Interface and Integration Management in Major Capital Projects

Interface and Integration Management in Major Capital Projects; Why, Who, When and How?

Why did I put Interface and Integration Management at the same level; frankly because in my experience although interface management is part of integration management, the weight of interface management is so significant to the success of project integration. Both are voted among top 3 reasons for project loss of value per my project health check. I did a quick desktop search and found out that PM community is inline with this. In continue we will discuss more about Integration Management. (more on Interface Management).

Why

In any mega-project higher number of stakeholders just makes the integration management more complicated. For example a multidisciplinary project team in a typical SAGD project in Canada can have several stakeholders including facility engineering, subsurface team, operations and maintenance (O&M), regulatory affairs, procurement and supply chain, commercial affairs, HSE, sustainability, legal, mid-stream & marketing, R&D and technology, and finance & economics. If we add external stakeholders such as government bodies (AER, ABSA, …), NGOs, local communities, (and the list goes on and on) one can realize that project integration can be a rather complected task.

Most of major oil and gas companies and many independents are adapted to matrix oraganizational model. People naturally are more loyal to their function than the project. After all their appraisal will be done by their line manager and not the project leader that they are seconded to. So matrix organization just adds to the complexity. In my experience company culture plays a major role in the efficiency and effectiveness of the matrix model.

Who

The project leader is accountable for integration management of the project. Some companies assign a project leader from facility group (usually from PMO). Others may pick one from Asset team. The former would work better for projects which are heavy on facility design e.g. FPSO, LNG plants. The later might work better for projects which are as heavy on the subsurface side (reservoir engineering, production, etc.). In SAGD development projects integration can be done better by a person with an experience mix of project engineering/management (often process) and subsurface knowledge/experience.

When

When should the project leader start thinking about interface management and integration? At concept, FEED or just leave it for after sanction? This is an ongoing process. Right from the project charter the integration should be discussed, planned and worked on.

How

A fine development and smooth execution of project needs project leadership. I emphasize on project leadership versus project management. One of the challenges of mega projects has been right on the quality and competency of the project manager to fulfill his leadership role. Sophisticated projects can benefit from a project manager who is also a great leader. Someone who can motivate, inspire, mentor and coach the lead functions in his/her team instead of manage and control them.

Why is this important? Because there are thousands and millions of interrelated tasks that need to be executed in harmony throughout of the life cycle of a mega project (usually 3-6 years). The key to success is how the project leader can move down the leadership and accountability to different sub-project teams and disciplines, both laterally and vertically.

What

Here are the areas of project integration that I can recommend. Most of these areas have a document and/or a process which we used as a platform for collaboration, alignment and communication.

  • Project charter – sponsors, strategic objective, stakeholders, project risk tolerance, sponsors, social/legal/sustainability,…
  • Business case execution strategy – developed before start of each DG, commercial objective, scope, priorities (cost, schedule, scope), business plan, risk, interfaces, HSE,…
  • Project Assignment – an agreed assignment between the owner and other stakeholders (usually the main ones i.e. facility, drilling & completion, subsurface, operations, commercial, midstream, procurement and supply-chain), developed before start of each DG to define roles and responsibilities, interface management plan,…
  • Scope definition –  details the project scope for main functions i.e. facility, drilling/completion, and subsurface, as complete as possible prior to each decision gate, great place to identify interface issues,…
  • Integrated schedule –  continuous process , developed and monitored monthly, used as a tool to assess integration and to identify misalignment and areas that require interface management, avoid many versions (sign of problem!),…
  • Governance, approvals – weekly project team meetings, action/approved/discussion log, monthly steering committee, approvals and change-requests discussed at team and then presented to steering committee,…
  • Project control and monitoring – emphasize on proactive project control to be able to foresee issues at the horizon ahead of time, critical to risk mitigation, re-baseline, developed at project level (to include facility and drilling/completion and subsurface layers), …
  • Risk management – continuous process, identify risks at each disciplines that have roots to undefined interfaces, monthly risk review at discipline and roll up to project (or asset) level, reward task owners for completion of risk mitigation,…
  • Project change – evaluate, register, track, centralized for all disciplines, assess for interface issues, document and closed out.
  • Communications – stakeholder start-up meeting right after each DG, weekly reports from disciplines, monthly reports to sponsors (again, great place to capture risks and interface issues), one-to-one coffee with key project members (mentoring), team-building, town halls,…
  • Performance management & audit – every quarter, panel review, plan for field visits, a good health check, opportunity to receive feedback from cold eyes, expand invites to non-stakeholders e.g. other projects,…
  • Interface management – identify/register (from a log from past phase, integrated schedule reviews, steering committee sessions, performance review sessions, risk review sessions, project change request), a process to start right from project charter, understand and define, make sure respective stakeholders attend, RACI chart, monitor, communicate, close out and document.

 

Would you like to share your experience?

More to read:
Project Health Check
Project Interface Management

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