An accelerated close-out programme for fit-out works on a £1B station on the Thameslink Programme. Over 8000 defects required closing out with a major christmas blockade to be delivered.
We were engaged to manage the planning and control of the close out works on this major scheme which had a significant amount of snags to rectify as well as the final works to be completed during a major christmas blockade where key works had to be completed during a full station shut down.
Key issues included:
- Lack of individual accountability with respect to compliance to the plan
- Token commitment to the agreed plan
- No consideration for recovery on failed tasks
- Vague understanding of the root cause(s) leading to failure.
The best project solutions involve robust processes coupled with motivated people. It is a manager’s responsibility to establish lean and meaningful information flow and focus teams to work effectively in the framework. Humans are social creatures – peer opinion is a significant motivator.
A weekly peer forum was introduced at the end of each week with the following agenda:
- Review of the previous Weekly Work Plan – the owner of the works failing to be completed as per the plan give a brief presentation of root cause for failure and subsequent recovery plan.
- The weekly and historical failure cause trends are presented and compared by supplier and engineer, encouraging friendly competition to finish atop and definitely not be at the bottom.
- A lock-down of the next Weekly Work Plan. All persons involved are given the opportunity to challenge the plan and discuss interface.
- A collaboratively produced, and collectively owned Weekly Work Plan.
- A Power BI tracker showing trends of root causes of failure (this week/historical).
- A Weekly recovery plan.
- All of the above was broken down to the daily level, managed by each supplier and engineer internally.
- More careful planning from the supplier managers and engineers to safeguard their peer status
- Buy-in to the Weekly Work Plan was guaranteed
- Unforeseen interfaces were addressed prior to any on-site clashes
- A reinforcing of key failure causes to the project team prioritised improvement focus
- Time recovery was built into the team’s mindset
Using digital solutions to guarantee accountability turned out to be particularly effective in changing the delivery culture. In addition the simple presentation of the works to be completed supported the project management team to deliver without having to worry about doing their own analysis of what works they needed to do.
Planning documents are often dismissed by the delivery managers as being unrealistic. Shirking accountability to “someone else’s” plan is easy if you’ve made it clear that it’s unachievable and that you were not consulted in its development. Making an effective plan is about giving the responsible delivery people the forum to make commitments they believe they can deliver with the knowledge that they will be measured against them.