This was seen as a major blow as some of targeted stakeholders like Verizon withdrew after seeing the project as a big joke. This left the project at the mercies of further consideration by Cingular. Cingular however came to its rescue eventually.
The project faced limited resources in terms of finances, equipment and skills. With the uncertainty surrounding the project about what to expect, it was hard for apple to secure a willing financier. Since its viability was hard to gauge and given the confidentiality with which it was carried out, potential financiers were scared away. The company was also determined to be in total control of design, manufacturing and marketing of the phone. It also suffered Lack of equipment to test the phone, signal strength, antennae radiations etc. This posed a great challenge to management of this project. The available and newly purchased equipment required skilled personnel, who were not readily available in the initial stages of the project. This slowed down the speed of project.
By the time Project Purple was kicking off, the main and specific objectives of the project were not clearly defined. It was not clear who the main stakeholders were to be, if to engage a network carrier company or not and what chronology of events to expect. The project was characterized with ambiguous plans that did not give definite or clear results. This ambiguity in how the display of the phone should look like forced the project to be closed for some time (Zdziarski, 2008).
At the beginning of the project, the project did not have skills needed to develop a phone. Apple was a computer making company before the commencement of this project. Its workers who were, in the first stages, adopted to undertake the project had little or no phone manufacture experience. It was hard to optimize processes as the project did not have phone engineers. Phone’s wireless capabilities were weak and the option of hiring specialists was unavoidable.
Lack of accountability
Cingular top management was reluctant to enter into a contract without seeing the product because they could neither agree to be held accountable nor take responsibility in case of loss. Also they were not in terms with the fact that this potential partner could claim a fraction of their own profit as the contract suggested.
Lack of cooperation by other telecommunication stakeholders
Wireless carriers wanted control over phones. They wanted to control how much they would cost and what features would be available in them, something that Stephen Jobs objected. Carriers viewed phones as gadgets whose purpose to snare their subscribers into using the carriers’ services. They would not cooperate if not given control over this. This was the reason that the little and scattered moments of attention they would give to purple project were mostly futile.
Strict deadlines posed a big challenge to this project. It was hard to meet deadlines as there were always unforeseen circumstances that kept on arising. One event was connected to another and time was an essential factor. For example phone model presentation was stricken hard by a strict deadline. IPhone development had been planned to be the centerpiece of apples annual event known as Macworld convention in only a few months. Much was still undone. Yet it needed to be ready because it was considered a big announcement and customers awaited this announcement. Furthermore a new version of apples operating system which by then was known as “leopard” had been announced to be delayed (Murtazin and Eldar, 2010).
Key performance indicators for the project
Cycle time this is time needed to complete a given task during the project cycle. This for example could be taken as measure of time taken to come up with touch screen display that the iphone would use input and output means.
On-time completion percentage. This shows whether a task was able to be completed before deadline or not. This performance indicator was used to test performance of the project by determining if a component could be produced on or before deadline. The model that was to be unveiled during Macworld convention was a good measure of performance.
Time spent. The amount of time taken collectively by all members to complete whole project. For purple project it ran from 2004 to 2007.
Number of adjustment of to the schedule. Numbers of times a team makes adjustment to completion date. Several adjustments schedule were done during life cycle of the project. This suggested that the project was not performing very well.
Budget variance: variance of the actual budget of a projected. High variance would indicate the project is not doing well while small variance would mean that the project was doing quite good. However this as an indicator of performance would not be so effective given that most of the things were not budgeted for. Cingular accepted to finance advertisements and enter into contract with apple way long after commencement of the purple project.
Customer/stakeholders satisfaction. Whether a customer/stakeholder is satisfied is a key measure of project performance. Most stakeholders were dissatisfied and they could not agree to be part of purple project. Even Cingular only came to accept the terms of contract out of will not satisfaction. Internal customers (staff) satisfaction was the ultimate performance indicator.
Number of errors. How often things are to be redone to reach perfection or to produce desired results. The less the number of errors, the higher the project is performing. Errors in purple project were a common occurrence. Battery could stop, the phone dropped calls and stopped charging before it was full. Number of errors in the demos compared to breakthroughs were taken to measure forward progress rate (Takeuchi & Kennelly, 2010).
Stakeholders in this project were:
This is multinational telecommunication company providing a wireless internet. Apple allowed AT&T to carry the iphone thought it reserved the rights to update software. AT&T was initially targeted by iphone as the main carrier stakeholder.
This is a carrier giant company whose interaction with apple ensured survival of the purple project. Stan Sigman was the apples contact person in Cingular. He had trust in apple creating a product to amaze the public. Supported apple and purple project until the birth of iphone.
Apple management was a key stakeholder in the Project Purple. When Steve Jobs came up with idea of a phone of its kind that would integrate web browsing, music player and phone, he knew the first stakeholder needed to be Apple.
The staff was critical in this project as their ideas and workforce ensured sustainability and eventually the viability of project purple
How the challenges were tackled
More skilled people were hired. About two hundred mobile phone engineers were deployed. Other apple competent members of staff were involved in the purple project. Specialists involved in development of “mac OS Leopard” were transferred to this phone project. This decision made by Steve Jobs (Ali, 2010).
Time and deadline challenge
To manage time in order to beat deadlines one of the measures taken was paralleling tasks. The project management team was able to come up with two developments team that worked simultaneously. One team specialized in making software like operating system while the other team developed phone hardware. Speed of the project towards accomplishment was gained by hiring additional workforce. Phone engineers came with relevant skills and therefore less time was required to accomplish certain tasks.
An agreement was reached with Cingular, a carrier company, to invest certain amount of money into marketing and advertising of the product in the wait. This was made possible by proving that the phone under development would become very popular for mobile browsing and emailing. At the same time Cingular was already expanding it’s out of call services coverage to increase data services. It became clear to the company that it would need to secure an opportunity to have a share in the wake of data oriented devices. Necessary equipment were bought where possible, skilled human workforce addition to already existing apple staffs help to curb the challenge (De Stefani, 2015).
All the development processes were harmonized so as to achieve a collective goal in effective and timely manner. Operating system developers worked in good coordination with hardware developers so as to solve challenges progressively from design stages to development stages and to production stage.
This challenge was addressed by having an external company funding for some advertisement and promotion campaigns thereby putting less resources under risk. It also involved making an agreement between Cingular and Apple that helped the management to share the risk with telecommunication counterpart.
To manage this stakeholder, it took time of active and secret meetings to negotiate terms with the wireless division of this telecommunication giant. To come up with a good idea to convince one of the largest players in telecommunication industry to be the iPhone’s carrier required critical management decisions. Several meetings were planned to strike a deal. Steve Jobs could meet with Stan Sigman, the wireless company boss to show iPhone’s powerful web browser brilliant screen and its good user interface. Much care was deemed necessary in order to avoid compromise of the project.
Managing this stakeholder was not easy. To convince, Apple management made clear to them that they would share their ideas with the company provided they gave the flexibility and control Apple wanted. Persuading executives and board members to approve the deal was a challenge as it simply meant that Cingular would risk its valued network control.
Apple customers were eager and anticipating throughout the project and they expected constant updates on every major development in the company. Project Purple was a secret program and Steve Jobs kept on publicly denying claims about Apple involvement in mobile phone making business. However, this could not remain unknown for long. To manage the customers and keep the situation under control amid increasing speculations of company’s involvement in phone making, Jobs used Macworld event to launch apples product (Carillo, et al, 2010).
Managing the staff
Staff management was very critical as the project life depended on it. The leadership in this project demonstrated the importance of every staff by making it clear that their opinions matter. When the idea of using a touch input display in a phone, he asked the staff what they thought about it and gave them freedom to challenge the idea. Jobs made it clear to his engineers that they were responsible for full running of the project as other stakeholders could fail to comply. He encouraged the staff to value the project as their own.
There were various leadership styles used in “Project Purple” in the first generation of IPhone. These are:
Charismatic leadership style. This style was clearly enhanced by Steve job who had charisma to make people believe and change their view on operator games. Searching for opportunities to develop, he was able to explain and convince target partners that Apple had the ability to come up with a superior phone that would enhance high levels of competition in the market. Though he was not able to convince Cingular management, they did not say no and resulted to appointing Stan Stigma to work on the operator side of Apple.
Visionary leadership style. Steve Job was a visionary leader and though the project was set to start without a carrier support, he was convinced that he would have his first phone in the market after the meeting on February 2005. He shared his vision with his technical team and they started off with a need to establish touch–sensitive screen. It all started as a vision of having a glass display of multi-touch display that one can type on (Steinwart & Ziegler, 2014).
Facilitative and team leadership style. Steve divided the developers in to two groups with their respective roles as a way of enhancing speed and also maintaining confidentiality. According to Steve, the most important thing was the outcome of the developer’s activities. Would they deliver according to the set expectations or not, and also if the developers had an idea of what they were developing as a team as the project was highly confidential.
Communication strategies used during Project purple.
The main mode of communication strategy used in Project Purple is verbal communication. In both oral and in written form, relevant development information about the project is enhanced. Steve Jobs, tries to convince the target future partners by word of mouth and as a result Stan Sigma is appointed by Cingular management also verbally with no evidence of written materials involved. Oral verbal communication is also used on Cingular management to enable secure operator support as Steve organized a secret meeting. Facilitation of engineer developers in the two teams is done verbally as Steve ensures confidentiality and improved speed on project development. Written verbal communication strategy is seen where the companies sign a contract to investing certain amount of money to product marketing and advertising to help gain rights on it for 5 exclusive years.
Competences required to tackle the experienced leadership challenges during project development (Fernandes, & Khoo, 2011).
Solving problems and making decisions
Taking necessary risks
Enhancing skills and knowledge
Understanding and navigating the organization
Setting vision and strategies
Building and maintaining relationships
Demonstrating ethics and integrity
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Fernandes, C., Ng, K. Y., & Khoo, B. H. (2011, November). Development of a convenient wireless control of an autonomous vehicle using apple iOS SDK. In TENCON 2011-2011 IEEE Region 10 Conference (pp. 1025-1029). IEEE.
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Takeuchi, K., & Kennelly, P. J. (2010). Creating mapping applications for the iPhone. Cartographic Perspectives, (66), 71-84.
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