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Of Interest

See archived entries

Comparing notes in project management

Joseph Onstott, Budget Management Section Leader

Project management organizations like the UK's Association for Project Management (APM) provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and best practices. At APM's annual conference in October, held at the Airbus assembly facility in Toulouse, France, ITER's Joseph Onstott presents the project to company managers from around Europe. (Click to view larger version...)
Project management organizations like the UK's Association for Project Management (APM) provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and best practices. At APM's annual conference in October, held at the Airbus assembly facility in Toulouse, France, ITER's Joseph Onstott presents the project to company managers from around Europe.
As a large international science project, ITER faces various challenges. Rivalling its complex and innovative design is the difficulty of planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling a project with hundreds of thousands of activities split between the ITER Organization and the seven Domestic Agencies.

For this reason, the discipline of project management, which uses specialized knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to achieve project requirements¹, was strongly recommended as a key strategy for the remainder of construction in the 2013 Management Assessment².

One of the ways in which ITER is meeting its obligation to create a project management culture is by fostering association with project management organizations like the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK. This provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and best practices. Recently, the ITER Organization was invited by the APM chairman to present fusion energy and the ITER Project to project managers from around Europe at its annual Project Management Conference held at the Airbus assembly facility in Toulouse, France.

Many participants had never heard of ITER. They were interested in the potential of fusion energy for solving global energy concerns and in how ITER is addressing risks during construction. For their part, Airbus employees shared experiences in using earned value management and other tools to deliver successful projects to their customers. In addition, they gave a guided tour of their 490 metre-long assembly building where Airbus produces a new A380, the world's largest passenger airplane, every ten days.

The ITER Organization looks forward to continuing its association with APM and similar organizations. We are working to host the annual APM conference on site in 2015 in order to provide staff from the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies with an opportunity to broaden their understanding of project management and learn how it can help ITER achieve its schedule and cost goals. We are also planning a series of talks on project management that will be scheduled for early next year.

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1- 2008 Project Management Institute. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) — Fourth Edition
2-According to the ITER Agreement, a Management Assessment of the activities of the ITER Organization must be is undertaken every two years by an independent management assessor appointed by the ITER Council.   


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