I have spent a lot of time talking to my children about legacy and responsibility. We, as parents, leaders and senior members of our society have a responsibility to pass on our experience and knowledge to the next generation. While not always accepted it should always be offered! We need to make sure our young people are set up to succeed, with the skills to make the informed choices and make a positive contribution to society.
And so it is with my chosen profession – Project Controls. As a young graduate, nearly 40 years ago, I was fortunate to land in an environment where I was mentored and trained – on the job. Those fundamental skills that I learned have always been at the core of my career. Importantly, I learned about the interfaces with the other disciplines of the project team, especially the Project Manager. Project teams have tended to degenerate into silos, departments not fully understanding the needs of other departments. I have learned much since and continue to learn. I have worked with Contractors, large EPCM’s, Owners representatives and in my own business.
My responsibility is to pass on my knowledge and experience to those following behind and by doing so leaving a legacy of Project Controls professionals who know what their role is, why they are doing it, how to do it and how to be an effective member of a project team. As experienced Project Controls Professionals we need to work with Project Managers to reinforce what to expect from their Cost Engineers, Planners and Estimators. We now have Project Managers who discount the role of a Project Controls Professional as a paper shuffler and invoice processor! As a Senior Project Controls Manager, I can see the gaps in knowledge throughout our project teams. I see the tools, processes and guides that have been written and not used, nor understood by all disciplines of the teams.
Successful Project Controls equals Successful Projects
We have recently experienced an unparalleled resources boom in our country. We have been in such a hurry to build projects that we have thrown accountants, technicians, tradesmen etc into Project Controls and said to them “get on with it!” We have thrown inexperienced project managers into senior roles and said to them “manage the project”. We have set people up to fail!
There has developed an immense project management knowledge gap. This is well documented and our industry is trying to rectify the situation. However, projects continue to overrun cost and schedule and fail to deliver what the Owner ultimately wants. I recently had a discussion with a colleague about Post Investment Reviews and the fact that they probably couldn’t be done effectively in her company because the data was not available to compare to the approved Base Case.
This is a problem that needs to be addressed if we are going to start delivering projects effectively. We need to start training our teams, either in house or using external providers. We need to mentor promising engineers and have our senior team members lead by example.
I feel an immense responsibility to pass on my knowledge. It is why I wrote Vidotto Group’s Project Controls Training program. We can only move forward if we share our lessons learnt don’t make the same mistakes we have been making.
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