“Go hard, go early” is probably one of the most coined COVID catchphrases this year. You wouldn’t think ‘hard’ or ‘early’ could be interpreted differently but in the modern-day political spin cycle, it seems they can! So, for the purposes of applying this mantra to project management we’re going to need a pair of unequivocal definitions. Here’s mine:

“Go Hard”, in terms of project management means execute the project within a strict (hard) framework of ‘independent technical governance’. Such a framework provides the kind of rigid checks and balances required at critical milestones to ensure projects continue to run on time and in budget. It’s a framework that will protect an investors’ interests and an operator’s reputation.

“Go early” is just that. Nip any variances or issues in the bud before they become expensive to rectify. Small, regular corrections or adaptations before & during project executions can make a huge difference. A few million spent early can save tens of millions later.

Don’t take my word for it.

Data collected by the Independent Project Analysis group from thousands of major projects around the world shows:

  • A $100m capex project can expect a cost overrun between $9.6m and $48m
  • A $500m capex project can expect a cost overrun between $48m and $240m
  • A $1bn capex project can expect a cost overrun between $96m and $480m

So, if you apply the “go hard, go early” concept to a project the potential savings are immense.

But it’s not just about ‘policing’ a project. Early identification of potential weaknesses or potential improvements can provide a project team time to redesign procedures, models or processes to get a better outcomes. This positively impacts the success of a project and the projected revenue stream from it.

Of course, big projects have project teams, so it would be fair to assume they would be across this approach. The data says otherwise. Just look at the typical cost overruns above. So, that’s why you should “go hard” with an independent technical governance program. Because it’s not always what you know, it’s often what you don’t that trips you up!

Becht with Nuffield Group has the expertise and a proven ‘cradle to the grave’ governance program that identifies risk, provides solutions, and helps prevent expensive delays to capital projects.
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