Project kick-off meetings save time and money.
By Stefan Van Der Linde
Before starting a project, having a simple kick-off meeting can be a great way to eliminate the wasted time, effort and cost and improve effectiveness of the people charged with creating value in any project.
When a business engages anyone for a project, it’s important to get the most value possible out of the engagement. Like any project, effective planning and preparation ensures that neither the business’s nor new starter’s time and resources are wasted by working on non-value-adding tasks, or simply waiting around. This provides quicker results cheaper; and ultimately better quality.
For our part, Bluefield regularly reviews our completed projects to learn lessons from situations where there has been an opportunity to improve. With any project, we now run a "kick-off" meeting before we start, to identify and resolve risks and issues that are likely to compromise the schedule, cost or scope. Co-operating with clients on project kick-offs and communicating these onboarding (and other) issues at the outset - and as part of our regular project reports - has made these sorts of cases less frequent.
Unfortunately, onboarding doesn't always go the way we’d like it to. When a business requests an employee, or a contractor for an on-site project, a response to the question “when do you need this resource?” is quite often “Tomorrow!” We had this experience with a recent project.
A client engaged Bluefield to provide an immediate resource to site to assist with the development of some Asset Management Plans. A frantic array of emails and phone calls followed with a request for the swift mobilisation of the resource to site as soon as possible. What was overlooked during this frantic endeavour was the necessity and importance of comprehensive on-boarding.
On-boarding any resource to site without understanding what tools they need is like a tradesman arriving at site without their tool bag. In order to perform their work, they’ll have to beg, borrow and steal tools from others to perform their duties, becoming a burden on the team's time, but also costing the business time and money.
In our experience, when someone arrives on site the first few days are often very wasteful as they realise they don’t have all the tools they require to perform the services they need. Items such as access to the Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS), network drives, drawing management systems, document management systems, area inductions and contact lists to name a few.
In our recent project, access to the site’s CMMS wasn’t available until two weeks after first arriving on site. This meant that for the first two weeks, we needed site resources to get data extracts, which was costly and inefficient. Another request to get access to the production reporting tool took three months to process. It’s important to realise some of these accesses can take time and they should be requested well ahead of when an external resource comes to site. The net result was that the project took longer and cost more than it needed to.
A prudent question to answer before the project starts might be “how will this individual acquire the information they need to perform this work?” This will help answer the question of what tools they require and can speed up the process of complete on-boarding to ensure the project can start at a higher level of efficiency.
Setting up new resources to be self-directing and not reliant existing on-site resources helps remove the burden from the team, enabling greater results in less time and money spent, as well as fostering positive relationships between all parties involved.