10 Reasons the Death Star Project Failed:
Here I am. Sitting in a dingy cantina on some dusty backwater planet, the remnants of the Empire scattered to the far corners of the galaxy while some rebel scum occupies the capital on Coruscant.
Where did it all go wrong? If you ask me, it comes down to the Death Star projects. I had friends on those Death Stars — I only barely got off the first one alive myself — and I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I’ve scrutinized every detail to pinpoint the fatal errors.
These are the 10 key mistakes that led to the failure of the Death Stars, and ultimately, the collapse of the Empire.
1. Insufficient project requirements
The Death Star was meant to be the ultimate weapon, and in that sense, it succeeded: a super laser capable of destroying a planet with a single blast, plus 15,000 laser, ion, and turbolaser batteries. It fulfilled every requirement. But the plans only considered offensive measures, and failed to imagine the need for real defence. And as we all know, the defences weren’t tight enough to prevent individual starfighters from infiltrating and causing catastrophic damage.
Don’t make the same mistake: It’s not enough to just plan for risks and challenges that could affect your project as you’re working on it. You need to carefully consider how your completed project is going to function in the real world when writing your requirements. What situations or events could create problems, or cause your finished product to break down/fail?
2. Failure to recognize risk
General Tagge: “Until this station is operational, we are vulnerable. The Rebel Alliance is too well equipped. They’re more dangerous than you realize.”
Admiral Motti: “Dangerous to your Starfleet commander, not to this battle station.”
Invulnerable projects do not exist, as Motti and every other Imperial officer on board learned the hard way when the first Death Star disintegrated. If your project has a susceptible thermal exhaust port, you need to know about it — even if it is only two meters wide. If I hadn’t been reassigned to a transport ship as punishment for getting ambushed by Solo and Skywalker, I’d be a sprinkle of space dust right now.
Don’t make the same mistake: No project is too big to fail, and no project is too small to skirt risk. Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential threats and opportunities.
3. No risk management strategy
“Any attack made by the rebels against this station would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they’ve obtained. This station is now the ultimate power in the universe.”
— Admiral Motti
4. Managers lack the necessary skills to aid collaboration & project success
Have you ever worked under an unreasonable manager? Imagine reporting to Vader or Tarkin. Not exactly approachable. And they certainly didn’t encourage us to work together or offer new ideas. I heard one guy suggest new stormtrooper helmets (so we could actually see to shoot), and he got Force-choked and tossed into the reactor core. Yeesh.
5. Choosing a pet idea without considering all the options
“The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”
— Senator Leia Organa, AKA Prisoner of Detention Cell 2187
As Tarkin himself said, the Death Star’s purpose was to keep local systems in line through fear. But wouldn’t Super Star Destroyers stationed in key systems do the trick just fine? Or a few garrisons of stormtroopers? No, the Death Star was a vanity project to show off the Empire’s technological might and mercilessness. But instead of intimidating local planets into submission, it inspired more star systems to join the rebellion. Talk about backfiring.
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