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A Sprint Not A Marathon? Redefining Project Delivery

The construction industry is a fast-paced environment; time is money and delays cause huge ripple effects throughout a supply chain. Managing information effectively is absolutely critical, yet traditional project management processes are usually barriers to efficiency as opposed to enhancers. As an industry we all need to be more agile – it will enable us to work more flexibly for the benefit of ourselves and clients. With this comes the need to look at the pace and way in which we work, asking ourselves: why do we approach projects in the way we do? All too often we approach a project looking at the whole challenge – and bite off too much. Should we not look at delivering projects in smaller more manageable stages? Should we look at smaller sprints, rather than every project being a marathon?

A key part of delivering projects successfully is about being agile, something that is one of our core values. For this reason, Amodal has incorporated a unique PMO (Programme Management Office) into its operations to change the way we and our clients work, for the better.

In traditional programme management environments, staff members or small teams work on separate projects. This is all well and good, except other members of the team aren’t necessarily aware of what the project entails. If a member of the team is sick or more hands are needed, then it can take hours for another employee to read through paperwork in order to familiarise themselves with the job at hand. Furthermore, whilst there may be a desire to learn about what the other teams are doing, time has a funny way of always being against you.

Traditional consultancies also find it difficult to show their clients tangible results along the way. Instead, all of the focus is on the big-ticket pay off, rather than the individual stepping stones to achieving a mutual goal. This inflexibility isn’t ideal from a client’s perspective. It can lead to further project delays, not to mention the costs of rectifying any issues that could have been flagged during the process.

Clearly, the methodology needs to change. Amodal has invested time and effort into working in a way that has real benefits for our staff and clients. We see our PMO as more than just project management; it stands for “Performance Optmised” which allows us to focus on how we can be more efficient at what we do. From the outset we wanted our processes to be coordinated in a certain style, so that any member of staff can jump on a project to perform a duty. We kept it simple with Understand, Plan, Apply and Validate as the core foundation to be applied to all aspect of project delivery. 

Performance Optmised Process

With the help of a structured PMO plan, we can all work on a job, giving us greater flexibility. All of our team has a holistic understanding of a project at hand, which pays dividends for clients. They can turn to any staff member at Amodal to ask for help. Remember that for a client it isn’t always practical nor efficient to wait around for your designated team member!

Why we’ve gone agile

We have centred our process on a simple agile methodology and adapted it to suit Amodal’s needs. We work in sprints, a short period between one-to-three weeks where a project team plans to complete the estimated work load. Sprints enable teams to break down large projects into smaller iterations, where they can also adapt future sprints based on the success of the previous ones. For us here at Amodal, sprints optimise our performance. We have all the tools in place for a project to run smoothly. It helps us think about how we manage our projects and plan our future work. All of us are involved on the sprint planning to see what is in store over the next two weeks. Our delivery support system keeps things visible and consistent, which in turn helps us to deliver tangible benefits to clients within two weeks, not two months. Clients have full visibility of where we are and what we are doing; they can feel part of their project! And this is something that is really valuable, especially when something isn’t working quite right.

As well as being involved throughout the process, our clients can be part of the two-week sprint review where they give feedback. Amodal factors in all of the changes into the next sprint, allowing the client to get what they want at a quicker pace than traditional, formal processes. Looking beyond the sprints and individual milestones, Amodal’s method ensures that every three months we can look retrospectively to see how we can improve as a business, for the benefit of us and our clients. This unique approach which is grounded in agility, communication and value is a method of working we should all be aspiring to.