Questions for Project Planners

PROJECT PLANNING – A 5 Minute Overview

This blog covers in some detail aspects of managing : a] the planning, design and engineering or a rig or marine project and: b] getting a quality product built and delivered on time.

This post runs to 900 words, a 15 minute read. Please excuse me if you consider any the points made below to be obvious. The reason they are being spelled out here, is due to the large number of projects I have seen that overlooked these basic issues (often at great expense).

PLANNING OVERVIEW – WHAT AND HOW
– Where we spell out the project assumptions in plain language.

WHAT DO WE PLAN TO BUILD?
– Every project needs a Concept Statement of the proposed product, written one side of a piece of paper, that spells out what this project is, what is special or different.

WHY WE WILL BUILD IT.
– Who wants it and why? This info is not always relevant to the construction team and is sometimes confidential.

FEATURES AND TRADEOFFS.
A short statement of the key features of what we are building.
– Because all designs are a compromise, everybody involved needs to understand what features we have decided to trade off, to deliver our usable cost effective product.

HOW AND WHERE WE ARE BUILDING IT.
– What are the long-lead procurement items, special equipment, skills and logistics needed to deliver the final product on time?
– What are our backup plans for especially critical activities which could endanger the schedule?
– What are the basic capaabilities and limitations of the yard we are working with?
– What do we expect the responsibilities of the Owner’s Team to be, to support delivery of an on-time quality product? See “Evaluating and Working With Shipyards“.

WHO IS BUILDING IT.
The organization chart and job descriptions.
– Recruiting the right people: key discipline heads: Structural, Outfitting, Facilities, QAQC, Engineering, Electrical, Mechanical, Piping, Commissioning.
– The steps required to review/evaluate people’s job performance. Example evaluation forms. Who does the evaluation/ how often.

PROJECT SCHEDULE/S
– Nothing gets so mixed up in project politics as a late schedule. Meaning that the ground rules about who measures what, is best agreed upon before the job starts, including what remedial steps will be taken by whom, if the schedule is seen to have slipped.
– So many projects run late, that it prudent to have recovery plans agreed up and in place even before the job starts.
– When schedule slippage occurs, time is of the essence to get the job back on the rails. Time spent arguing whether the schedule has slipped, is time wasted.
– The most senior project team members have the “big picture”; therefore they should be the ones who own the Project Schedule/s, good or bad.
– Like one page FD’s (Functional Descriptions), Project Schedule Gantt charts must be easy to read and understand. That means one piece of paper per chart.
– Daughter Gantt charts (e.g. Piping Progress) is the responsibility of discipline heads. If a division head’s Gandtt charts don’t compute, you have the wrong man in the job.
– Daughter Gantt charts need a means of expressing critical daily resource requirements, especially number of man-days and any critical path equipment needed to progress the job, such as scaffolding, cranes, air compressors, forklifts, lighting, ventilation.
– A separate article look at Gantt charts in more detail.

PEOPLE
How we plan to review and evaluate people’s job performance? Example evaluation forms. Who does the evaluation/ how often? What happens when people are not properly evaluated.

Wrongly qualified people is another important topic which has been the cause of many crashed projects. See a separate article on how yards organize their work force.

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