I had the opportunity to talk this week at the Project Challenge at Olympia. The subject was The I Word………with I standing for Integration. The proposition I put forward is that there is massive opportunity to improve delivery outcomes on project and programmes by achieving better management integration between the parties involved in executing a project, and the systems and processes that they use.
When you look at the number of parties involved in a complex delivery – the following may be a typical sort of structure –
It is no wonder that many projects and programmes fail to get cohesion in their management processes and systems. It is not easy to do and requires committed leadership and investment which is usually driven by client organisations. Yet the benefits from that investment can be huge……….like any complex delivery system it is bound to work more effectively if it works as a co-ordinated whole rather than a series of loosely connected islands.
It was interesting to test the perspective of the audience on the level of addressable waste which exists on projects – the majority of people believing it to be in excess of 20%. Big money and with continuing financial pressure on the funding of major infrastructure, this can make a critical contribution.
The other key aspect is getting high levels of integration in systems tools and data management and I discussed a range of different integration models which project can use to provide management support.
One of the sad things faced by those who have put considerable effort into achieving strong integration is that it tends to be discontinued when the project comes to an end and needs to be reinvented for the next one. This is an expensive game of ‘snakes and ladders’ which hinders progress in getting really mature management integration solutions. Current systems of bidding for work are largely responsible for this. If it were to be achievable, procurement methods which enable integrated management capability to be developed and enhanced over time could potentially unlock massive benefits for the future.