Learn to identify the red flags on unpredictable projects, and discover how a project leadership can turn things around
A Project Predictability Package (PPP)™ is a suite of services and tools and services designed to help capital project leaders deliver their work predictably, on-time, and on-budget. It includes a bespoke combination of supports tailored to the unique needs of an individual capital project organization, ranging from leadership coaching, risk mitigation strategies, and assurance support to comprehensive change management training and Advanced Work Packaging implementation. A PPP can be applied to a capital project in any sector.
As a capital project leader, you may be working in unpredictable times, but there is no need for your capital project to end up late and over budget. In this article, we will explore how a Project Predictability Package™ provides a baseline methodology to ensure predictability.
First, let’s examine the red flags that warn of an unpredictable project outcome.
Red Flag #1: Business Assumptions Ignore Execution Realities
During the project initiation phase, the executives responsible for setting business and project objectives are almost always working with limited information. As a result, they tend to make a great many assumptions. The trouble arises when these assumptions bear little or no connection to the realities of project execution — a situation that is far more common than many executives care to admit. These project executives are like pilots who are off-course by just one degree: The difference is inconsequential at first, but time magnifies the error and so that by the end of the journey, they are hundreds of miles off-course and fail to reach the intended destination.
Here’s what this looks like in practice. Early in the project lifecycle, a leadership team makes critical decisions about cost/schedule trade-offs. These decisions are based on limited information but are assumed to be correct for the purpose at hand. Later, when these assumptions are translated into real costs and actual duration estimates, they do not align — but the business and project teams press forward in the name of efficiency. As time wears on, it becomes harder and harder to align business and project objectives, until leaders are finally forced to acknowledge that they are going to be late and over-budget.
The Project Predictability Package™ is designed to help project organizations establish real-time course-correction systems. Most airplanes are off-course 99% of the time, but the majority reach their destinations because they have systems in place that force them to course-correct along the way. Concord has developed a set of tools and best practices that help business and project leaders establish self-sustaining systems that keep projects on-course. This is the foundation of predictable project delivery.
Red Flag #2: Poor Project Definition
Early in the project lifecycle, project leaders must make decisions about how much to invest in project definition. This critical front-end definition can range from investigating site conditions to exploring labor and market conditions, and everything in between. The failure to invest in comprehensive front-end definition is one of the most common reasons why projects become unpredictable. Poor definition is poor planning. It’s important here not to conflate poor planning with poor scheduling: You can have a very good critical path and a fully resourced schedule, but if it is based on poor planning, the project is designed to become unpredictable.
The Project Predictability Package™ uses a unique methodology and proven project planning principles derived from Advanced Work Packaging and other best practices to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to outline the best plan. We also work with the scheduler to help translate the plan into a solid schedule that can be used to proactively monitor the project outcomes.
Red Flag #3: Undisciplined Collaboration
Undisciplined collaboration happens when people don’t understand their roles and accountabilities. Even small capital projects have teams of 20 or 30 people, and as projects get larger, these numbers can stretch to the hundreds and even thousands. A lack of understanding around roles and accountabilities virtually guarantees unpredictable outcomes. Here at Concord we call this assumed collaboration: companies put tools for effective collaboration in place, and simply assume that it will happen. Often, it does not. If it does, it is undisciplined and ridden with conflict.
The Project Predictability Package™ provides collaboration assurance. The Concord team studies collaboration practices and measures the cohesiveness of project teams. We help define roles and accountabilities and develop improved workflows. As the project progresses, we assist in reviewing and improving these new systems and put in place guardians of collaboration who are responsible for providing resources and guidance to ensure productive, disciplined collaboration.
The Project Predictability Package™
The Project Predictability Package is anchored in Predictability Thinking™ and leverages the proven principles of Advanced Work Packaging and change management theory. We also incorporate Lean management thinking, with data-driven benchmarking and analysis and evaluation of the project environment to identify areas of waste. In short, the PPP applies a unique, comprehensive, and proven methodology for ensuring unrivaled project predictability.
It’s also important to note that the Project Predictability Package™ is, itself, entirely predictable. We look at your project, conduct an assessment, and we tell you what it’s going to take to come in on-time and on budget. We provide a predictable, lump-sum estimate for training, assurance, and reviews. You will know the complete cost of your Project Predictability Package™ up-front, no surprises. We don’t just teach predictability, we practice it ourselves.
Here’s the reality: In a post-pandemic economy, project predictability is more valuable than ever. This great pause is giving capital construction teams an unprecedented opportunity to reevaluate their internal systems and lay the groundwork for future success. If you’re looking for assistance in this process, the Concord team is standing by to help. Contact us today.
* The Project Predictability Package (PPP)™ is a trademarked offering from Concord Project Technologies.