Effective Project Management in the Aerospace Industry

The process of delivering large scale processes such as Aerospace Objectives in the Space Sector is one that requires a lot of project management and supply chain coordination. When it comes to project management of space related projects, it is very important to ensure that process is clear. Every step of the way must be detailed, and the process of ensuring that the mission objectives and their accompanying steps are clear, will be critical to the success of the mission. For such large scale projects, it is important for the project manager of the space project to ensure that they are able to track the project progress, and address any issues that arise as they will often do. Any program changes that occur have the ability to significantly change the scope and cost of the overall project. For projects that are worth billions at a time, it is important that even the smallest percentage changes are monitored as they can lead to millions of dollars in project losses. Disciplined, standardized project management will be key to the management of large scale space projects.

Project Management  of Space Projects

The key to successful project management is an integrated one, that involves clear definition, work breakdown structure development, operations management, and project execution in the quest of accomplishing the mission. With various functions at play in the process of developing the various stages of the Space Project, it will be important to ensure that the integration of all of the differing elements are synchronised. To be successful, it will be important to ensure that there is an adequate project definition, which then enables a plan to be implemented that will bring about a suitable result. There is a trickle down of priority from a mission statement.

With suitable management techniques, the project success will therefore ultimately be guaranteed. Critical elements to include in your space project management activities include:

  • The critical role of the space project manager
  • Creating a clear project cycle
  • Creating a detailed project implementation plan

Once all of these are in place, the appropriate implementation of the action plan can then be incorporated into the operational activities.

The Project Manager in Space-Related Projects

The space project manager is Queen. The space project manager is the one who oversees the overall running of the project activities. As a leader, a team manager, a decision maker and general overseer, the project manager ensures that they are able to organize, plan, lead and control various activities. Ensuring that the project flow of work is seamless is the task of the project manager. It will be critical to meet and exceed the requirements of the project in order to keep the customers happy. With a clear definition of what the project’s functional requirements should be, the next objective will be to ensure that the project is delivering these requirements.

For space projects, it is critical that the project manager be able to implement a systematic planning and control cycle that ensures that the critical Engineering, Production and Time parameters are in their peak. With the parameters and system flow optimized, the ability to keep the project within scope and cost will then be manageable.

Creating a Clear Project Cycle

Space projects are multibillion dollar projects, and it will be critical to ensure that with their high risks and costs, the cycle factors in all of the relevant factors that will lead to a successful mission. From start up to delivery, all of the various stages of the process must be clearly understood and implemented in a systematic fashion. Ensure that you go through all the critical project phases: Mission Requirements and Background, Concept Definition and Preliminary Design, Detailed Design and Functional Testing, Production/Manufacturing, Operations. The key with all of these activities, is to ensure that you are able to take the vision from the paper to the customer, and then put it in their hands to operate the unit.

Create a detailed Project Implementation Plan (PIP)

After the vision and the plan is its implementation. Carefully plan, control, and keep track of each phase of the project milestone activities. Utilize a visual management system if you have to. It will help you to ensure that you are on top of the project activities and that you are in a position where you can take action where necessary. For each of the action phases, identify the suitable responsible person, and then take the time to actually ensure that if there’s a problem that they can answer to the issue and rectify it in time. Project allocations do account for delays, but the key is to finish ahead of schedule.

While this article is a summary of the detail that goes into the effort, it will take lots of coordination in order to ensure that the final outcomes of successful project management is achieved. The key is to start with the mission, and then take the time to accomplish each step. Some steps will have to operate in parallel and then integrated into the final mission delivery.