Good Example Of Establishing The X-Prize Vehicles Into A Stand Alone Program; Essay
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IT100 – Strategic Project Management
It is the purpose of this X-Prize Vehicle analysis and recommendation paper to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of three choices of rocket launch vehicles scaled for Scaled Composites. This paper is in response to the Ansari X-Prize competition which promotes private alternative choices to outer- space travel (Ansari 2009). The three options include the following:
Incorporating the X-Prize vehicles into the existing program of launch vehicle assembly;
Establishing a portfolio of X-Prize vehicles.
This paper is intended to provide a recommendation to the Vice President of Engineering of Space Systems Technologies (SST). The recommendation has to suit the limited scope provided for a project. SST Corporation assembles commercial and military launch vehicles. SST Corporation does no fabrication but, instead, it simply provides customers specialized assembly expertise, brings the prefabricated parts of the expendable launch vehicle together, and through an assembly process delivers a completed launch vehicle to the launch facility to be mated with the propulsion system prior to launch.
The goal of the Ansari Space X-Prize program is to challenge teams from around the world to build a “reliable, reusable, privately financed manned spaceship” which has the capability of carrying three people to “100 kilometers” across the Earth’s surface twice within two weeks (Ansari, 2009, para. 1). SST Corporation will assemble the different competitor rockets and ship to Scaled Composites who will conduct engine mating, launch, and test data collection.
Incorporation into Existing SST Launch Vehicle Program
However, it should be noted that incorporating the program into an existing will alleviate the necessity for additional resources. Skillful, well-trained, and knowledgeable employees are costly valuable assets. As a result, utilizing existing personnel makes the production of these launch vehicles more cost-effective (Resch, 2011).
Creation of a New SST Launch Vehicle Program
Establishing a new program can effectively take advantage of the existing assembly processes. On the other hand, it should be noted that the creation of a new SST launch vehicle program may require the employment and training of new personnel and the use of new systems and technologies to create this new SST launch program. Nevertheless, this does not align with the goals of the SST Corporation since this company does no fabrication but provides customers specialized assembly expertise by bringing prefabricated parts of the expendable launch vehicle together before bringing into the launch facility to be mated with a propulsion system prior to launch. Resch (2011, p. 18) notes that if “project benefits aren’t directly related to the corporate strategic goals and objectives” then they are not “actually benefits.” Resch (2011, p. 18) adds that “[t]rue project benefits” are ones that contribute directly to the “overall strategic intent of the firm,” which is considered the big picture.
Furthermore, it will be too costly to create to have a new program approach. This is because this could lead to increased costs for production and manufacturing as well as the employment and training of new personnel to implement this new program approach. Resch (2011, p. 18) mentions that project professionals need to possess an “in-depth and comprehensive understanding” of their “business landscape” in order to guide projects to successful completion with “quantifiable success metrics.” Therefore, in order to successfully implement a new program approach and to have an “in-depth and comprehensive understanding” of this new program approach it is expected that the team working on such a project be given the required resources and be taught the requisite skills to implement such a program, and it will be costly to do so.
Creation of SST Launch Vehicle Program Portfolio
SST’s creation of a portfolio program will provide an interdependent or directly-related process which integrates all of the projects of the SST Corporation that are created to meet its strategic business goals or objectives (Project Management Institute, 2013). SST’s strategic goals will involve the bringing together of prefabricated parts of the expendable launch vehicle and through an assembly process deliver a completed launch vehicle to the launch facility to be connected to the propulsion system prior to launch. SST Corporation focuses on the assembly of commercial and military launch vehicles. Therefore, the Ansari X program should be integrated into series of projects that will align themselves directly with the strategic goals of the SST Corporation which is to assemble prefabricated of the Ansari X launch vehicles and then deliver a completed launch vehicle to the launch facility.
This approach is beneficial it helps to integrate the strategic goals of the SST Corporation with the Ansari X-Prize program in several projects rather than one so that the SST Corporation (who will be the seller) will perform contract for the buyer (who will be Solid Composites) (Project Management Institute, 2000). This approach is not beneficial because it will be time-consuming for the organization to perform multiple projects simultaneously and many human and financial resources need to be utilized in order to perform all of these projects simultaneously and monitor these effectively.
Recommendation and Course of Action
Therefore, my recommendation to our Engineering Vice President is to commit to the option of incorporating existing SST launch vehicle program with the Ansari X project. This is because it is the most cost-effective because it enables SST Corp. to utilize personnel would be already familiar with SST launch vehicle program, and will not require newly-employed and trained-personnel. Furthermore, it will be more manageable to work with personnel from the Ansari X-prize program so as to more effectively realize both the goals of the Ansari X-prize program and the SST launch vehicle program by using “adaptive leadership techniques.” To develop the program effectively, it will be important to consider the “merits of the product of the project” while bearing in mind possible management concerns, such as “financial returns,” “market share”, and “public perceptions” (Project Management Institute, 2000, p. 54).
We can confidently scope, schedule, cost and deliver a capability with this option. I would recommend that if the company leadership wants to pursue a more divergent capability, then it is important that we brainstorm a roadmap that will integrate a two or more of the options stated above.
This focus paper examined three approaches to completing a proposal from SST to Scaled Composites with the objective of being selected as the exclusive sub-contractor to assemble the rocket components for the cargo launch vehicles. The recommended course action is incorporating the Ansari X-project into existing SST launch vehicle program. This approach is most prudent method for completing these projects because the existing personnel and other resources will be best used to complement both Ansari X-project into existing SST launch vehicle programs.
There is no simple solution for SST Corporation to decide the correct approach to manage the Ansari X-project. The SST leadership team needs to take into account the risk management processes and value. Metrics are necessary tools that are required to define “what something is and how the quality control process measures it” (Project Management Institute, 2004, p. 186).These metrics (which include “defect density, failure rate, availability, reliability, and test coverage”)
are important systems of checks and balances that are strategic to the successful outcome of any project (Project Management Institute, 2004, p. 186).
Ansari X-Prize. (2009). Xprize.org. Retrieved from http://space.xprize.org/ansari-x-prize
Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) (5th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Project Management Institute. (2004). A guide to project management body of knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide) (3rd ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Project Management Institute. (2000). A guide to project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Resch, M. (2011). Strategic project management transformation: Delivering maximum ROI & sustainable business value. Fort Lauderdale, FL: J. Ross Publishing, Inc.
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