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How To Manage Aviation Projects?

It’s critical to have an understanding of the inner structure and dynamics of the aviation industry in order to manage aviation projects successfully.

The aviation industry is a large and important part of the economy, impacting passenger travel and associated industries. Air transportation is a critical part of the global economy and its impact on the environment is being increasingly studied. Consequently, managing aviation projects can be a challenging task.

Many triggers can lead to a project being initiated (see management of change, ICAO SMM Manual 4th ed.) , and management must be aware of these and take appropriate action. The management mindset should be reflective and projective in order to identify and resolve problems. The projective process can help to identify deeper rooted causes of problems, and change processes can help to ensure that the future projects are successful.

 There are typically five phases to a project: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and closure.

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A typical “Waterfall” approach for project management involves taking these steps in a sequential order and following a set of management guidelines. Managing aviation projects involves a great deal of planning. Project planners must determine the project scope, goals, objectives, stakeholders, resources, timeline and deliverables for each phase of the project.

Managing aviation projects starts with understanding the goals of the project and the concept behind it. The project scope should be tailored to meet the specific needs of the customer, while still meeting the project goals. Scope plans should be developed to track the project’s progress and ensure that all requirements are met. Project managers in collaboration with the stakeholders determine when tasks need to be completed and how they should be done. Decision makers should be consulted when changes to the project are needed (according to the Project Change Management Plan[1]).

 Proper approvals should be obtained before any work on the project can begin. This leads to talk about the project charter.

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The Project Charter

The PMBOK® Guide[2], 3dEdition defines a project charter as “a document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project, and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.” (PMI, 2004, 368) The key word in this definition is “authority.” It authorizes both the project and the project manager.

 The PMBOK® Guide lists specific information that the charter should provide, either directly or by reference, including:

 ·        Requirements

·        Business needs

·        Summary

·        Schedule

·        Assumptions and constraints

·        Business case, including return on investment

Projects scope example: aircraft and aircraft parts purchase, airports infrastructure, airspace, facilities, systems and software. These are generic scopes, and you need to be specific in describing the project scope so that you don’t end up working on something irrelevant to the project, hence, resources are exhausted without any value.

Project Resources are the people, money, and/or materials needed for a project’s successful execution and completion are referred to as project resources. In a nutshell, you rely on project resources to complete your work. Depending on the project’s nature and the department(s) involved, they may vary… they must be able to meet the project goals and objectives.

Project Managers vs. Aviation SME

While project managers may not have previous aviation knowledge, they can consult with Aviation SME who is a person knowledgeable about aviation and can provide advice on aviation-related matters. SMEs are experts who are skilled in a particular area and can be called upon to help with a project.

 Defining stakeholders in an aviation related project could very complex and defining the stakeholders are very important to the ultimate success for the project. For example, AVISAV is a UK company that provides SMS Software, aircraft leasing, training and consulting, and it’s part of an industry consortium, this consortium of organizations are working together to address an aviation-related safety issue. The consortium members could be Airlines for America, add to that regulatory bodies e.g. the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA, the Japan Aviation Safety Agency, and the International Air Transport Association IATA. The consortium is working on a data project to improve aviation safety.

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Project Management Documentation

Project management documentation can include records of when and why decisions were made, plans detailing what needs to be done and when, guide lines on how to do the work, help files and/or tutorials, and customizations to the project management system. It is often necessary to have a management system in place to keep track of who is working on what, when they are working on it, and what their status is. All team members should be aware of the required project documents and be able to refer to them when needed.

Project management teams should have a project management documentation system in place to help track the progress of a project. The system should include;

  • a project charter,
  • project plan,
  • work breakdown structure, and;
  • communication plan.

Team members should be able to refer to these documents when needed.

Project planning is the process of developing a project plan and tracking the progress of the project. A project plan includes details about the project goals, objectives, and constraints.

 Project management documentation typically includes the following:

-A project proposal, which describes the project goals, objectives, and constraints.

-Key milestones, which indicate when the project will be completed.

-Business goals, which indicate what the project is intended to achieve.

-Key requirements, which indicate what the project must achieve.

-Business case, which describes the benefits of completing the project.

-Case document, which provides additional details about the project proposal.

-Organizations ability, which provides an overview of the project’s technical and organizational feasibility.

-Management strategy, which describes how the project will be managed.

-Governance structure, which describes the project’s organizational structure and communication channels.

-Technical feasibility, which provides an overview of the project’s technical feasibility.

 A detailed project plan is a key element of any successful project. It provides a roadmap for completing the project and outlines the project milestones and associated dates. The project team should use this plan to track and manage the project milestones. A management plan is essential for managing a project. It sets forth the project goals and objectives, the project team membership and responsibilities, and the communication plan for project updates.

A project timeline provides a detailed overview of the project’s timeline and associated dates. This information is helpful for project stakeholders to keep track of the project’s progress. A project work breakdown structure (PWBS) is a detailed listing of the project tasks and their respective tasks and completion dates. This information is helpful for managing the project’s work and tracking the project’s progress.

 Successful project managers keep detailed project management documentation to help track the project’s progress and manage the project’s work. A project’s timeline, work breakdown structure, and project management documents are all important pieces of project management documentation.

 The following are some tips for creating effective project management documentation:

·        Keep project timelines and work breakdown structures up to date.

·        Make sure all project stakeholders are aware of the project’s progress and goals.

·        Make sure all project documentation is accurate and up to date.

·        Use management software to keep track of the project’s progress and manage the project’s work.

·        Use visual canvas tools to visually manage the project’s work.

·        Keep project management documents organized and easy to read.

An important thing to remember when managing aviation projects is that the schedule is always critical. If the project is not on schedule, it can lead to delays, and ultimately, a less successful project. It is important to have a basic rough flow plan in place so that all stakeholders are aware of the project’s progress and can make necessary adjustments.

Managing aviation projects can be made easier with the use of a tool like AVISAV QSMS. This software can help planners identify when tasks need to be completed and how they should be done. It can also help decision makers consult with others when changes to the project are needed.

[1] The Project Change Management Plan documents the process for requesting, logging, evaluating, and approving (or denying) scope/schedule/budget changes requested during a project. Changes during a project are likely.


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