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Perspective, Planning and Implementation

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MODULE: Perspective, Planning and Implementation (MAlpha)

We hereby declare that this assignment is entirely our own work, and that it has not previously been submitted to any Higher Education Institution. We also declare that all published and unpublished sources have been fully acknowledged and properly referenced. This includes figures, tables and exhibits. Where modified by us, this has also been indicated.”

Print Name


ID Number

Sboniso Ryan Phakathi


Maggie Matsie


Samatha Cloete


Imtiaz Ebrahim


Qaphelani Khanyile


Nikolien Tabata


Cranefield College: Second Assignment June 2019

CASE: Snapchat Failed Redesign

Snapchats Summary of events:

[pic 1]

Question 1:

The case features the failure of the Snapchat design (as a project) because it did not abide by the most basic rules of project management. Identify the reasons (factors) for failure, briefly discuss them, their causes as well as the consequences.


Firstly, the Association of Project Management (APM BoK), defines the number one golden rule of project management as being ‘Stakeholder Engagement’.

This is a vital for delivering a project as it is a means of seeking ‘trust’ & ‘buy in’ with the target audience and benefactors, well before the execution of the project and all the way through to the closure of it. Stakeholders are defined as all those that have an interest in your project & seek to benefit, whether positively or negatively from it. The process of stakeholder engagement from the project managers perspective, is intended to learn, to consult, to inform & most importantly, to influence, for the overall benefit of the project.

The project manager is expected to manage stakeholder engagement using the following framework: -

  1. Identification of stakeholders – both internal & external
  2. Analyse – Needs vs fears, preferences
  3. Plan the engagement – inform vs consult
  4. Act – Action your plan
  5. Review – lessons learnt

If we had to relate this fundamental basic rule of project management to the failure of the Snapchat design as a project, then the immediate observation one would make is that there was not a visible mechanism put in place upfront by the project design team, to effectively understand the needs of the stakeholders. One could even take it a step further by stating that the likelihood of the proper identification of stakeholders was not adequately done.

Secondly, “The PMBOK defines Project Management as, the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to provide activities to meet the project requirements.” Project Scope Management was one of the reasons that led to the failure of the Snapchat design it was not adequately done. The project management techniques were not at all applied because there was no fixed budget (cost), time (duration of the design), output (measurable and deliverable goals) and quality. From the onset, there was no clear vision or goal about the redesign of the application. Also, the company or the CEO didn’t have a proper SWOT analysis in place, because if they had one, they wouldn’t have lost so many users/customers in just a short period of time.

Also, the basic definition of a Project based on PMBoK is “a temporary endeavour to create a unique product or service”, and the management thereof is “the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements”.

Based on the above statement the scope and time of this upgrade was not agreed upon. By not clearly identifying what needed to be upgraded was one of their bigger failures. They also completely omitted their product reviews from their end users. They wanted to make it more user friendly but, in the end, did not meet their customer needs. The update was done but did not take into account the fact that IOS and Android user experiences were very different, and they mainly focused on upgrades on IOS.

SWOT Analysis – Snapchat Inc.


  • First to market new idea. Able to counterbalance the strengths of existing social media giants  
  • High levels of resilience
  • Willing to stick it out in tough times (market downturns, DAU drops, negative criticism)
  • Considers product to be worth more than IPO


  • Did not consider getting a patent for product
  • Did not understand the software application base correctly (IOS vs Android)
  • No proper research on target market (demographic)
  • Did not consider project prototypes before launch


  • Emphasis on regular updates to constantly improve user experiences
  • Understanding the evolving needs of teenagers (which was the initial target market), & continue to provide content/functionality to fill that space


  • Social Media giants (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter)
  • No emphasis on regular updates to application as well as software base

 The factors for failure by the Snapchat project design team are:

  1. The scope of work is not clearly defined and outlined which will prohibit the Snapchat Project Manager from effectively managing the project as it has unclear: The real question of “What problem are we trying to solve” was not answered and the following approach could have helped in ascertaining this:
  1. Critical success factor – no idea of what would the project looked like if successful and potential risks that the organisation is willing to absorb.
  1. Time, Cost and Quality not well understood to be able to conclude possible risks and implementation done  
  2. Stories and incoming chats on the same page – The latest redesign compressed stories and incoming chats on one page called FRIENDS. Incoming Snapchats are on the top, but the stories and conversations look almost similar and no longer in serial order. The messaging app uses an algorithm to show stories from friends it thinks you care about.
  3. Their experience was limited and one-dimensional - Snapchat’s team and developers had insignificant knowledge on how the app is run and maintained to keep up with the other social platforms’. They focused only on the usual rather than trying to explore other features that would attract more customers/users.
  1. Due to the nature of the content you can share on Snapchat, it was not a platform that drives anything greater than chipped engagement, or short conversations that would eventually port over to another messaging app where you don’t lose track of what was said half an hour ago. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook provided users with a variety of ways to communicate and share different types of information with each other; Snapchat only stuck on multimedia sharing content. On Instagram for example, Snapchat’s closest platform, you have the ability to share content far more naturally with friends, tag each other and have burst of conversations with one or more people. The use of old or existing team posed a huge threat to Snapchat’s loss in customers and fall in revenue.
  2. Had they hired more business savvy and skilled engineers to code the app for better appearance, this would not have happened. There was no proper segregation and assignment of duties, especially for the developers. Allocated funds for the redesign didn’t make any return on investments as expected. The company suffered a lot, financially and in customers’ trust/faith as well.
  1. Feasibility Study was lacking in the Snapchat project, the project redesign started with just developers addressing the Android app’s user experience problem, the development team spent several months mapping out its code base and figuring out where to make improvements, this mapping lead to a release in 2017 that saw relative positive feedback from the Android users, unbeknown to them that is when the code base issues started.
  2. The redesign was poorly managed which led to lack of solid project plan, centralized proactive management initiatives to combat project risks, poorly defined roles and responsibilities, team weaknesses, poor communication and ignoring project warning signs.
  3. Undefined objectives and goals which would be lack of user input, enterprise management of budget resources, inadequate or vague requirements, unrealistic time frames and tasks, insufficient resources etc.

There are a few other basic project management rules that if not adequately adhered to, will result in project failure. Some of these include:-

Project Scope Management - Is the process of defining and controlling what is included in the project, together with any scope changes to meet the client’s and the stakeholders’ objective

  1. Reason for failure – Project Scope or scopes (as there were many projects that could have been launched) were not well documented nor understood.
  2. Cause – The focus was too fixed on disrupting the social media space & being the first to market new products
  3. Consequence - This constantly allowed for the practice of ‘scope creep’ to enter & often derail the different projects in terms of time, schedule & quality

Project Risk Management - Includes the process concerned with identifying, quantifying, and responding to project risk. It consists of controlling the risk management plan and being prepared for disaster recovery



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