The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) is contracted to the Ministry of Defense (MOD) through a government-owned/contractor operated (GOCO) arrangement. While the sites and facilities remain in government ownership, their management, day-to-day operations and the maintenance of Britain’s nuclear stockpile is contracted to AWE. AWE employs around 4,500 staff and over 2,000 contractors, whose work covers a vast range of disciplines. AWE employs scientists, engineers, technicians, crafts-people and safety specialists, as well as business and administrative experts, many of whom are leaders in their field.
As part of a 25 year management and operations contract with the Ministry of Defense, AWE needed to improve it’s program management and procurement processes and systems. The AWE operations contract gave rise to an increased scope of work over previous years and this emphasized the need for more rigorous program management to both deliver success and demonstrate value.
AWE’s business needed to be program managed and an integrated program plan covering a 20 year period (at a high level, with the first three years in detail) had to be be delivered to the MoD.
In order to meet the new requirements AWE needed to integrate its business processes (encapsulating new ways of working) to deliver the information needed to manage, control and report on this complex program of work. This integration requires strong links between HR, finance and supply chain processes which have the ability to constrain or enable the future performance of the technical program.
The project to upgrade these business processes, known as Project Unite, had to deliver these outcomes based on integrated off the shelf business systems. Project Unite needed to improve AWE business process and system efficiency by:
- Identifying and implementing effective business processes to support system effectiveness and program delivery.
- Configuring a commercial off the shelf information technology solution that supports these processes.
- Implementing the fully operational information technology solution to project timescales.
- Managing the human aspects of the project to ensure that system users and customers are trained and competent in use of the system.
- Providing responsive and suitable second and third line support to the live system.
AWE engaged Capgemini as the Prime Contractor who then asked Ten Six to jointly deliver Project Unite’s objectives based on an Oracle/Primavera solution. This also had a clear expectation that skills would be transferred to AWE in the process to enable the organization to become self-sustaining in the future evolution of business processes.
Ten Six Approach
A key design principle adopted by the Project Unite team was to deliver a solution which is benefits-driven. Driving requirements from the set of expected benefits delivers a potentially different solution than deriving benefits from a given scope of system implementation.
The Project Unite solution was designed and implemented to maximize the benefits that AWE would accrue. The Benefits Leadership Team (BLT) was mandated by the AWE Board to ensure that anticipated benefits materialized. This approach was a key success factor in facilitating the introduction of new ways of working by establishing a clear view of the benefits that were derived by the organization as a whole.
The Ten Six team led the implementation of Oracle Primavera P6 providing a corporate wide project scheduling and program scenario modeling capability. This was enhanced by developing a close integration with the Oracle Projects transactional processing tool. This enterprise implementation replaced an existing Primavera instance used in one part of AWE and involved data migration from that instance.
The Ten Six team also helped:
- Clarify the roles of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS) and the Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS) which enabled increased control and accountability throughout the total technical program.
- Enabled AWE to be a program-managed business using a single Enterprise Breakdown Structure to integrate activity, data and processes across the organization.
- Deploy best practices in Program and Project control, underpinned by Primavera P6, promoting higher quality plans that delivered greater levels of certainty in achieving forecasted activity.
Finally, AWE and Ten Six adopted an approach to reporting where any non-standard reports or workflows must be well justified in order to be accepted into the project scope.
The implementation project was a success, delivered on time and on budget. AWE also signed off on all deliverables and the appropriate knowledge transfer went smoothly. AWE now utilizes a single data source for all business reports and has replaced many manual forms.
Specific project management successes include:
- Program Management was achieved on a rolling real-time basis with scenario analysis for presenting options.
- Program changes, through the appropriate change control automatically re-profiled resource requirements and work package managers have revised deliverables.
- Customer requirements are tasked direct to the program level.
- AWE is now managed as a single integrated program and performance is measured using Earned Value Management.
- Work Breakdown Structures are used for project and financial control.
- Cash flow requirements are driven by the inputs at the lowest level that are then rolled up.