Well, in a world without hierarchies everybody can do what they want. But a project needs clearly set and divided responsibilities – This can be achieved using the agile approach.
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AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Clearly defined processes and interface descriptions, clear responsibilities, an early reaction to errors and easy organisational methods lead to stable processes to make the work more efficient.
That is true, but easier said than done: The more people participate in a project, the more complex get the communication and coordination. Big companies are normally organised in departments, which act like silos – you would not call that “lean”. Unfortunately, entangled decision-making paths are a typical feature for those department, which are sealed off from each other. This makes effective progress difficult for the project. Rigid and old-fashioned management concepts are far too slow to keep up with our fast-changing daily life.
People who have not experienced agile project management in real life often surmise that it will lead to chaos. Well, in a world without hierarchies everybody can do what they want. But a project needs clearly set and divided responsibilities.
Yes, that is true – and it will be achieved using the agile approach.
According to the pull principle the tasks will be done if the need arises, not only after the supervisor said to do so. This leads to higher awareness of responsibilities in the project – not less.
Unforeseen events and changes in design can occur in every construction project and in all phases. Lots of process disruptions are caused by changes in the original design and schedule. Even the most competent planner cannot completely prevent it. New developments and information need to be integrated as soon as possible and fast. If the project organisation is prepared to react to planning changes since the beginning, the construction process will be accelerated and the costs reduced.
Agile methods facilitate the project management using prompt feedback, lessons learned from experience, a high level of transparency as well as constructive management and a fitting value system. This enhances the chance for the projects to profit from different experiences and skills of the participants and their perspectives. The basis is a well working self-organisation. The pull principle – working on demand not acc. to schedule – enhances self-responsibility and motivation to facilitate a joint view on the project.
In terms of cooperation the feedback is the crucial condition for continuously enhancing the process. An adjusted project environment ensures transparency and supports the agile work approach.
To the agile approach belong e.g.:
- Keeping track of the tasks in a central data base
- Structuring and prioritising tasks in sprints
- Regular stand-up meetings for faster identification and elimination of potential hurdles
- Sprint Review to evaluate the results
Learn about the advantages of the agile approach for your project from Martin Otte +49 30/ 84176710.
+49 30/ 84176710
PMO - Project Management Office
Help for self-help with PMO from OPM.
Speaking the same language has not become any easier since the Tower of Babel. Not that the projects of today are any simpler, either.
Enabling team members with various backgrounds and tasks to independently achieve the common objective of having the equipment, processes and resources ready by the commissioning date is always a new challenge.
We have to admit – creating the right conditions for a project’s sustainable success involves a number of factors. Be it a tower, project or production: there are many parties, hierarchies, different departments and areas of responsibility with various working speeds and schedules, departmental egotisms and silo thinking, and the balancing act between construction and operation, building and facilities. All this needs to be considered, and a lot more.
Many a manager fears the consequences entailed by ambitious aims. They’d rather let their departments plod along in peace, each in their own manner. If you don’t change anything, you won’t upset anyone either. Many teams have long since become accustomed to frictional and information losses, duplicate work or performance gaps, cost shifts and deadline postponements, after all. If the worst comes to the worst, the project requirements can be reduced. The tower will be completed earlier or later, straight or leaning, with or without a greater loss of resources. Many projects are also abandoned, and the teams are scattered to the four winds.
If you are prepared to bear the envy of your competitors, however, you can end the language confusion in your own team, strengthen and reorganize it. Get off to a flying start even with true challenges.
With the PMO tools, we can offer you a connecting link between the building and the equipment, between operation and construction. Complexity is rendered manageable by structures. Processes and tools are implemented in a manner ensuring an optimal utilization of the organizational units’ various strengths for the project.
Countless questions need to be asked and answered, e.g.: What are a machine’s operational requirements? Which qualifications will the personnel manager need to provide by the production start to ensure an effective operation of a new technology? Which environmental requirements need to be met by the building planner for the start-up of the technology to be approved? What needs to be considered in the technology specification to meet the requirements of the building control system? What are these requirements in the first place?
The answers to these questions lie in various areas. Their timely provision is decisive for the project’s success, and how they are interpreted and integrated at the right junctures in the project, checked for the respective consequences, and that the corresponding measures are initiated. This calls for translation and integration work.
Impossible? Not at all. We have proven that in our projects: Joint ventures with private and public partners, projects with various contractual constellations, from general contractor to individual tenders in all trades, projects with partners at various places who joined them at various times, and with several subproject areas, from the personnel management via the IT, processes, logistics, technologies, buildings and infrastructures through to employee communication, controlling and marketing.
A first glance at our toolbox will show you that we know all about translation. Babylon was yesterday. Constanze Roth +49 30/ 84176710
+49 30/ 84176710
Tailoring tenders to the project is decisive for securing its success
Loopholes, duplicate tenders and unclear service specifications throw a spanner in the works. Who could be interested in that? What would really help projects are project-specific specifications and contracts ensuring that everything goes smoothly.
Good to know who needs attention when many call. But that is easier said than done; we are often wiser in retrospect. In the heat of the moment, one can hardly see the wood for the trees sometimes. Ensuring that everything goes smoothly in complex projects calls for a good deal of experience.
Tenders for project participants need to consider a host of factors: decisive project objectives, project locations, deadlines, budgets, services to be provided by the client, interfaces between various trades and, not so easy at all, factors which weren’t that obvious when the contract was concluded. There is always the option of entering into contracts with what whoever has in mind at the time, and deems right and important. These tenders can harbour risks, because they only address the properties of the individual elements, but not their interplay.
Much better: Banking on an intensive tender strategy that shows who’s required, the resulting interfaces, and the risks and opportunities to be expected. We will develop this strategy with you and support you in the contract design, as well as the negotiations and deals. In doing so, we will ensure that project-specific components such as the construction workflow, information system and budget are harmonized between the contracts, and that no service gaps or duplicate tenders come about.
Many a practitioner could object that things never run smoothly. That they just won’t work without endorsements for the operating equipment or construction.
This actually happens to be the order of the day – unfortunately – but the risk can be reduced. A clear definition of interfaces and agreement of deadlines, organizational workflows and responsibilities will ensure this. In the elaboration of specifications and the contract design, you can benefit from our many years of experience with complex project structures. This helps us ensure that tailor-made tenders include precisely the services required, and that they are optimally dovetailed.
You will benefit from our knowledge of what needs to be considered to ensure optimal teamwork. Some controlled friction can be part of this, absolutely. It will ensure an exchange of information and thus the best possible result for the contract design, as well as the implementation of contractual agreements in the planning and realization.
If you prefer offers with less of an “uncertainty allowance”, please let us know. Constanze Roth +49 30/ 84176710.
+49 30/ 84176710
CRISIS AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
“What a world we could build, if we used the forces unleashed by war for building it.” – Albert Einstein
Misunderstandings, stumbling blocks, errors, departmental egotisms, human nature… many factors can rock the boat on high seas. In which case the activities of every crew member will necessarily be focussed on their own survival, and not on reaching the goal with the boat as a team.
Failure quotas, endless meetings, faulty work results, losses in productivity and know-how, fluctuations and ultimately seeing the overall project objectives at risk are not exactly pleasant from the perspective of most clients.
If you have leisurely anticipated the costs of avoidable conflicts in your calculation already, if time and money are immaterial, then you will need to read no further. If not, there are also other ways of dedicating your team’s capabilities to the fulfilment of project objectives more efficiently with professional support.
This is not only about addressing conflicts before they escalate and devour endless energy. It is also about recognizing potentials in conflicts, about highlighting antagonisms and learning from them, and about coming to a neutral and objective assessment of interests, skills and arguments. This will help you find the optimal stroke rate for the project with your crew, and ensure that they row in step.
The boat swims best if the weight of all passengers is evenly distributed. The work on board will be more effective if everyone dedicates him- or herself to what they are good at. This also requires everyone to get a grip on themselves, however: The error culture established in the project right from the start needs to permit an open, controversial and solution-oriented handling of conflicts. This will ensure that steering manoeuvres are well-considered and coordinated with the crew, that icebergs are discovered in time and circumnavigated as a team, while the errors of individual crew members can be made up for by others. The boat will stay on course.
What to do if the sea gets rougher, if blind passengers and differing interests on board slow the boat down?
In this case we will make sure that the journey can be continued in cooperation with the entire crew. In doing so, we combine professional moderation with content knowledge about processes and requirements in complex projects involving various parties, competences and interests.
An appreciative attitude to all passengers is meanwhile a sailor’s highest duty.
If Einstein were on board, he would remind us that conflicts cannot be solved with the same way of thinking that created them. He is right, so change your thinking. Find the potentials that are hidden in conflicts with us and use them for you project. Interested? Give us a call: Constanze Roth +49 30/ 84176710.