UK Chinook Case Study

Instilling Confidence in International Stakeholder co-operation for the UK Chinook Programme

Carrying up to 32 troops or 10 tonnes of freight, the Chinook helicopter is large, robust and supports most of the UK Armed Forces’ operations.

The Chinook – Future Heavy Lift (CH-FHL) Team, part of the Chinook Project Team, based at the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Abbey Wood headquarters, had been given the challenging task of seeking the most cost-effective solution to allow a specialist extant fleet of Chinook helicopters to safely enter military service. With the project being time critical to satisfy military needs, the Team could not afford poor risk management of both cost and schedule.

The Challenge

The MoD had already set a rigorous risk maturity grading structure for the team to meet. They faced a further challenge when Risk Manager; Trevor Checksfield set the ambitious goal of achieving Risk Maturity Level 4, the highest possible grade, at the first attempt.

The success of the project depended on delivering a low-risk solution to the Customer using effective and proven risk management tools and processes with minimal disruption to the team’s overall performance.

The Team also wanted to make sure that they were in a better position to develop and establish auditable 10%, 50% and 90% confidences for schedule and cost.

With the Prime Contractor in the USA, international co-operation between the Team and the Contractor represented a further challenge for the CH-FHL Team, not only from a risk culture standpoint in achieving a common risk management process and Risk Register, but also the ability to make risk information accessible and available where and when the project stakeholders required it.

A tight budget and schedule also meant that the team needed absolute confidence in their decision-making processes for risk and opportunity management. Having enjoyed a working partnership with Risk Decisions since the team’s inception, Trevor was sure that his team would deliver.

The Risk Decisions Solution

As a leading provider of risk software, training and risk consultancy, Risk Decisions established enhanced helpdesk support for the Chinook Team. On-site visits allowed Risk Decisions to build a close working relationship with the Team, to develop a more in-depth understanding of their position and to identify the most appropriate risk process for them.

Risk Decisions’ Predict! software suite gave the Team the foundation they needed to implement the best risk management practice.

  • One of the key criteria for achieving Level 4 risk maturity is being able to demonstrate that risk management procedures are widely used and well understood. Attending Risk Decisions’ training courses not only gave Trevor the skills and knowledge he required, but he was also able to use the training material as a starting point for his own process documents.
  • Risk Decisions provided desk side coaching to assist with modelling opportunities in project plans, so that the Team would be better able to increase the likelihood of their occurrence and take advantage of them.
  • A laptop version of the Risk Register meant that the Team could take data from the on-site database to off-site meetings both in the UK and USA.

The Benefits

  • The Chinook – Future Heavy Lift Team were one of few MoD projects to achieve level 4 risk maturity at the first attempt.
  • The team established clearly defined and well-documented risk processes and procedures largely based on Risk Decisions’ training material. This gave Trevor the freedom to entrust others to use the Risk Register, safe in the knowledge that the proper processes were being followed.
  • Having Predict! software available at Contractor meetings meant that Trevor could perform genuine statistical analyses of risk, giving him quantitative results that provided a real insight into the cost and schedule implications of different progression options.
  • The project was equipped to work effectively with his Contractor in the US.

The IPT gained confidence in their risk and opportunity management, a key contributing factor in bringing the 10%, 50%, and 90% confidences in line with schedule and cost targets.