Australia’s newest radio telescope – project theory and practical delivery
Success in delivering large-scale projects is difficult. Too many large engineering/science projects fail in terms of budget, schedule and/or performance. Such failures have serious implications for the design, construction and commissioning organisations, and also for the funders (often spending public money), and end users. Successful design and delivery is, therefore, not only a commercial necessity but also a societal imperative.
The SKA project is a story of great innovation, and requires a coalesced strategy that embraces the diversity of its international consortium to provide a whole-of-planet solution to delivering ground-breaking discoveries.
In this presentation, the authors discuss the challenge of delivering complex, high-technology projects generally, and relate that body of knowledge to the CSIRO’s recently completed construction project – the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) which is a pre-cursor to the giant Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope being built in Australia and South Africa. The presentation will cover the importance of setting goals in the context of a mega science project with a large R&D component; tackling complexity; and the challenge of procurement (contracting) for remote based projects.
To deliver a truly international collaboration leveraging the best minds, expertise, and innovative technologies across the globe, the SKA Project requires engagement with different nationalities and cultures, and address pre-conceptions, political influences and economic constraints. Moreover, we advocate an approach to threat management beyond the traditional risk assessment models and discuss the importance of running regular lessons learned review at key stages of project completion. This presentation draws out the more subtle, often overlooked, aspects of complex mega-project management shown to be crucial at the start-up stages.