Capital projects are unique to more traditional projects because of the number of different and complex disciplines involved. Capital project managers deal with vendors, quality, logistics, facilities, program management, IT, operations, and maintenance. As a CCPM, you will need to clearly identify the deliverables for the project and the roles each of these disciples will play in the project. It starts with a high level executive summary approved by management. Then, we define the lead and secondary roles in the project. After the team has been defined and selected, it is necessary to define the success criteria for the project and the success criteria for the individual team members. Everyone understands the objectives overall and the part they play in meeting those objectives. Now, we move into the vendor selection phase of the project. Again, the team works together to build a model of the ideal partners for the project. We refer to this as an avatar. The avatar is ideal, so we must manage expectations in comparison, but to visualize and conceptualize the ideal is the objective of this activity.
At this point, we have management agreement on objectives and their support. The team has been selected and have clearly defined roles and objectives. The team has defined the success criteria for the project and built avatars of the ideal partners to assist in bringing the project into existence. Now begins the management of the project. As a CCPM, your role is managing resources that are not directly reporting to you. This is where soft skill development is paramount for success. We like to say many, many carrots and very few sticks. The people you will be relying on, including partners, will have competing interests. Part of your role is maintaining clear objectives and clearing the path for your team members to meet their objectives. Emotional intelligence scores are off the charts for the most successful CCPMs. EQ, as it is called, has to do with our ability to empathize with others and meet them where they are. People with high EQ minimize judgment and focus on the relationship. Selfless versus selfish. This does not mean they are pushovers, but they get results by understanding and clearing the path. CCPMs remove barriers to success for team member and partners. They are leaders focused on the success of others to ensure the success of the project.
In order to manage the project, you will need easy-to-use and understandable tools. The basics include a project timeline, an open issues list, and a regularly scheduled team meeting. CCPMs manage risk, so keeping the critical path issues front and center is a major responsibility. Another responsibility most PMs miss is keeping stakeholders apprised as to the project status. Regularly scheduled reviews with stakeholders should be on the calendar. At these meetings, you will provide a high level overview. If something goes wrong (and it will), nobody should be surprised. When issues arise, as a CCPM you will be trained to do two things:
Define the issues and put a plan of action together to address it.
Present the issue to stakeholders and make them aware of the course of action being taken to mitigate and how they can help.
Budgeting is another significant aspect of the CCPM role. Businesses justify investments financially. When the budget objectives are not met, the financial return or investments are reduced. This jeopardizes the viability of the program and puts your company at risk.
CCPMs finish strong. The end of every project is chaotic. This is when your communication skills are most needed. You will provide daily updates to your team and partners. You will be interfacing with facilities, purchasing, supervision (operations), logistics, safety, and partners daily to ensure each is doing their part. Thanks to your efforts up front, everyone is clear about their role. The project is installed, validated, and approved. You ensure all documentation is received and filed before final sign-off and transfer to operations or maintenance. The partners have provided detailed instructions on how to properly maintain the equipment. Process documentation (standard work) has been completed. The budget was met, and it was completed on time. Your stock in your organization just went up.
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