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Bloodhound SSC - Managing a Difficult Change - Colin Higginson


Published on EVA19, the established Earned Value conference, took place again this year towards the end of May. The venue again was the magnificent Armourer’s Hall; steeped in tradition and just a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral. This year the plan was to explore the ‘ABC’ of project management – Agile, Benefits and Complex.

The backdrop proved to be as poignant as ever, as Steven Carver regaled the audience with the story of Alfred the Great, using real-life actors and Jonathan Crone provided Lessons from WW1, and the heroic battle of Vimy Ridge.

The military theme culminated with Lt. Colonel Tom de La Rue explaining what Leadership means in the context of an Apache Helicopter squadron on active service, and as the commanding officer of Prince Harry, in Afghanistan.

The two days, which included a banquet in the impressive livery dining hall, were engaging and intimate with the emphasis on personal development and learning together. The speakers were practitioners and professionals of the highest calibre, with many having taken time out from their day-jobs as managers and directors of mega-projects and programmes, to share their considerable knowledge and experience.

Steve says “The emergent themes from the conference this year were the importance of people and culture. Organisations need to move beyond slavishly following process and create an environment where project managers can really thrive. It is vital in any project that stakeholders are properly engaged which underlines the fundamental need for project professionals to Listen, Learn and Lead.”

Steve’s events have a reputation for being innovative and edgy – and this year was no exception. Peter Taylor, the project manager who smiles, entertained the audience with anecdotes and stories, including a personal favourite about a genie, a project manager and the task of building a bridge over the Atlantic. Jack Pinter was masterful in teaching members of the audience how to write the project management blues, which he went on to perform with his band throughout the day.

The feedback from the audience was extremely positive including this example. “The strength of the conference for me is the thread between the sessions that allows me to join the dots to meet my needs. I can create my own landscape from the wealth of knowledge and experience shared [maybe not the one I was expecting] and, perhaps most importantly, gets that mental recharge for the next set of challenges. Roll on next year!”

Steve says “The ‘eVa in the UK’ series has a reputation for giving something back to the profession. One way it does this is by creating a rich learning legacy. With the help of its many speakers, supporters and generous sponsors, most notably PM Channel, it has been able to accrue an impressive archive of presentations, video programmes and podcasts which can all be accessed from the archive section of this web site”

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Bloodhound SSC - Managing a Difficult Change - Colin Higginson

  1. 1. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Managing a Difficult Change EVA 19 20th May 2014
  2. 2. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE The Hi-Q Sigma Challenge To maximise the delivery schedule through best utilisation of available resource and identify opportunities to accelerate the programme through scenario modelling using a fully resourced schedule. Resourcing would be people only, cost would be considered separately.
  3. 3. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE 4 Scenarios 1. South Africa date achievable with current resources 2. Resource required to achieve South Africa in 2014 weather window 3. Resource required to achieve South Africa in 2015 weather window 4. Impact of a Media Jet Test 2013/14
  4. 4. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE The Approach to Bloodhound
  5. 5. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Development of Schedule • Car broken down to 15 Major Assemblies •Containing over 100 Sub Assemblies + •Integration, Test and Acceptance
  6. 6. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Complex Machining
  7. 7. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Complex Construction
  8. 8. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Complex Multiple Power Plant
  9. 9. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE The Initial Results • Scenario 1 – The output after resource levelling resulted in a delivery to S Africa end Q3 2016 • Scenario 2 – 75 additional designers immediately, 31 additional stress engineers immediately, 5 additional assembly engineers and unlimited availability of parallel manufacturing facilities • Scenario 3 –
  10. 10. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Initial Conclusions • Captures entire currently known scope of project in one integrated view • Input from all functional areas of Bloodhound team • Applied lessons learnt to estimates of remaining work • The schedule provides: – Clear understanding of the critical path – Ability to carry out ‘What If’ modelling – Powerful tool to monitor progress and plan remaining work
  11. 11. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE The inevitable over optimism
  12. 12. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE ‘What If’ Scenarios Jul-13 Mar-17 Oct-13 Jan-14 Apr-14 Jul-14 Oct-14 Jan-15 Apr-15 Jul-15 Oct-15 Jan-16 Apr-16 Jul-16 Oct-16 Jan-17 WHAT IF 1 – TWO ADDITIONAL ASSEMBLY ENGINEERS ADDED WHAT IF 2 – THIRD ADDITIONAL ASSEMBLY ENGINEER ADDED BASELINE – CURRENT RESOURCE APPLIED, LEVELLED 8 Months Saved Aug-15 Commence Desert Running - TARGET No further saving WHAT IF 3 – ONE ADDITIONAL DESIGN ENGINEER ADDED 3 Months Saved This is the point at which the Critical Path is no longer driven by resource constraints, but by task durations
  13. 13. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Task Dependent Critical Path Next Steps; Reassess logic and durations of critical activities Investigate ‘outsourcing’ some of this work Decide whether Aux Intake Cassette Assembly is required
  14. 14. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Progress Metrics
  15. 15. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE The lessons • Invariably most plans are optimistic • Over optimism is inherent in most people and difficult to overcome • Even the best constructed plans can only be realised by people and there is your biggest problem! • Understanding the personalities of key personnel is essential • You will never capture all the activities required for the ultimate schedule • Be prepared for the schedule to increase in size and complexity as time goes on • The analysis of data and its presentation needs to be tailored to your customer • Some like lots and the decision making is paralysed • Others like to keep it simple and make effective decisions • Know and understand your customer, help them to help themselves
  16. 16. ENGINEERING ADVENTURE Join the Adventure Find us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Sign up to the 1K Club: