For those of us who have moved house we can all understand the ups and downs, highs and lows associated with the big day. Which, as usual, turns into two or three days depending on the number of willing friends you have who can be bribed with cold beer and nice steak.

For the third time now I have moved house, and in my ever increasing fastidious nature, I thought it would be both funny and a good idea to develop a ‘plan of attack’ Gantt chart leading up to the big day. As a planner, I always appreciate the benefits of up-front planning to ensure successful delivery of major projects, however I found out first hand just how important a good schedule is for even the smallest of jobs.

In true GBA Projects style, I started with the project scope and objectives and a good Work Breakdown Structure, ensuring that I captured all possible items of scope including approvals, contracts, services and utilities and human resources.
With the festive season upon us and an imminent holiday trip to Bali the following weekend, it was critical that the move was completed in one weekend. So I had a major constraint.

Having my plan in place meant several things:

  1. I knew where I had to get to and how I was going to do it
  2. I knew how many people I would need to help with trailer loads
  3. I understood the key constraining resources (the trailers)
  4. I knew how much it would cost me
  5. I knew what was important (critical) and not important (non-critical)

Essentially I was able to understand the project I was executing and all of it’s nuances. That’s the main benefit of having a plan in the first place is it not?

So the big day arrived and my hotly anticipated schedule was blown from day one. The resources I had confirmed for day one were unable to help me out. But a good, clear line of communication meant I became aware of this early and was able to arrange backups for the second day.

In addition, productivity on day one took a battering when the heat rose from 25 degrees to a hot 35. So motivation was key to ensuring a happy workforce. Provision of a cold fridge full of beer was the new priority & thus the schedule changed.

2 of 8 trailer loads were completed on that day instead of the 5 or 6 I had planned, but I firmly believed an extension of time was not required – I had backup resources coming on the Saturday.

That is where my risk management skills came to the coal face. Always have a plan B but more importantly ensure the communication plan is suited to handling issues when they arise.

It was important to ensure that the key utilities were ready to go on the same day and of course a lot of pre-work went into ensuring the service providers were on board. But in any given project there are always teething problems due to inadequate design. See, I was not aware of the line speeds I would get in my area with the internet provider, so it came to be a rude shock this week when I found out just how limited I am on the downstream side of my connection. This only emphasised the importance of Front End Loading (FEL) in design to ensure a smooth execution of works on site.

Adding insult to injury, the gentleman on the end of the phone entered the wrong date to connect my internet which then had an impact on getting the company backup server in place. This then only reinforced the necessity for a construction mobilisation checklist on each project I work on. “Are we ready” is a very important question even on smaller jobs.

Those of you reading this might be thinking that I’ve lost the plot somewhat, but whilst this is on a minor scale these kinds of issues affect bigger projects each and every day.

Continually, companies fail to plan their projects properly and time after time the projects fail to perform, introduce risk to the organisation and often end up as the centre of larger arbitrations and disputes.

 

Upon reflection, the move went extremely well because I planned everything up front. I am now in defects rectification mode.

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