Integrating Quality Plan Requirements into Your Timeline.

In many projects I have the honor of working as a PMC (Project Management Contractor) and System Integrator with my team.

I am currently working on a project where I fill these roles and as this particular project unfolded, I noticed something interesting: this was a large scale and complex project which needed to be delivered on a specific date (as with most projects). It must be fit for the purpose and safe to operate while be ready to turn over to the end users within a stipulated time period.

In order to achieve that quality requirement, a comprehensive quality plan was established to define the procedures for design submissions and approvals.

To date, all is going well. However, in the planning of the activities and the daily work plan, the quality plan has been almost completely neglected. This can happen in projects especially when great significance is put upon the timeframe; we get so involved in the timeframe we can forget about the quality plan that has already been completed!

The timeline in this project incorporated the time to execute the individual working packages and its tasks, but the time in advance to submit the design documents and drawings (including the necessary review meetings with the consultants and the end-user) were not calculated at all!

In order to perform a task, a design document and a methodology statement is required which of course is approved for construction by the consultant.

Even if the task is just one or two days, the documents are required to fulfill the quality statements, as well as to obtain access to sites which are in operation already. However, to draft a document and a drawing and to create the method statement, this task requires somebody who has the necessary skills to do that.

Additionally it takes time for the submission to the consultant, the end-user and obtain the approval to proceed. Depending on the job size, it can take about 2 weeks to even a few months.  AND this wasn’t calculated in the timeline.  What may look like a small oversight can really add up in the final stretch of a project. If this time is not included in the project timeline, it can be assumed that the project will be delayed or will have some difficulties and challenges.

In large projects, the design has typically its own design phase and implementation comes as soon the design is approved.

However, different design packages have different completion times and due to the approval process, the original planned sequence might be jeopardized. With that, new documents need to be written and then need approval to accommodate this new sequencing.  Adding a time cushion to your projects can be a wise thing to do, but also knowing WHAT, WHERE and HOW LONG a time cushion should be is of the upmost importance.

Quality is important and for EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) projects, proper procedures are required. However, it takes time and knowledgeable resources to support that process.

For example, having engineers who are the specialists for the job but do not follow the quality process (perhaps because they are not familiar with the quality process or simply overloaded with design/engineering) may be something you need to look out for.

Another example is also having a project where there is not a systems engineer who is nominated to facilitate the engineering process with the consultant and end-user to obtain the approval, then issues and challenges in the project is predictable.

The experienced Project Manager will raise this issue and include time and adequate resources for this engineering and design approval facilitation throughout the project.  So what can you do to ensure that quality plan requirements are included in your timeline?

Make it a practice in every project you do to double and cross check your work so that your project goes as smooth as possible while within the stipulated time frame.  Again, not everyone in the team will look out for this, and may not even know to look out for this, so it is your job as the PMC and the systems integrator to set everyone up for success…including the timeline!

Peter is an expert on: Railway Projects, System Integration, Renewable Energy Projects, Project Management, Scrum Master, Agile Project Management, Risk Management, Rescue Troubled Projects, Contract Management, Project Consulting, Project Management Office, Project Management Training, Project Assessments, EPC(M) Projects, Program Management, Project Management Coaching, Virtual team management in Global projects. You can find him at his website and Linkedin.