1.0 The first objective of this report is

1.0 Introduction

A
project is defined as an activity carried
out within a specified period of time,
with a defined budget and that is aimed
at achieving specified objectives. A project is considered to be successful if
its objectives are achieved within the
specified period, within the budgetary
constraints and with products being of high quality. The objective of this
report is to evaluate the success or failure of the BBC digital media
initiative. The BBC digital media initiative was a project launched in 2008
with the main goal of modernising methods
of production and archiving by incorporating media asset management systems and
connected digital production. This report seeks to achieve three objectives.
The first objective of this report is to discuss the meaning of project success
and in light of this definition, to outline whether the BBC digital media
initiative was successful or not. The Secondary
objective is to present an analysis of the factors that contributed to the
outcome of the BBC digital media initiative and the role of project strategy in
bringing forth aforementioned outcome.
Lastly, the third objective of the report is to evaluate how the utilisation of the project best practice could
have influenced the outcome of the BBC digital media initiative.

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2.0 The success or failure of the
project

The
success of a project can be measured from
four dimensions namely stakeholders, products, project time and cost
constraints and business. In respect to stakeholders, a project is considered
to be successful if it meets the needs of stakeholders. Stakeholders are
involved or are affected by the project. Examples of stakeholders in a project
include the client, project financiers, project managers, project team players
and even the society as a whole (Snowden et al.,
2011). A project is, therefore, considered to be successful if its outcome
meets the needs of all or most of the project stakeholders. Based on the
stakeholder dimension as a measure of project success, the BBC digital media
initiative is considered as a failed
project. The main stakeholder in the BBC digital media initiative was the
British Broadcasting Corporation. The main role why the BBC approved the
project was to integrate digital platforms into the production archiving of
content. The success of this project would, therefore, result in increased cost savings as well as an
improvement in the speed at which content is transferred thus improving the
overall service delivery by the BBC. Specifically, BBC was expected to achieve
cost savings equivalent to £18 million once the project is completed. Unfortunately, after a long period of attempts by
different groups to run the project, the project was abandoned in 2013. BBC as
one of the major stakeholders in this project did not meet its needs, and as such,
this project is considered to be a failure. Likewise, project sponsors are
among stakeholders who expected to earn a significant share of income from the
cost savings realised following the
completion of the project. Given that the project was abandoned, the project sponsors ended up losing funds, and therefore their needs were not met. This also shows that indeed, the project was a
failure.

Products
or project deliverables are used to determine whether a particular project was
successful or not. Products are further
classified into two categories namely intermediate deliverables and
final deliverables. A project is usually formed
with the main objective of delivering a particular product to the client. If
the project delivers the desired product to the client,
then it is considered to be successful. On the other hand, if the project fails
to deliver the desired product to the client then the project is considered to
be a failure (Bartlett, 2002). In the case of
BBC digital media initiative, the final product was an integrated media asset
management system and a connected digital production platform. The aforementioned product would play a major role
in facilitating faster, more efficient and less costly production of content,
storage of such content as well as its subsequent transfer from user to
another.  As an organisation involved in the media industry, BBC was in dire need
of a platform through which media content could be created with ease as well as
easily transferred to facilitate faster and effective broadcasting.
Unfortunately, the company was unable to develop the media asset management
system, and the project was abandoned after spending huge resources
within a period of five years. By virtue of not being able to deliver the
final product to BBC, the BBC digital media initiative can be considered as a failed project.

Project
time and cost constraints can also be used to assess whether a project has been
successful or not. A project is defined
as any undertaking with a definite time frame, and budgetary constraints and
which seeks to achieve specified objectives. It is, therefore, important for a
project to be completed within the specified timeframe and within the budgetary
constraints for it to be considered to be successful. In this regard, a project
is deemed to be a failed project if it extends beyond the specified time frame
and also if the project ends up consuming more resources than the budgeted
resources. Based on the project time and cost
constraints, the BBC digital media initiative is considered to be a failed
project. The BBC digital media initiative was initially planned to last for
three years. However, five years after the project had been launched; there were no signs of the project completion and
delivery to the client. The project is,
therefore, considered to be a failure because it took longer than the time
frame which it was designed. Secondly,
the budget for the BBC digital media initiative was £81.7 million (PWC, 2013). However, the project was abandoned after having consumed more than
£98 million. The project is, therefore, considered to be a failure because it
spent more than that the budgeted resources.

The
success or failure of a project can also be
determined by evaluating the business aspect of the project. In this
regard, a project is evaluated on the basis of its contribution to the overall
improvement in the performance of the business. A project is considered to be
successful if it contributes significantly to the improvement in the
performance of the business (Morris et al., 2011).
On the contrary, a project does not contribute to improvement in business
performance, or if the project results
into a decline in the performance of the business, then such a business is
considered to be a failed project. For a project to be considered to be
successful, its implementation must result in
either direct or indirect benefit to the business. The benefits of the project to
business fall into three main categories including direct financial
benefits, direct non-financial benefits and indirect benefits. Direct financial
benefits of a project to a business include an increase in revenue or improved
cost savings, increased market share and improvement in business profits.
Direct non-financial benefits of a project include improving the functional
performance of the business, enhancing customer satisfaction, solving specified
customer problems, fulfilling the needs of customers, and also meeting
technical standards and specifications within an organisation. Indirect benefits of a project include the creation of new business opportunities in
future, enabling the company to gain a competitive
advantage in the existing market, enabling the company to acquire new
markets, enabling the company to acquire and use new technologies and also
enhancing the capabilities as well as competencies of the business. From a
business perspective, the BBC digital media initiative is considered to be a
failed project. Firstly, rather than resulting in
cost savings for the corporation, the BBC digital media initiative caused
losses of £38.2 million. The project was also expected to result in improved production and archiving of
content. However, the project was never
delivered, and as a result, the
project could not result in improved
processes within the corporation. This
also explains why the project is considered to have
been a failure.

 

 

3.0
Factors that contributed to the failure of the project

There
are ten project success factors. These are factors that are important to the
success of a project. The project manager, project team members, the project
sponsor among other stakeholders within the project need to pay attention to
the success factors in order to make sure
that the project is conducted successfully. According to Reiss (2006), there
are various project success factors. They include a clear definition of the
project mission, top management support for the project, effective and
satisfactory consultation with the client. Other factors include the recruitment, selection and
effective training of highly competent and motivated personnel to handle the
project and the availability of appropriate technology as well as the necessary
expertise to carry out technical tasks within the project and the client
acceptance of the project. Other project success factors include effective
monitoring and provision of timely feedback in the course of project implementation,
effective troubleshooting and effective
communication among project team members and other stakeholders. To ensure that
a project is conducted successful, the
project manager alongside project team members needs to make sure that the
specific requirements of the aforementioned
success factors are considered
throughout the entire project.

One
of the project success factors is the project mission. To ensure that a project
is successful it is important for the project management team to define the goals
of the project and outline specific objectives and timelines through which such
objectives would be attained. This plays an important role in giving the
project management a sense of direction in
regard to the completion of the project. According to Reiss and Raynor (2012),
the project mission statement refers to the manner in which the world would
perceive the outcome of the project and how the project management team will
know that it has achieved the project objectives. The project mission
incorporates project objectives which must be tangible and should be translated into key performance indicators.
Such key performance indicators are measured to ascertain the project progress
as well as the direction of the project. One of the reasons behind the failure
of the BBC digital media initiative is the failure of the project management
team to define the goal of the project and also provide specific project
objectives which would have given the management a sense of direction in
regards to the completion of the project. According to Hughes et al. (2016), the BBC digital media initiative failed because of confusion
among the people in charge of running the project. Accordingly, there was no
sense of direction among the project management team members, and this explains it became increasingly
difficult to make sure that the project is delivered on a timely basis and
within the budget constraints. Confusions in a project management process occur when the project management fails to
define the goal of the project, specific objectives of the project and also
when the project management fails to assign specific tasks to different
individuals within the project in line with the project objectives.

Management
support is also a project success factor. To
make sure that a project is successful, it is important for the project
manager to win the support of the management. Management support plays an
important role in resulting in the
successful completion of the project. The management support ensures that all
project team members have adequate resources to conduct the project
successfully. The project management team includes such members as the
programme manager who carries out
planning and design of the project in addition to ensuring that the project its
requirements (Bartlett, 2002). Additionally,
when there is management support, the project manager will be able to easily
gain access to necessary resources such as people, equipment among others which
would, in turn, bring forth improved project delivery timelines. Poor
management support played a significant part in the failure of BBC digital
media initiative (Ward and Daniel,2012). According to the National Audit Office
(NAO) report into the digital media initiative, top executives at BBC did not
have a sufficient grip on the project and as a result,
did not play roles adequately in making sure that the project is conducted successfully. Additionally, the
project operated without a senior responsible owner (SRO) from BBC which also
indicated that there was poor top management support for the project. In addition, the top management of BBC was more
concerned with the technical aspects of the project rather than focusing on the
overall impact of the project on the BBC business. This also affected their approach to managing and supporting the
project which eventually led to the failure of the project. Indeed, management
support plays a major role in making sure that a project is successful and in
the absence of management support it is very difficult for a project to achieve
its specific objectives.

However,
monitoring and feedback are also project success factors, in order to make sure
that a project is carried out successfully it is essential for the management
to make sure that the project is monitored
continuously and feedback is provided to the relevant parties to make sure that
corrective measures are undertaken promptly. In the absence of effective
monitoring and feedback, it is difficult to ensure the successful completion of
the project (Reiss and Raynor, 2012).
Monitoring and evaluation play a major
role in informing the project team members about the challenges encountered in
the course of running of the project which in turn enables the project team
members to put in place appropriate corrective measures for ensuring project success.
Monitoring and evaluation also enable the
project manager to identify potential risks and ensure that appropriate
mechanisms are put in place to mitigate the risks and make sure that the
project is completed successfully. The
BBC DMI project failed because of its inability to put in place effective
monitoring, evaluation and feedback mechanisms. For instance, when the project
implementation process was assigned to
Siemens, the management of BBC did not take any actions in monitoring the
progress of the project and until it was too late. By the time the BBC
management checked on Siemens, project the project had already incurred losses
equivalent to £27.1 million (Great Britain et al., 2014). In the
long run, this negatively affected the completion of the project. Therefore, to
ensure that a project is successful it is essential for the project management
team to put in place effective monitoring, evaluation and feedback mechanisms.
Such mechanisms would ensure that the project is completed successfully and at
the highest level of quality.

Effective
communication is yet another project success factor. To ensure the successful completion of a project, it is essential
for the management to put in place effective means of communication so that the
project manager can communicate effectively with team members and that the
project team is able to maintain
effective communication with other stakeholders such as the client, sponsors
among others. This plays a major role in
facilitating the successful completion of the project. One of the reasons
behind the failure of the BBC DMI project is poor communication among concerned
stakeholders. Confusion is cited as one
of the reasons behind the failure of the BBC DMI (Great Britain, 2012). Confusion
occurs in a situation in which there is poor communication among the team
players. There was poor communication between the top executives of the company
and the project team manager. This
explains why the top management failed to consider the impact of the project on
the entire business of BBC instead focusing only on the technical aspects of
the project. Additionally, there was poor communication between various
stakeholders involved in the project. Specifically, the top management of
business did not maintain effective communication with Siemens which had been assigned the responsibility of carrying
out the project. Poor communication between BBC and Siemens culminated into
huge losses equivalent to £27.1 million and the subsequent termination of the
contract with Siemens.

4.0 The role of best practice in the
project’s success

A number of actions are considered to be among the best practices in ensuring the
successful completion of a project. The BBC digital media initiative was a
failed project. However, if managers of project adopted a number of best practices in the managing of the project, it would
have been successful. This section discusses best practices in project
management that could have saved the BBC digital media initiative (Thiry,
2010). Firstly, effective communication is one of the
best practices in project management that could have saved the BBC digital
media initiative. To ensure the
successful completion of a project, it is essential for the management
to put in place effective means of communication so that the project manager
can communicate effectively with team members and that the project team is able to maintain effective communication
with other stakeholders such as the client, sponsors among others. This plays a major role in facilitating the
successful completion of the project. One of the reasons behind the failure of
the BBC DMI project is poor communication among concerned stakeholders. To ensure the successful completion of the
project, the top management at BBC could have maintained constant communication
with the project team as well as other partners who
are working on the project such as
Siemens. This would have guaranteed the
successful completion of the project.

The second best practice in project management that
could have saved BBC digital media initiative a clear definition of the project
mission. According
to Great Britain (2012), the BBC digital media initiative
failed to because of confusion among the people in charge of running the
project. Accordingly, there was no sense of direction among the project
management team members, and this
explains it became increasingly difficult to make sure that the project is
delivered on a timely basis and within the budget constraints. Confusions in a
project management process occur when the
project management fails to define the goal of the project, specific objectives
of the project and also when the project management fails to assign specific
tasks to different individuals within the project in line with the project
objectives.  A clear definition of the
project mission would have given the project manager among other stakeholders a
sense of direction. This would have
played a major role in ensuring that the project is completed on a timely basis
and at a high level of quality. The project mission outlines the goal of the
project and specific objectives of the project. The objectives of a project
include specific timelines for the delivery of the objectives which could have
given the management a sense of direction in
regard to handling project related responsibilities. This would have ensured the successful
completion of the project.

The
third best practice in the management of projects that could have saved the BBC
digital media initiative is the use of continuous monitoring and evaluation of
the project. The BBC digital media initiative project failed because of poor
management of the project. To make sure that a project is carried out
successful it is essential for the management to make sure that the project is monitored continuously and feedback is
provided to the relevant parties to make sure that corrective measures are undertaken promptly.
In the absence of effective monitoring and feedback, it is difficult to ensure
the successful completion of the project. When the Department of Defence
Military Health System launched the Patient Movement Items Tracking System, the
project manager put in place effective monitoring and feedback mechanisms to
ensure that the project’s progress is constantly
tracked so that any deviations can be
corrected in time. The project manager ensured that clients obtain
feedback on the project progress on a monthly basis so that any deviations from
the project are corrected. Indeed, the presence of effective monitoring and
feedback systems played a major role in ensuring that the project is completed
in time bringing forth annual savings worth over $6 million (GCN, 2009). Monitoring and
evaluation, therefore, plays a major role in informing the project team members
about the challenges encountered in the course of running of the project which
in turn enables the project team members to put in place appropriate corrective
measures for ensuring project success. Monitoring and evaluation also enable the project manager to identify
potential risks and ensure that appropriate mechanisms are put in place to
mitigate the risks and make sure that the project is completed successfully. Monitoring and evaluation could have
enabled the project managers to identify potential challenges and address them
before they could occur in order to
guarantee the successful completion of the project.

The
fourth best practice in project management that could have saved the BBC
digital media initiative is top management support.  To make sure
that a project is successful, it is important for the project manager to
win the support of the management (Williams and Parr,
2003). Management support plays an important role in resulting in the successful completion of the project.
The management support ensures that all project team members have adequate
resources to conduct the project successfully. Additionally, when there is
management support, the project manager will be able to easily gain access to
necessary resources such as people, equipment among others which would, in
turn, bring forth improved project delivery timelines. Top management as one of the best practices in project management was
evident in the National Data Exchange (N-Dex) project initiated by FBI Criminal
Justice Information Services in order to allow for sharing of criminal data
across state, local federal and tribal levels thus facilitating effective
prevention of terrorists and criminal attacks (GCN, 2009). The top management of FBI Criminal Justice
Information Services offered adequate support for the National Data Exchange
project by providing requiring financial services to the tune of $100 million
as well as adequate human resource support systems. This made it possible for the project to be completed within the set timeline of 4 years. The successful
completion of the project led to enhancement of public safety by allowing 200000
law enforcement officers from 18000 agencies to collaborate and share
information that would lead to prevention of terrorist and criminal attacks.
Adequate management support could have played a major role in making sure that
the project is completed promptly. This
would have ensured that the project is carried out in line with clients’
expectations and that is in line with the budget and time frame.

5.0
Conclusion

In conclusion, the BBC digital media initiative was
a project failed because of its failure
to meet four measures of project namely stakeholder satisfaction, project time
and constraints, business improvements and product delivery. The project took longer than it should have taken and
consumed more financial resources than it had been
planned. The project was abandoned
meaning that it did not meet the stakeholder needs. It also did not result in any improvements. Factors that led to the
project failure include poor communication between the project team leader and
the team members as well as poor communication with other stakeholders,
inadequate top management support, poor definition of project mission, goals
and objectives and poor monitoring, evaluation and feedback mechanisms. Project
management best practices that could have saved the BBC DMI include maintaining
effective communication, top management, facilitating monitoring and feedback
provision and clear definition of project mission, goals and objectives.