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The COO’s Guide to Project Controls - 6 Secrets to Building Capabilities with PM Mastery

by Sjef van Vugt, on May 4, 2023 11:00:00 AM

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They will expect you to “Just make it happen!”

Project success brings kudos and possibly a high number of high fives around the office. But project delay, overruns or failure can darken the boardroom mood in a flash.

Here are six ways you, as a COO, can build the capabilities of your organisation, to support operational efficiency and strategic growth.

1. Put in Place the Right People and Resources

When you’re in the boardroom, you may find you encounter a familiar line of questions directed at you as COO.

How are projects going? Can everyone do their job OK? Have we got the right skills and experience for current needs - and future needs?

Such questions are easier to answer when you have the right people, materials, equipment and tech tools in place - and the processes to bring them all together in efficient harmony.

One way to achieve this is to create a flexible pool of labour, a mix of youth and experience. Have a recruitment strategy to hire the best quality of people you can afford - and support those people to be their best.

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2. Place Project Management at the Heart of Operations

Within the construction industry, companies may have worked without full Project Management (PM) standards in the past. However, higher standards are expected today.

As an experienced COO, you will know that one of your biggest challenges has been how to inject PM awareness, knowledge and capabilities into the production team.

When you have a tender document up on the screen, you’ll understand that the more you can demonstrate PM excellence, the stronger your chances of securing the contract.

When Project Controls is embedded into your PM practices, your organisation will have the foundations to build sustained profitability. If the challenge is large, you may want to consider external support with PM methodologies. 

Primaned, for example, can help with time management plans, project planning and scheduling, compliance, achieving ISO standards, and the putting together of proposals and tenders.

3. Manage Change Effectively

To many observers, the construction industry has been slow to embrace digital transformation.

Smart technology and tools can help take your project management to a new level. But, as with any change, there may be resistance to learning how to use it. Especially if people have been using the same system for many years.

This is where the COO can step up as a leader and be a champion for change. Be a wise guide. Be a supportive coach. Be an inspirational mentor.

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4. Optimise Technology for Operational Excellence

It can be easy to be seduced by the very latest technology - to buy the most expensive or ‘fancy’ solution. 

What you want to look at, as a COO, is what systems, tools and tech you are already using. Review it all. Is it working for you and your team? Is it giving you the data you require? Is it easy to use or do standard tasks become a chore?

For some, a simple setup may be fine. For others, running more complex and multiple projects, a smarter solution is more likely to offer the best support for operations. You may also create a good impression by making the researched case for a particular PM tool, such as OPC, P6 or PMWeb.

Your CIO can support you with how to get the best out of technology for your requirements. That, and seeking independent IT advice from specialist consultants like Primaned, is a smart way to build success with smart tech and safe data.

5. Make Best Practice a 360 Practice

Achieving consistent project success requires consistency in best practices.

We are talking here about your teams, your processes, your systems, your technology, and your whole approach to project management.

Take a look at each element and review how close the operations and functions are following best practice. You may also want to consider engaging consultants to help remove any weaknesses in the chain.

6. Develop Excellent Lines of Communication

To stay on top of multiple projects and different teams, it’s only logical that you will need good communications.

Do people know their roles and responsibilities? Are project managers on top of their game? Is your technology encouraging a strong, easy flow of data and information or is it hampering success?

Implementing a Project Controls approach with a powerful PM tool could be the answer. It helps focus on getting the most out of your people, processes and technology. It helps to create a single source of truth with your data.

Project Controls in the Boardroom

Project management which embraces Project Controls gives the COO a means to build capabilities and develop best practices. Consistency is the key.

To learn more about how to improve operational excellence and discover a seventh ‘secret’, download Primaned’s free executive insight guide, Building Capabilities and PM Mastery: The COO’s Guide to Project Controls. 

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* Note: all quoted statistics in this guide are taken from Primaned client feedback, interviews and surveys during 2022.

Topics:PC Boardroom


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