CSIRO tames project management risks

CSIRO tames project management risks

Scientists from CSIRO's manufacturing and infrastructure technology (CMIT) have announced new project management software that learns from previous successes and failures.

The software is believed to be the first risk management software designed for concurrent engineering projects that links the entire project management process from product or project design, development, and manufacturing to delivery.

The software, Intelligent Risk Mapping and Assessment System (Irmas), is being piloted by Hawker de Havilland, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing, on its 787 projects.

Irmas is a dynamic, Web-based tool developed primarily for project managers to help them deal with risks associated with their tasks.

Dr Mingwei Zhou, CSIRO Irmas project leader, says the software has its own knowledge base made up of previous experience and solutions, as well as quantified, company-specific risk policies.

"Many companies are locked in engineering cycles where they repeat costly but [avoidable] mistakes," Zhou said.

"Based on a project manager's responses to a [custom] set of questions, the software will identify possible risks based on existing knowledge in the system repository."

Irmas covers eight risk categories and more than 200 risk types and was developed by a team of researchers who collaborated through the Cooperative Research Centre for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems and Technologies.

The software ranks risks by likelihood and consequence, and suggests mitigation strategies based on lessons learned from previous projects and best practices. Irmas ships with more than 170 lessons learnt, 35 case studies as well as 13 customer and supplier profiles.

Boeing-Hawker de Havilland has classified more than 589 risks into three types of projects: design build, derivative design, and build to print. Its total database of 'risk knowledge' now stretches to more than 4300 items.

Hawker de Havilland's Research Team Leader Dr Adrian Rispler said Irmas is unique in that it allows concurrency of engineering tasks to be factored in at the risk identification and analysis stages.

"Irmas will allow us to identify, analyze, mitigate and monitor risks in complex engineering projects across multidisciplinary teams whilst being able to account for interdependency of tasks," Rispler said.

The software has been designed with concurrent engineering and multi-site product development in mind.

Irmas is a joint research and development project with researchers from the University of NSW, University of Wollongong, and Hawker de Havilland. Hearne Scientific Software now distributes Irmas.

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