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Proceedings Paper

Management aspects of Gemini's base facility operations project
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Paper Abstract

Gemini’s Base Facilities Operations (BFO) Project provided the capabilities to perform routine nighttime operations without anyone on the summit. The expected benefits were to achieve money savings and to become an enabler of the future development of remote operations.

The project was executed using a tailored version of Prince2 project management methodology.

It was schedule driven and managing it demanded flexibility and creativity to produce what was needed, taking into consideration all the constraints present at the time: Time available to implement BFO at Gemini North (GN), two years.

The project had to be done in a matrix resources environment.

There were only three resources assigned exclusively to BFO.

The implementation of new capabilities had to be done without disrupting operations.

And we needed to succeed, introducing the new operational model that implied Telescope and instrumentation Operators (Science Operations Specialists - SOS) relying on technology to assess summit conditions.

To meet schedule we created a large number of concurrent smaller projects called Work Packages (WP).

To be reassured that we would successfully implement BFO, we initially spent a good portion of time and effort, collecting and learning about user’s needs. This was done through close interaction with SOSs, Observers, Engineers and Technicians.

Once we had a clear understanding of the requirements, we took the approach of implementing the "bare minimum" necessary technology that would meet them and that would be maintainable in the long term.

Another key element was the introduction of the "gradual descent" concept. In this, we increasingly provided tools to the SOSs and Observers to prevent them from going outside the control room during nighttime operations, giving them the opportunity of familiarizing themselves with the new tools over a time span of several months. Also, by using these tools at an early stage, Engineers and Technicians had more time for debugging, problem fixing and systems usage and servicing training as well.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 August 2016
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9911, Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI, 99111R (10 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232124
Show Author Affiliations
Gustavo Arriagada, Gemini Observatory Southern Operations Ctr. (Chile)
Atsuko Nitta, Gemini Observatory Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)
A. J. Adamson, Gemini Observatory Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)
Arturo Nunez, Gemini Observatory Southern Operations Ctr. (Chile)
Andrew Serio, Gemini Observatory Southern Operations Ctr. (Chile)
Martin Cordova, Gemini Observatory Southern Operations Ctr. (Chile)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9911:
Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI
George Z. Angeli; Philippe Dierickx, Editor(s)

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