FAB CE reappoints consultancies to run Programme Support Office

20 October 2017 Consultancy.uk

The Functional Airspace Block Central Europe (FAB CE) has reappointed aviation consultancy Helios and Integra Consult to run its Programme Support Office (PSO) for the next three years. 

To meet the growing complexity of Europe’s air travel and transport industry, air traffic management (ATM) needs to become more flexible, harmonised and seamless. To support this objective, the European Commission launched the Single European Sky (SES) initiative, which aims at unification of European airspace through a more integral and technology-driven approach to air traffic management, ultimately making aviation safer, more efficient and cheaper. In line with the broader European objective, seven states and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) from Central Europe joined forces to establish the FAB CE platform* in 2011.

The Programme Support Office (PSO) plays a key role in FAB CE’s work, helping to align it to Single European Sky and SESAR requirements, coordinate actions and track progress across priority programmes spanning business planning, technical harmonisation, common procurement and operations. In the first two years of PSO’s support, the FAB CE programme was reviewed and updated in accordance with the latest requirements of the SESAR Deployment Programme (DP). 

The work by the PSO helped FAB CE, among others, successfully complete the “Free Route Airspace from the Black Forest to the Black Sea” Study, funded by the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA). The office also helped the platform achieve INEA funding for its multi-applicant proposals in the competitive 2016 CEF Transport call, aimed at closing further gaps in SESAR DP implementation. FAB CE also completed its first smart/common procurement to upgrade its cross-border telecommunications network (X-bone) hardware and is currently looking at optimisation of the surveillance infrastructure.

Airplane of Czech Airlines

In its endeavours, the PSO was supported by two external firms: Helios, the aviation consultancy of Egis, a global engineering group with over 14,000 employees globally, and Integra Consult, a privately held Danish company that provides consultancy services to the aviation and defence industries. Helios provided a team of around ten experienced consultants, working alongside five experts from Integra. 

Building on the strong performance, FAB CE has decided to keep the two consulting firms on board, reappointing them for the next three years to run its Programme Support Office. “This is fantastic news and goes to underline the effective support provided by my colleagues and partners over the last two years,” said Juraj Jirku, PSO project manager for Helios. Petri Hartikainen, Integra’s project manager added, “It is great to see that the work performed by the PSO team during the past two years has continuation.”

Looking ahead, Matej Eljon, FAB CE Programme Manager, said that the main challenge will be to exploit the cooperative structures already in place and fulfil the requirements for new services foreseen by the SESAR Deployment Programme. “We are looking forward to the ongoing support of Helios and Integra, and are confident of meeting the performance targets specified in the FAB CE Performance Plan.”

* The participating states of FAB CE are Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. The participating ANSPs are: Austro Control, BHANSA, Croatia Control, ANS CR, HungaroControl, LPS SR and Slovenia Control.

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Managing the demand for change in project management

16 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

The forward-looking nature of project management means that regardless of the type of project, thorough planning and risk assessment are essential to ensure it is delivered on time, on budget, and in line with the client’s requirements – while delivering the expected results. Consultants Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden elaborate in the article below. 

However, it is important to recognise that in this fast-moving working environment, and with projects increasing in scale and complexity, a degree of change is inevitable. Putting the right mitigation strategies in place early on can provide project managers with much-needed agility, allowing them to respond quickly to any new issues that arise.

When the goalposts move or project managers are issued with an unexpected client request, adopting a holistic approach is essential to ensure that changes are implemented successfully the first time around, reducing the risk of any problems arising in the future. Rather than considering the demand for change in one area of a project in isolation, it is important to conduct a full impact assessment, taking into account any knock-on effects on people, processes, systems and infrastructure. For example, a sudden need to digitalise a key HR process may have implications for recruitment, or the need to upskill existing staff through new training programmes, or both. 

Implementing a Portfolio Management Office (PMO) can also enhance project managers’ ability to spot interdependencies and better manage unforeseen changes. Where a number of projects or programmes are being undertaken simultaneously, this function is particularly useful, providing stakeholders with increased visibility and driving intelligent decision-making. For example, spotting an unexpected delay to a particular project could enable resources to be reallocated across the portfolio at an early stage, helping to drive efficiencies within the business and keeping budgets on track. 

Managing the demand for change in project management

As part of their efforts to make the most of available resources while keeping costs under control, project managers should consider using blended teams wherever possible. By combining the organisation’s existing employees with different skills and experienced project managers, it is easier to ensure that the correct levels of skills and resources are utilised at each stage of a project. Furthermore, this method can provide the additional flexibility needed to respond quickly to new developments without unnecessarily prolonging project timelines or increasing costs. 

It is worth bearing in mind that introducing some mitigation strategies may require an initial cost outlay and, as such, effective communication with stakeholders from the very beginning of a project is key. One example is to allocate a contingency budget to the project. This helps to facilitate the project manager’s ability to address key issues that require unplanned spend, without the need to undergo a time-consuming budget approval process. By educating all involved parties about the inevitability of change during projects, it is possible to put buffers in place, both financially and in terms of the project timeline. Over the course of a project, this should enable project managers to react quickly to change and take effective action without compromising on the timescales and delivery of client objectives. 

Likewise, where project delivery is reliant upon large and diverse teams, clearly communicating the impact of unexpected changes, and the required response, is also vital to ensure everyone is on the same page and disruption to day-to-day processes is kept to a minimum. When curveballs to project delivery occur, a failure to brief the team on how these should be addressed could also have a significant impact on levels of motivation and morale, which in turn has the potential to have a negative impact on productivity across a project. 

While meticulous forward planning will always be an essential element of project management, it’s equally important to recognise that to a certain extent, change is unavoidable. The ability to respond effectively to new developments as they occur is therefore vital. By making change a central part of discussions with stakeholders and clearly communicating with all parties on a programme, project managers can take new issues in their stride while continuing to deliver exceptional results for clients. 

Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden are principal consultants at business change consultancy Entec Si.