1 BUILDING, CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE How to successfully manage your mega-project Part II Stakeholder communication and project controls integration kpmg.com
2 2 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project Mega-project keys to success Early planning and organizing Stakeholder communication and project controls integration Continuously improving your chances of project success
3 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project 3 How to successfully manage your mega-project Part II Stakeholder communication and project controls integration Mega-projects in the construction space live up to that categorization in many ways, including mega-size, mega-cost, megacomplexity, and mega-risk. When things go awry, mega-cost and schedule overruns can also occur. In Part I of this three-part series, we cited a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) nuclear generation expansion project that has experienced $1.5-2 billion and three years in overruns due to deficiencies in project set-up and ineffective management oversight. 1 The bigger the project, the more difficult it is to manage. The lesson from the TVA is that project management on mega-projects must be equal to the task. There are three keys to effective management of mega-construction projects: early planning and organizing, stakeholder communication and project controls integration, and continuous improvement. In this second installment of a three-part series, KPMG s Engineering & Construction practice offers nine best practices for communicating with stakeholders and integrating project controls. Stakeholder management and communication is critical to the successful completion of your mega-project. Connecting with the right people and satisfying their demands throughout the planning and execution phases can significantly affect perceptions of a project s utility. This is true for the direct users and employees of the project, for the community in which the project is located, and for the project owner. 1 Office of the Inspector General, Tennessee Valley Authority. Inspection Report: Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2 Project Set-Up and Management Issues Affected Cost And Schedule. Inspection (May 18, 2012).
4 4 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project Stakeholder management and communication can be complex and time-consuming. Depending on the specific issues affecting your project (i.e., regulatory scrutiny, environmental concerns, local contracting opportunities, joint venture profitability), the successful management of stakeholder interests ensures that stakeholders: 1) have a voice, 2) participate in the management process, and 3) are able to contribute to the overall success of the project. For the TVA, inadequate stakeholder communication and project controls integration resulted in a failure to provide effective oversight of the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor ; address certain warning signs that the project was in trouble ; and adequately mitigate known problems related to staffing, work order packages, and timeliness and quality of information. Tellingly, two of the TVA s remedies for these problems were weekly project and high-level status reports and a communication plan. Nevertheless, the TVA could have avoided or lessened these problems in the first place if project managers had adhered to the best practices identified below. They are keys to success of any mega-project. 1 Develop a stakeholder communication plan Stakeholder identification occurs early in the planning phase through the project team s understanding of the project s political, social, technological, and historical context. Stakeholders can be both internal and external to the project s owner organization. Internal stakeholders are those in the chain of command for developing and approving the expenditure of project funds. Engineers, consultants, construction contractors, equipment vendors, labor organizations, community watchdog groups, regulatory and public inspection agencies, utility companies, operators, users, and others all comprise the external stakeholder category. A stakeholder has one or more of the following interests in the project: Approval approving the development and use of a project Financial paying for the cost of a project Resources providing resources (e.g., labor, equipment, materials, facilities) Users receiving or utilizing a project upon completion Community deriving positive benefits, such as employment and increased sales, or negative benefits, such as loss of property/access or decreased sales/profits. It is particularly challenging for the project team to tailor project reports and communications to meet the specific needs of all possible stakeholders. Equally challenging is the project team s role in efficiently managing stakeholder feedback and incorporating stakeholder inputs into the project management framework. Once the project stakeholders are identified, it is the project director s responsibility, with assistance from the project team, to develop communication plans that are specific to each stakeholder. That includes developing project performance measures based on each stakeholder s needs and expectations. Each tailored communication plan should address the following topics: Key interests, concerns, and information needs Specific events and occurrences to report (e.g., plant outages, safety statistics, fuel spills) Level of involvement (e.g., s only, attend quarterly updates, attend weekly meetings) Frequency of communication Communication format Stakeholder feedback and issue escalation process. To keep stakeholders informed, the project team must implement various communication plans and reporting protocols. Dashboards, narrative reports, s, Web sites, Web cams, and other forms of communication can be used to track the performance of a capital project. Dashboards are reporting tools that consolidate and arrange numbers and metrics on a single screen. Key elements of the dashboard should provide a comparison of the actual project results in relation to the project plan, including: Budget variance projection Progress on key project milestones and number of critical path milestones missed Contract status information Cost Performance Index (CPI) and Schedule Performance Index (SPI) Schedule variance (days) Monthly spend variance (spend vs. actuals)
5 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project 5 Monthly manpower variance (manpower hour forecast vs. actuals) Safety events (based on how you are defining them, i.e., recordable rate) Percent of Contingency draw vs. project completion Revenue and expenditure activity Funding commitments. During the course of a mega- project, stakeholders should receive progress reports from the project team, distributed daily, weekly, monthly, or on an ad hoc basis. The target audience and frequency of progress reporting will vary based on stakeholder needs. To make progress reports more meaningful, they should be tailored to specific audiences. Typically, the audiences will include senior management, the project sponsor, and local community representatives. Senior management must be able to understand and monitor bigpicture progress and focus on cost, schedule, high-level risks, and strategic project objectives. The project sponsor will need to have more details about project performance and be briefed on issues such as technology, LEED certification, permitting progress, schedule delays, cost trends, claim issues, and safety. Community representatives need status reports that communicate project milestones and major events. Project milestones may include completion of the project s design, estimated taxpayer costs, outages or planned closure of roads and highways, environmental impacts, local hiring, and community outreach. More important than the routine dissemination of project information is the need for your project team to reach out to stakeholders and keep them engaged in the project. Stakeholder engagement should be seen as a critical success element on all projects. Stakeholders have a vested interest in project outcomes, and they can often enhance the positive benefits of a project and limit its negative impacts. Stakeholder engagement should be seen as an opportunity to both clarify project objectives through stakeholder challenges and gain fresh insight on project issues and challenges. Stakeholders are essential to the successful planning and execution of all projects. Additionally, stakeholders are a valuable source of knowledge and problem solving, and their participation and involvement on large capital projects are to be welcomed and expected. 2 Utilize integrated project management systems and controls Project management systems and controls are used by your project team throughout the life cycle of a mega-project to track progress and monitor cost, schedule, quality, risk, and other project metrics against baseline plans. Project management systems and controls can be either manual or, preferably, technology-based. Project management systems and controls can either be integrated or stand-alone for particular project management processes, e.g., scheduling and cost control. The project team will select and use the project management systems they are familiar with and are trained to use. Integrated Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) are recommended, as they are becoming more common in off-the-shelf software packages, and allow for consistent and accurate information sharing. Typically, information is entered into one location (e.g., contract module) in the PMIS and is then available for use by other project management subprocesses (e.g., budget module).
6 6 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project 3 Create a work breakdown structure The key to an integrated project management system is the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The WBS is a hierarchical method of defining major elements of work for a project. These elements describe the project s main deliverables by deconstructing the deliverables into components at various levels, including scope description, resources, budget, and responsibility for carrying out the work. Typical components for a mega-project at the functional management level (Level 2) of the WBS are: 1) project management, 2) design and engineering, 3) fabrication, 4) procurement, 5) construction, 6) testing and commissioning, and 7) startup. Some of these components, such as fabrication and procurement, may be combined. Additional WBS levels may identify the specific work by phase, area, and discipline, and even further to resources, cost, budget, and responsibility. Construction projects typically define the WBS to the activity level (Level 4) for managing the work of subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers. For self-performed work, the WBS can be developed below Level 4 depending on the needs of management and the level of control required for monitoring performance. The development of WBS activities is a combined effort among various members of the project team including your project director, senior project managers, engineers, procurement specialists, construction managers, safety managers, inspectors, and startup specialists. The WBS is integrated with the organizational structure, project schedule, and the cost control system. Without a sound WBS describing the project s deliverables, the project team cannot utilize Earned Value Management (EVM) techniques to measure and forecast cost and schedule. 4 Prepare a baseline schedule Project baseline schedule development has two phases: 1) activity planning and 2) scheduling. The planning stage begins with taking the WBS components at the appropriate level and creating a network analysis diagram. The network analysis diagram presents a logical sequence of work activities showing relationships from one activity to the next. In this phase, the activities are assigned durations based on optimal conditions, normal labor productivity, and efficient costs. In the scheduling phase, the schedule manager performs the forward and backward pass scheduling calculations to determine each activity s early and late start and finish dates. The critical path of the project is also identified, which sets the overall project duration. Adjustments to the project schedule may occur if the scheduled dates do not fall within contractual milestones or other required performance dates. Approval by the construction owner may also be required before the baseline schedule is finally established. The baseline schedule is updated on either a monthly basis or more often depending on the demands of the project. Updating identifies activities that have started and completed, or started and are in progress, since the time of the last update. Each activity in progress is updated by applying a percentage of completion estimate compared to the total work required for that particular activity. Physical completion is the preferred method where possible. Schedule updates serve as a project management control for monitoring the progress of construction activities and measuring the performance of work against the baseline schedule. The baseline schedule may be revised to incorporate significant changes to the scope of a project or a major change in the overall sequencing of the work. Schedule revisions and time extensions may also be appropriate where there are unavoidable delays caused, for example, by unusually adverse weather, labor strikes, force majeure events, and the like. Similar to the development of the baseline schedule, the revised schedule (for the remaining work) should be checked and reviewed by the construction owner and approved if appropriate. Time extensions and other schedule adjustments may incur significant project costs.
7 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project 7 5 Develop the cost estimate and set a baseline budget Large capital construction projects typically generate four cost estimates that roughly follow the maturity of the project s design process. These include: 1) the concept stage estimate, which is based on the initial scope statement, 2) the feasibility stage estimate, which is based on design documents ranging from 20 to 40 percent complete, 3) the detailed design estimate, which is based on design documents and project specifications ranging from 60 to 75 percent complete, and 4) the construction documents estimate, which is based on 100 percent complete construction documents approved by the construction owner. The amount of estimating contingency needed to adequately budget the cost of a project is inversely proportional to the level of design maturity. For conceptual estimates, the amount of contingency may be as high as 50 percent of the estimated facility costs using parametric estimating methods. As the design is further refined, the level of contingency is reduced to reflect greater certainty in the configuration, quantities, specifications, and other requirements of the project. The true cost of the project is not known until the designs are complete and market-based pricing is applied by obtaining bids or receiving firm negotiated offers for performing the work. At that point, the estimating contingency can be reduced to zero, or to a few percentage points only for items that the estimating team may have missed in the procurement process. (This does not preclude the need to carry a separate contingency for project risks.) Once the baseline estimate is established for the project, all scope changes and cost variances from the baseline estimate are tracked through the forecasting process. Your project team will prepare cost forecasts on a quarterly or monthly basis and identify adjustments to the baseline estimate based on market trends, labor and material escalation, and other cost drivers. A leading practice in project management is to prepare a bottom-up estimate of the remaining cost-to-complete at two or three key milestones during the project s construction phase.
8 8 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project 6 Manage scope changes Contractor and vendor changes are tracked through a formal change process. Changes to a contractor or vendor agreement, which may involve changes in scope, schedule, price, or means and methods of performance, typically require one party to notify the other of the change through a reporting mechanism such as a Notice of Change or Construction Change Directive. These documents can be entered and tracked in a PMIS. By tracking these issues in a system environment, they can be updated, approved, and communicated to the project team. Formal changes by the construction owner are issued to the contractor or vendor via a Request for Proposal (RFP). After the contractor or vendor reviews the RFP, a detailed proposal is prepared. The contractor s or vendor s proposal will include an analysis of probable cost and schedule impacts based on the level of design for the change. Following the construction owner s review of the RFP, either a directive to proceed is issued or further negotiations may begin. Based on the proposal pricing and/or schedule impact, the construction owner may withdraw the request and cancel the RFP. If the contractor or vendor is requested to proceed with the work, a formal contract modification is prepared, and the owner makes appropriate adjustments to the WBS data, the project schedule, and the cost codes. Once the change order has been approved, the work can be billed by the contractor. Change order logs and other reports are generated by the project team on a monthly basis to show open items, pending items, and closed items. 7 Manage project risks As described in Part I, risk management is a process for identifying and responding to project risks and opportunities in an organized and formal fashion. One of the main purposes of risk management in a project environment is to support the project management team s estimate of risk contingency that must be included within the overall budget. Features of a formalized risk management process include a risk register that identifies threats and opportunities in a qualitative manner (probability and impact) and assigns individuals to monitor and manage the most volatile risks. More robust risk management processes include a quantitative risk management assessment based on a risk simulation model such as the Monte Carlo simulation. (Commercial software tools are available for this type of analysis.) Components of the cost estimate are used in the risk simulation model to generate a probable estimate of project cost based on the particular parameters used in the model. The risk manager can select the desired level of cost certainty, which, for most users, is typically in the range of 70 to 90 percent. Any differences between the baseline estimate and the risk-analyzed cost estimate are considered when setting the required levels of budget contingency. Similar to the cost-risk analysis, a schedule-risk analysis can also performed. This analysis is performed by the project management team to determine level or degree of certainty of the target completion date. Risk ranges surrounding selected activity durations are developed through discussions with project managers, contractors, and vendors. Project risks are monitored on a regular basis, and a new risk analysis is performed on a quarterly or monthly basis. As risks are mitigated or revised based on known conditions, risks can be removed from the register and new items added as they arise. Without adequate risk management processes, it is impossible to determine if your mega-project will complete on time and within budget.
9 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project 9 8 Report earned value Earned value management (EVM) reporting is a process for monitoring project performance against the project management plan. Monitoring includes collecting, measuring, assessing, and reporting of project performance throughout the performance period. The process starts with the updating of actual construction progress based on the activity descriptions in the project schedule and WBS. Based on the progress reported against the baseline project management plan, the earned value calculations for each schedule/wbs activity can be calculated. Earned value is the budgeted amount of the work actually completed. Earned value (EV) is compared to the actual cost (AC) for the project (sum of direct and indirect costs incurred for a given time period), which is captured by the job cost reporting (accounting) system, and to the planned value (PV), which is the budgeted cost for work scheduled to be completed. Using earned value, actual cost, and planned value, the project management team calculates the project s cost and schedule variances along with the project s cost and schedule performance indices. If present, negative trends are communicated to both internal and external stakeholders, and action plans are developed to bring the project s cost and schedule performance in line with expectations of the project management plan. Without adequate risk management processes, it is impossible to determine if your mega-project will complete on time and within budget.
10 10 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project 9 Control your project (stick to the plan) Mega-projects don t control themselves even with the highest quality of project planning. Your project controls manager and other key members of the project team play an active role in continuously monitoring and controlling the project. This means getting contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers on board; continuously refining design quantities, cost estimates, and schedules; and managing issues and negative project trends. When project metrics get out of control, the project team must take positive action to get the metrics and project performance back on track. One way of documenting and recording controlled progress is through the preparation of a formal monthly progress report. The monthly project report is the main tool for communicating progress, issues, concerns, financial status, earned value, and other key information about the project. Much of the information in the monthly progress report is summarized from raw data and lower-level project records. For example, the overall percentage of completion compared to the project s baseline plan is derived from numerous cost, schedule, and resource records, along with observations made by the project team in the field. Although the monthly progress report is used by multiple stakeholders, specific sections of the report may be relevant to their specific interests. Therefore, it is important to highlight where additional compilations or raw data can be found. This is particularly important for reporting safety incidents, environmental spills, archaeological finds, testing and inspection records, and other data required to be maintained by regulatory agencies. The monthly project report should be developed as a structured document containing meaningful information to answer most stakeholders questions at a high level. Similar to your organization s monthly close process for financial data, the project team should also perform a monthly close process to preserve and link important information about the overall status of your mega-project. The objective is to compile a monthly project report organized by subject matter and containing complete and accurate information. Performance data for the project should be frozen and preserved each month as a part of the project team s monthly close process. The data will be used by accountants, auditors, attorneys, and other stakeholders to track progress and discern performance trends for management reporting and action.
11 Building, Construction & Real Estate How to successfully manage your mega-project 11 Conclusion You can t manage a mega-project simply by drawing on industry experience, being familiar with project management principles, and applying technology. A successful mega-project is the result, in part, of effective stakeholder communication and project controls integration. That s the second key to success, and it encompasses communication planning, systems and controls, work structure, scheduling, scope changes, risk, reporting, and sticking to the plan. In Part III of this series, we will discuss the third key continuously improving your chances for project success. A mega-project will not be viewed as a success even if it s on time and under budget unless it achieves the business objectives for which it was approved. Since market conditions are anything but static, project teams must stay in touch with corporate trends and changes that may affect the way the project is viewed upon completion. To remain aligned with business objectives, the project team must seek appropriate guidance and feedback from the project sponsor and steering committee.
12 For more information, please contact: Brian Relle T: E: Clay Gilge T: E: kpmg.com The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm ( is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative ( KPMG International. ) KPMG International s member firms have 152,000 professionals, including more than 8,600 partners, in 156 countries KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ( KPMG International ), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. The KPMG name, logo and cutting through complexity are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. NDPPS
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