Successful project: The LogicaCMG Company instant energy project
The LogicaCMG is a UK based international company that is involved in designing, researching, and producing of gas meters for prepayment (Dalcher & Brodie, 2007). The company undertook an instant energy project that used new technologies. This project was meant to respond to the energy market need. The project was devised to meet the European energy standards. The project was also aimed at designing and producing ‘Smart Meters’ to replace the domestic consumer ‘Token Meters’. The ‘Smart Meter’ was expected to allow consumer monetary top-ups, using mobile phones. At the same time, it was targeted to the under-developed countries that lack pre-paid infrastructure for energy payment.
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The causes of success of the project
Since the project was to be carried out in a complex IT environment, the LogicaCMG had to devise and analyze the project risk factors (risk management). The LogicaCMG also acknowledged that the energy industry is complex, and hence saw the need for the project to address the needs of clients and industries (Dalcher & Brodie, 2007). The LogicaCMG also researched on risks surrounding the economic, legal, and, technological environments.
Communication management is required in projects to ensure that they are accomplished successfully (Kerzner & Learning, 2013). It provides critical information, and ideas to different people, in order to enhance the success of projects. The LogicaCMG enhanced internal communication using different methods. This ensured that all team members were passionate about the project. In addition, it built trust among team members, encouraging them that the project would be completed to the highest standards.
The LogicaCMG project team ensured that the organization and the project environment supported the project. The project team enhanced a long period to nurture the project. This guaranteed that once the meters were presented in the market, they would yield good returns. In addition, the organization’s technical experience and knowledge were also integrated in the project. For instance, the project manager had extensive working experience and knowledge of the energy industry. Legal factors such as patents and licenses were also evaluated during the project process. The LogicaCMG applied the patent in designing and producing pre-paid meters. This ensured that there was no legal confrontation during the implementation of the project. It also reduced the threat of new entrants.
Furthermore, the project team considered the economic factors surrounding the project’s development process. This was meant to help them do away with the uncertainties of the project. The LogicaCMG ensured that the meters captured the effects of demand. This was achieved through customer satisfaction. The project had to produce a meter that would be used by a contract or a pre-paid customer.
Technology integration was also critical in the development of the instant Energy project process. The team members analyzed the problems associated with project development. The LogicaCMG spent a lot in building up-to-date technology in the early stages of the project to ensure its long term success. This was also meant to avoid cost overruns, associated with the unpredictable changes in technology. In addition, upon project team members’ recommendations, technological changes were made to the project’s initial technical specifications.
In addition, the project team members justified the costs and benefits of the project to the senior management. The project costs and returns were evaluated using different project screening and selection techniques. At the same time, the cost overruns were allowed when the project was being implemented, as long as it never jeopardized the overall planned and unplanned outcomes. Above all, the financial requirements of the project were also evaluated.
Change management plays a significant role in making new projects successful (Kerzner & Learning, 2013). This is because the new project modifies an organization in different ways. It is also critical for organizational learning, in ensuring project success (Roberts, 2011). The LogicaCMG motivated its employees and altered different technical, leadership, and management aspects to enhance project success.
Unsuccessful project: Denver International Airport baggage handling system
According to the Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Computer Society (RAEBCS) (2004), very few IT projects are successful due to their complexity (Winch, 2010). The Denver International Airport baggage handling system of 1990s is a good example of an unsuccessful project. This project illustrates how dysfunctional decision making kills the IT projects.
Following the completion of the construction of Denver Airport in 1989, many airlines started using Denver as a flight hub. Later in the early 1990s the Airport team recognized the need to have a standard automated baggage handling system. The Airport project management team entered into a contract with the BAE Company to facilitate the implementation of this project (Roberts, 2011). The change by United Airlines with regard to baggage handling specifications delayed the roll-out of the system.
The roll-out was postponed severally because the system continued facing many problems. The scope of the project was trimmed. Upon its actual opening in 1995, the project had experienced further delays. In 2005, the system was scrapped to save costs. The project team decided to build a fully manual system (Winch, 2010).
The various causes of failure of the project
There are various reasons that led to the failure of these projects. The baggage handling was unsuccessful because of the decision makers’ total disregard of project complexity. The project managers underestimated the complexity of the project by formulating strategies that were unsuccessful. This led to the failure of the project. They failed to plan for the project. This resulted in making changes in the strategy, subsequently.
The project managers also failed to make firm commitments to curb the challenges that were caused by massive risks and uncertainties. Communication breakdowns also contributed significantly to the failure of the project. The other reasons that led to this failure include lack of oversight of the management, people working in silos, ignoring to work on risk management, poor project design, and failure to foresee the impacts that making changes in the strategy subsequently.
What distinguishes the two projects, both in terms of the process used to develop them and their outcomes
There are several factors that distinguish the two projects in terms of their process of development and outcomes. These include the complexity of the project, project communication management, change management, project risk analysis, and project planning among others. To begin with, project planning in the two projects differed in a number of ways. Most notably, the project managers of the Denver International Airport baggage handling system planned the project poorly.
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They designed the project wrongly, resulting in its failure. The project leaders were forced to make changes to the project subsequently because of their poor planning. They failed to foresee the impacts that the changes had to the project in the long run. The project was also associated with communication breakdowns, resulting to poor coordination between the leaders and followers of the project. The project managers also underestimated the complexity of the project. They never planned and formulated strategies to make it succeed. This led to the failure of the project. Underestimating the project’s complexities also led to the managers ignoring to work on risk management.
The project was overburdened with lots of risks, which made the organization spend huge amounts, wasted efforts, and incur huge losses. This is because the project team members were unable to accomplish the project on schedule and budget. They were also not able to meet their objectives and goals.
On the contrary, the managers of the LogicaCMG Company instant energy project, had a good plan. The team members employed different communication strategies to ensure a reliable coordination. They also analyzed the problems that they were likely to face in the project, and employed the most appropriate measures to deal with them (risk analysis). These helped them reduce operational costs. The team leaders together with their followers formulated strategies to manage change, when a need arose.
They were very aware of the complexities in the project, and hence formulated solutions in advance to curb them. The team members also integrated technological systems in their project to help them make work easy, reliable, accurate, fast, and cheap. All these combined led to the success of the project. This is because they were able to accomplish everything on budget and schedule. They were also able to meet the project’s objectives and goals.
Dalcher, D., & Brodie, L. (2007). Successful IT projects. London: Thomson Learning.
Kerzner, H. R., & Learning, I. I. (2013). Project management – best practices: Achieving global excellence. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Roberts, P. (2011). Effective project management. London, UK: Kogan Page.
Winch, G. (2010). Managing construction projects: An information processing approach. Chichester: Blackwell Pub.