Mobilising a Complex Multi-Discipline Project – a case study

Mobilising a complex project – getting a multi-disciplinary project off to the best possible start.

The Client – A global world-class infrastructure and services business with a turnover of c£10 billion. The bid director asked us to help him mobilise a £16m regional infrastructure project that had ‘preferred bidder’ status. The project was to design and build 16 Fire Stations across the North West of the UK and involved professionals drawn from several different disciplines within their company and from their client and their advisers.

The Challenge This mobilisation session was the first time all of the people involved in taking this project from ‘Preferred Bidder’ award status to ‘Project Closure’ will be in the same room at the same time. It was an opportunity to begin the process of forging personal relationships and creating a feeling of ‘one team’ as the project exited the adversarial bidding process and entered the partnership way of working. It was also a chance to begin to work out ‘how’ the team can do the work that is required to get the project to its next major milestone ‘Project Closure’. The 38 Participants came from various functions including; legal and insurance; finance; technical including construction, architecture, design and the core project management team.

The Objectives – We created the mobilisation session so participants left with:

  • A better appreciation of the different personalities and capabilities that exist within the various work streams and how this diversity can be used to get the best from each other.
  • A shared vision of success for the project as a whole and the next major milestone in particular.
  • A plan for each work stream outlining how the teams will tackle the challenges they face and complete the tasks required to get the project to ‘Project Closure’ status.
  • A clear stakeholder map and influence plan that the core project team can use to manage the reputation of the project through this next phase.
  • A risk plan showing the key challenges the project will face, with some ideas on how to prevent and/or mitigate these risks.
  • An injection of energy and fun to create the enthusiasm required to tackle as ‘one-team’ the challenges that lie ahead.

Our Approach – Working closely with the bid director we develop a highly interactive one day session for the 38 people involved in the mobilisation event. Participants started the session with a quick personal disclosure exercise and then ‘Imagineered’ a successful outcome for their work stream. They then listed all the challenges they will face in reaching this destination and using the ‘zone of influence’ and ‘zone of concern’ filter they prioritised their challenges and asked for help from their colleagues in other work streams.

The main planning session was a journey map that they created for their work stream on the floor of the hall that showed the key activities, timing, resource requirements and deliverables. Each of the four work streams then shared Project Roadmaptheir roadmap by walking people along the journey that they laid out on the floor of the hall. This produced a highly interactive discussion between the work streams as they realised the inter-dependencies between the work streams and enabled quick decisions and agreements to be reached on how to work together in the coming months.

The session concluded with each work stream developing a risk mitigation plan and a stakeholder communication plan to ensure they could manage the reputation of their work stream effectively.

The Impact – The participants left the mobilisation event having enjoyed the day and having built closer relationships with colleagues they were going to work with in the coming months. They also had broken the back of the planning work that they needed to do together and had all the raw material they needed to develop robust project plans for their work streams that they felt committed to delivering as they had co-created them together and had shared them with their colleagues in an open forum. The investment in a day together produced a great return on time as subsequent communications within the project were of a far higher quality and the project reached its completion milestone with far less noise and angst than is usual in such a large complex, multi-functional project.

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