Essay Sample Analyzing the Failure of the REACH Project

Published: 2019-10-31
Essay Sample Analyzing the Failure of the REACH Project
Categories: Project management Engineering
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 991 words
9 min read

Contractors should ensure that any project going on is completed within the agreed time and budget. Particularly, the speed and quality of the project are important to any contractor. Some contractors rush to take the project that is complex which ends up failing before completion. The Canadian Aeronautics Administration (CAA) undertook a project of creating a Retractable Extended Arms Compatible Holder (REACH) which was a giant robotic arm. This project was worth $1.2 billion (Cross, n.d.). To complete this project, the CAA obtained different system software contractors such as Hollenbeck Aircraft and Eskina.

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The contractors of the REACH project were very keen on speed but poor in quality. The first phase of the project was completed on time and budget of getting it into the space station. However, problems occurred within the software, circuits, and motors. The project had a compressed schedule which may have caused a high risk as the robot failed to respond to commands. These contractors failed as they run the project in a parallel development contract. This contract method made the project phases to overlap. R&D, prototyping, production, testing, and quality control project phases should follow a sequence but in this contract, a phase began before the completion of the previous phase (Cross, n.d.). This was done to ensure the project was complete within the given deadline but the control of quality was not considered.

The threat given to cut the budget of the CAA if the project is not completed in time made the contractors have overlapping phases. The timeline given was too short to have quality computer simulations that would have helped in the REACH project. The CAA substituted the simulation with ground testing and this made the project to fail. Another reason why the project failed is that the prototypes used lacked equipments for suitable data testing.

A lot has to be done by the CAA contractors to prevent a failure of another project as the REACH project did. The contracts should learn that in every project the balance of speed, quality, and results is very important. The CAA contractors focused more on speed to complete the project within the given time but did not put measures of controlling the quality.

For a complex project like REACH, computer simulation and prototypes should be carried out (Cross, n.d.). It is important for the contractors to consider if the given time is enough to carry out the simulation before starting the project. The failure of this project indicates clearly that there was a poor plan of activities before the project started. as a project manager in this company, I would ensure there is an adequate planning before the project began to avoid overlapping of phases. The PM should also ensure that there is a risk management system (Montequin et al., 2016). This system would have helped to overcome this failure as some more qualified subcontractors would have been employed upon failure of the project. It is the work of the PM to ensure that there is clarity of task. The REACH project was a complex project and required a lot of simulation and prototypes which were omitted by CAA. The PM should also ensure that there is interference from the owner of the project. The REACH project may have failed due to the threats are given of cutting the CAA budget if the project is not completed in time. This made the contractors rush to complete the project without knowing they were rushing to fail. In addition, the PM should ensure that the project phases are not overlapping and a phase should be started after the completion of the previous phase.

The project process that would have led to successful completion of the REACH project would include the following; the first process is the project planning. In this process, the budget and schedule of activities in the reach project are to be outlined. A lot of time should be taken in planning (Montequin et al., 2016). The second process is project execution and control. In this process, the prototype of the robot should be developed and tested. Computer simulation should also be carried out to ensure the designed Robot is functioning as expected by the client. After this is done the robot is then developed. The final process involves testing and closedown of the project. The completed REACH project should be tested to ensure it is working and handed over to the government for use.

There was a lot that the CAA learned from the REACH project. They learned that despite how important a project timeframe is, quality and results of the project are also important and should be highly considered. Another important thing they learned was the importance of having a well-indicated schedule of project activities. This would help to overcome the problem of overlapping activities. They also realized the risk of omitting some of the activities such as prototype testing and simulation which may have led to the failure.

In conclusion, the speed and quality of any project are a major consideration by contractors. The CAA completed the REACH project within the agreed time but did not consider the quality. This led to the failure of the project. Important activities such as computer simulation were omitted and as a PM in this project, this would have been carried out in the second process of project execution. From this failure, a lot was learned such as the importance of having a proper schedule of activities and the problem caused by overlapping of phases. from the whole project results, it is clear that the CAA rushed to fail.


Cross, T. A complex project for the space station must come in on time and on budgetbut the push for speed might be its undoing. (1st ed.).

Montequin, V., Fernandez, S., Fernandez, F., & Balsera, J. (2016). Analysis of the Success Factors and Failure Causes in Projects:. International Journal Of Information Technology Project Management, 7(1), 18-31.

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