Many clients want to put all their money and energy into the design phase, and only consider implementation once the design is finalised. While this may deliver a glossy report and pats on backs, this is a fatal error. A project’s goals will never be realised without a strong focus on implementation.
While the implementation is ongoing it has already been recognised that the buy-in to the DSwMS reform has been unprecedented in Defence. So how did we do it? Through forward thinking, testing, communication, education and perseverance.
It was understood from the outset that this challenge was all about people and changing the way they work, or as the Chief of Navy VADM Tim Barrett succinctly put it at the time, the goal was to create “10,000 Seaworthiness practitioners.”
For this reason, implementation was developed in parallel with the design, not as an afterthought.
This included the implementation strategy – what to implement where and when – as well as the implementation tools and change management approach to be used at each touch point. Early field testing was also crucial to identify barriers that needed to be worked through to ensure implementation didn’t fall flat.
Implementation was designed around a release-based approach. Each release was developed as a holistic, integrated and self-contained package designed to make a step change in the way the organisation worked. Each release built on the previous one to take Defence on a coherent and logical journey to the future design.
Champions of the design who believed in the need for change were identified early, and their engagement was vital to achieving buy-in from stakeholders. While a huge amount of thinking and subtlety went into the project design, the risk management system itself was designed to be relatively simple from a practitioner perspective, making it easier to socialise.
Measuring the success of DSwMS
At Brooke our definition of success is not when we have come up with a great idea. It is when that idea has become the new norm. We don’t rest until this happens, or until we see results that indicate that it will happen.
Implementation is ongoing, but one of the strongest indicators of success has been support from across the traditionally siloed arms of Defence. Stakeholders are now requesting the management system documentation as they acquire new assets, to ensure they meet requirements and regulations from day one. There is “pull” for the system from across Defence, with people anxious to engage and wanting to know when it will be “their turn”.
The project has also already been recognised as world leading, attracting interest from defence forces in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates as well as one of the world’s major mining companies.
We relish every opportunity to work on complex problems with senior decision makers and project managers in Australia’s largest and most important government departments, institutions and businesses. But working with the Department of Defence on the Defence Seaworthiness Management System has been particularly rewarding.
We would like to congratulate and thank our partners in the Defence Seaworthiness Project and the broader Defence maritime community whose passion, perseverance and integrity underpinned the success of the project.
To learn more about the DSwMS or outcomes call our Canberra team on +61 2 6198 3244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details about the Defence Seaworthiness Management System please read: http://www.defence.gov.au/publications/docs/SeaworthinessMgmtSystemManual.pdf
The Brooke team and The Office of the Defence Seaworthiness Regulator were honoured to receive a high commendation for the DSwMS at the Australian Institute of Project Management’s 2018 Project Management Achievement Awards.