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Project Management Techniques. Steve Snelling 747 Industrial Engineering Boeing Commercial Airplanes My Background. B.S. Industrial Engineering degree from Virginia Tech & Co-Op student (7 work quarters)

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Project Management Techniques

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project management techniques

Project Management Techniques

Steve Snelling

747 Industrial Engineering

Boeing Commercial Airplanes


My Background

  • B.S. Industrial Engineering degree from Virginia Tech & Co-Op student(7 work quarters)
    • (Reynolds Aluminum Co. – Richmond, Virginia)
  • Worked 5 years as an Area Industrial Engineer
    • (Reynolds Aluminum Co. – Listerhill, Alabama)
  • Worked 10 years as a Management Consultant
    • (A.T. Kearney Inc. & Arthur Young Intl. – Chicago, San Francisco & Vancouver - worked in 22 states & Canada)
  • Worked last 21 years as an IE - Process Improvement Engineer
    • (Boeing - Everett site: 747, 767, 777, & 787 airplanes – currently on 747-8 program, some projects coaching & mentoring)
  • Volunteer activities with IIE (nationally & locally) & PSEC (Puget Sound Engineering Council)

Presentation Outline

  • Pictures of Boeing products & 747 Freighter Assembly
  • Types & Structure of IE Projects
  • Five Project Stages
  • Some Project Dangers
  • Project Management Tips
  • An Example Project
  • Q&A

Commercial Airplanes - Military Aircraft & Missiles - Space & Communications - Air Traffic Management - Boeing Capital Corporation - Shared Services Group - Phantom Works


Industries of IE Projects

Aluminum & Steel

Materials Testing


Electronics Assembly

Aerospace & Airplanes

Plastics & forming





Applied Research

Forestry & Logging




State & Federal Government


Oil & Gas





Types of IE Projects

  • Process improvement
  • Problem resolution
  • Elimination of rework
  • Cost analysis
  • Facility layout
  • Equipment justification
  • Stand alone benchmarking
  • Systems integration

Industrial Engineering

Functional Work Areas

Project Management

Production Control

Factory Operations


  • Product Mix Analysis
  • Forecasting
  • Project Planning
  • Project Scheduling
  • Projects Coaching
  • Risk Assessment
  • Chronic Rework
  • Supplier Quality
  • Production Scheduling
  • Lean Manufacturing

- Systems Integration



Product Engineering


- Supplier On-Site Visits

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Parts Storage & Movement

- Comparison of Alternatives

- Cost & Savings Estimating

- Integrated Product Teams

  • Product Development
  • Product Costing

- Layout Design

- Process Flow Analysis





- Training Presentations

  • Course Scheduling

- Machine Capacity

  • Tool Usage
  • Tool Certifications

- Logistics Planning

  • Material Handling
  • Alternative Methods

- Safety Investigations

- Ergonomic Evaluations



Initial Findings

Areas of Detail

Cost Analysis of Alternatives


Summary Report & Presentation

Implementation Plan

Logical Progression of a Project


Five Project Stages


Start-up Activities


Process Documentation & Measurement


Develop & Evaluate Solutions


Conclusions & Recommendations






Five Project Stages


Start-up Activities

Project Profile & Schedule, Feasibility Examination


Process Documentation & Measurement

Historical Data, Observations, Flow Diagrams, Cause/Effect, Benchmarking


Develop & Evaluate Solutions

Preliminary Solutions, Evaluation of Findings


Conclusions & Recommendations

Final Presentation


Outputs from each stage



New Plan




Five Project Stages

1. Project Start-up Activities

  • Project is authorized and assigned
  • Initial meetings with the project’s customer
  • Project Team is formed
  • Initial understanding about project
  • A feasibility study may be required before proceeding too far
  • Project Profile is prepared & reviewed with the project’s customer
  • Project Schedule is prepared & reviewed with the project’s customer

Five Project Stages (continued)

2. Process Documentation & Measurement

  • Process flow charts are prepared, if applicable
  • Historical data is obtained & analyzed
  • New data is obtained & analyzed (e.g. Time Studies, direct observations)
  • Direct observations of current conditions
  • Digital pictures of current conditions
  • Interviewing for Information
  • Cause and effect diagrams, etc.
  • Possible Benchmarking tours

Five Project Stages (continued)

3. Develop & Evaluate Solutions

  • Solutions are listed and organized
  • Additional benchmarking, if needed
  • Simulations (mathematical or using simulation software) are performed, if applicable
  • Evaluation criteria are determined and utilized
  • All viable solutions are evaluated

Five Project Stages (continued)

4. Prepare Conclusions & Recommendations

  • Conclusions are documented and investigated
  • Final recommendations are documented
  • Final presentations are prepared, reviewed & given

Five Project Stages (continued)

5. Implementation & Follow-up

  • Implementation items are planned and assisted
  • Follow-up is done as necessary
  • A large scale implementation may become a new project
some project dangers
Some Project Dangers
  • Vague commitment from customer
  • Poor project description
  • Undefined or unclear objective
  • Unrealistic scope
  • Unrealistic deliverables
  • Poorly defined tasks
  • Too tight a schedule
  • Multiple customers not in agreement
  • No safety margin for late tasks
  • Key team members not available
some project dangers continued
Some Project Dangers (continued)
  • Poor communication with customer
  • Poor data storage & sharing of files
  • Late outside data sources
  • Sub standard quality of data being used
  • Bad team dynamics
  • Non action-oriented report (or final presentation)
  • Overlap with other project teams
  • Legal issues

Project Management Tips

Project Profile & Scope

  • Develop a good Project Profile with a descriptive objective
  • Develop a realistic project Scope (the project’s “boundaries”)
  • Develop a logical Statement of Work / Schedule
  • Limit the simultaneous work you show in your project Schedule, if a small Team
  • Show the entire project in the Project Schedule to complete all Deliverables
  • Continually compare new action items against the original Scope & Deliverables
  • Keep track of the Estimated Completion Date (ECD) - adjust to complete on time, if possible

Project Management Tips

Project Schedule

  • I suggest taking an outline approach to building your project Schedule
  • Most big & complex projects can be broken down into phases or smaller projects
  • Make the project Schedule only as detailed and complex as the project requires
  • The Schedule needs to be a useful and dynamic tool, and not a static one-time-use document
  • Any Scheduling software cannot take the place of logical steps and good task time estimates

Project Management Tips (continued)

Project Phases

  • Consider breaking larger projects into several phases
  • Work on project phases sequentially as smaller projects, if enough resources are available
  • Break out portions of the project, if necessary, due to delays in the project customer’s decision making
  • Implementation and significant follow-up activity is commonly viewed as a separate phase of the project

Project Management Tips (continued)

Getting Help

  • Look for ways of partnering with other individuals or groups on projects
  • At Boeing, MR&D (now M&PT) has a variety of experts on call & may be able to purchase some inexpensive items for testing
  • Also at Boeing, other groups of “Subject Experts” bring additional needed expertise
    • (e.g. Tool Engineering, Quality Engineering, Design Engineering, etc.)
  • Most IE projects are collaborative
    • How well you coordinate with other groups is critical to a project’s success

Project Management Tips (continued)

Project Communication

  • Use a variety of medium to communicate with your Team
    • (meetings, e-mail, digital pictures, file servers, white board discussions, Web Ex, etc.)
  • Ask for reviews during the project
    • Don’t wait for everyone to chase you down to find out how it is going
  • Regularly communicate with your project’s customer
    • The more frequent - the less “forced” the final presentation will seem
  • A positive & team-focused “Attitude” is critical to today’s project communications
    • A “bad attitude” is rarely tolerated for long

Project Management Tips (continued)

Data Analysis & Measurement

  • Understand what data is needed, then develop your collection plan
    • (both historical & new data)
  • Use data to verify and help investigate findings
  • Utilize good statistical analysis skills, and check all calculations
  • Link data to actual observations, when possible
  • Set up lab tests and mathematical models
  • Constantly do “reality checks” with your subject experts

Project Management Tips (continued)


  • Benchmarking is mainly on-site tours of other similar facilities for best practice comparisons
  • Do the main benchmarking only after you fully understand your current process
    • If done too early, you are not ready
    • If done too late, the benchmarking can’t properly influence the solution development
  • Utilize “white board” discussions (that are later typed up) to reach consensus with your Team
  • Try to include your project’s customer on some of the benchmarking tours

Project Management Tips (continued)

Solutions & Evaluations

  • Write down alternative solutions throughout the project
    • Plan to research and investigate them
  • Be creative and comprehensive when developing initial solutions ideas
  • Develop an evaluation approach
    • (The criteria you want to use to determine which solutions are best)
  • Rank the most likely solutions
    • (The ranking may be based on cost, schedule, or risk factors)
  • Bring the project’s customer in on the selection process and to offer real applications information
    • (A “reality check”)

Project Management Tips (continued)

Cost & Savings Estimates

  • Cost & Savings estimates are built up from a good detailed outline
  • Get a good Unit Cost estimate for anything very expensive or with a large number of occurrences (biggest impact items)
  • Get the owning organizations to confirm your Costs & Savings estimates
  • List one-time Costs & Savings separately from recurring Costs & Savings

Cost & Savings Estimates

Initial Savings

Initial Costs

Recurring Savings

Recurring Costs


Project Management Tips (continued)

Conclusions & Recommendations

  • Research & investigate the most likely conclusions with the entire Team
  • Review the possible conclusions ongoing with your project’s customer
  • Take the best of the ideas and form a logical recommendation
  • Assess the Recommendations by cost & risk when presented
  • Time phase the recommendations, if needed

Project Management Tips (continued)

Presentations & Reports

  • Review all final presentations (and final reports) prior to being given to the project’s customer
  • Make sure all files (hard copies & electronic) are organized and stored properly at the conclusion of the assignment
  • Make sure Implementation Plans are well organized and doable (Implementation may take much longer then the Analysis)

Some Summary Comments

  • Recognize when to use Project Management techniques on your IE assignments
  • Form a good Team, with the needed Subject Experts
  • Develop a good Plan, then work your Plan to a successful conclusion, with your Team
  • Utilize good daily management and time management techniques
  • Monitor progress (overall & to the assigned tasks) and make adjustments as required
  • Keep your customer informed throughout the project
  • Learn from your own project management experiences (both the good and the bad)

A Sample Project

Flap Damage Reduction



Flap Damage Reduction


The 747 Trailing Edge Inboard and Outboard Flaps were consistently being damaged (dents, scratches, punctures, etc.)

This caused major disruption to the shop & increased cost to the company

IE used a project approach to analyze the entire flap build-up & installation sequence

Developed improvement options working with the crew and tested & implemented them




Four Square Chart

(Flap Damage Reduction)



  • Reduce the amount of defects and damage related to Flaps
  • Minimize disruption to the shop and to the supplier
  • Improve customer satisfaction



Measure July

Improve January

Implementation April

The 747 Trailing Edge Inboard and Outboard Flaps were consistently being damaged, causing major disruption to the shop floor and our suppliers, while increasing cost to the company.

Control February

Analyze November

Define June

process flow chart flap damage project
Process Flow Chart (Flap Damage project)





pareto chart
Pareto Chart


[Control Surface]

72% of defects are due to dents and scratches (2 of 10 defect categories, 20%)


Defect Locator (‘Measles’) Chart


[Control Surface]


5-Whys Analysis(Flap Damage project)

Three main causes:

-Ineffective use of PREs

-Dropping tools and screws

-Walking on flaps

Deep Root Causes:

-Schedule overlap of jobs

-PRE doesn’t cover proper areas

-Side of Body Panel PRE is insufficient



1 new hinged pre
1. New Hinged PRE
  • Will replace the current acrylic PRE (PRotective Equipment) which is small (doesn’t cover entire flap), has a slick surface, and is removed when inconvenient or during flap tests.
  • The New Hinged PRE will be made of a new material, covers all three flap sections, and hinges at each section so that it will not have to be removed during flap test.
  • PRE is robust enough to prevent heavy damage. It is lightweight, durable, easy to install, and will stay on flap through build sequence.


2 laser measurement device

Current tool

Panel to be measured


Speed brake

Path across flap

2. Laser Measurement Device
  • Concept is for the mechanic to use any such laser instrument to measure the gaps on the flaps without walking on the flaps themselves.
  • Exact device specifications still in work.
  • Use of scissor lift will also be necessary. Improve use of MIT.



Leave it as is

Install Screw here

Install Screw here

Do not install Screw here

Do not install Screw here

3. Carriage Panel Screw Relocation

  • Supplier to relocate placement of screws on flap carriage panels to areas with less risk to process.
  • Eliminates current process risks of hitting the fore flap with a tool during screw removal.



PRE Implemented

4. Turn Buckle PRE

  • Use Elephant Hide on flap in between turn buckle in case tool slips away from mechanic when tightening.
  • Other materials that are as thin as Elephant Hide but more rigid are being investigated and could be used in the future.
  • Improve process and protect area on flap that is volatile and susceptible to damage through use of PRE.



5.Awareness Presentation & Tipsheet

  • Make Flap Damage Prevention Presentation and Tipsheet required training for all 747 mechanics.
  • Describes the vulnerability of flaps to damage, description of the consequences of damage to company including total costs and disruption caused to manufacturing, explanation of the proper procedures when working on or around flaps, and repercussions of not following established procedures.
  • Should be presented to crews at least once per year

Awareness and education will prevent damage across the entire flap


6 wing boots containment trays

Wing Boots required on upper wing surface

6. Wing Boots & Containment Trays
  • Reinstate and make available for use.
  • Wing Boots should be placed over the mechanic's shoes every time they step on the flap to protect from debris that gets caught on the sole.
  • Containment Trays should be used as a central storage to place tools in one area and not laying around on flap.
  • Each mechanic who walks on the flap should have one. Put processes in place to make items easy to obtain, apparent, and mandatory.



7. Caution Notes on IPs

  • Place important notes on relevant IPs that warn mechanics about fragility of flaps, to contact appropriate personnel before accessing flaps, and to use PREs.
  • Increases awareness and serves as reminder.
  • Currently, only affected seal jobs have notes on them but IPs from other areas will also have notes.




Project Management