Thoughts on Improving the Management of Mine Construction Projects

By Alexandre
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Did you know that only 13% of all projects and programs are launched as planned without a major shift in resources?

You don’t need to tell Program Managers at Engineering Procurement and Construction Management (ECMP) companies that their jobs are more challenging than ever. They know it firsthand. Fundamentally, the business environment for mine construction has changed, perhaps irrevocably, in the face of dropping commodity prices and fewer mine construction projects. But that’s not the whole story. Competition over fewer projects mean EPCM companies must bid more aggressively. Yet, there is little room for error in those bids as the smallest of errors can quickly cause constructions programs to run at a loss.

On top of all this, the complexity of constructing a mine is higher than ever. Mine construction sites might be located in harsh environments, driving the need for safety protocols. They also might be located in dangerous locales that mandate new security procedures. Furthermore, the opportunity to control cost and quality is driving movement towards pre-fabricated construction components that are assembled on-site.

All this translates to new and more difficult tasks for Program Managers. They’re now charged with cutting costs, hewing to tighter and tighter budget demands, and working with more globally distributed project stakeholders than ever. They must track deliverables across a multitude of functional organizations, including engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction in an ever-widening supply chain. Despite all of these compounding complexities, the program must be executed on time and on budget within a much slimmer margin for error.

These trends and challenges also threaten one of the Program Manager’s most critical enablers: program visibility. Visibility into program status is critical. It enables Program Managers to identify issues early, before they turn into emergencies. It allows them to define and pursue corrective action. And without corrective action, projects run off the rails. Unfortunately, the reality of mine construction today is that most projects are failing in the face of these conditions. Lifecycle Insights findings from The PLM Study found that only 13% of all projects and programs are launched as planned without a major shift in resources.

There is some hope, however. Technology can provide missing visibility into program status. But common methods to track status, like routing physically printed forms, or emailing digital documents or using desktop project management applications, have major drawbacks. And they share one critical flaw: they must be manually updated to depict the actual, present state of the program.

There is a better answer: the Enterprise Business Platform. The technology platform offers the range of functions the many different program stakeholders need. Program Managers have an always-up-to-date program status picture thanks to the technology, because it connects and draws upon the disparate aspects of the program.

Excerpt from Program Management for Mine Construction: Delivering Programs on Time and On Budget, by Chad Jackson, an analyst, researcher and blogger with Lifecycle Insights.


Download Mr. Jackson’s free eBook, “Program Management for Mine Construction: Delivering Programs on Time and On Budget” to read the rest of the story.

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Earned Value Management: Reducing Risk and Empowering Program Managers

By Matthew
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product-planning-programs-enovia-540x355It is no secret that we live in a dynamic world, where new technologies are driving us towards achievements that were once thought to be impossible. When developing these disruptive innovations, program managers need to be adaptable to ever-changing circumstances, but due to frequent, unforeseen alterations to the program, deliverables often vary from their original concept. Perhaps the only consistencies of the program development process are the tight budgets and high expectations associated with it. Therefore, program managers who can delegate task responsibility, allocate a budget effectively, and maintain an accurate perspective as to the completion of the project are valuable assets to any company. In fact, we believe program managers are the Super Heroes of the workplace. They keep a watchful eye and apply their skills to make order out of the chaos surrounding them.

But what are Super Heroes without their powers? They are simply individuals with good intentions who lack the proper resources to do amazing work. This is the unfortunate reality for many program management organizations, as their heroes struggle to work around budget constraints to complete high risk, time-sensitive programs. However, the tools to achieve company program goals are within reach, and with them come new methods for analysis and reporting. Earned Value Management (EVM) is a management process that offers individuals strong visibility to program data as well as a means to organize that data so they can present their progress quantifiably to stakeholders. The EVM process enables organizations to be more organized, plan programs more effectively, and create accurate progress reports. To do so, one must simply integrate an EVM System (EVMS), which can be adapted from current systems.

EVM is particularly effective because of the centralization and visibility of information it offers to workers involved with a program. Collecting data from multiple sources and presenting it in a single, intuitive interface not only saves time, but also ensures that no information goes missing or forgotten. To reach this level of organization, a company’s s EVMS must interact easily with legacy systems to access the necessary data. Fortunately, if your organization has already implemented a strong Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) structure, this can hold as the single source of truth needed for optimal organization and visibility.

Planning, Scheduling, and Budgeting
To ensure that program goals are being met it is crucial to first set clear, agreed-upon plans. Doing so will ultimately result in a baseline of the program, which can be referenced often for comparative analysis. This is one of the many fundamentals of EVM, and based on the initial plan, tasks can be disbursed to contributors in a coherent timeline. Planning the program before executing it also improves the accuracy of budget distribution and reduces risk. In order to be successful program planners using EVM processes, there must be a synced relationship with all of the necessary data, as well as a Program Task Management solution in the EVMS.

Analysis and Management Reports
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of integrating an EVM approach to program management is the empowerment it gives our heroic program managers to make objective conclusions about the performance of a project. Key performance indicators can be accessed through their PLM system, and can be compared to the declarations made in the baseline plan. Doing so will allow them to say with factual certainty how far along the team is with the program, how well they are using the budget, and when completion should be expected. Because all information is updated real-time through an EVMS, this analysis can be conducted at any point in time, and the baseline can be adjusted accordingly.

Overall, the integration of an Earned Value Management process for program management will do so much more than organize project data. It will provide program managers with new levels of control and visibility, which enables the team to put forward its best work. Shifting gears to an EVM approach is easier than you think, and can be achieved by leveraging current systems the company already has in place. If you would like to learn more you can register for a free EBook where you will learn Tech-Clarity’s recommendations for EVM, and how you can provide your Super Heroes with the tools for success.

Matthew J. Hall

Matthew J. Hall

Matthew Hall is the ENOVIA User Advocacy & Social EXPERIENCE Specialist.  You can find him on Twitter at @mjhall. Connect with ENOVIA at @3DSENOVIA