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Three Reasons Why You Need Project Controls in Your Next Project

As we continue to mitigate the challenges of the current economic environment, the industries across the globe are starting to see the investment in infrastructure and capital projects rapidly growing. As mentioned in the Deloitte Capital Projects Insights Report, the annual global infrastructure investment is expected to rise from $2.5tr today to $3.8tr by 2040. That is a 51% growth in 20 years!  

And it’s not just the investment that is growing – it’s also the complexity, duration and scope of the projects. Geographically diverse projects with multiple stakeholders, construction companies, general contractors, owners…it’s a challenging mix for any project professional to handle. In this blog, I’ll discuss the three key reasons why you will also need project controls in your next project and how to get started with the implementation.  

Reason #1:  

The projects are getting bigger. By 2025, the capital projects spending is expected to cap at 9 trillion, compared to 4 trillion in 2012 (PwC CPI Outlook 2025).  

Reason #2:

Capital projects are more complex than ever. Complexity is not just a matter of the size and the duration of a project, but also deals with projects being executed across different time zones and geographical areas, having multiple stakeholders involved, having organizations that have different data structures, ways of reporting, and sharing information involved.  

Reason #3:

Because of number one and two, the executive level of any project organization needs more visibility into when projects are getting out of control. The executives need information in advance before the projects are out of track to enable actions to be taken in a timely manner.  

How to Get Started with Project Controls

The most important prerequisite for getting started with getting your projects under control is having a good understanding of what needs to be solved. In other words, where is the pain in your organization? Is it the lack of predictability? Is it that the employees don’t have access to up-to-date and trustworthy information regarding the project performance? Are there different systems in place that produce data in a siloed manner? Or maybe all the above? 

Furthermore, the people involved need to be informed that changes will happen in the way you work and the reasons why the changes will be introduced need to be properly explained to avoid unnecessary resistance to change.  

After you have looked at your prerequisites, my key recommendation is to always start with the end in mind. What is it that you want to achieve? Review the processes in place, the knowledge you already have in your organization, and map your technology landscape.  

After taking the steps above, you are ready to consider whether or not you’d need new technology to support your project controls (spoiler alert – if you are still using Excel as a project performance solution, there might be more powerful tools out there).  

Benefits of Project Controls

Having a project controls system in place will bring a variety of benefits across the organization: 

Executives: predictability and control over capital projects as you will have real time insight into the status of the projects. 

Project Executives: the ability to steer and control the projects based on real data. Give and receive accurate insight into the status of the projects. 

Project Professionals: more time to control and steer the project as you already know where the bottlenecks or issues are. More time can be spent on ‘high value’ work against low value work, as there is no need to map/validate/check data. 

Finance: reliable accurate information and actuals (from ERP) can be used in project controls by integration to create real-time financial visibility into the project. No more manual checks for information, or one way visibility. 

IT: a robust system for project controls empowers IT teams to decrease siloed systems. No longer will teams be working with spreadsheets that only a limited amount of team members will understand.  

Are you curious to learn more about what project controls can do for your organization? Visit us at stand 11 at Project Controls Expo 2021 in London, the United Kingdom or watch the video on how CH2M, a leading engineering & construction company, was able to replace inefficient in-house and single point solutions by standardizing their project controls solution with EcoSys.

About the Author

James Tauladan is an experienced sales director and digital transformation leader with 20+ of experience in the fields of engineering, construction and enterprise project performance.

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