Case Study - Defence Procurement

Program Management in Defence has a different emphasis - the projects are mainly large, long term, contracted out, and vital. The emphasis shifts to supporting the transition from mission statement through requirements elicitation to tendering to project support, with the interactions among projects being considered either at the concept development level, or at the level of effects on the defence industry. The mission statement itself may have many alternative implementations, each with an effect on cost, life, long term survivability. Some form of Program Management is also essential at the tender evaluation stage, as different vendors will implement the objectives in different ways that are quite difficult to compare on a rational basis.

Planning proceeds in a hierarchical fashion, with the initial mission statement being promulgated at strategy level, then moving through implementation planning to tendering and project owner overview. Some projects are sufficiently complex to justify the use of a Constraint Reasoning approach by the vendor. This flow of concept to implementation is a good example of where embedding of the strategic directives in the program can be used to guide individual projects as their details firm up.

 The continuous monitoring of the combination of projects allows the likely effects of budget blowouts of existing projects on strategic flexibility and planned projects to be assessed.

An advantage of Constraint Reasoning in this area is the much greater transparency of the process. If a plan cannot describe the dynamics of the decision making, vendors may not be guided towards the best solution, or may be aggrieved that their bids were not chosen. CRM's ability to represent variability and logical interaction avoids the single choice and allows more of the decision criteria to be represented in the plan.

Program Management