In her third outing as our March Guest Blogger, Katherine Bew, Managing Director of the international built-environment consultancy, PCSG, continues to explain how a fresh approach to project delivery at Sellafield is unlocking benefits at the UK’s largest and most complex nuclear site.
Hello, again! In my guest blog post last week, we looked in some depth at the Shared Purpose cornerstone of the Outcome Based Contracting (OBC) Toolkit which is being deployed by Sellafield on a pilot project as part of a new approach to remediate the site.
We established that a clear, compelling shared purpose and a common set of values and objectives which tie in to the reputations of both organisations and individuals alike are key components to setting projects up for success – which means achieving a win-win for all involved.
This week we will be looking at Aligned Outcomes (the second of our four cornerstones) in greater detail. The remaining two cornerstones (One Team Approach and Right Roles) will be discussed over the next couple of weeks.
Figure 1: The four cornerstones of Sellafield’s OBC approach
The Shared Purpose and Aligned Outcomes of a project must be established and grown in tandem, with each simultaneously influencing the other. As with Shared Purpose, the Aligned Outcomes cornerstone can be broken down into three core principles – the first of which highlights this mutual support.
The first core principal is to define the outcomes that deliver best value.
The shared purpose of each OBC project needs to be translated into the clearly defined, workable outcomes needed to achieve it. In a major project, there is no point having all the gusto from a firmly established, shared purpose, if the ends of your venture – the outcomes – are not equally clearly defined. The purpose is the bedrock philosophy behind your endeavours. The outcomes, aligned from the beginning, are the goals towards which your purpose will lead you. There has to be an endpoint, an achievement, or the values are for nought.
In a business sense, it is important that outcomes are aligned to the identified needs of an organisation from the very beginning of a delivery partnership. More important is the need for true understanding of these business needs, and the value that will be leveraged for all stakeholders. The project outcomes give everyone involved a clear and constant focus towards which their shared purpose drives them.
Part of gaining this deeper understanding of outcomes involves appointing ‘outcome owners’ at an early stage in the process. This, as is the case with implementation of OBC at Sellafield, ensures that senior level ownership forms part of the critically important proactive leadership approach to the project. With outcome owners involved in (and committed to) the project from the outset, they have a clear understanding of the connection between the outcomes and how the project is progressing to meet business needs. This gives teams the ability to act proactively and early, in order to mitigate risk and keep projects on track.
The second core principal is to focus on risk and opportunity in the delivery of outcomes.
All stakeholders throughout the supply chain must define and understand the relationship between a project’s risks, opportunities and outcomes. This mentality ensures the right proactive focus to enable successful outcome delivery by allowing the project team to develop effective delivery strategies and make informed decisions throughout the process. Focusing proactive risk and opportunity management on what really matters – the outcomes – results in greater delivery efficiency, more effective resource deployment and time and cost savings.
For the team at Sellafield, this began with an iterative process of meetings with different groups in order to define risks and opportunities. In doing so, the team continually builds engagement and commitment to the delivery strategy for achieving the outcomes. A shared understanding, gathered collaboratively throughout delivery, is the only sure-fire way to crystallise the shared purpose of the project. This interactive process also develops the team’s ability to work together to jointly develop ideas, proactively mitigate or retire risks and realise opportunities to achieve even better results.
The third core principal is to agree the assurance and outcome delivery regime as early as possible.
The outcome delivery strategy is designed to facilitate decision making and delivers best value through cost-effective risk sharing. Much like the previous two core principles, the outcome assurance regime must be defined by all involved – to firmly establish the ideas of sharing and alignment from the get-go – before it can be understood by all. During this process, the risks associated with failure to follow the required assurance route, or sign-off delivery of outcomes, will be reduced.
The outcome delivery strategy must clearly demonstrate how it will deliver best value through cost effective risk sharing. Ultimately, agreeing to this early should lead to a much more efficient way of allocating and directing resources, contributing to resulting savings in time and cost, compared to the traditional delivery approach. The shared understanding of both the assurance process and the outcome delivery regime will aid decision making across the whole project team from the outset.
As shown in Figure 2, focusing on risk and opportunity throughout will aid in the continual process of defining – and subsequent understanding of – the outcomes that deliver best value for all stakeholders across any project.
Next time, we will take a closer look at the One Team Approach needed to drive success.
PCSG is focused on delivering sustainable outcomes through digitisation and effective use of resources. From its bases in the UK and Australia, PCSG is a trusted partner to some of the biggest names in industry. PCSG helps clients to deliver, operate and optimise their built assets – solving key business issues, unlocking value, building resilience and helping transform the way they do business.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and feedback by commenting on this blog, sharing on our social media feeds or by contacting Katherine directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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