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Project controls under pressure

Jessica Schilling, Senior Consultant

jessicaschilling@hka.com

What will the future of project controls be? Megaprojects on the moon? Bitcoin funded buildings?

The Australian Institute of Project Management recently hosted an HKA-led innovative, interactive online workshop titled “Dystopian Futures: Project Controls Under Pressure”.

Attended by project controls professionals and industry members, the host, Jessie Schilling, challenged participants to reframe and reimagine the future of project controls. The premise was that project controls will only come under pressure if change is seen as a threat. Instead, change should be seen as an opportunity for learning, unlearning and innovating to lead the projects of tomorrow.

But why wait for tomorrow when we can start today!

In project controls, we pride ourselves on data integrity which provides the single source of truth. However, while it’s commonplace for us to capture and analyse data for the purposes of managing project cost, schedule and risk, we must ensure we are also actively sharing our insights and lessons learnt in handling this data across diverse portfolios of projects.

• Do we consider threats to our data, our practice?
• Do we actively seek opportunities for cross-project learnings?

When we talk about lessons learned in the project space, we’re not just talking about what went well and what didn’t go well. We’re talking about what we need to do differently to ensure future success and prevent repeat issues. We need the highest level of thinking not only to understand a lesson but to leverage that lesson and apply what we’ve learned in an innovative and solution-oriented way.

During the session, attendees applied design thinking to project controls, drawing on empathy, ideation and experimentation to solve business problems creatively.

After splitting attendees into breakout rooms, HKA facilitators used Miro to conduct rapid design thinking. The 116 attendees provided insights and observations on the past, present and future states of our project environments through the lens of the building blocks of project controls: data, people, processes and systems.

Key themes and insights from project controls under pressure breakout sessions

Project controls under pressure workshop key themes and outputs

The collaborative nature of the workshop enabled attendees to learn from other project professionals, share their frustrations and ideas on how to improve project performance, and leave empowered to harness and apply positive pressure and direction to the project controls practice now and into the future.

To future-proof project controls and our project environments and actively create a community of practice, we need to be proactive and reactive, co-creating a pathway forward to uplift practice. This requires us to identify lessons learned (past state) and problem spaces (current state) and move towards opportunity spaces (future state).

These emergent patterns and recurring themes require further probing.

If you missed the session, register to access the on-demand webinar.

The session outcomes included:

  1. Applying design thinking to problems
  2. Leveraging cross-project learning
  3. Engaging in future-proofing and continuous improvement of project controls.

If you would like to discuss the inputs or outputs of the session or explore opportunities for a tailored workshop for your project team, feel free to contact us.

This publication presents the views, thoughts or opinions of the author and not necessarily those of HKA. Whilst we take every care to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of publication, the content is not intended to deal with all aspects of the subject referred to, should not be relied upon and does not constitute advice of any kind. This publication is protected by copyright © 2021 HKA Global Ltd.