Aerospace Projects

Aerospace projects present complexities for project teams at nearly every stage, whether it’s developing a program charter, identifying task dependencies, allocating resources, controlling schedule variances, or clearing regulatory and safety hurdles. To drive these projects to a successful completion, a cross-functional team must come together to leverage each discipline’s blend of skills and experience. At PMAlliance, our structured approach helps aerospace organizations define their parameters, stick to detailed schedules, and achieve their project’s goals.

Space Shuttle Atlantis sits on the launch pad in June, awaiting her final flight on July 8, 2011.

Aerospace project teams face unique challenges

There are numerous challenges that aerospace industry project teams must navigate. The strict regulatory environment, combined with the rigors of testing and quality assurance efforts, present hurdles when developing activity and milestone schedules. In addition, project outcomes must often address many—sometimes competing—needs, from aesthetic appeal to fuel efficiency. A commitment to the durability of mechanical components must sit alongside system interoperability and ease of use. Even security aspects often come into play, with technology innovations spanning between infrastructure and user access.

The variety of departments and stakeholder groups that participate in a typical aerospace project can also be truly staggering. Adding to the challenge of coordinating those teams is the existence of silos that often separate them. Some of these divisions have probably never before worked together directly. They may not have established communication flows that link them or even the recognition that their activities have touch points. Executing projects in this environment, under timeframe that are frequently tight with little wiggle room, requires high-level facilitation and coordination skills that many organizations simply don’t have.

 

Risks are present at all levels

Potential risks abound in aerospace projects. They may range from garden-variety schedule delays to concerns about the life safety if tasks aren’t properly executed. The financial impacts of a project are often huge, where deviations from forecasted cost structures could create dire cash flow problems for the organization. A failure is sure to be highly-visible, sometimes resulting in lost contracts or negative media coverage. Events in other parts of the aerospace industry can introduce unforeseen risks into a project, such as changes to testing requirements or material specifications mid-project.

Market conditions also generate industry-specific risks. Costs for raw materials can fluctuate significantly over a short period of time. Supply chain and labor contract glitches have the potential to delay project activities and reduce the organization’s ability to deliver quality products at a competitive price point. Each of these factors can lead an aerospace project into failure if the proper controls aren’t implemented.

 

What PMAlliance can do for you

Our team of PMP®-certified consultants have executed a wide variety of extremely challenging aerospace projects. We know how to leverage project, cost, and quality control methodologies to ensure strong outcomes. Using PMAlliance’s structured approach, we can help your organization develop the necessary infrastructure to support complex aerospace projects and move them from inception to a successful completion.

Maintaining progress toward the project’s goals requires a knowledge of what makes an aerospace project tick. Problem solving must be done quickly and without derailing other activities. The project management methodology we use enables us to develop program charters with clearly defined parameters, create valid schedules for efforts in all divisions, establish strict governance procedures, maintain robust communication flows between key stakeholders, and keep difficult aerospace projects moving forward in the face of difficult challenges.

Case Study

Industry
Avionics
 An avionics company asked PMAlliance to manage the development of cutting-edge in-flight entertainment displays on a short schedule and with a harsh penalty for delay. Challenges included: a short schedule, new / international teams & hardware changes.