How coordinated recovery enabled our client to deliver a $2.2b project on time

Objective

Major acquisition projects require close collaboration between supplier and buyer. However, in the case of our client’s $2.2b project, trust had broken down, putting the ability of our client to meet its stakeholder obligations at risk. Recovering the project required both technical expertise to devise ways to accelerate delivery and change management expertise to rebuild trust and cooperation.

Scope

The Brooke Institute consulting team was engaged jointly by our client and the supplier to reset the project so that it was in a position to deliver to the agreed milestones. This meant achieving a step change in delivery performance – whilst still enabling both parties to meet their internal financial and operational objectives.

Approach
  • After an initial diagnostic phase, four initiatives were executed through a coordinated recovery project:
  • Common goals and clear measures of success: Criteria were defined and agreed to measure achievement of each contractual milestone. This ensured all parties were clear on the requirements for each milestone and how achievement of the milestone would be verified. It also enabled contract payments to be based on milestones rather than Earned Value. This in turn helped reset the dynamic of the project from commercial positioning to solving delivery challenges.
  • Constraint-based planning: Through extensive analysis it was determined that the key drivers of project delivery performance were acceptance testing, parts supply, engineering development and training. Solutions were developed to address the constraints in each of these areas and a new delivery strategy agreed that enabled both parties to better meet their internal objectives, as well as the agreed milestones. The solutions were developed in joint problem solving sessions between the client and the supplier. This not only ensured that the solutions were valid and had the commitment of both parties, but it also helped to improve working relationships and rebuild trust.
  • Integrated and transparent project scheduling: An integrated project master schedule was developed. Each party had been managing their own schedule and we found there was no meaningful integration between them. The integrated project master schedule provided a common tool for managing overall delivery and made the impact of schedule changes or slippage by either party clear and transparent.
  • Effective project management: A joint Program Management Office was established to manage the integrated project master schedule and to monitor delivery of contractual milestones. An agreed decision-making and escalation process was established and decision rights were clarified.

Rather than being a separate stream, change management was built into the design of the recovery project. People from all parts and levels of both organisations were involved in the program, champions were identified, individuals were coached and mentored, and communications were crafted, all as part of a deliberate change journey designed to make the shift in performance sustainable.