Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday, because we get to take our personal inventory. We’re encouraged to step back and take note of what’s important, the relationships that enhance our lives, and the fortunes we’ve been afforded. If we’re lucky and brave enough, we can show gratitude to those that have brought it into our life.
Our last post, “Progress; not Perfection” detailed how HITO helps our clients seek improvement on planning, scheduling, and project controls. As I have re-read that post a couple times since then, I’ve challenged myself: what is progress? What is the best next step for a client to take? Fits though, in order to know the next step, you have to know where you’re at. You have to take inventory…
Evaluate your current processes.
Planning: does your team gather to review the scope, the buyout plan, the execution strategy at the start of the project? Do you have a standard WBS that your team is familiar with that outlines the work in the way you execute it? How do the estimated quantities affect the plan? How is the hand-off between pre-construction and project management?
Scheduling: Going into construction, do the field superintendents buy-off on the schedule? Are good scheduling practices utilized, such as the DCMA14 standards? Which resources-labor, cost, and key quantities-are being loaded into the schedule? Can the schedule be utilized to model the project, thereby creating different scenarios, quickly and clearly? Is there a documented basis for the schedule? How are updates communicated and reviewed with the team?
Project Controls: Is the performance measurement, the rules of credit, established for each type of activity? How is progress communicated and incorporated into the schedule? How many yards of concrete per week are on the critical path? What if you’re limited to 10 welders? What if your electricians are averaging 250 terminations per shift? How are changes communicated to the different trades, contractors, and planning team?
Technology, Training, or Personnel?
If you know and understand what your team does well, should you consider technology, training, or personnel improvements?
Looking at the marketplace for Project Controls technology, there are some exciting developments incorporating artificial intelligence, robots, even 5-D and 6-D models. Pretty amazing stuff, but I doubt many of our clients would know how to “drive” it. Niche products that serve a small part of the project management requirements. Lower tech options that basically serve as a project management database, can help track many processes well. I always look for products that integrate with the industry standards. Additionally, can the majority of my people get the majority of the value out of this?
To get the value out of software and people, they need training. Where is your team struggling the worst? What organizations are you looking to for guidance? AACE or PMI? Do you incentivize your people to pursue continuing education and certifications?
Lastly, do you have the right people? Are they trainable? Do you have enough for the upcoming year? Maybe they are the right people but might need more guidance from a more experienced mentor. Can you supplement them, or do you just need better personnel?
The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers guidance on Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3). https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/pmi-organizational-maturity-model-7666. For those with military experience, there are nine abbreviated terms on just that page. The AACE has a Total Cost Management framework, http://web.aacei.org/resources/publications/tcm, that forms the basis of many recommended practices HITO utilizes with our clients.
HITO can help
You’ve taken inventory. Hopefully, you have lots to be thankful for. Now, how can you make progress with your project controls? If you’re still not sure, HITO can help. Happy Thanksgiving!