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Effective EPC Project Management

The key to successful Project Management is to have the proper evaluation tools which will guide the Project Manager towards taking the correct decisions throughout the project lifetime. It is the process of executing a project on time, on budget and with the specified quality by the end user. Can Project Management be studied in schools and Universities, can someone be trained to become a Project Manager, or are there people born with leadership qualities?

Throughout my long years of experience in the construction business, I came across and worked with numerous PMs, and in my personal opinion, successful PMs are born with leadership qualities, with the right traits to manage large groups of people, the experience and vision of how things should be done and a proper training in modern day Project Management techniques.

Guiding the project through its different phases (Engineering Procurement Construction Testing & Commissioning) is a very complex task. The main tools available to PMs are the project schedule, cost report and progress reports. The project schedule should be detailed enough to guide the Project Manager with the time and sequence of different activities. It should also be stressed that the sequence of related activities plays a major factor in the success or failure of projects.

On the other hand, the Project Planner should be an experienced engineer with proper know-how in all the project phases and should always consult the details with the different discipline managers (Engineering, Procurement and Construction). The Project Planner is not just a scheduler entering data on Primavera (or any other planning software) but rather a key player in the Project Management team with the right vision and analytical brain to assist the PM in analyzing the project status in order to take the proper decisions.

Regarding engineering activities, a separate list should be prepared with all deliverables that should be produced. Only major deliverables are to be reflected in the Project Schedule. This deliverable list should have the planned/actual dates and the weight of each deliverable. As for the procurement tracking report, it should have the planned/actual dates of ERP, Bid Tabulation, PO, manufacturing, FAT, shipment, and inland transportation with the weight against each activity. The planned dates in the Procurement Tracking Report should also be in line with the Project schedule.

The second tool available to Project Managers is the monthly cost report which provides the current financial status of the project. Such report should include amongst the other data the expected “forecast cost at completion” figures for all items by taking into account any expected additional cost or variation orders to suppliers. It is to note that the cost report related to construction activities is a very complicated process and requires a separate article for elaboration.

Finally, the Project Manager should analyze all the reports related to Engineering, Procurement and Construction and in order to take the proper decision in the event that any acceleration measures are required through outsourcing, working extended hours or deploying additional manpower. This is a very brief introduction to what is a highly complex management process.

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