Our client, a major UK airport, wanted to improve passenger screening capacity by implementing a cutting edge remote central image processing system. The airport's management team chose to accelerate the implementation of the system over three months ahead of the peak summer season. It would be one of the first airports in Europe to implement remote passenger screening. We advised on the implementation of the new system and on the key issues of change management and risk assurance.
We reviewed the new system design and developed a concept of operations. This identified the benefits and risks to compliance against government regulations. We categorised these risks and benefits in terms of whether they would be delivered by the system or required proving in the operation.
We formed a 'super-user' team of security officers and managers. The team helped us structure the detailed concept of operations and create a rapid Operational Readiness, Activation and Transition (ORAT) programme. We supported the delivery of this three-phase approach across three terminals ensuring that the new system delivered the benefits and business case.
Set a true baseline – Security screening checkpoints are not stable operations, as performance on one day can be very different from another. For this reason, setting a true baseline of performance to prove the benefits of a new concept of operations is critical.
A vision is not enough – A vision tends to be high level. For a complex operation, the vision needs to be developed as a ‘concept of operations’ which show how the IT solutions will operate with people as a system. This requires detail, detail, detail.
The human factor – It’s a well-known fact that technologies can fail without the proper engagement of users, in this case the airport security officer. However, we find that projects pay lip service to the need to engage the user, without really looking at the opportunity from their point of view. When projects engage users but don’t fully take on board what they are saying, they are more resistant to change than they would have been if there were no engagement. So, when testing the system, we are clear what influence users can have on the system and what they cannot.
The checkpoint capacity was increased by 40%, and all security staff have welcomed the changes. In spite of the accelerated adoption, there were no operational or security incidents during the installation, commissioning and early running of the new system.