Author: Chase Bruning
I recently attended the Bluefield Kepner-Tregoe (KT) Project Management course. KT has long been running project management courses, however this course was facilitated by Bluefield Asset Management Specialist’s to contextualise the Project Management methodology for the mining industry. A project doesn’t have to be a multi-million-dollar, multi-faceted venture; anything from maintenance shutdown work to fixed plant installation or even the design and construction of a capital project can benefit from the KT project management methodology. This is where I thought the Bluefield Project Management Training really came through.
The course broke down the 4 elements of Project Management; Definition, Planning, Implementation and Communication into logical steps providing tools and techniques to help us manage a successful project. Bluefield used relevant example projects, such as a CAT 6060 Excavator maintenance shutdown to support our learning. Teaching us not only how it is done but why and even why not. Learning in groups and individually, it was great to hear from the experience of the training facilitator’s and from the other participant’s.
A weakness of mine in project management is in the Definition phase. I think I know the end objectives but during planning and implementation I have found myself questioning and/or retracing my approach to achieve objectives. This leads me back and forth in defining the problem, wasting some time. The KT training it has highlighted the importance of defining the problem and given me techniques to understand objectives early. Since completing the course, I have taken the ideology to my current contract at Olympic Dam. Although I am not currently undertaking any project work, I have applied the techniques to help produce better quality reports. Understanding exactly what each report needs to be addressed and setting clear objectives before starting to write it. This has really helped not only produce reports sooner but also ensure the reports are succinct and decisive.
Protecting the plan was an interesting concept we went through in detail. In my workplace, I see a lot of issues arising from late changes to the plan and mad scrambles to achieve solutions. I’ve always understood the necessity to protect the plan once established but did not know much of the techniques and influencers for achieving this. Basically, it was conducting a risk assessment on the plan; identifying hazards, setting triggers and providing actions. Remember, the only time we have control of the plan is before it starts!
The concepts and techniques of the KT Project Management methodology can be applied to a multitude of projects and tasks, however, a challenging aspect is recognising what elements may or may not be required for all projects. Each step adds time and resources so understanding the relevance and level of detail required is very important.
I would recommend the Bluefield facilitated KT Project Management training to anyone in the mining industry who is exposed to project management and wants to understand the elements of Project Management that makes success possible. I think being exposed to Project Management it first helps to emphasise the importance of each phase.