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Project Management: evaluate the project of a new 'fun' model stereo for teenagers

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PM best solutions needed as comprehensive and insightful as possible. Please do not only give me cut-n-paste content from the web or just definitions. You may want to include it if you like, but I am looking for your special insights.

Scenario 1
A company producing electronic and audio equipment has carried out a market survey. From the results of this survey, the company plans to introduce a new "fun" model stereo tape cassette player. The devise is to have attractive styling, low price and calculated to appeal to the tastes of teenage customers. By most standards, this could be regarded as a small project, requiring simple budgeting and some program control. Everything should be straightforward.

To launch the new product design, a meeting in the chief engineer's office took place with representatives form other interested departments, such as sales and production. Harold, a design engineer, was assigned to carry out the actual development work. The purpose of this meeting was aimed at setting Harold off on the right track to create the cassette player envisaged by the company's directors on the basis of the market survey.

Harold was given a set of broad objectives. He emerged from the meeting with mental notes, rough written notes and sketches. He was given an idea of production costs, styling, performance, preferred selling price, and an approximate date for distribution and release of the unit to the market.

Harold was very enthusiastic about the project and since he is responsible to develop the first experimental model of the player, retreats into his laboratory with a few interested and devoted assistants to develop the model. This working model will be subjected to the critical attention of various experts, among whom include marketing staff, industrial designer, production engineers, and representatives from the manufacturing department.

Following successful evaluation of the prototype and incorporation of recommendations from the experts, the next stage is preparation of drawings, specifications, and a small pilot production batch of units. This stage will take longer than the development of the model. The production department decides to go ahead with some limited tooling. Production engineers set up some trial manufacturing procedures, check on tolerances and test any automatic operations.

While reflecting on the project at this point, Harold discovers that he could have specified a different amplifier, which gives higher performance at a slightly reduced price. He decides to implement the change, although, it will require a redesign of the printed circuit boards even though they have been designed and ordered in prototype quantities.

In the meantime, Harold discovers that there are new loudspeakers available, which would better fit the increased power of the new amplifier and would also perfectly fit the size and shape of the cabinet. These speakers are available at only a slightly increased price and will result in a significant increase in performance. Harold decides to go ahead with the new speakers, although, this will result in further modifications and scrapping of some work.

When the prototype batch is completed, Harold discovers that the batch has a fault, which was not detected in the laboratory model. There is a significant amount of rumble from the tape cassette drive motor. Harold has several options. He could revert to the original design, using the original amplifier and speakers or introduce a simple filter circuit to reduce the rumble. Both of these options would in Harold's opinion degrade the performance of the unit. Harold decides to modify the main power unit and specify a higher quality tape drive motor. This change will cause some additional delay and cost. The unit is completed and passes all tests and Harold is satisfied.

Question: In a 1-page response, evaluate this project in terms of its outcome and offer recommendations, if any, for improving the project.

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Solution Summary

To evaluate a project, the response has used a slightly different example, but still a project. The solution (without information from the web) suggests who should be involved in the process and how it should proceed.

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