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Realising the vision - Airbus Aerospace Park, 10th July 2014

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Posted by APM on 21st Aug 2014

The branch were kindly hosted by the corporate member of Airbus in their Pegasus House facility, which is part of the Airbus Aerospace Park development programme, the subject of the evening's presentation on 10th July 2014.

Our speaker, Hilary Baker, was responsible for the business transformation aspects of the programme which started in Febraury 2011 and completed in June 2014.

The programme involved new build of two buildings, including Barnwell House, the refurbishment of the listed 1935 art deco Pegasus House, the consolidation of the site infrastructure, to move from leased buildings, the move of 4500 staff and adoption of new working practices. A key milestone was getting approval for the budget for the building work in Feb 2011, which was a major achievement and had taken several years. Hilary explained that the approved budget was only for the construction, and not for the business change elements, for which budget had to be creatively acquired through anticipated savings.

The programme was split into concept, definition, implementation and close down, with approval gates between each. Hilary described the inputs, activities and outputs of each stage.

Concept was focussed on planning, defining the vision and project scope. Lessons were sought from other organisations, including the Environment Agency in central Bristol who had implemented hot desking and no car parking in their new offices.

Definition generated a suite of baseline documents, including work, organisation and requirement breakdown structures, risk and opportunity management. Progress was managed using a traffic light reporting to senior management. Work package leads were not full time, the programme was in addition to existing work, but their insider domain knowledge was critical to getting things done.

A major achievement was to get the budget for the transformation work into credit before starting implementation through the use of opportunity management.

Work packages included new ways of working, employee experience and how to engage with hearts and minds and communications, which was the biggest work package.

Implementation included the new build and refurbishment of Pegasus House, with the help of English Heritage. Hilary showed a video of the build progress. The buildings were really the easy bit. The hard aspects were the people issues, with 4500 staff moving to open plan offices and preparing them for new ways of working.

Occupancy plans, or who sits where were driven by the need for teams to sit together and interrelationships. Aircraft programme teams were placed in the new Barnwell House, and services such as HR and procurement placed in Pegasus House as they had greater need for external interaction.

Office migration was carefully planned between August 13 and Jan 14, with office moves overnight. This went well, with only approximately 30 boxes lost!

Preparing staff for new ways of working required a lot of good humour and excellent communications. Changes included open plan offices, smaller desks, hot desking, clear desks, little personal storage, flexible working with laptops and WiFi, 33% fewer meeting rooms, standard tea point equipment and no microwaves, fewer car parking spaces and a drive to car share, cycle or use extra bus routes.

An environmental focus enabled 91% of construction waste to be recycled.

Communication with staff took a lot of effort with web sites, videos reinforcing good news attendance of team meetings and mass communication sessions. A challenge was getting through the permafrost of middle management by cascading information and encouraging staff to ask for information and so getting them in a pincer movement.

Hilary explained that closedown is always a challenge to retain focus after the main objectives of moving the staff have been achieved, but it is essential to review the statements of work and assess project performance and benefit realisation. The programme has been a success, staff are adopting the new working practices, but pressure will need to be maintained to ensure the full benefits are realised. The construction element was delivered under budget.

Martin Gosden, branch chairpersonthanked Hilary for a really valuable presentation of this case study, explaining the inputs, activities and outputs of each programme stage and the lessons learned.

Martin Gosden
branch chairman

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