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Project Execution in 2016 and Beyond: Secrets for Achieving Best Results (Part-3)

As explained in Part-1 &2, if you need to win in project execution during 2016 and beyond you need to change your approach and new approach needs to be that of a special ops force (SOF) unit. Accordingly, the planning, training and preparation of the project execution team will need to be adapted based on the modern concept of SOF. It might surprise you but it is true!

Just to recap for you, some key elements of a typical modern day SOF operating concept are:

  • Culturally-aware/astute and skilled/trained Operators
  • Understanding and influencing narratives
  • Deliberate macro- and micro-level operations linking engagement activities and operational missions in time, space, and purpose
  • Dispersed vs episodic engagement
  • Command, Control, Communications network
  • Networking, relationships and partnerships

In part-1 and part-2 we looked at the first two bullet points. In this part-3, let’s look at the third bullet. 

The third bullet point states: “Deliberate macro- and micro-level operations linking engagement activities and operational missions in time, space, and purpose.” What does it mean in the context of the project execution?

What it means that the project execution team, including the project management team, needs to have a thorough view of the macro as well as micro aspects of the project ‘in time, space, and purpose’. How does the ‘macro’ aspect relate to project execution?

The ‘macro’ encapsulates doing a thorough Front-End-Planning (FEP) and assessing all aspects:

  • Project Objectives, Project Scope
  • Interfaces, integration
  • Stakeholders
  • Detailed PESTEL Risk Analysis and Mitigation Plans
  • Project Execution Plan (including value engineering, modularization, WBS, CBS, procurement, constructability, construction, smooth pre-commissioning, commissioning aspects etc.) – this is time when the project execution needs to apply ‘Innovate-Adapt-Integrate’ approach with great vigor and honesty
  • Scenario Analysis vis-à-vis capex

The ‘micro’ encompasses the nitty-gritty of project implementation:

  • Detailed Project Schedule
  • Engineering (DBM, FEED DE phases), Procurement and Construction and Start-up activities
  • Stakeholder management, communication plan
  • Continuous Improvement, Change Management
  • Project Controls
  • Project Reporting, KPIs
  • Project Close-out

Besides the above activities, the other key aspects of team management, motivation need to handled carefully and delicately.

In the next part of the series, we will look at “Dispersed vs episodic engagement.” Interesting phrase, isn’t it? Sure it is!

What is your view on criticality of Front-End-Planning?


Partho (Parth) Mukherjee is Co-Sponsor/Coordinator of Center of Excellence in Project Execution and also Owner/Principal at InnoFusion Consulting, Calgary, Canada.

[Grateful reference acknowledgement: USSOC material available on the internet.]

Anirudh Kumar