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Phil Crosby (Strategic Planning, CASS)

Success Drivers for Large Science/Engineering Projects - Phil Crosby Colloquium

The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
15:30-16:30 Wed 10 Aug 2011

ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre


Large projects having a science and/or engineering goal and characterised by new technologies, significant infrastructure and big budgets, typically undergo due diligence prior to approval. Yet the global track record for successfully executing these high-tech mega-projects on time and on budget without descoping continues to disappoint both funders and users.

This talk describes recent (PhD) research aiming to:
• Identify key success drivers for large, high-tech projects,
• Examine the characteristics and techniques of successful project managers,
• Discover how high-tech projects can be made more resilient, and
• Validate this work through on-site investigation of current & recent case studies.

Background research encompasses literature reviews, interviews with past and present project managers, scientists and engineers, and deep investigation of selected case studies in Australia, Chile, South Africa and Europe. Current indications are that attention in a few key areas can significantly lift the probability of success. Also that early stage project planning appears to takes little advantage of lessons learned from relevant past experience, yet indications are that it should be possible to devise a reliable set of predictive success indicators.

The results from this research have direct applicability to current and future approvers and managers of large scale high-technology projects, and in particular the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project, which is likely to begin preconstruction work in 2012.

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Ryan Shannon

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