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Three steps to achieving ‘operator centric acquisition’ for defence projects

steps to achieving  lsquo operator centric acquisition rsquo  for defence projects

The Australian defence sector is currently booming. With $195 billion committed to Defence over the next 10 years, industry participants can all be part of setting the conditions for a potent Australian fighting force.

We live in an uncertain global landscape, so now it is more important than ever that we achieve the best procurement outcomes for our operators on sea, land and air.


How can we do this? As we know, Defence projects can be very complex, but there are steps we can take to ensure we stay on the right path. By taking an operator centric approach we can work smarter to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Step 1 - Keeping the war fighter at the front of your mind

The first step must be to focus efforts on delivering with the war fighter's needs in mind. An ‘operator centric view’ will deliver better quality outcomes. Picture the end user at every stage of the project. Ask yourself: what will the capability do for them? How will it help them do their job? How it will make them safer?  

Keeping the operator at the front of your mind not only assists in maintaining clarity of what you are trying to achieve, but is also a great motivator to push harder and think deeper to support the operator on sea, in the air and on the ground. 
Step 2 - Walk a mile in the operator’s boots 



The second step involves thinking through how your user would operate the system. 

If they are using a communication system, how will it be used in certain scenarios? Will more systems be a burden or a benefit? Seek operator feedback at every opportunity to get the operator's thoughts and insights.

Step 3 - Look at risk from a team leaders’ perspective

Step 3 involves looking at risk from a team leader's perspective. Trade-offs may need to be made; for example, size for weight, speed for firepower, a delivery on a certain date may require a reduction of capability. The ‘perfect solution’ takes time so may need to be delivered later than desired.  

When approaching trade-offs, look at them from a team leader's perspective, what will be important to them and their team/crew? Looking at the risks from the team leader’s perspective ensures that when managing risks we do so from a perspective that is focused and practical. By knowing these risks, and what can be accepted, you can then determine the level of importance of the sub systems and more informed decisions can be made about what concessions to make.

By taking an operator centric view we can not only ensure clarity in our projects by focusing on the end user always, but we can also ensure great outcomes for out operators on sea, land and air.

Do you have great ways of maintaining the ‘operator centric view’ in your project? Let us know in your comments.


Patrick Batch

Patrick Batch

Patrick is a Director at BCT Solutions, an independent C4ISREW consultancy. Patrick has over 15 years’ experience in both the defence and heavy industry sectors in capability development. He is passionate about delivering great outcomes for the end user across acquisition and sustainment activities.

Three steps to achieving ‘operator centric acquisition’ for defence projects
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