Airbus project failure led to delays, additional costs

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 By Jack Nevison

Well-trained project managers are essential for the success of any project, large or small. Poorly trained managers make more mistakes, and any mistake—even a minor one—can cause serious cost and schedule overruns. This was the case for Airbus SAS when it attempted to create its A380 aircraft more than a decade ago.

As explained by the blog "Why Projects Fail," the Airbus A380 has served as the world's largest commercial aircraft for six years. It is capable of holding 850 passengers on two separate decks—a feat that few other airplanes can match. But as impressive as the A380 is, the project that created it was less so.

When planning for the A380 began in late 2000, Airbus was a company with many divisions, the result of a merger that crossed European borders. French and German teams, in particular, fought for control.

This struggle led to one of the most serious problems that can strike a project: poor communication and coordination.

A major mistake, as explained by the blog, arose from Airbus's decision to continue with the project while using two different CAD systems. This resulted in numerous design problems and inconsistencies. For example, wires that were manufactured to a specific length turned out to be too short. For an aircraft with more than 100,000 wires, this problem was costly to fix.

In the end, the A380 was finished two years late and billions over budget.

New Leaf offers several ways for managers to acquire the PDUs needed to earn or maintain their PMP® certification. One option is the QPM™ series of games, which allow players to improve their management skills at any time, anywhere—even on the go, with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

"PMI," PMP," and "PMBOK" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

"QPM" is a registered mark of New Leaf Project Management. All rights reserved.

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