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Managing Big Science Projects: Avoiding the Near Death Experience

Abstract: Many large science projects experience serious cost and schedule overruns. These frequently lead to cancellation or to the near-death experience of being reorganized and replanned. This talk will describe the cultural contrasts between scientific research and the culture of big projects. It will define the ideal linear project and the perspectives and techniques needed to manage such a project. Finally, it will survey the real world complexities that make nearly all projects more complex and strategies to deal with these complexities. Examples of these techniques will be drawn from high-energy physics projects, LIGO and the Thirty Meter Telescope project.
Speaker: Gary Sanders - California Institute of Technology
Speaker Bio: Gary Sanders spent 25 years performing high-energy physics experiments at laboratories in the United States and Europe. He earned an AB degree in physics from Columbia University and a PhD in high-energy physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a faculty member in physics at Princeton University and a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 1994, Gary came to Caltech to serve as the Project Manager and Deputy Director for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project. Gary joined TMT as its Project Manager in 2004. He is the author or a co-author of more than 175 peer-reviewed publications and he has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Poster Link: Poster
Presentation: Presentation on 9/18/2013 (PDF)