“If you don’t understand it at the study phase, when you’re designing the project,
then you won’t understand it later on,” Mr. Noël says.
The in-depth research paid off by bringing the project’s pitfalls into focus. To
avoid them, the team would have to cultivate a culture of shared values, establish
strong labor relations and facilitate cross-functional communication.
With more than 100 equipment suppliers and 50 installation contractors working
on-site at the same time, the project team knew it needed to tackle integration and
communication issues up front. Its preliminary studies showed that people had to
understand the project’s strategic goals if the team wanted them to identify problems before they wreaked havoc on the schedule and the budget.
“Before giving anyone a contract, we would meet them and explain the strategic
goal we were pursuing,” Mr. Charron says. “The hardest part was making sure they
had the right attitude and would help build the culture we wanted for this project.”
From the outset, the team encouraged open communication and a collaborative
working environment. “We moved all the people within an environment where
there were no SNC-Lavalin, Hatch or Rio Tinto logos. It was the AP60 project. So
we had one team, one alignment, one culture,” says Marc O’Connor, vice president
of projects, North America mining and metallurgy, SNC-Lavalin.
The project leaders outlined clear roles and responsibilities and looked for opportunities to improve the flow of information among teams.
“Everybody has a little bit of the answer,” Mr. Charron says. “You need to have
the whole team working together to achieve something. So we made sure that they
could have a good understanding of what others were doing.”
One way the project team facilitated open communication was by co-locating
the technology and engineering teams that needed to work together to scale the
technology up to the industrial level. This allowed the teams to better understand
each other’s requirements and constraints, Mr. Charron says.
“R&D people are good at telling you how they want it, but the engineering team is
good at making sure we can construct and deliver it on time and on budget,” he says.
To create an environment where everyone was dedicated to delivering a successful project, the team worked to cultivate a culture where people weren’t always
pointing fingers at the other guy.
“With a blame culture, people will try to delay facing the problem. If you have a
“We moved all the people
within an environment where
there were no SNC-Lavalin,
Hatch or Rio Tinto logos. It
was the AP60 project. So
we had one team, one
alignment, one culture.”
—Marc O’Connor, SNC-Lavalin, Montreal,
44 PM NETWORK NOVEMBER 2014 WWW.PMI.ORG