Managing Aerospace Projects

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Reaching for the Stars: A brief introduction on How to be successful in project management and what pitfalls to avoid.

Reaching for the Stars: A brief introduction on How to be successful in project management and what pitfalls to avoid.

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  • 1. Reaching for the StarsHow to be successful in project management and what pitfalls to avoid
    Dora E Musielak, Ph.D.
  • 2. Why many programs in aerospace and defense industry run over cost and over time? 
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 3. Project Management in Aerospace
    Projects in aerospace and defense industry are large, challenging, multidisciplinary, and complex.
    Many programs are globally distributed
    Multiple partners
    Design and build teams may be spread out around nation or world
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 4. Project Management in Aerospace
    “Mars Climate Orbiter Failure Board Releases Report, Numerous NASA Actions Underway in Response” –, Nov 10, 1999
    “Failure-Space: A systems engineering look at 50 space system failures,” J. S. Newman (NASA, 2002)
    Failure Space perspective reminds one of need for thorough and complete risk management and assurance process implementation over life of a project as well as, increased emphasis on lessons learned and recurrent monitoring of critical process fidelity.
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 5. Consequences of Failure
    Negative publicity generated by program failures is bad for company and hurt reputation of aerospace engineering community
    Share values decrease
    Risk viability of company
    Penalties when contract are performance-related and fixed-cost
    Waste public finances
    Delay of key services
    Unemployment, reduction in capital investments, etc
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 6. Causes of Failure
    • Poor Initial Planning
    • 7. Lack of Clear Objectives and Deliverables
    • 8. Lack of Understanding of Dependencies
    • 9. Inadequate Resource Allocation
    • 10. Poor Risk Analysis
    • 11. Poor Change Management
    • 12. Lack of “buy-in” from Stakeholders
    • 13. Poor Understanding of Priorities
    • 14. Too Many Layers of Management
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 15. Outmoded Methods
    There are over 78 software packages for project management!
    According to experts, methodology of program management and planning tools has not changed in 50 years.
    Project management techniques originated in 1950s when US military sought scientific means of managing its Cold War procurement programs.*
    PERT was developed for Polaris missile program
    * Lawrence, P., “Planning in the Dark: Why Major Engineering Projects Fail,” J. Tech. Assessment & SM (2007)
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 16. Cultural Factors
    Types of Organizational Culture
    Ref: P. Lawrence, Planning in the Dark: Why Major Engineering Projects Fail to Achieve Key Goals, J. Tech Assessment and Strategic Management (2007)
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 17. What Pitfalls to Avoid
    Projects lack right resources and right skills.
    Proper project staffing and resource allocation is crucial for project success, yet improperly assigning resources tops list of most common management mistakes. Not having right people on a project can kill it.
    Program doesn’t follow a standard, optimized project management process.
    Lack of methodology increases risk that tasks related to project will fall through cracks, projects will have to be re-worked, and that a project won’t be completed on time or on budget.
    Project hamstrung by too much process/over-management.
    Too much process makes project team inflexible, and their inflexibility frustrates stakeholders.
    Lack of effective communication.
    Reinventing the Wheel!
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 18. Secrets to Success
    • Communicate Well
    • 19. Organize Team/Resources
    • 20. Lead
    • 21. Build and Nurture Excellent Teams
    • 22. Clearly Define Deliverable
    • 23. Manage Change
    • 24. Accurate Estimates
    • 25. Document Everything
    • 26. Involve the Customer
    • 27. Make the Tough Calls
    • 28. Be Proactive
    • 29. Identify Risks, Dependencies and Assumptions
    • 30. Set Realistic Deadlines
    • 31. KIS (Keep It Simple)
    Reduce layers of project management to streamline decisions and delivery
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 32. Secrets to Successful PM
    PM ensures team has right people for job and that they can and will work together as a team. They need right mix of technical skills, and they need to be a balance of thinkers and doers, starters and finishers.
    PM creates a tangible picture of finished deliverables in minds of everyone involved so that all effort is focused in same direction.
    It’s not enough to be held responsible for project outcomes; PM asks for and obtains enough authority to execute responsibilities.
    PM must focus on dimensions of project success: completing all deliverables on time, within budget, and to a level of quality that is acceptable to sponsors and stakeholders.
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 33. Successful Project Manager
    Looking Outwards
    Looking Upwards
    • Sponsor
    • 36. Commercial and
    Political awareness
    Looking Forwards
    Looking Backwards
    • Reviewing learning
    • 40. Monitoring progress
    • 41. Rewarding achievement
    Vision of Successful Project Leader
    Looking Inwards
    • How am I performing?
    • 42. Reviewing my priorities
    Looking Downwards
    • Helicopter view
    • 43. Reviewing team process
    • 44. Managing individuals
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 45. My Qualifications
    Specialized in thermal sciences, fluid mechanics, and rocket propulsion.
    Led and managed numerous R&D projects in industry and academia in areas ranging from gas turbine propulsion to studies of scramjet engines.
    Written over a hundred technical reports and articles and presented many at national and international conferences.
    Chaired technical sessions at conferences and organized/taught AIAA professional courses.
    Recipient of two NASA research fellowships.
    Created electronic, searchable databases including Lessons Learned and rocket design methodology that allowed my company to process technical information fast and reliably, thus increasing engineers’ productivity.
    Possess organizational, interpersonal, communication, analytical, and skills that are essential to leading a critical project and support activities for company’s growth such as BD and R&D.
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 46. My Vision Statement
    I will become a leader in my industry, helping transform it into an organization that respects all its stakeholders, while at the same time works to keep teams motivated in challenging situations, and inspire excellence.
    As a Program Manager, I will vigorously support my employer to provide our customers exceptional capabilities with guaranteed lower costs and increased reliability.
    I will accomplish this goal by working my way up the ladder and proving my determination and expertise to my team while gaining the respect of my colleagues.
    It would be a privilege to grow and work within an organization that aims to revolutionize access to space and change the paradigm to permit humans to explore the cosmos even further.
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars
  • 47. Contact
    Dora E Musielak
    Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars