Project Management

Table of Content


Table of Content 2

Executive Summary. 3

Introduction. 3

Technical Issues. 4

Ethical Issues. 4

Legal Issues. 5

Other Management Issues. 6

Conclusion. 6



















Executive Summary

Gary Allison was one of the most talented project engineers in his 14 years at the Scientific Engineering Corporation (SEC). His feelings about himself were however not to last any longer because when he was offered the position of Project Manager on the Orion Project by Henry Larsen, his manager, hos life turned upside down. To start with, Gary was not experienced in project management and his conduct and professional operation raised so many questions in all fronts. This paper is a report of the issues that Gary Allison faces in his project management. The paper focuses directly on the technical, ethical, legal, contractual and management issues that the engineer faced while working his way through the Orion Shield Project. These issues led to failures that in turn caused delays in the project and overspending that raised the public outcry and concern.


For any project to succeed, there are always processes and principles that must be followed. These concepts require adequate experience and expertise in project management and demonstrate the ability of a manager to bring a project to completion. The Orion Shield Project was not much of success. The failure reported from the project resulted directly from mismanagement of funds and processes that can be tracked down to the personal conduct of Gary Alison and Henry Larsen. The failures of Gary Alison for instance begun when he accepted the position as lucrative and ignored his personal abilities, strengths and experience. In addition, he also succumbed to the trick planned by Larsen to falsify data and reports in order for them to look favorable. He also developed a stale relationship with the production team and seemed to fail in various management functions. These failures as discussed in this report can be classified as ethical, technical, legal, contractual and general management issues.

Technical Issues

One very serious technical problem that faced the project was the failure of the project to study initially and approve the required material. From the initial proposal, the required material was supposed to withstand specific temperature conditions, 65F to 145F. Gary Alison was aware that the material presented to NASA could only withstand a maximum of 130F. With the help of Henry Larsen, Gary falsified the information on his report indicating that the material could withstand conditions of up to 155F. Later, it was discovered that the material was not only below the required standards but also had a life expectancy of fewer than five years. This was not acceptable to NASA, and the information was concealed from NASA and SIT.

Ethical Issues

From the beginning of the Orion Shield Project, there were ethical questions raised by the onlookers. First, Henry Larsen selected for the management position an engineer who was close to him and had no experience in project management. His motive was to have someone he could manipulate easily and achieve his personal goals.

The manipulation that Larsen achieved of the project led to Gary Allison being in the same unethical position. The two lied about the quality and specification of materials being supplied to NASA and was aware of the falsehood. When Gary Allison said that the available material was not of the required specifications, Henry responded that “I could’ve just easily selected an ethical project manager.” Gary complied with the plans of Henry since he did not want to lose his position. Later, the two also lied about funding of the testing project which they indicated came from SEC instead of SIT. This led to the project expenses being above the estimated budget.

Ethical practices also demand that every aspect of the project management be conducted with honesty and diligence. However, the material supplied to NASA were accompanied by falsified reports that misled on the specifications and the life expectancy of the material. This dishonesty involved both Gary Allison and Henry Larsen.

Legal Issues

The Orion Shield Project was under the management and observation of Gary Allison. He was the one with the mandate to lead the project and ensure that all the deliverables and the processes were undertaken effectively. He illegally falsified the reports and proposals that were submitted to SIT. His failure to observe the code of honesty, and his inability to explain the costs associated with the project. Gary was also dishonest when asked about the costs of JXB3 by Sarah Wilson. These omissions and errors could lead Gary to be charged with perjury, intentional interference with official documents and improper conduct in a public office.

Contractual Issues

Contracts and agreements call for honesty and professional conduct. Henry Larsen lied to Gary Alison that the Orion Shield Project was a Fixed Price Incentive Fee which would mean that SIT would have to increase the profits of the project if it delivered above the requirements. However, the project was a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) which meant that the project had to work within the budget and deliver as required. Any extra costs of the project was a liability to the contractor and SIT was not to be involved. Gary, therefore, overspent expecting that SIT would make up for the extra cost but ended up affecting the contractor, SEC.

Other Management Issues

The most critical issue in this project is the lack of management experience on the part of Gary Allison. He failed to anticipate the requirement for this experience and ended up failing terribly. Secondly, Gary Allison was not an effective manager. Besides the failure to anticipate the needs of experience in management, Gary also allowed himself to be influenced by the need to retain the position and the relationship with Henry Larsen.


The failure of the Orion Shield Project started the moment Gary Allison, an experienced engineer with no experience in project management was appointed to head it. If an experienced project manager had been in place, the problems related to contracts, ethical consideration, management and the technical problems would not have arisen in the project. The project resulted to the overspending of the public funds and became a very important lesson for SEC and the government.

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