Agile Project Management in Defence Industry

February 28, 01:00 pm - 02:40 pm AEDT

Red Ochre LABS is BAE Systems Australia’s home of research, technology, development and advanced manufacturing. It comprises a team of 500 employees operating across five states and territories in Australia. Ultimately, it is the product and development engine room for the growth of Australia’s largest Defence company.  But it also must deliver value to its key stakeholders, namely its customers, BAE Systems’ 83,000 employees and shareholders around the world.

Transforming Red Ochre LABS from a purely technology development house to a line of business responsible for the entire product lifecycle from concept to creation is a task that has required significant consideration and implementation of project management methodologies.

Across Defence industry there is a ‘no fail’ culture when it comes to the provision of goods and services. Yet, balancing the freedom of thought required for real innovation with the exacting project management and engineering standards required to deliver defence materiel is not a straight forward task.

This challenge is unfolding across Defence sectors globally, driven increasingly by expectations from government that Defence contractors must cope with continuous change while delivering outcomes quickly and efficiently. As part of one of the world’s biggest Defence contractors, Red Ochre LABS is on a project management journey that has considered all facets of project management from waterfall to Agile.

A successful approach will mean significant rewards, with the Commonwealth Government currently spending in excess of $270 billion in Defence procurement as part of the re-establishment of security infrastructure across the nation. Yet, for BAE Systems, the challenges ahead are formidable with recent studies indicating nearly half of all contracts for future technologies will be awarded to smaller, more agile SMEs and less than 30% being awarded to Prime contractors.

Choosing to ignore Agile may have significant implications for its future business, attracting talent and the way in which the company has been defined over decades. Alternatively, embracing the approach may elevate the company’s profile as a systems integrator in a digital world and ensure its reputation as an innovator and trusted supplier, supporting its customers through their own transformation.

Join Adam Watson as he describes how Red Ochre LABS is balancing innovation and delivery against record levels of urgency and expenditure from the Department of Defence.


Session sponsor:

Director of Red Ochre Labs - BAE Systems
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