Changes are inevitable on projects. No project manager in their right mind moves forward with a project not expecting changes to happen - fluctuations in scope, cost, schedule and activity can happen almost daily. In this article, I want to tackle a segment of change management that I often come across in conversations. Which is: the different types & states of Change Events that can be registered on a project; and some of the nuances of each. The three main project change events are:
“If you keep going at this speed, you’re going to be late!”
That’s my simplistic real-life analogy of earned value management. It’s a simple bit of math that we all do in our heads anytime we’re trying to get somewhere or finish something. If you gave yourself an hour to get there and after a half-hour you’re still less than half-way, you’re going to be late. It’s that simple. As simple as it is, it requires us to know quite a bit of information about the current situation in order to calculate late vs. on-time. Just like EVM, you need to know 3 key elements to make the calculation:
As most any project manager will tell you, you can’t manage the past. You have to manage in the Now to have a chance at staying on top of your projects. "Managing the Now" means providing project managers with current, reliable information on what’s going on. The idea of “current” project data isn’t anything new of course, but it’s astonishing how many projects are managed using data from the construction site that’s days or even weeks old. Historical information is interesting – and it does serve a purpose in the final analysis – but it doesn’t help much on a day-to-day basis when snap decisions need to be made to keep things running smoothly.
If you can do anything to help your projects, your business and the mental health of your project management team, give them better information and good tools to report on that information. They’ll hug you and probably never stop.
Managing the complexity of procurement for large construction projects requires an exceptionally robust technology solution.
Most commercial procurement software solutions are designed to handle general purchasing for a broad range of businesses and industry applications. Procurement for construction projects has more complex needs such as:
Do you have a regular Monday morning meeting where your management team plans out who is doing what for the week? EPCM organizations spend a significant amount of time and effort on resource management. And no wonder – resource management is a critical, continuous exercise in projecting resource loads, along with planning and managing who is doing what on any given week or month.
In the world of contract management and procurement, there are a variety of ways the tendering stage can work. A key part of planning any piece of work to be done, is determining who is going to do that work; and setting out the terms of reference and evaluation criteria for awarding the contract to the winning bidder.
One of the biggest challenges most procurement professionals face, is managing the day-to-day madness of having too many things to stay on top of, and not enough information to work with. A very common frustration we hear about from procurement officers is their constant battle with “emergency procurement”. A feeling as if they are always behind, in an ongoing reactive state – having to make sudden purchases with next-to-no advance planning.
For any major construction project, it’s likely that every single dollar spent on that project will have gone through the procurement department. Think about it … the entire project essentially lives in a big stack of purchase orders – contracts that define the supply and services, terms and conditions, and other instructions for vendors. There’s a lot riding on the successful execution and timing of those contracts.
Hands up if you don't know what an Expeditor is
Oh don't worry - you're not alone if you're not too sure what an expeditor is or does. The expeditor is just that quintessential guy-behind-the-guy that plays a pivotal role in successful project execution. That's all.
The management of critical path items in large construction projects usually involves the coordination of multiple events coming together at exactly the right time. In order for work to be completed smoothly, you need the crews, equipment, materials, drawings, instructions, etc. to all be there at-the-ready, with all preconditions and preparations met, at precisely the right time. For most organizations, the responsibility for the logistics in making sure this all happens without a snag, is perceived as the job of the Project Manager. While true, the project manager is the face of project coordination, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that enable the project manager to achieve the success they’re looking for.