FESTA handbook Planning and Running a Field Operational Test

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Planning and Running a Field Operational Test


For a Field Operation Test(FOT) to proceed smoothly, a plan of action must be developed which documents the scientific, technical, administrative and procedural activities and tasks that are needed to successfully complete it. Given that the lifecycle of an FOT typically evolves through many phases, there are many issues to consider. In this chapter, the critical activities and tasks which are necessary to run a successful FOT are documented — in the form of a “FOT Implementation Plan” ([ FOTIP]) — drawing on lessons learned from previous FOTs conducted in Europe, the United States, Japan, Australia and elsewhere.

The [ FOTIP] is contained in Annex B of the FESTA Handbook. In this chapter, the [ FOTIP] is introduced, described, explained and discussed.

The FOT Implementation Plan


The [ FOTIP] is intended to serve primarily as a checklist for planning and running FOTs:

  • to highlight the main Activities and Tasks that would normally be undertaken in successfully completing an FOT ;
  • to ensure that, in running an FOT, researchers and support teams are aware of critical issues that influence the success of the FOT; and
  • by drawing on the experiences of previous FOTs, to highlight the “dos” and “don’ts” of running an FOT ;
  • to provide a consistent framework for planning, running and decommissioning FOTs.

The [ FOTIP] presented in this Handbook is not intended to be prescriptive, but rather to serve as a generic guide in conducting FOTs. By their very nature FOTs are major projects – extensive and expensive. Significant previous FOTs that have not delivered their anticipated outcomes have not done so primarily because of failures to anticipate problems that compromised their successful execution. The [ FOTIP] attempts to map out all known critical issues that need to be taken into account in planning and undertaking an FOT .

The history of FOTs suggests that no two will be the same, and that there often are many unforeseen Tasks and Sub-Tasks that arise during its lifecycle. The list of Tasks and Sub-Tasks contained in the [ FOTIP] in Annex B of this Handbook is not, therefore, exhaustive. It is based on the collective wisdom of those that have been involved in planning and running previous FOTs. There may be specific requirements for future FOTs conducted in Europe that will need to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

The [ FOTIP] at Annex B describes what needs to be done, and approximately when, in running a successful FOT. Other relevant chapters in the FESTA handbook describe in detail why these activities are necessary and how they are to be accomplished.