ESD.36 | Fall 2012 | Graduate

System Project Management

Lecture Notes

Case Studies


HBS Case: 9–396–311, BAE Automated Systems (A): Denver International Airport Baggage-Handling System describes the events surrounding the construction of the BAE baggage-handling system at the Denver International Airport. It looks specifically at project management, including decisions regarding budget, scheduling, and the overall management structure. Also examines the airport’s attempt to work with a great number of outside contractors, including BAE, and coordinate them into a productive whole, while under considerable political pressures. Approaches the project from the point of view of BAE’s management, which struggles to fulfill its contract, work well with project management and other contractors, and deal with supply, scheduling, and engineering difficulties. Setting: Denver, CO; Construction industry; Engineering; 365 employees; 1989–1994.

Alternatively, we will discuss a “live” case based on BP’s emerging wind energy portfolio in North America.


HBS Case: 9–601–040, The Rise and Fall of Iridium Examines the history of Iridium Communications, a provider of mobile satellite services. Discusses the genesis of Iridium’s technical design, and then follows the venture through various stages of development. Describes Iridium’s attempts to build a subscriber base after the launch of commercial service, ending with the company’s filing for Chapter 11 in 1999.


HBS Case: 9–602–086, Microsoft.NET Set in the summer of 2000, following the unveiling of Microsoft’s .NET initiative to the public. Three of the key figures in .NET’s development are considering the next steps they would have to take to keep the initiative moving forward. Specifically, the challenges they face include the retirement of a key executive sponsor and the need to make major changes across many of Microsoft’s core products. The protagonists must come up with a process and an organizational structure to keep the initiative moving forward. Setting: Global; Software industry; $22.9 billion revenues; 14,000 employees; 2000. (Alternatively: Microsoft Office 2000 case)

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2012
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Design Assignments