That iterative approach is particularly impressive considering the complexity
of the government project. Mr. Larsen credits buy-in from the federal project
director, Mr. Graham, who had a seat at the table throughout the project. Present at all meetings, he was fully involved with changes as they happened.
“When we did have to change the plan, he already knew why and what we
were going to do, so he was almost always fully supportive of the change,” says
Of course, funding a scope addition required careful change management
to make sure it delivered real value to the project. Once each change request
or scope-add was initiated, the project’s change control board considered the
request, carefully weighing it against the project’s baseline and earned value.
TURNING THE LIGH TS ON
In the end, meticulous risk management and change control allowed the completed facility to outshine the original project plans. Completed in September
2013, the project beat its original schedule by a month and came in within
budget and beyond scope.
“If there’s one message to convey to others about this project, it is that com-
plexity presents a lot of risk,” Mr. Larsen says. “But if you pay attention to that
early and continuously, and form teams to help you manage risk at a lower peer
level, then the project can be done successfully.”
For the DoE and the larger energy sector, ESIF promises to be the laboratory
pointing the way to a next-generation power grid.
“I think this project greatly contributes to the community,” says Ken Powers,
COO and deputy lab director at NREL. “It is a one-of-a-kind facility that brings
researchers and equipment manufacturers together toward a common goal of
enhancing energy efficiency and renewable energy.” PM
“Complexity presents a lot of
risk, but if you pay attention
to that early and continuously,
and form teams to help you
manage risk at a lower peer
level, then the project can be
—Brian Larsen, PMP
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Check out behind-the-scenes
videos of this year’s PMI Project
of the Year finalists on PMI’s
You Tube channel.