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Managing the things you can't control

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Senior leaders in the dark as complex construction and infrastructure projects fail

Siloed approach is costing Australian developers time, money and reputation

19th Aug 2015 – Australian organisations need to stop trying to “over control” complex projects and instead seek a balance that allows them to creatively adapt to opportunities and challenges.

According to the Managing the things you can’t control whitepaper released by UniPhi this week, poor communication and a lack of transparency is leading to low productivity, lost revenue and major project disasters.

“Depressingly, there is a really low expectation regarding the realisation of project value at a business level for construction projects,” says UniPhi Managing Director, Mark Heath.

“There are a number of reasons for poor project performance, but a common theme is leaders’ and managers’ siloed approach; leading to an overall failure to capture real-time costs, delays and benefits.”

Heath says many companies, large and small, persevere with project management methods that “over control” and hamper their ability to adapt to challenges and capitalise on opportunities.

“The key is to find the right balance of control through transparency of information. Technology is the driver that can provide this.”

He says project management software must enhance and automate processes to drive true value for businesses.

The Queensland Flood Road Recovery, led by Jacobs Engineering Group (formerly Sinclair Knight Merz) is an example of a huge logistical and administrative project that was successfully delivered using UniPhi’s web-based program and project management system.

Between 2011 and 2014, Jacobs managed nearly $1.5 billion worth of reconstruction work divided into more than 200 contracts. Up to twenty contract administration teams were operating across the state at any one time.

Jacobs principal engineer, Robin Vogrincic, says senior managers needed constant online access to all project data, program-wide metrics and reports, so they could adapt to opportunities and challenges in real-time.

“We needed to carry out system audits from head office without the need to interrogate the contents of ring-binders, filing cabinets or a myriad of bespoke Excel spread sheets in remote site offices,” Vogrincic says.

“The paperless system offered by UniPhi removed the need for dedicated administration assistants resulting in an estimated saving over the program of about $5 million.”

Heath says systems with functions designed to integrate business activity and encourage people to communicate within them not only save money, but can also provide powerful insights into how management’s direction, values and strategy, are perceived across the broader organisation.

“Too many projects and portfolios drift into darkness, but the right technology can keep the spotlight focused on the important things,” Heath concludes.


About UniPhi

Award winning Sydney-based technology company, UniPhi is on the front-line of innovative web and mobile solutions for project, portfolio and program management.

The software behind UniPhi was officially launched in 2005 – recognising that managing complex projects requires more flexibility than traditional methods like Gannt charts and spreadsheets can provide.

In 2014, UniPhi was recognised as an ABA100 Winner of the Australian Business Award for Innovation. The award acknowledged the success of the global roll-out of UniPhi's enterprise portfolio and project management software product at AECOM – a fortune 500 global provider of architecture, design, engineering, and construction services.

The Queensland Flood Road Recovery, led by Sinclair Knight Merz (now Jacobs Engineering Group) is another example of UniPhi’s software enabling a huge logistical and administrative project. The engineering firm was tasked with managing more than $800 million of road restoration in three of the most remote regions of Australia.

UniPhi provides adaptive solutions to complex problems. It bridges the gap between on-the-job effort and project value, and allows organisations to stop improvising solutions and start maximising opportunities in an unpredictable, emergent marketplace.