Orchestrating ORAT through Project Plans, Schedules, and Resources

Operational readiness, activation and transition (ORAT) are four critical phases in orchestrating the safe commissioning or decommissioning of infrastructures or systems in the air transport industry.  A clearly defined ORAT scope is instrumental in the design of the project plan, schedules, and resources to determine the Critical Success Factors (CSFs).  An organization-driven initiative may be necessary to ensure collective efforts towards ORAT-related work activities. 

This blog is a follow up to our earlier blog on defining the scope for Operational Readiness, Activation and Transition (ORAT), and will look at how ORAT can be orchestrated. 

3C+2P-pronged Approach

A three-plus two-pronged approach comprising conception, compliance and completion phases is recommended with pre-and post-sub-phases integrated to establish the Master ORAT Plan.  The process should involve adopting a top-down, bottom-up or hybrid technique for establishing an apt ORAT structure defined vis-à-vis the deliverables. 

A Master Work Activity Register (MWAR), comprising all work activities with critical responsibilities aimed at tracking, monitoring, improving, managing the resource pool, and ensuring command and control over the execution of projects, should be developed.  It should be reviewed with stakeholders detailing their roles and responsibilities.  Examples of sections in the MWAR shall define the project objectives, scope definition, deliverables, milestones, technical requirements, limits, and exclusions.  The challenge is balancing scope, time, cost, and quality and ensuring safety without incident or accident.

Each ORAT work activity should be organized considering its deliverables into distinct levels based on dependencies and sub-dependencies.  The aim is to manage the sub-deliverable and lowest sub-deliverables, as most airport infrastructures require cross-divisional or sectional collaborations.  Regarding accountability, all items shall denote the “owner” of the work activity and supporting divisions. 

Micro-scheduling ORAT Operations-Based Exercises

Completing the MAWR at the conception phase triggers a need to collaborate and strengthen the team to achieve the timelines and milestones.  Developing a micro-ORAT schedule detailing the numerous operations-based exercises categorized by basic, advanced, and intermediate levels could be used to establish pertinent parameters.  These exercises can clarify roles, and responsibilities, identify operational overlaps, gaps in resources, changes to plans and procedures and performance improvements in the new infrastructure or system.  This minimizes overlaps and reduces ineffectiveness while maximizing time, resources, and quality to ensure optimal sequencing.

Scheduling Resources for ORAT Success

During the pre-conception phase, four resource constraints in ORAT Programmes typically dominate the scene: people, materials, equipment, and environment, where each can create a roadblock.  The material components are tools, systems and equipment used in the airfield for the safety and security of aircraft, passengers, and ramp handling personnel.  Human resources can be split between a mixture of permanent and temporary staff with varying skillsets in engineering, operations, and project management functions to complement the separate phases of the project delivery.   The interchangeability of skillsets is a CSF, especially during a pandemic.  

Lead time for advance notice, the number of resources, estimated involvement timeline, subject matter expertise, benefits, feedback, and participation are provided to the stakeholder.  External stakeholders’ work activities are raised at the top level for management to liaise and align resource scheduling.  Pre-engagement briefings are conducted to establish this resource.

Prioritization of construction works vis-à-vis conformance to the operational requirements is necessary, such as construction activities with the slightest slack but the most impact on operations and safety, least duration because of the burst activities needed to complete the ORAT, successor tasks with the least priority, and most resource constraint.

No One Size Fits All

In summary, critical challenges encountered during project planning, scheduling and resource management will include:

  • Project Scope Management: the ability to map and confirm the operational and engineering requirements of the project scope, data collected, and the MWAR, including the control mechanism. The dynamic ORAT programme requires constant monitoring.  Changes could be detrimental, and ignorance could cost lives.
  • Project Schedule Management: the ability to work off all the operational processes from air to ground and vice versa depending on the infrastructure or system. To define each activity no matter how insignificant, as long it touches the ORAT process.
  • Project Resource Management: to work off the current on-ground resources in the workforce considering planning parameters of aircraft turnaround. The number of staff per operational team, their locations, roles and responsibilities etc.  This data, once collected, will provide the optimal resource management for an ORAT team formation.

While the fundamental processes and procedures for ORAT are established, there is no one size fits all approach.

To70’s approach

To70 has extensive knowledge of the aviation industry and the resources to perform quantitative analyses.  Experts with practical and operational experience are part of the team, enabling To70 to use the power of a combination of theory, data analysis and knowledge of operational experts to solve complex problems in the aviation industry.


Gray, C. F. & Larson, E. W. (2018).  Project management : the managerial process.  7th  edition.  New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Pinto, Jeffrey K. (2019).  Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage.  5th ed.  Harlow: Pearson.

Lian, J. (2019). Facilities Planning and design: an introduction for facility planners, facility project managers and facility managers.  Singapore Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.


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