From Deepwater to drones – in this episode Project editor Emma De Vita meets Benjamin Hooper, programme and project manager at Heathrow Airport, whose project won APM’s 2020 Overall Project of the Year. The project, to create a counter-unmanned aerial system (or anti-drone system) embraced innovative ways of thinking and managing for the project team, who were tasked with finding an immediate solution to the drone threat in the airport’s airspace. They only had days to fix the problem, so the pressure was immense and the usual project life cycle was jettisoned for more responsive, collaborative and agile processes.
Ben was able to draw on his experience of working as a subsea operations engineer in the Gulf of Mexico when the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill happened, when he suddenly became part of the crisis management team there. It’s not something he’d ever wish to happen again, he says, but being thrust into the emergency response team was a pivotal moment in his career.
Read Ben’s in-depth account of the workings of the anti-drone project in the forthcoming spring issue of APM’s Project journal, out in March.