May 23 2014

EVA19 – Project managers convene at London conference

EVA19 in London Tuesday 20th May 2014This week in central London, more than one hundred project managers attended a two-day Earned Value Analysis conference called EVA19. Co-sponsored by CONJECT , the event discussed issues such as how to avoid the common mistake of expecting project outcomes to improve by issuing processes and updating technology, whilst under-estimating the critical importance of the people aspect in project success.

Cultural change needed from the top of organisations

Held at the historic Armourers Hall, Adrian Pyne from The Association of Project Management (APM) started proceedings, stating that 70% of projects fail, not because of processes and technology but because of people.  His view was that organisational leaders should focus on improving project delivery by creating cultural change throughout their organisations and project teams, rather than trying to encourage people to adapt to existing inadequate cultural structures.  This is wasted effort he said.  Instead, building a culture of communication, trust and collaboration is a prerequisite to the effective application of process improvements or technology tools.  We see the truth of this mantra every day amongst clients, where the most successful stories of using CONJECT collaboration software occur when organisations and teams buy-in to common goals, and work in an open way, such as the construction of a new facility for The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh.  The project team were able to view risks and therefore better manage them, preventing rework, and ultimately bringing the project to completion more quickly and at a lower cost.


Adrian explained that the management teaching on implementing cultural change in organisations is well known, including the requirement for the cultural change to start from the top, whereby C-suite support and sponsorship is the conduit for real success.  Managing for people’s personalities is important; which is why people in positions of leadership need high emotional intelligence.


Project management = Managing uncertainty

Project management is essentially about managing uncertainty.  The more complex the project, the greater the number of activities that will not be captured or anticipated upfront.  This is life.  Added to this, people tend to be overly optimistic in what can be achieved in project planning at the pitching stage, but once the project is won, human nature switches, and scheduling becomes conservative.


BIM benefits Bank Station Upgrade

The presentation of the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade (BSCU) for Transport for London (TFL) demonstrated the benefits of a BIM approach.  In establishing the project on a cost-benefit basis, whereby the benefits include the measurement of social benefits such as reduced passenger transit time over the life time of the asset.  The use of a 3D BIM model helped all parties to visualise the benefits of reduced travel times, single-level access and therefore enabled a common understanding of the proposal benefits.


How National Grid reduces risk

In the afternoon session, David Birch, head of project controls at National Grid detailed how the energy distribution company is responsible for delivering £2.5bn of works each year.  And with 1,500 projects in execution or close-out phase, it is clear that an operation with this level of complexity requires careful project management. The importance of setting performance baselines and only reporting exceptions was reiterated as was the critical role of a single source of data.  David explained that National Grid’s use of CONJECT Project Control across their multitudes of contracts and schedules enabled effective change management as the system provides visibility of change on a time/cost basis. Enabling a significant reduction of risk across their projects and programmes.


Related posts:

EVM explained

The history of EVM

CONJECT launch cloud-based EVM 

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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