Engineering News

Monday, 26 September 2016

Poor planning costs time and money on projects

Poor planning costs time and money on projects

It has often been said that failing to plan equals planning to fail.

Nowhere is this more that more the case than in engineering projects, which often involve multiple stakeholders and significant sums of money. In these projects, any failure to put in place a robust plan up-front creates uncertainty with regard to deliverables and outcomes and crafts the potential for delays, disputes and legal action as well as loss of future potential for work with the client and loss of reputation.

By contrast, outlining a robust plan from the beginning underpins an environment whereby deliverables, outcomes and milestones are clearly understood; opportunities for input from various project participants as well as early collaboration are available; project participants are clear about the resources which they need to have ready and when these need to be in place; and each member of the project team understands what is required of them by subsequent project team members.

According to Dr Ross Yates, an educator and project manager who has delivered a range of projects and initiatives across areas such as healthcare, education, not-for-profit and mining, an effective plan will not only spell out critical roles, responsibilities and timelines but will also encompass considerations such as quality management, safety, financial management and important metrics to indicate how the project is tracking. Once the plan is prepared, he says all stakeholders should have a copy of the document and should be clear about their roles, responsibilities and budgets.

Yates says the importance of this cannot be understated.

“Early preparation and identification of project planning which covers all of the activities that you are going to be doing from scope, inclusions and exclusions is critical for the success of your project,” Yates said. “The components of project management that will be delivered down the track need to be looked at right up front to make sure everybody is aware of those requirements and can deliver accordingly.”

“Also, getting engagement early on will assist you in the development of the project plan as subject matter experts will typically be involved in the process and can add value to overall project. Early communication will improve your project management plan and the project delivery process in general.”

Critical project management concepts are taught by Yates in a two-day course which is conducted through Engineering Education Australia. During the course, participants learn how to create a range of project management tools which enable them to capture all communication, set out critical processes and time frames, assign tasks to specific personnel and manage multiple aspects of projects in a manner which enables them to remain in control and ensure the project is delivered on time and within the required budget.

At an individual level, those who attend will learn skills which they will be able to apply within their immediate work and personal environments. Participants will also be equipped with a set of project guidelines and templates which they can apply to projects upon which they currently work or plan to work. These skills will help to enhance their reputation from the viewpoint not only of their immediate employer but also stakeholders with whom they work, including clients, contractors and others.

The course will benefit a range of professionals including engineers, project managers, project team leaders, construction managers, engineering managers or those who aspire to move toward project management roles.

Employers will benefit as well, since the skills which participants are able to apply will reflect not only upon the individuals themselves but also upon the broader reputation which their employers enjoy within the marketplace.

Participants will have the option of going on to further courses, through which they will learn about managing teams and stakeholders in an in-depth manner and about strategies to enhance project performance. Further learning pathways of the introductory course include “Enhancing Project Performance” and the nationally accredited, and highly regarded “Diploma of Project Management”.

More information about the course can be found here