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Project Manager : Project Manager Oct Nov 2013
DEFENCE DESCRIBED THE PROJECT AS ONE OF THE MOST TECHNICALLY COMPLEX AND CHALLENGING EVER UNDERTAKEN BY THE ORGANISATION www.aipm.com.au Project Manager 25 rendan Bilston has been named National Project Director of the Year for his resurrection of the Defence Communications Facilities Project. e project involved the extension of an operations centre for the Defence CIO Group as well as the delivery of a high- performance computing environment for the Defence Intelligence and Security Group. e project began in 2007 and Bilston was brought on as Project Director in 2009 after a failed planning phase. A review of the original plan determined that the project brief and risk profile for the delivery mechanism were inappropriate, and that risk apportionment needed to shift. Bilston was responsible for project restrategisation, establishment of a new design process, development of a hybrid contact form and oversight of the project's delivery. On top of planning setbacks, the project presented unique project management challenges. It was classified at Top Secret level and it offered limited points of comparison because the facilities are among a handful of their kind in the world. Along with the skills gained as National Principal and Joint Managing Director of Point Project Management, Bilston brought experience from managing construction tasks on military operations and the delivery of major Defence infrastructure. Bilston employed an innovative approach to the project's design, procurement and delivery methods that included the development of a commercial fast-track design process that reduced Defence's five stages dow n to two. Bilston described this as a risky strategy that required the support of a completely new contract form and ter mination of an existing contract. is was the very first Managing Contractor Contract the Commonwealth had ever dissolved and the largest contract by value that it had terminated. "Making the decision to ter minate a contract required deep thought and consideration with a strong plan to recover the situation," Bilston says. e contract was draw n up in only three weeks over Christmas and was ideally designed for situations where time is critical. It reset the risk apportionment between Defence, designer and contractor to deliver project outcomes. With an entirely new contract, Bilston was able to best assign risk, drive outcomes, incentivise delivery and fix time. To ensure support for the new contract terms, he ran a risk assessment that compared pre- and post-contract-change mitigations, which demonstrated that the amendment better managed risk. Having entered a stressful project environment after a failed inception, Bilston was often required to facilitate strategic conversations and resolve stakeholder disagreements. One key issue was the breakdow n in the relationship between Defence's delivery organisation, the end users and Defence's engineering policy organisation. Bilston therefore engaged an independent design reviewer and held complex engineering discussions with the Defence policy authorities so they felt substantially involved and respected. Bilston describes leadership as "the ability to inspire people to do things that they ordinarily wouldn't". Having delivered a restrategised project to requirements, on time and within budget, he has certainly met his ow n standards. ••• THE PROJECT AT A GLANCE PROJECT: Defence Communications Facilities COMPANY: Point Project Management BUDGET: $165m TIMELINE: 2009--2013 BIt may look simple and stylish but this structure has a serious, top-secret purpose. Photography by: Chalk Studio, Canberra
Project Manager Aug Sept 2013
Project Manager Dec Jan 2014