Have we lost our way with Controls? - Steve Elliott


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This is one of many excellent presentations given over the last three years of the eVa in the UK series. They can also be found in the archive at: http://evaintheuk.org/archive along with back-copy video footage in http://evaintheuk/pmchannel
EVA19, the long established Earned Value conference, has this year described its theme as looking at a project management ‘ABC’ – Agile, Benefits and Complex.
The four day event, which returns to the Armourers Hall, runs from the 19th to 22nd of May with the flagship conference being held on 20th and 21st May and workshops before and after.
The conference will look at how this ‘ABC’ can be made to work within a portfolio and how agile fits into major and minor projects. It will investigate how to manage the relationship between portfolio benefits and project budgets, and whether complex projects even exist.
Conference organiser and APM chairman, Steve Wake says:
“Currently there is little evidence that this ‘ABC’ is being effectively deployed and managed. This conference aims to address that concern through EVA’s trademark blend of learning and professional development. Case studies and unusual presentations, delivered by top-notch speakers and experienced practitioners, will again engage and entertain the audience.
We’ve used string quartets to illustrate points in the past and this year we will be using a Blues band for the first time.”
Speakers across the two days include many familiar faces from the APM events programme including; Adrian Pyne of the APM ProgM SIG ‘Changing the project wasteland with a portfolio culture that works,’ APM Honorary Fellow Tim Banfield Director at the Major Projects Authority and Stephen Jones, Sellafield and Planning Monitoring and Control Specific Interest Group (PMC SIG) and Carolyn Limbert of the APM PMC SIG to talk about agile, benefits and complex.
Peter Taylor, the Lazy Project Manager will be presenting on “The project manager who smiled” and the ever popular Stephen Carver will present the leadership lessons that can be learnt from Alfred the Great.
In addition, there will be speakers from AIRBUS, TfL, Bloodhound, Heathrow T2 and London Tideway Tunnels.
The conference will be supplemented by a number of workshops being held at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Bloomsbury Square on Monday 19th and Thursday 22nd May 2014.
'eVa in the UK' http://evaintheuk.org is building a reputation, brand and a learning legacy for the Project Management Profession. The event series is now in its nineteenth year. It is almost as if it all kicked-off when Steve Wake was in short trousers and knights roamed the land on their chargers!
#eva19 is an excellent example of Listening, Learning and Leading #apmLLL in action, and great opportunity for professional development.

I would encourage anyone who is interested in 'Building a better Project Manager,' to take a look at the web site, and book your place and get involved.

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Have we lost our way with Controls? - Steve Elliott

  1. 1. Steve Elliott Have we lost our way with Controls June 2013
  2. 2. Outline Introduction A simple view of Project Controls What is success for Project Controls Have we lost our way? – some observations Summary & Conclusion Discussion
  3. 3. Introduction Over 30 years in engineering & construction projects Chartered Engineer & Certificated PM – FIMechE, FAPM First experience of Project Controls in Petrochem with Exxon/Esso Project Experience Heavy Engineering & Power, Oil & Gas, Petrochem, Pharmaceuticals Infrastructure (Airports, Rail, Water) Worked for contractor, consultant and client organisations Last 2 years - Programme Controls Director at Crossrail
  4. 4.  We cannot change the past  It’s too late to change the present  So we are only left with the future  Isn’t that what Controls is really about ? What is Project Controls – a simple view
  5. 5. Baseline Plan Physical Progress Measure Analysis & Forecasts Course Correction Review Knowing what has to be done (Integrated Scope, Cost, Time) Knowing what has been done (Earned Value) Knowing how performance compares to the plan (So What & looking forward ) Recommending corrective action (Doing something to make a change) Reviewing to check corrective actions have had an impact (Follow up) What is Project Controls – a simple view Risk & Change
  6. 6. What is success for Project Controls  Knowing what has to be done – the plan  Understanding the risks and opportunities in that plan  Knowing what has been done  Knowing what has NOT been done and why  Knowing how performance compares to the plan  Recommending corrective action to achieve the plan  Communicating - at the right time, in the right format All at an APPROPRIATE level of detail
  7. 7. The IDEAL Scope of Project Controls  Scope Management  Cost Management  Schedule Management  Risk Management  Change Management  Reporting  Contract Management )  Information Management ) Understand why others exclude these
  8. 8. Observations  No 1 -- Lack of appropriate effectiveness models and structures  No 2 -- Dis – integrated Project Controls  No 3 -- Inappropriate levels of detail and unnecessary accuracy  No 4 -- A need to better exploit emerging IM/IT technology
  9. 9. Observation No. 1 Programmes & Projects often lack an Organisational Effectiveness framework There is no agreed simple, robust structure – much more than a WBS Scope and structure alignment is left uncontrolled and silo working is rife Controls professionals need to be at the core of projects to drive this
  10. 10. Culture & Values Programme Controls Effectiveness Framework Vision & Objectives Processes & Procedures Infrastructure Systems & Tools People & Resources Structure
  11. 11. Client/ Sponsors Corporate Strategy The 7 Levels of Effective Strategy, Governance & Control Controls Strategy Governance Model Programme & Projects required to fulfil Strategy Risk Management Governance Risk Appetite Ensurealignment ToStrategy
  12. 12. Structure Client/ Sponsors Programme Sub-Programmes (Projects) Projects (Contracts) Sub-Projects or Contracts (of Control Accounts) Control Accounts (of Work Packages) Work Packages (of Activities, where the work gets done) Board/Executive ProjectManagement TaskManagement ProgrammeManagement Strategy&Governance Control&Reporting
  13. 13. Structure • Fundamental – usually not given the attention it requires • If not well developed and controlled – control will be virtually impossible • Challenging in early phases – teams prefer flexibility and will resist • Misalignment occurs vertically and horizontally • Its for ALL the programme – i.e. not just a WBS (Typically focused at Levels 5,6 & 7) Its all about being in control – NOT – being controlled
  14. 14. Observation No. 2 Lack of integrated controls – Commercial, Planning, QS’s – not joined up Often each discipline has it’s own structure, processes etc. They could be working on different projects
  15. 15. Dis - integrated Controls What happened to Cost & Schedule Engineering Oil & Gas vs. Construction vs. IT -- Worlds apart in approach & capability Procurers, Planners, Estimators, Contract Administrators, Cost Engineers. The UK is too focussed on developing specialists In fact the various Institutions promote this – it’s in their interests to do so We produce professionals who know more and more about less and less We need Project Controls professionals – rounded, experienced, multi-skilled We need standards to drive and ensure skills and competence Ingegneria Economica
  16. 16. Glaxo -- Stevenage versus Glaxo – North Carolina One facility cost twice the other – guess which one! Same Client, similar approach: Client Team + PAE + Management Contractor with LS Subs. Typical Project Meeting
  17. 17. Observation No.3 These 3 feed off each other and create a spiral which is difficult to stop 1 --- A drive for more and more detail – does it mean better control ? e.g. the 10,000 activity costed programme 2 --- An unnecessary quest for decimal point accuracy e.g. Anticipated Final Cost £10,925,863,253 --- HS2 – Budget £32.1bn CPI and SPI 0.957, CPI 0.893 – who is fooling who? 3 --- Reports with pages and pages of data and detail – but little analysis Funders and Sponsors, usually persuaded by academics and government quangos often request excessive levels of information and metrics
  18. 18. Greater levels of detail Create an illusion of greater control and accuracy More data to manipulate & information to report Leads to more resources
  19. 19. Observation No. 4 We must exploit the full power of emerging information technologies BIM and 4, 5 D models Portable devices -- still too much paper Simple to use software – the days of PM tool experts are numbered There are some really good examples, but they are few and far between The petrochem/oil & gas/IT sectors are way ahead of construction
  20. 20. What could it be like in the future • BIM and 4, 5D -- the virtual project world • Automated progress measurement using intelligent components • Smart handover of projects to operators and users • The capture, cataloguing and Intelligent use of life cycle data • Realtime reporting instead of month end snapshots • Clients will expect much more automation and less resources
  21. 21. Summary --- Need to focus on the fundamentals & move forward The application of a robust Strategy, Governance and Control model Need to develop more rounded Project Controls Professionals Need to constantly remind ourselves what the real purpose of controls is Need to develop standards for competency and excellence Really embrace BIM/4 & 5D technology to improve efficiency
  22. 22. So what should we be doing to address these issues Do all we can to ensure Programme & Project Controls is at the CORE We are not an add on function or a support function or a PMO The pilot/navigator analogy Carefully consider the level of detail you are getting into Challenge – why do you need this – remember the first slide – plan/measure/recover We cant change yesterday or today – too long in the rear view mirror causes crashes We can and should all develop and broaden our skills Get involved in other disciplines – planners in cost; QS’s in schedules – radical!
  23. 23. To conclude --- Have we lost our way?  In some areas, I think we have – but we can easily find it again if we focus on what matters -- the fundamentals  Put more effort in developing rounded PC Professionals  Fully exploit information technologies and emerging devices  And stop wasting precious time, resources and money creating overly complex, too detailed, fragmented controls environments and models which don’t provide our Sponsors, Project Directors, Managers and colleagues what they NEED. Which is :
  24. 24.  Knowing what has to be done – the plan  Understanding the risks and opportunities in that plan  Knowing what has been done  Knowing what has NOT been done and why  Knowing how performance compares to the plan  Recommending corrective action to achieve the plan Communicating it all at the right time, in the right format
  25. 25. Thanks for listening