H+M Industrial EPC Blog Page

Success or Failure – Using the 5 Steps of Project Management to Plan Yours

 

 

Contributed by Kevin Bautz, Senior Project Manager

_____________________________________________________________

Success or Failure – Using the 5 Steps of Project Management to Plan Yours

5 steps of project management H+M Industrial EPC

I wanted to write about a topic that would allow me to discuss something personal yet applicable to work, important to me yet topical to others, and in-the-moment yet timeless.  I found no better way to write about success and failure than in the context of a recent workplace competition.

I entered the workplace competition to succeed, not fail.  Isn’t that why most people compete?  If so, why is it that many will fail?  Why will few succeed?  What is the difference between success and failure?  What is the same between success and failure?  It is this last question that helps me understand answers to the others.

This competition had many motivating factors; “want” alone was not enough to succeed.  Both success and failure take effort; you have to try. Both outcomes require initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closure. Coincidentally, those are also the 5 Steps in Project Management.

These steps can either support or thwart a positive outcome.  They can help you succeed, but they can also help you fail if not used correctly.  In the case of the workplace competition, many used these steps to execute a plan contradictory to their ultimate goal.  They subconsciously planned how to do everything BUT work toward the goal.

The same is true at work.  In my field, Project Management, the steps below are the ones that guide my work.  These steps, when used effectively, ensure the highest level of success.  They are specific, predictable, consistent, thoughtful, tested, uniform, familiar, and teachable to name a few.

5 Steps in Project Management

  • Initiating – consists of those processes performed to define a new project or a phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase. (PMBOK Guide)
  • Planning – consists of those processes required to establish the scope of the project, refine the objectives and define the course of action required to attain the objectives that the project was undertaken to achieve. (PMBOK Guide)
  • Executing – consists of those processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications. (PMBOK Guide)
  • Monitoring/Controlling – required to track, review and regulate the progress and performance of the project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and initiate the corresponding changes. (PMBOK Guide)
  • Closure – consists of those processes performed to finalize all activities across all the Process Groups to formally close the project or phase. (PMBOK Guide)

Still wondering what workplace competition allowed me to use these steps toward success?  I lost…a lot.  I also won…a lot.  I succeeded at achieving better health, better self-image, a little bit of financial compensation, bragging rights, and everything else that comes with losing 35 pounds in 90-days.  Let’s just say that I don’t like to lose.

My success did not come by accident. I used the steps to accomplish my goal, not conflict with it.  The next time you are presented with achieving a goal, remember it is up to you to put your efforts toward either success or failure.

References:

Project Management Institute. (2004). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide). Newtown Square, Pa: Project Management Institute.

_____________________________________________________________

KevinBautz

Kevin Bautz – Senior Project Manager at H+M Industrial EPC

B.S. in Chemical Engineering

Kevin has more than 13 years of industrial engineering experience in operations and project settings. His past experience ranges from process and equipment engineering in semiconductors, process simulation engineer for the oil & gas and chemical industries, and key management roles in engineering and operations for The Sun Products Corporation in Pasadena, TX and Bowling Green, KY. Kevin joined H+M in 2014.

Welcome! – H+M’s Industrial Design, Engineering, and Construction Blog

We are excited to introduce H+M’s industrial design, engineering, and construction blog! We are an industrial EPC company serving the oil & gas, chemical, and petrochemical industry along the TX gulf coast.

We plan to use this blog to share our thoughts and ideas on industrial EPC processes. Our employees are our strongest assets and have decades of experience. We hope to use this forum to showcase their talents as well as inform others with our experience and expertise.

(How Not To) Serve Up Change Orders: The Importance of Project Scope Definition in Small Capital Industrial Projects

 

 

Contributed by Brandon Hogan, P.E. – Operations Manager at H+M Industrial EPC

_____________________________________________________________

(How Not To) Serve Up Change Orders: The Importance of Project Scope Definition in Small Capital Industrial Projects.

Change Orders H+M Industrial EPC

If you’ve ever been to one of the “weigh the cup” frozen yogurt places, you have probably noticed that the only container options available are really, really big cups.  And without constant micro-management, my kids will soon fill the very large cups with three different ice-creams, seven kinds of candy and top off their leaning towers with whip cream and a cherry that ends up costing more than dinner did.  Good thing they take plastic.

As anyone involved in projects knows, jobs can also run wild without the correct controls in place.  The irony of small capital projects (<$20MM) is that small doesn’t mean easy.  However, due to the reduced capital allocation, small jobs aren’t always controlled as closely as large ones.  In some areas, this is prudent and common sense (who hasn’t been frustrated by a twenty page schedule for a two week job?).  But in other areas it is as important, if not more important, to closely control the small job.  With several jobs running concurrently and short schedules, they will finish quickly, and it doesn’t take much to blow a schedule or budget.

The most important aspect of a project, small or large, is the scope definition.  As simple as it sounds, this is the most common mistake we see repeatedly with projects from many different clients.

After a project is deemed potentially commercially viable and capital budget estimates are sought, it is key that the client or contracted engineering group consider the appropriate priority and sequence of actions that must be taken in order to ensure the budget will be reliable.  The key driver for the project should be identified and made clear from the beginning through the end to all parties involved.  Is it a safety project?  Schedule driven?  Is cost the main factor?  The driver should be posted as a North Star to the project to make sure that work in the weeds doesn’t change or mitigate the purpose of the job.

Preliminary Engineering deliverables should include Infrastructure Surveys, Equipment Specifications, P&IDs and Equipment Layout prior to budget level estimates.  Without these at a minimum, your budget nor EPC bids will be within acceptable limits.  Some owners believe in saving money in the engineering phase and not ordering these complete items.  Many times this will be proven to be an obvious mistake further into the project life when change orders arrive due to unclear scope.  Other times, the project will be negatively impacted, unknown to the owner, because of the less than optimal prices received in bids due to the perceived risk charged for by the bidding contractors.

Most long term contractors, contrary to some opinions, do not relish in delivering change orders.  Change orders can cause tension in the owner-contractor relationship and disturb schedules, supply chain and workforce planning.  An ideal project is one that is well scoped, bid at fair margins, and is installed safely, on time and in-budget.  A client’s value to a contractor is the present value of all future work, not just a single project, so it is in the contractor’s best interest for the owner to be as successful as possible.

So, the next time you let your kids get frozen yogurt, do like I do:  Make them take a scale and Gantt chart with them.

_____________________________________________________________


Brandon Hogan, P.E. – Operations Manager at H+M Industrial EPC

B.S. in Chemical Engineering, MBA

Brandon has more than 14 years of industrial engineering experience in operations and project settings. Responsibilities included managing the operations of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction divisions. His past experience includes over 10 years of engineering with The Lubrizol Corporation in Deer Park including process design, capital project management and engineering optimization.