7 Steps to the perfect project

What makes the perfect project? How do we go beyond mediocrity and achieve 'perfection'? Gareth Robbins, our Director - Built Asset Consultancy, discusses.

Building facades

"The perfect project doesn’t simply finish on time and on budget. It delivers the right end-product in the best possible way, for the most appropriate price."

1) It’s the best solution

The best solution is found through well-informed people. The kind of people who have examined the right data, have located the problem, and have optioneered a bevy of innovative and challenging ways to solve the problem; subsequently landing on the project as the best answer. They have followed a process to find the best solution – no one jumped to conclusions or ‘re-worked’ the business case. Instead, the project landed upon was deemed the most credible, cost effective, and sensible solution to the problem.

2) It looks beyond the project end date. 

It’s a project where decisions are focused on the whole lifecycle of the asset, rather than just the capital delivery phase. In fact, basic common sense tells us that we shouldn’t cut corners and save cost during capital delivery, particularly if it’s going to lead to a lot more cost and quality pressures during the operation of the asset… yet, this happens. A lot.

3) It looks outside the project scope. 

The perfect project is part of something bigger than the project itself. It is a wider, well-conceived and coordinated benefits-focused program. In the built environment, we mean a completed asset. Only as part of that wider, more considered program, can a project truly fulfil its potential.

4) It moves forward, not in circles. 

Whether it’s effective value engineering or timely activities to align stakeholders, there are plenty of reasons why projects should move forward. Unless the problem being solved becomes irrelevant, the perfect project sustains forward momentum throughout its life.

5) Everyone’s in the know.

During project delivery it’s essential that everyone knows what’s happening and who is doing what. There needs to be effective governance, risk and performance transparency, role clarity and clear communication throughout the delivery of the project and beyond!

6) It delivers what it needs to. 

No more and no less. Fancy add-ons are generally an indicator of imperfection. Keep it simple and you’ll deliver.

7) It’s fun!

The individuals, firms, and stakeholders involved in the project should work together in a mutually beneficial, open, trusting and collaborative way, leading to them identifying and dealing with challenges early and effectively. 

Let me reiterate, the perfect project doesn’t simply finish on time and on budget. It delivers the right end-product in the best possible way, for the most appropriate price. These sentiments were also reflected in our recent Catalyst for Change report, which highlighted program expectations across the Chemical and Pharmaceutical industries and also documents how these expectations continue to evolve. 

What we can be sure of though is that the 7 Steps I’ve outlined above will remain a constant, and without a focus on these projects will struggle to achieve mediocrity let alone perfection.   

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Gareth Robbins

Sector Managing Director - Property, Energy and Resources Ask me a question