Sue Simmonite

Head of project controls, BAE Systems

 “As the world and ultimately our projects become more complex, there will always be a need for great planning and project control capability to establish the foundations that make for successful projects. Why would you not want to be a part of that?”

60 Seconds with Sue

  • How did you get into project controls and what is your current role and project?

I work for BAE Systems as the head of project controls in the head office project management team. It’s a role I’m really proud of. Together with my Corporate Planning, Monitoring and Control (PM&C) Working Group, I’m accountable for developing and leading the company strategy for PM&C capability improvements (people, process and tools) and guiding their implementation into our global business units. My interest in planning and project controls started back in the year 2000 when I was on a secondment to what was then our BAE Systems North America office, based in Washington DC. When I returned to the UK I joined our then RO Defence business unit as a senior project controller on the Howitzer programme, based at Barrow, Cumbria. From there on my career has always been in planning and project controls and I’ve worked on some amazing projects, including Nimrod, Tornado and Typhoon across all phases of the project life cycle.

  • How does project controls contribute to more effective delivery of projects?

I fundamentally believe that planning, monitoring and control is the foundation of project success. Our contribution as a community is vital to our organisations’ ability to achieve flawless execution of our range of complex project, programmes and portfolios on time, to cost and to quality. Across BAE Systems globally we are investing in improving our planning and project control capability. Having our PM&C teams engaged in understanding, developing and influencing a project’s early life cycle phases is critical and a key ‘left shift’ focus for the business.   

  • What would be your advice to anyone wanting to develop their career in project controls? 

Do it! There are great opportunities available and a growing recognition of the importance of planning and project controls as a career worldwide. Working in this area with BAE Systems has given me so many opportunities, from shaping successful bids with our customers, supporting major project delivery teams, driving closure of our project contracts (everyone forgets this bit!) and leading the continuous development and improvement of our capabilities. As the world and ultimately our projects become more complex, there will always be a need for great planning and project control capability to establish the foundations that make for successful projects. Why would you not want to be a part of that?

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