Structuring projects for success

Many project and engineering problems are “self-inflicted” through inadequate project and engineering structuring and planning. This is particularly pertinent to complex projects and engineering applications involving infrastructure, systems and product development and implementation, where the complexity of the project and application generally require a very structured, systematic approach in order to succeed.

Upfront and early (in the project and engineering life-cycle) investment in structuring, planning and analysis plays a key role in the reduction of project-related risks, and hence in enabling the success of projects and engineering applications. This approach is also often referred to as “front-end loading” of a project. It is important to interrogate a broad perspective (“big-picture” view) as part of the process. This facilitates a holistic and coherent process and associated outputs.

It is also important to harmonise and consider this approach within a defined project and engineering framework, which includes the commercial/business objectives and the legal/contractual framework, as well as broader implications in terms of, for example, change management. A life-cycle approach is also critical to ensure the effectiveness, viability and sustainability of the project throughout the life of the project and application in all its phases and elements (including development, implementation, operations, maintenance and decommissioning). A collaborative and inclusive approach across the project, organisational and client/application “spectrum” will also contribute to success.

For example, some of the issues that can arise when such an approach is not adopted, or projects are poorly structured and planned, include

  • Poor risk analysis and management, including poor or unrealistic allocation of risk and management thereof.
  • Poor definition of the process and milestones, leading to misinterpretation or unrealistic or unachievable requirements.
  • Poor definition of scope, responsibilities and authorities, and reporting mechanisms, increasing the risk of project failure.
  • Inadequate definition of project interfaces, resulting in poor communication and an increased project risk.
  • Poor integration of the project — ie a lack of “big picture” planning and structuring.
  • Under or poor estimation of change management implications.
  • Inadequate or inappropriate planning of resources and procurement requirements and constraints, resulting in unachievable requirements.
  • Inadequate or incorrect assessment of project viability and/or sustainability.

At Engenamic, we are focused on enabling the success of projects, and project and engineering initiatives, through the project and engineering lifecycle. In our approach, we are firm proponents of coherent and holistic solutions, and of a systematic approach to understanding and addressing project and engineering requirements and challenges.

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