Manage the delivery

All the hard work that has gone into planning and designing value into the project won’t be delivered without careful management of the process through the delivery stage.

You should consider:

Under certain forms of contract, such as the NEC suite, the project manager is given a prominent role. In other forms it is implied. However, it is not the intention to describe the contractual aspects of this role here but to provide some guidance on how this role should operate if value is to be managed through the delivery stage.

Take a coordinating and facilitating approach

Under traditional contracts, the structure of a project is hierarchical with decisions and instructions being issued by the client’s representative. A project manager also carries a high degree of authority especially under the NEC contract but this is administered in a totally different way. Successful project managers seek the cooperation of all parties towards a common set of goals and this is best achieved by facilitating the team within the agreed rules of the contract. The people skills required to do this are vitally important and should be high on the list of essential requirements when selecting a project manager.

This skill also needs to be brought to bear on the management of the end user and other key stakeholders including those affected during the construction phase.

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Manage a programme effectively

Keeping to time and budget lie at the core of any successful project, so the project programme should form the backbone of project team meetings with all parties looking for ways and means to keep or even beat the programme and not look for reasons why the programme is delayed. A single programme using the same system should be the aim to avoid potential for confusion.

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Deal with issues up front

The NEC contract uses the principle of dealing with issues as they arise and not leaving them until the end of the contract. This has the twofold benefit of early resolution of issues and ensuring that a spirit of openness and honesty is maintained within the team. The team should focus on fairness for all with delivery of the project remaining the paramount objective. Even in non NEC contracts this is a sound principle to pursue. However, in lowest price contracts the contractor may feel under pressure to look for opportunities to maximise reimbursement for additional costs especially if bidding at a loss!

Disagreements and potential disputes should also be dealt with up front ideally using the principles set out in an agreed set of behaviours at the outset of the project. If necessary a proper dispute resolution process should be used.

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Communicate throughout

As implied earlier this is a core principle of good project management. A commitment to regular and effective communication should be embedded in every project.

The ‘team meeting’ is the lynchpin for this. The programme of meetings should be agreed at the outset of the project as part of a clear communications strategy and should be appropriate to the attendees both in terms of content and duration. Communication should extend to those affected by the project and can be in the form of regular newsletters or briefings. Project team meetings need to be focussed and regular whereas meetings with the client and key stakeholders should be informative and provide plenty of opportunity for feedback with a mechanism for dealing with and reporting back on actions.

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Manage risk and engineer value

Throughout the life of a project, opportunities present themselves for deriving improved value from a project. Good project management will ensure that the environment is in place for sharing and developing these opportunities using an appropriate system for recording these discussions and the actions ensuing.

This also applies to risk management. Risk should be owned by the party best able to manage it but all the team should contribute to the mitigation of risk. A regular discipline of reviewing risk on projects can ensure that the appropriate attention is paid to the risk involved this also involves regular re-assessment of risk with a view to the removal or reduction of that risk at the earliest opportunity.

Again an appropriate methodology of maintaining and managing the ‘risk register’ should be applied.

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