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Project Completions: Why Departments Are Resisting Change

There are many reasons for not embracing change within both business management and project delivery. While there are understandable concerns such as risk, and the cost benefit analysis favouring the status quo, there are many more that simply resist change without good reason and experience opportunity loss as a result.

This is usually due to a company culture with an ineffective process of embracing change or due to the leadership’s resistance. Adopting this approach for extended periods of time could lead you to miss opportunities and lose a competitive edge within the market.

Here, we will explore why project and completion systems are often ignored within individual teams, and how a completions management system can actually improve processes.

What is Completions?

Project or Systems Completions is a process that breaks a project down into commissionable packages and within these, individual pieces of equipment as grouped. Inspections and tests are then applied to each piece depending on the delivery stage or phase of your project. This is important as it allows a project to focus on “technical integrity”. This ensures the safety of the equipment as the tests determine whether the equipment has been installed correctly, for example.

This is usually handled through a software-based data system known as a Completions Management System (CMS). This allows for the digitisation of the entire process, not just or construction completions and pre-commissioning, but also dynamic commissioning and operational readiness assurance.

If embedded properly, this process can have transformative effects on your delivery performance. Through transparent and live updates and warnings, you can monitor your project performance and keep phases adhering to their timelines.

Resisting Change

The tendency to reject change can come from a fear of financial failure. It is easy to believe “we already have a solution” or it “can be developed in-house”. The ability to adapt in the development period can range from very difficult to non-existent. But by seamlessly integrating a completion system, you can benefit your business in the long run. The initial investment can bring you better money-saving measures in the future as equipment will be efficiently used, as well as new opportunities noticed.

QA and/or QC

Frequently a blocker with many quality departments is that they view Completions as a competitor or threat to the existing processes, systems, and associated budgets. These quality systems are typically heavily paper-based with a high degree of manual admin and work-flowing involved. However, completion systems can improve efficiency, are faster, and can lead to less human error.

Construction / Installation

The handover from construction to commissioning is a fundamental pivot or tipping point in any project and if done badly will cause major delays and cost overruns on the project through commissioning and start-up. As many will want work to be handed over as quickly as possible, they may be resistant to commissioning processes. The systems can highlight building issues and restrict site access due to safety precautions, meaning that while the health and safety of work is improved, the speed at which work can start is sometimes delayed. Therefore, they are often resistant to adopt a 3rd party completion approach as in-house processes can often let these safety measures slip.

Project Management

This is often a mixed bag with many project management teams embracing Completions (especially in Oil and Gas), but the opposite is also true where industries have traditionally relied on Quality departments to provide this function. It is common that the PM team will agree that their current approach is far from ideal but they are not empowered to make the changes required.

The above provides a realistic, albeit worst-case, list of behaviours that a change leader may encounter when trying the embed a completions process. Stakeholders and departments are instrumental. In change management it is vital to success to understand the reasonings behind all enabler, indifferent and blocker stakeholders.

The change owner will have to manage all of these factors in preparation for embedding a completions process into a business or project.

Managing change and driving for real and sustainable improvement is not just about latching on to all the enabler stakeholders who happen to agree with the change owner’s perceived solution and its perhaps unsubstantiated benefits. It about embracing the collective, understanding their individual stances and the associated reasonings behind them. As can be seen using the Completions example in this article how the seemingly negative narrative contained in the “Resisting Change” section can be converted into a positive and compelling narrative in the “Missing an Opportunity” section.

This speaks to all stakeholders on not just an individual basis but also as a collective. It also lays the foundation for creating a sense of excitement and urgency in planning and executing change to acquire real and sustainable improvement in any business.