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The complexity of scale - How to build a large program of work


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this is the slide deck I presented at the AIPM project controls special interest group, I talked about complexity and how complex doesn't need to be complicated. I identified 5 key themes in project controls that were needed in building a large program of work, using my experience at NBN Co as a case study and how as a team we delivered solutions to the business. Please get in contact if you have any questions on how I can help your organisation with complexity & project controls.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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The complexity of scale - How to build a large program of work

  1. 1. The Complexity of Scale How to build a large program of work Keith Farrell AIPM Project Controls SIG
  2. 2. What is a complex project?
  3. 3.
  4. 4. The Chartered Institute of Building – Simple Vs Complex CIOB: Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects
  5. 5. Helmsman Complexity Scale Helmsman Institute
  6. 6. PMI Categories of Complexity Three Categories of Complexity and Associated Causes Institute, P. M. (2014). Navigating Complexity: A Practice Guide: Project Management Inst
  7. 7. Case study: National Broadband Network 5 core themes in building the NBN program • Automation • People and Culture • Standardization • Tool / Systems • Reporting
  8. 8. NBN Scope
  9. 9. Network Topology Overview
  10. 10. Automation Problem • Process updates from various DP’s using different scheduling systems • Manual updates to the NBN Co Schedules time consuming in P6 • Different data dates from delivery partners
  11. 11. Automation Solution • Developed CPACSS • Fully automated system to update contractor schedules in P6 • A method for the contractor to send schedule updates to NBN Co, updating and receipt of the transaction being sent to the contractor • Validation of schedules using a set of defined business rules. This is recorded with P6. • Disseminating reports and notifications
  12. 12. Automation Outcome • Tool evolved and improved took on more projects • Considerable savings in labour – approximately 500 hours per week • Significantly improving accuracy and timeliness of data • Tracking contractor updates, date time and the time takes to update each contractor file. • Providing the contractor with simplified methods of working with NBN Co
  13. 13. People and Culture Problem • Build a high performing team • Become faster at delivering value to the customer • Fast paced environment with constant change • Uncertainty during the transition of Government
  14. 14. People and Culture Solution • Develop a pipeline of work • Build career progression and succession plan • Cultivate personal development plans aligned to career pathways • Empower your staff - Allow for innovation • Clearly defined objectives with measurable outcomes • Situational leadership – leading from the middle • Clarity, Climate, Competence
  15. 15. People and Culture Outcome • Increase in staff satisfaction and productivity • Defined $ value realized / saved • Created shared responsibility for delivery • Empowered people • Elevated team awareness among stakeholders
  16. 16. Standardization Problem • No clear approach on how change schedule data • Manage multiple schedule models unstable • Poor estimation and forward planning • 27 different categories of projects • Undefined interdependencies controls • Regions managing DP’s differently
  17. 17. Standardization Solution • Standardized end to end change processes • Standardized activity names to avoid confusion • Built data dictionary for consistent understanding of terms to avoid ambiguity • Developed schedule model review cycle with all internal and external stakeholders • Schedule duration analysis on historical date vs estimates • Reviewed activity logic with stakeholders
  18. 18. Standardization Outcome • Continuous improvement in schedule logic • Better understanding of areas where issues occurred • Open communication and discussion, sharing of better ways to do similar activities across regions • Better estimation and forward planning
  19. 19. Tools and Systems Problem • Need to change data in the schedules quickly and easily • No consistent schedule health status checks • Regional scheduling systems for subcontractors – NT • Capture field based data from NBN field teams • P6 does not actualize successor activities • Manually Baseline schedules • No ability to complete contingency planning • Manual Vehicle log book
  20. 20. Tools and Systems Solution • FSM Tool – field capture / log book (80% utilization) • Java APIs running directly to oracle back-end database • Overnight scheduling of all projects • Project health check reports via reporting portal • PM Validation of data prior to loading to database • Duplication off national system for regional use - NT
  21. 21. Tools and Systems Outcome • Easy manipulate data within P6 outside of Client • Ability to manage large schedule data changes quickly • Manage by exception on schedule data quality • PM’s control quality at front end of reporting cycle • Regional DP - NT used to test systems prior to external release • What if analysis database replication
  22. 22. Reporting Problem • Data alignment issues in meetings • Hard to access data • Multiple ineffective unused reports by different areas • Unable to influence decisions by reports due to inaccurate data • No defined reporting cycles
  23. 23. Reporting Solution • Define the reporting cycle across the organization, one data date for all reports • Created a open reports portal – single source of truth for all • Centralize processing of updates, reporting and ownership • Removal of duplicate reporting areas and sources • Define clear ownership of data accuracy • Developed a suite of reports with usage tracking
  24. 24. Reporting Outcome • More discussion about how to address issues than trying to understand where the problems were • Less time trying to fix data , more time fixing the problem in delivery • Central open reporting portal • Right report, correct data, right person • Report usage tracking
  25. 25. “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs