Guest Post by John Ayers (first posted on CERM ® RISK INSIGHTS – reposted here with permission)
The Central Artery/Tunnel Project, known as the Big Dig in Boston, originally was planned to take 10 years to complete for a budget of $2.5B. It actually took 30 years and cost $14.8 B. The traditional project framework used was inadequate for a long duration project. A new project framework, I call Adaptive Rolling Wave, is needed. It is a combination of the Adaptive Project and Rolling Wave framework, that is more suited for a long duration project because it breaks down the project into a number of smaller projects.
Studies show small shorter, duration projects are more successfully managed than large, longer duration projects. This article explains what an Adaptive Rolling Wave project framework is and why it is better suited for long duration projects such as infrastructure projects.
TRADITIONAL PROJECT FRAMEWORK
A traditional framework project includes the same components as the Adaptive Rolling Wave framework with exception of the schedule. The traditional project framework schedule is for the entire project regardless of the duration. The Adaptive Rolling Wave schedule comprises a number of smaller schedules based on existing Adaptive Project and Rolling Wave frameworks combined to take advantage of both key principles.
ADAPTIVE PROJECT FRAMEWORK
Like traditional projects, the Adaptive Project approach uses scope, budget, and cost to plan the project. With Adaptive Project framework, you can collaborate with the team comprising: project manager; stake holders; the project team; customer; and management to determine if the goals and objectives of the project are being met at the end of every rolling wave (typically nine months long). If not, the goals and objectives can be modified for the next rolling wave. This approach promises the flexibility provided by the Adaptive Project framework.
ROLLING WAVE FRAMEWORK
This process starts with an overall project plan that shows the Work Packages (WPs) and Planning Packages (PPs) time phased over the life cycle of the project. A WP is the lowest level of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) that defines the scope, budget and schedule for it. It is the level where time charges are assigned and where the project work is performed. A PP is a WP that is not detailed out. Usually there are many PPs in a schedule. Each one has a title and a budget. They are placed out in the future.
For the rolling wave approach, WPs for the first nine months are scheduled (detailed out). The rolling wave period can be different than nine months if it suits your project better. The PPs are scheduled in the future in the approximate month they may be used. Six months into the schedule, the planner (scheduler) details out the PPs for the next rolling wave. This gives the planner three months to plan the next rolling wave and get consensus of the team. This process continues until the project is completed.
ADAPTIVE ROLLING WAVE FRAMEWORK
The first step is to create a project schedule from beginning to end with the WPs and PPs included. At the end of the projects first six months, the team can decide which objectives and goals need to be modified for the second rolling wave. For example, they can decide to emphasize schedule or cost for the second wave. If so, they work with the planner to detail out the next wave PPs to address the modified objectives and goals. This provides flexibility and an opportunity to adapt to the evolving project for the team. This approach means you are managing a small piece of the long duration project one at a time thus increasing the probability of project success.
Earn Value Management (EVM) is essential a project success. Why?
Earn value is a process that measure the project progress against a PMB (Performance Measurement Baseline). During the proposal phase, an Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) is generated and included in the proposal. After the contract is awarded, the IMS is updated with changes negotiated with the customer and baselined. The baselined IMS becomes the PMB and cannot be changed except by the customer in writing. EVM is used monthly to assess the performance of the IMS against the PMB. It identifies poorly performing WPs that need to be resolved. If you can manage your problems successfully, the project will most likely be a success.
How is EVM used with the Adaptive Rolling Wave approach? It works the same way it does on a tradition project framework. The difference is that every rolling wave adds an extension of the PMB established for the first rolling wave. The customer has to approve it.
Traditional project frameworks do not work well for long duration projects such as: infrastructure projects; production projects; and long development projects. Studies have shown that smaller and shorter duration projects are much more successful than long duration projects such as the Big Dig. The solution to this dilemma is a new project framework that facilitates breaking it down to small projects yet retain traditional framework features such as: WBS, WP, IMS, PMB and EVM.
The solution is to use a new project framework, called Adaptive Rolling Wave that integrates the basics of existing Adaptive Project Framework and Rolling Wave approach.
Currently John is an author, writer and consultant. He authored a book entitled ‘Project Risk Management. It went on sale on Amazon in August 2019. He has presented several Webinars on project risk management to PMI. He writes a weekly column on project risk management for CERN. John also writes monthly blogs for APM. He has conducted a podcast on project risk management. John has published numerous papers about project risk management on Limkedin.
John earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering and MS in Engineering Management from Northeastern University. He has extensive experience with commercial and DOD companies. He is a member of PMI (Project Management Institute). John has managed numerous large high technical development programs worth in excessive of $100M. He has extensive subcontract management experience domestically and foreign. John has held a number of positions over his career including: Director of Programs; Director of Operations; Program Manager; Project Engineer; Engineering Manager; and Design Engineer. He has experience with: design; manufacturing; test; integration; subcontract management; contracts; project management; risk management; and quality control. John is a certified six sigma specialist, and certified to level 2 EVM (earned value management).https://projectriskmanagement.info/
If you want to be a successful project manager, you may want to review the framework and cornerstones in my book. The book is innovative and includes unique knowledge, explanations and examples of the four cornerstones of project risk management. It explains how the four cornerstones are integrated together to effectively manage the known and unknown risks on your project.