Workshop Participants woke up to a view of the snow capped summit with the sunrise rays lighting up the observatories. This fuzzy image was taken for the hotel room, but you get the idea.  We got an early start, piled into vans and headed to the Subaru Hilo base facilities, “Hale Kilo Lani `O Subaru” where Day 2 activities took place.

Gary Sanders started the day by sharing the history of TMT, and the current status of the project. The contested case hearing for TMT’s permit is currently happening right at the Naniloa Hotel, where workshop is being held.

Managing large science projects and the importance of cultural awareness

The first session of Day 2 was a presentation by Gary Sanders on project management. He discussed the history of project management, culture of teams, how different types of expertise contribute to successful team structures, and power structures on teams. Gary’s long career managing large projects provided participants with many examples, including challenges and overcoming challenges. He also discussed the differences between small and large science projects, including how decision are made, and other things important for an early career scientist to understand.

Large science projects often experience a near death experience.

Gary Sanders, TMT Project Manager

Gary discussed cultural difference in how people interact and how that affects teams, getting participants to think about some of the challenges: How can we get people from different cultures, different expertise to work together?  How do you get these people to agree on what the end result should be? These are the challenges international, multicultural teams face?

Warren Skidmore, Telescope Research Scientist for TMT

… and proud Englishman from the Black Country near Birmingham, presented the various roles that scientists and groups of scientists have in the project, how the groups are organized, and what the levels of commitment are. Warren described the role of the Science Advisory Committee (SAC), project scientists on instrument teams, and International Science Development Teams (ISDTs). Warren encouraged participants to get involved in ISDTs. How graduate students can get involved will be discussed more on Wednesday.

Scott Roberts, TMT Systems Engineering Group Leader

described the systems engineering group and its role in determining the flow down of engineering requirements for the TMT project. The information extended Warren Skidmore’s presentation on scientists in TMT and how the systems engineering group takes the science input from various sources and translates those into engineering requirements.

Scott emphasized the importance of well defined requirements, including that requirements should be:

  • Necessary – is the requirement really needed?
  • Verifiable – is there a method to check if the requirement is met?
  • Attainable – within budget, schedule, available technology
  • Clear – “shall” or “will” statements.

His presentation set the stage for the next few days of workshop activities, in which participants will be defining requirements in short activities that simulate real world problem solving.


Doug Simons, director of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope,

shared a movie on the History of Astronomy in Hawaii and gave participants an overview of the cultural significance of Maunakea and how this pertains to the TMT project.