In the wake of Cyclone Yasi in 2011, the Australian Defence Force was preparing to send disaster relief via its maritime capability when it was found that none of the available ships were actually seaworthy. The Australian Navy and Department of Defence suffered reputational damage and loss of confidence in the seaworthiness of their fleet.
Reviews into this incident and other incidents that occurred around that time found that Defence demonstrated critical inadequacies when it came to risk management and accountabilities for seaworthiness.
Appetite was strong for a game-changing reform effort; the Defence Seaworthiness Management System (DSwMS). DSwMS is a goal-based outcome-focused regulatory framework that aims to guide duty holders on how to design, build, use and maintain their maritime assets to achieve their mission, whilst minimising the risk of harm to people and to the environment.
The DSwMS team recognised that changing people’s thinking and behaviour was critical for success. The team used a phased approach to design and implementation which included frequent testing, allowing for constant refinement.
We captured this new framework and used it to structure a collaborative information management system that will support the DSwMS as it matures.
We used our Mentum Systems agile design thinking approach to match the DSwMS need to iteratively deliver new releases that were designed to make a step change in the way the organisation rolled out the system. We initially supported this process by developing a pilot solution to explore and validate the governance design and use of a suitable technology platform. After the pilot solution’s success, we worked with Defence to develop and operationalise the SwIMS solution including user training within four months.
The successful delivery of the SwIMS is regarded as a key capability supporting the adoption of the DSwMS.
For more details about the Defence Seaworthiness Management System please visit: www.defence.gov.au/seaworthiness
AIRCDRE (Retd), Royal Australian Air Force, former Director General Strategy & Planning – AF
Rear Admiral Adam Grunsell, Head of Maritime Systems, CASG