Project Management - Complex Project Delivery

August 3, 2020

Bluefield was engaged by a mining customer where the brief was to assist with a very complex project that was challenging to execute. Bluefield accepted the challenge and appointed a project manager to take full accountability for project delivery.

The project manager initiated a review of the project status and identified a few key stress points.

  1. Project delivery status of physical assets progressed well, including the civil work, hardware installations and was mainly on time and on budget
  2. Operational readiness and the management of change posed a significant challenge:
    1. The magnitude of operational readiness items such as introduction to site, site acceptance and procedural document was vastly underestimated
    2. The scope was very poorly defined and led to multiple scope change and rework at the point of handover and site acceptance
    3. Several approved capital scope items were removed from the project through informal decision making with no formal management of change or change request to the capital approvals
    4. A very strong project team with poorly defined roles and responsibility
    5. Poor engagement with the project sponsor
    6. Poor project controls with poor content and an inconstant message to the Steering committee (VPO and GMs). To further compound this matter, the project controls were never delivered on time.

By Applying the Kepner-Tregoe Project Management framework the following corrective actions was taken:

  1. The operation readiness requirements were review and the scope and schedule update with the correct level of granularity
  2. The original scope and supplementary request items were reviewed, defined, and formalised. Key stakeholders were engaged at Subcommittee level and the deliverables and timing was clearly communicated.
  3. The missing scope items, that was previously removed, was reintroduced to the scope and schedule and development work commence immediately.
  4. The management of change process for the project was formalised and the responsibility for approvals were delegated to the subcommittee members
  5. The operational readiness requirements were defined, and specific document and procedures identified for development, and the scope and schedule updated the reflect this body of work
  6. The project team was realigned with specific areas of responsibility and project were leads appointed. Specific duties and responsibility were defined for cost control, project engineering, technology, user acceptance, deployment, scheduling, and project control.
  7. The relationship with the project sponsor is critical to the success of any project. Open lines of communications and “full line of sight” was established that ensured a fully informed and engaged project sponsor
  8. Project controls was review and the frequency adjusted to weekly scope progress reports and monthly cost performance reporting. The content of the project reports was adjusted to reflect only important project status information and key decision items. The development of the project control was priorities above any other project executable to ensure the dependable and punctual delivery of the

The project schedule was reviewed after all the actions was implemented and optimised. The resource constraint was addressed, and an expedited delivery program could be established.

The project was delivered on time and on budget with only minor punch list items remaining on the completion day. The project team was acknowledged by the leadership team for delivering all operational key milestones successfully against the expediated Go/Live timelines with COVID-19 safety control in place