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Project Management Assignment: Failure of Swedish warship, The Vasa


Task: This project management assignment requires you to review the case of a Swedish warship, the Vasa, that sank on its maiden voyage. Once you have reviewed the background to the case and the events that unfolded, please provide a report in which you address the following issues:

1. To what extent does the Vasa fit the definition of a project? Why (not)?
2. Why did the Vasa sink, and who should be held accountable for it?
3. What were the underlying factors that contributed to the sinking?
4. What actions could have been taken to produce a different outcome? By whom? Justify why this could have made a difference (keep the context of the times in mind).
5. What key lessons can modern project managers take out of this incident?


It is evident in this project management assignment that the project management principle has undergone several investigations and development. Though, it could be said that project management is the process of doing and arranging works involving certain groups of people to reach to a certain goal or target within a specified time. This development of project management additionally suggests associations, theories and practitioners actually concentrating on the responsibility and the skills of the project manager than was majorly the case. This study will focus on the case study and project analysis of Vasa, which was a commissioned warship included one of the largest arsenal in Swedish ships. This study will evaluatereasons of project failure and discuss regarding factors to its sinking. This study will offer information on actions could have been taken and lessons learnt.

Main body
1. To what extent do the Vasa fit the definition of a project? Why (not)?

As per the general definition of project management, a specific project should have general themes such as start and end dates, cost and scope statements, timeline and offer something, which did not exist (Oschadleus, 2021). Depending upon these factors and common themes within a project; Vasa fit can be examined. It has been reviewed that as per the regulations of warships previously, the fit has been planned to be designed with sculptures targeted to illuminate the control, material and project management evolution of the project with disparage and criticize the enemy (Oschadleus, 2021). This project has been the country's most costly naval vessel ever created; expenses over 5% of the GNP. In this regard, Vasa fit could be considered as a megaproject.

On the other hand, the warship has been designed with 2 gun-decks, 64 bronze cannons, as well as around 50 man crew capacity has been considered a big ship, each broadside was able of hurling around 250 kg of shot that was double of the most effective European Vessels of the time (Oschadleus, 2021). This indicates that works and planning for Vasa fit has been a new concept and the works will provide new results; thus can be called as a project.

However, this project has turned fraught with complexities: the authority pressing for limited time delivery, yet kept involving with the planning process, changing the measurements and demanding continuous changes, a limitation of expenses in the middle phase of works resulting more postponements and others.

2. Why did the Vasa sink, and who should be held accountable for it?
The prominent theory for the sink of Vasa fit has been reported to be lack of security in the gun carriages. It has been reported from the interrogation of Captain Hansson. It has been reported that wind struck and all of them has been rolled to one side of the vessel to cause it heel (Eshagh et al., 2018). On the other hand, it has been reported that matters with Vasa's design visibility based on the project management view point and the specifically, whether it carried enough ballast for supporting the considerable weigh were also wrong to make the vessel sink. One of the most investigated and reported problem was the 17th century ship models, involving the main flat-bottomed hulls on the longer, shallow keel.

Laying the Low hull and keel in project management assignment

Figure 1: Laying the Low hull and keel
(Source: Craciun, 2018)

While the design in the vessel has been developed fighting situations during boarding, this had the challenged indebted of having a very lower "form of stability" as well as was considered as to capsize (Eshagh et al., 2018). Though, this challenge has been overcome through the application of adding effective weight stability attained through the placing of ballast layers of stones, the counts applied was merely controlled through the present space, this being limited by wooden frames as well as supported only lying among the bottom and the floor of the hold.

3. What were the underlying factors that contributed to the sinking?
This is likewise vital that the advancement of warship engineering from one encased weapon deck to two encased firearm decks denoted an adjustment in fighting strategies that got typical in the last part of the 1600s and 1700s (Eshagh et al., 2018). This brought about a request from the King that the boat at present under development (the Vasa) be augmented and that the expanded boat have two encased weapon decks.

On the other hand, Vasa was assembled one foot, five inches more extensive than initially arranged. In any case, the fall was at that point laid, so the adjustment in width must be applied to the upper pieces of the boat. This brought about a high focal point of gravity and added to the insecurity of the Vasa (cruising ships are incredibly touchy to the area of the focal point of gravity; a couple of centimeters can have an enormous effect) (Eshagh et al., 2018). This was found during furnishing of the boat that the shallow fall didn't give adequate space in the hold for the measure of stabilizer expected to balance out a 135-foot transport. Likewise, the slenderness of the fall required additional propping lumbers in the hold, which further confined the space accessible for counterweight (Eshagh et al., 2018).

The disservice was that the upper deck needed to convey the additional load of the 24-pound weapons in squeezed space that had been worked for 12-pound firearms, which further raised the focal point of gravity of the boat. Eventually, the Vasa was dispatched with 48 24-pound firearms; (24 on each deck) since assembling issues of the weapon provider forestalled conveyance of more firearms on time (Eshagh et al., 2018). Hanging tight for the extra firearms would have meddled with the necessity to dispatch the boat at the earliest opportunity. Other sign of unnecessary timetable pressing factor is that new assessment of the weapons (post-1961) demonstrates the projecting were of low quality. The firearms may well have broke down (detonated) during a maritime fight.

Additionally, techniques for computing the focal point of gravity, the behaving qualities, and strength factors for cruising ships were obscure. As an outcome, boats' commanders needed to become familiar with the operational attributes of their boats by experimentation testing. Vasa was the most astounding, however positively not by any means the only, boat to sink by behaving over during the seventeenth and eighteenth hundreds of years.

4. What actions could have been taken to produce a different outcome? By whom? Justify why this could have made a difference (keep the context of the times in mind).

The project manager and the project design team should keep in mind that putting work pressure on the Scrum team workers is around considered to set the project up for any types of problems. This action should be related with the responsibility and accountability of the management in the Vasa project (Eshagh et al., 2018). On the other side, it could be said that changing needs as well as the absence of calculations based on information from prior warship projects that time are frequently the reason of an overburden time plan, which requires to be limited down immediately.

One of the' most significant outcomes regarding the Vasa disaster is that the vessel has failed its "acceptance" examination that outlined of a team of sailors administrating along the deck to face how the vessel will hold up to the stability needed. The Vasa lurch majorly, so that the evaluation was postponed post a few trials, however, this result was never responded, promptly to avoid any problematic consequences to the King (Eshagh et al., 2018). This is indicating the need of software engineers or ship designers at that time to communicate whenever they see any challenges, which can detract from the consumers' knowledge.

5. What key lessons can modern project managers take out of this incident?
The initial lesson for modern project managers will be that the failing to develop and provide an acceptance test o the entire project and product (Eshagh et al., 2018). Software engineers should always prepare the data of any discrepancies of the total running tests of the acceptance and communicate to the project manager before finally launching the project Overbearing innovating in a project: Back then in the country ever, the shipwright had made this type of big vessel having 2 gun decks. This is pointing to the lack of insights and project assumption with scope calculations. Modern project managers should prepare these documents from the beginning of the project planning.

Secondary innovation problems: Various secondary moderations have been included during construction stages of the Vasa for accommodating the developed length, the extra gun deck and other alternations (Eshagh et al., 2018). This has made need creep of the entire project. Modern project managers should check and calculate the product risks at the very beginning.

From the above study the project background of Vasa Ship has been cleared. This study has been effective in pointing out the project stages for which this entire work can be attributed to project management principles. On the other hand, this study has been efficient in outlying what the main and in-depth causes of the ship sink with their implications on the project. Lessons learnt from the incident and what are the modern project management responsibilities have been understood from the project.

Craciun, A.D.R.I.A.N.A., 2018. The Disaster of Franklin: Victorian exploration in the Twenty-first-Century Arctic. Arctic Modernities–The environmental, the Exotic and the Everyday, pp.191-212.

Eshagh, M., Johansson, F., Karlsson, L. and Horemuz, M., 2018. A case study on displacement analysis of Vasa warship. Journal of Geodetic Science, 8(1), pp.43-54.

MacCormack, A.L.A.N. and Mason, R., 2005. The fate of the Vasa. Harvard Business School case. 9-605-026. pp.1-8.

Oschadleus, J., 2021. AGSM | Business School. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 March 2021].


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