Manage Performance

Unless performance is managed the likelihood of achieving the anticipated value levels proposed by the customer will be diminished.

However, there are many reasons for introducing performance management into your processes whether you are a multi £M client or an SME. The drivers for implementing a performance management system include:

For the Client:

  • Confidence that the project is progressing on time and to budget
  • You are getting the best service from your chosen team
  • Target costs reviewed to generate improvements
  • Stakeholders are satisfied
  • To learn from occupier satisfaction surveys for future projects

For the Contractor, Designer and Supply Chain:

  • Knowing how satisfied your clients, end users or customers are with the product or service you are providing
  • Ensuring projects are delivered on time and to budget
  • Providing confidence in consistency and objectivity
  • Providing evidence that can be used for future tenders or in obtaining further contracts
  • Evidence of good or poor performance from members of the supply chain
  • Recording what works well and what does not so that the knowledge gained can be managed and passed on to the next project.

For the end user:

  • For projects in or near occupied buildings or adjacent to existing highways and communities, the opportunity to ensure minimum disruption to existing users/neighbours by flagging up problems in a managed environment.
  • The opportunity to record opinions and experience of the finished asset in use.
  • The opportunity to influence and improve future projects

When managing performance you should consider:

Use performance management and measures as a tool for collaboration and continuous improvement

Performance management and associated measures very often get “delegated” out of a project or measures are only considered towards the end of a project when it is too late to instigate changes that might have improved the outcome of the current project being measured.  The data captured at the end of a project provides a benchmark for future projects but without a framework of information about the project itself, and a structure of measurement for each phase of the project it can be difficult to successfully use data to ensure that future projects are planned, procured, enabled and executed in a better way.

Performance management needs to be considered at a very early stage in the lifecycle of the project and certainly no later than the design/pre-construction phase. Every party should be involved in the design of the management framework so that they know:

  • What measures will be implemented and why
  • The value/benefit of collecting the specified data
  • How the performance data will be used e.g. NEC Pain/gain

At regular intervals the initial set of measures should be reviewed, refined and enhanced to ensure they are still in line with current requirements until the project goes live on site.

It is also interesting to note that Prince 2 Project Management calls for tangible monitoring.

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Establish outcome measures to measure achievement of value

It is important that the whole team understands why the customer desires certain outcomes so that they can establish measures to demonstrate if and when these outcomes have been achieved. It may be that the most important outcome for the customer is that the project is delivered to cost and time certainty with quality parameters less important. The team’s targets will need to reflect this.

The key to successfully implementing sensible measures is to clearly establish at the outset:

  • Who the data is to be collected from e.g. the whole team collectively (at team meetings), or from individuals e.g. Client, Project Manager, Consultant, Main Contractor, Stakeholders  – end users, neighbours etc. just prior to team meetings so that results can be reported and discussed at the meeting.
  • Who is responsible for recording the data. The benefit of using a commercial performance measurement system is that the whole process can be automated so that respondents receive an email inviting them to enter their data and their responses are automatically recorded in the database for future verification and reporting.
  • When the data is to be collected  e.g. In Design/Procurement stage, End of Design, Start on Site (mobilisation), During Construction/Work in Progress – monthly/quarterly, Practical Completion, In-use (3 months/12 months)
  • Which measures are to be selected at each stage [link to comprehensive list of measures].

Performance measures should be kept to a minimum and should provide data that will help to flag up issues which arise during the project.

Where possible the framework of measures selected should form part of the contract so that measurement and reporting become part of the process.

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Agree targets for the delivery of the desired outcomes

Don’t just set arbitrary targets. Think about targets which sensibly reflect the desired outcomes of the customer.

You should also ensure that you compare “like with like” so basic project information should be captured to make meaningful comparisons:

  • Project Type e.g. Housing, Health, Education, Leisure, Civil Engineering, Retail, Private
  • Project Location – Rural or Urban
  • Type of Construction e.g. Brick/Block, Steel Frame,  Off Site Manufacture (OSM), Timber
  • Location Type – Greenfield, Brownfield
  • Scheme Type (mainly applicable to Housing Projects)
  • Procurement Type e.g. Collaborative Working, Design & Build, Off the Shelf, PFI, Section 106, Traditional
  • Contract Type e.g. JCT 98, JCT IFC, JCT Constructing Excellence,  JCT MW, ICE Conditions of Contract, ICE Minor Works, ACA, NEC, other

As far as end of project measures are concerned the following lists typical examples:

  • Client Satisfaction
  • Contractor Satisfaction
  • Predictability of Cost
  • Predictability of Time
  • Quality
  • Productivity
  • Profitability
  • Safety
  • Construction Cost
  • Construction Time

Reporting

Knowing what it is that stakeholders want to learn from the data being collected should go hand-in-hand with selecting the performance measures, so considering the outputs/outcomes required is key to determining the measures selected.  The reporting needs of the stakeholders will vary depending on their interest in the project and so consultation with all parties is very important.

Comparing performance – benchmarking

Data collected during the design, mobilisation and construction stages, detailed customer and occupier satisfaction survey data can be used over time to compare your current project with future projects you undertake, with the aim of achieving continuous improvement.

There are opportunities to join Benchmarking Networks such as the Constructing Wales Performance Improvement Network (CWPIN) where your results can be compared anonymously to the results of other network members, and share good practice.

The types of performance indicators described elsewhere in the guide can be compared with the Constructing Excellence Industry data to determine how your performance compares to the data collected through an annual survey which allows you to plot your achievement against the best and the worst in the industry.

Systems

You should consider the best type of system to record your measurement data. Whilst it is perfectly possible to capture data using a spreadsheet, over time the ability to compare one project against another using the project information and the performance data becomes increasingly onerous.  There are a number of data capture systems available. Some of which have been specifically designed for the Welsh Construction Industry e.g.
Constructing Wales Performance Improvement Network (CWPIN) www.constructingwales.co.uk

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Make sure the measures are SMART and the targets are realistic

Targets need to be SMART:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time based

Sample Project Partnering Charter

The members of this team will work together in an open, honest and enthusiastic manner to create an environment which will ensure the best possible delivery of the project.

The team will make best endeavours to implement the following principles.

  • To engage all communications in a courteous respectful and agreed manner, building good, sustainable relationships.
  • To ensure that working at this project is an enjoyable experience and display a positive attitude at all times.
  • To ensure best practice at all times and strive towards improvement.
  • To take a balanced approach to time, cost and quality.
  • To achieve the best possible quality, get it right first time and achieve zero defects at handover.
  • To work in a collaborative manner at all times, trying to avoid problems and resolving them proactively, together, as they occur.
  • To provide clear, concise communication to avoid confusion and eliminate duplication and waste.  We will share our knowledge and keep it simple.
  • To show creativity and innovation in all aspects of our work.
  • To manage and measure performance against agreed benchmarks to encourage improvement.
  • To add value whenever possible, working within the agreed budget, assuring fair rates and reasonable profit for the whole team – shared pain and gain.
  • To ensure buildability and value engineer the project continuously to provide best value.
  • To execute all activities in a timely manner ahead of the agreed programme.
  • To coordinate activities collaboratively with project partners to ensure smooth implementation of the project.
  • To continuously improve our service together with a view to successful completion of this project and forward into future projects.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, this Charter shall not override the agreed terms of any official order, but exists to enhance them.
  • This Charter will be signed by each partner as they become involved.
  • It may be advisable to prepare a secondary, more detailed Charter to use for operatives at site level to address specific matters such as safety, welfare, waste generation and neighbours.

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