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.

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Managing Aerospace Projects

  1. 1. Reaching for the StarsHow to be successful in project management and what pitfalls to avoid<br />Dora E Musielak, Ph.D.<br />May2010<br />
  2. 2. Why many programs in aerospace and defense industry run over cost and over time?  <br />2<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  3. 3. Project Management in Aerospace<br />Projects in aerospace and defense industry are large, challenging, multidisciplinary, and complex.<br />Many programs are globally distributed<br />Multiple partners<br />Design and build teams may be spread out around nation or world<br />3<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  4. 4. Project Management in Aerospace<br />“Mars Climate Orbiter Failure Board Releases Report, Numerous NASA Actions Underway in Response” –, Nov 10, 1999<br />“Failure-Space: A systems engineering look at 50 space system failures,” J. S. Newman (NASA, 2002) <br />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.<br />4<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  5. 5. Consequences of Failure<br />Negative publicity generated by program failures is bad for company and hurt reputation of aerospace engineering community<br />Share values decrease<br />Risk viability of company<br />Penalties when contract are performance-related and fixed-cost<br />Waste public finances<br />Delay of key services<br />Unemployment, reduction in capital investments, etc<br />5<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  6. 6. Causes of Failure<br /><ul><li>Poor Initial Planning
  7. 7. Lack of Clear Objectives and Deliverables
  8. 8. Lack of Understanding of Dependencies
  9. 9. Inadequate Resource Allocation
  10. 10. Poor Risk Analysis
  11. 11. Poor Change Management
  12. 12. Lack of “buy-in” from Stakeholders
  13. 13. Poor Understanding of Priorities
  14. 14. Too Many Layers of Management</li></ul>6<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  15. 15. Outmoded Methods<br />There are over 78 software packages for project management!<br />According to experts, methodology of program management and planning tools has not changed in 50 years.<br />Project management techniques originated in 1950s when US military sought scientific means of managing its Cold War procurement programs.*<br />PERT was developed for Polaris missile program<br />* Lawrence, P., “Planning in the Dark: Why Major Engineering Projects Fail,” J. Tech. Assessment & SM (2007)<br />7<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  16. 16. Cultural Factors<br />Types of Organizational Culture<br />Ref: P. Lawrence, Planning in the Dark: Why Major Engineering Projects Fail to Achieve Key Goals, J. Tech Assessment and Strategic Management (2007)<br />8<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  17. 17. What Pitfalls to Avoid<br />Projects lack right resources and right skills. <br />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. <br />Program doesn’t follow a standard, optimized project management process. <br />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. <br />Project hamstrung by too much process/over-management.<br />Too much process makes project team inflexible, and their inflexibility frustrates stakeholders. <br />Lack of effective communication.<br />Reinventing the Wheel!<br />9<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  18. 18. Secrets to Success<br /><ul><li>Communicate Well
  19. 19. Organize Team/Resources
  20. 20. Lead
  21. 21. Build and Nurture Excellent Teams
  22. 22. Clearly Define Deliverable
  23. 23. Manage Change
  24. 24. Accurate Estimates
  25. 25. Document Everything
  26. 26. Involve the Customer
  27. 27. Make the Tough Calls
  28. 28. Be Proactive
  29. 29. Identify Risks, Dependencies and Assumptions
  30. 30. Set Realistic Deadlines
  31. 31. KIS (Keep It Simple)</li></ul>Reduce layers of project management to streamline decisions and delivery<br />10<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  32. 32. Secrets to Successful PM<br />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. <br />PM creates a tangible picture of finished deliverables in minds of everyone involved so that all effort is focused in same direction. <br />It’s not enough to be held responsible for project outcomes; PM asks for and obtains enough authority to execute responsibilities. <br />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. <br />11<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  33. 33. Successful Project Manager<br />Looking Outwards<br /><ul><li>Clients, Users
  34. 34. Resource providers
  35. 35. Image</li></ul>Looking Upwards<br /><ul><li>Sponsor
  36. 36. Commercial and</li></ul> Political awareness<br />Looking Forwards<br /><ul><li>Planning
  37. 37. Anticipating
  38. 38. Objectives
  39. 39. Milestones</li></ul>Looking Backwards<br /><ul><li>Reviewing learning
  40. 40. Monitoring progress
  41. 41. Rewarding achievement</li></ul>Vision of Successful Project Leader<br />Looking Inwards<br /><ul><li>How am I performing?
  42. 42. Reviewing my priorities</li></ul>Looking Downwards<br /><ul><li>Helicopter view
  43. 43. Reviewing team process
  44. 44. Managing individuals</li></ul>12<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  45. 45. My Qualifications<br />Specialized in thermal sciences, fluid mechanics, and rocket propulsion. <br />Led and managed numerous R&D projects in industry and academia in areas ranging from gas turbine propulsion to studies of scramjet engines. <br />Written over a hundred technical reports and articles and presented many at national and international conferences. <br />Chaired technical sessions at conferences and organized/taught AIAA professional courses. <br />Recipient of two NASA research fellowships. <br />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.<br />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. <br />13<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  46. 46. My Vision Statement<br />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. <br />As a Program Manager, I will vigorously support my employer to provide our customers exceptional capabilities with guaranteed lower costs and increased reliability.<br />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. <br />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.<br />14<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />
  47. 47. Contact<br />Dora E Musielak<br /><br />Questions?<br />Dora Musielak - Reaching for the Stars<br />15<br />