Project success statistics are widely agreed to be extremely poor and most project practitioners across sectors of the industry will agree that they have come across questionable practices in their project experiences, says project and engineering management consulting firm SSG Consulting CEO Steven Golding.
In 2015, Engineering News reported that only 25% of large construction projects surveyed in professional service firm KPMG’s Global Construction Survey “were concluded on time and within budget over the last three years”.
KPMG’s 2019 Global Construction Survey still cites improving the global track record of delivering projects on time and on budget as a challenge.
Meanwhile, global project management professional association Project Management Institute’s (PMI’s) 2018 Pulse of the Profession report indicates that only 58% of organisations fully understand the value of project management.
“The importance of fully valuing project management cannot be emphasised enough; organisations that undervalue project management as a strategic competency for driving change, report an average of 50% more of their projects failing outright,” states PMI.
Pulse of the Profession is a yearly global survey conducted by PMI of project, programme and portfolio managers charting the major trends in project management.
Golding suggests that most experts will attribute the cause of the demise of a project to a headline cause, when, in reality, there are often a range of factors that contribute to a poor project result.
“Megaprojects are possibly the most complex business ‘organisms’ on the planet. We use the word ‘organism’ because a project is always a living, changing, unique multitude of complex processes, which tend to possess a life of its own.”
Mega projects are characterised by lengthy durations – generally spanning over years, multiple phases that run sequentially and concurrently, more than 150 different business processes spanning different departments, multiple engineering disciplines, multiple locations, massive amounts of data and documents and, generally, there are 100 or more companies that need to work together, he says.
“Understanding this complexity is a fundamental pillar of SSG Consulting’s success story and the company prides itself on having an exceptional track record of more than ten years in effective project delivery.”
Golding puts forward that few organisations and project teams can strictly apply the lessons from previous projects so that identified issues are not repeated. Methodology and process is so imbedded in organisational culture that only the boldest of organisations break the mould of poor execution sufficiently, he believes.
According to him, most project practitioners have a very specific bias based on their specific education and experience, which can lead to making serious mistakes in project execution.
“SSG Consulting believes in following a very specific structure, which represents a modified Project Management Body of Knowledge structure and ensures that we never miss a certain area of a project,” he highlights.
Moreover, project practitioners must ensure that there is an extremely robust change management methodology, process and system in place, as change classification and resolution within defined time periods are critical.
Golding comments that project managers often pride themselves as being termed “cowboys”, where risk identification and management processes are ignored and replaced by misplaced bravado. He emphasises that SSG Consulting takes risk management for its clients extremely seriously.
Further, the impact of poor engineering cannot be underestimated in mega construction projects as inadequate quality of engineering outputs impact all subsequent project phases. Documentation and document management are also crucial, as either can result in extensive losses which are seldom understood or quantified, he says.
Meanwhile, SSG Consulting’s Key360 Management Platform can solve several fundamental problems faced by megaprojects, mentions Golding.
“Existing systems used on projects are not integrated, only address a fraction of the required business processes, cannot produce real-time dynamic business intelligence required by projects and do not facilitate high throughput accurate workflow.”
Key360 continues to lead the industry in terms of integrated project management systems and operational systems as well as providing an unrivalled capability to produce dynamic, real-time business intelligence.