International Guidance and Controls (CARV) Project (Case Study Analysis)


Introduction

The $ 20 million project of Confined Aquatic Recovery  Vehicle had to be completed in the coming 10 months. Hence, the main issue was meeting the deadline of the project with many considerable portions of the software not fully developed. This situation brought different alternatives to the PM that exhibited either to focus on the software development or to invest in the hardware development or to re-evaluate the situation at the end of the five months. In these situations all the possible solutions and the possible outcomes have to be considered to evaluate each alternative separately. For sure always the optimal scenario will be to minimize the total costs of the project completion and maximize the profit at the expected time.

Problem

The general problem can be based on different scenarios:
1-  Poor requirement analysis from the beginning were the customers are not fully involved.
2- Not Involving the users when analyzing the requirements or designing the phase.
3- Underestimating the complexity of the project especially if it is a new project.
4- Lack of change control by not expecting or planning for any degree of scope creep, therefore not  designing a process to manage scope creeps from the beginning  and knowing what is the (process, approvals, resources, implementation)
5- Structural design: Issues that lead to (lack of integrity - lack of communication - lack of feedback control – lack of training )
Specifically, the mentioned problems might led to the original problem in the case which was the under designed hardware that resulted in a critical difficulty developing the software and was time consuming than planned.

Alternative Solutions

Before going further with any of the mentioned solutions it is recommended to re- evaluate the whole situation starting from the (executive decisions-structure-planning-designing-training-strategy-scope-resources-transparency and communication level) and based on the results decide which option to go with or come up with a new solution.  While evaluating the alternatives and deciding which solution to go with; the intangible costs that relates to the reputation have to be considered.

Solution 1 : To invest in the software development as planned for the next 10 months.
In this solution the project team have to work full force and increase the count of full-time workers assigned to the project.
Risk Evaluation :
1- High development cost will reach $300,000 per month which is over 25% of the project budget. Thus, it's not possible to increase the head count or software development rate if it requires.
2- Excluding the hardware from development might delay the software development progress.

Solution 2 : To begin a hardware expansion and development immediately for the next 5 months.
In the solution part of the difficulty to develop the software was the original design for the hardware. Therefore, to eliminate  schedule risks the choice can be to expand and develop the hardware immediately
Risk Evaluation :
1- Expansion effort requires a $1.5 million total cost to the project.
2- Reduce software development effort and cost to the point of $200,000 per month for the remaining 10 months. Thus, software might not be fully developed on time.

Solution 3 : To delay the hardware expansion and development and continue with software development  for the next 5 months.
In this situation and based on the software progress after 5 months it was assumed to have a better and a clear idea of the chances to complete on time, and because the hardware expansion could be completed in 5 months, it was suggested to continue with the software development as planned for the first 5 months and expand the hardware after that. Of course  the software development will continue but with a less pressure.
Risk Evaluation :
1-  30% possibility that the 5 months progress will lead to the same position again with nothing new.
2- To be consistent based on the 30% possibility the chances to complete on time from a favourable progress point of view after 5 months will be 56% and 14% based on a unfavourable progress.
3- By excluding the 30% possibility, then based on a favourable progress completing on time will be  90% and 40% based on a unfavourable progress after 5 months.

Solution 4 : Request time extension from the client after explaining the current situation.
In this situation, asking for time extensions should be rare in contract of these type, as it might sink the  relationship with your client entirely! and the project might request a new deadline again.
Risk Evaluation :
The PM have to mollify the client with bonuses and or discounts which can be time consuming and add extra cost that might defeat the purpose of moving towards the deadline.

Recommended Solution
We should note that any decision will be based on the assumed alternatives and there will be no certain way to estimate the true value of each one. Based on the intended input and the expected output together with the evaluation process for each option and the impact on the reputation that might be caused, we believe that the third option to continue with the development of the software and the delay in the hardware will be the most appropriate option. Because much of the software will be developed and usable in the first five months the benefits with this alternative would be that the company could save money from its project by dropping the software development cost to $150,00 per month and the risk of the damage to the company’s reputation would also be minimized.

Evaluation
Satisfaction of the efforts and  how well the processes worked out, and whether the project did meet the deadline or not; effective formative evaluation can always help to back up the whole situation. Even by using simple techniques such as notebook keeping and recording problems can make a systematic process. Most projects will use formal or informal feedback from different groups to judge their success.

Feedback
We may want to feed our results back to interested parties. However, we have to focus on the internal aspects of feedback, because the most important value of incorporating a good evaluation is in providing information that can be used to improve the professional practices.

Results

}  Unsuccessful  results means that the project was not able to develop both the software and hardware on time and missed the deadline and failed to meet the client requirements under any mentioned alternative and faced a severe damage to the reputation of the company.
}  Unsuccessful results means that if the project was completed after the schedule the client will deduct a 2.5% from the contract  price on each extra month.
}  Unsuccessful results means that the project was set up to deliver the wrong outcome even if everything was delivered on time within the recommended budget, and with the required quality. 
}  Unsuccessful results means poor project implementation and evaluation through unmanaged feedback, risks, issues, scope and weak communication with stakeholders.
}  Successful results means that all the project outputs and inputs are with the benefits of the project in terms of cost and revenue. Also the strategic value of the successful project was reflected in the overall structure.

     Conclusion

If the solutions do not prove to be accurate then the expected outcome values are subject to change. However, the final decision has to be made from the mentioned alternatives and after evaluating all the risks and returns involved. The decision of whether to continue with the planned software development or to do some expensive equipment changes to eliminate the risk of missing the deadline contains a compound solution that requires a sensitive analysis to handle all the uncertain costs of the missing time. The situation here can be slightly different in terms of cost and profit, especially  when working under contracts and due dates. Meaning, we might choose a high cost alternative and expect less profit to avoid reputation damage and business  failure.



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