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Starting the Construction Project (The Project Manager Kick Starts the Project)


The following document outlines the key deliverable’s and activities required during the early stages of the project  to facilitate the project’s three pillars (cost, schedule and quality) are satisfied successfully.



1. Creating the Culture


It is the responsibility of the PM to create a culture on the project that fosters success.


1.1 Quality, Health Safety and Environment


The Project Manager must ensure that safety is an integral part of the work processes used on the project. The PM should reinforce QHSE as a value through personal example and pro-active attention to project QHSE both in the home office and at the job site.


They can immediately start with beginning each meeting with a value moment, establishing a schedule for tool box talks. It is the responsibility of the PM to see that a Project HSE Plan is established and implemented. The HSE Plan should become part of the Project Execution Plan.



1.2 Client Relationships


A company’s continued success in worldwide markets depends on in great part in the ability to develop and maintain an exceptional professional business relationship with clients that will help win future repeat business. Actions for building good client relationships are as follows:


Build and maintain strong business relationships based on mutual trust.

Create mutually agreed objectives.

Develop client relationships that will result in repeat business.

Meet or exceed client expectations.


The project manager is responsible for specific project client relationships and each employee is responsible for fostering professional client relationships with the client they come in contact with.



1.3 Risk Management


The Project Manager is responsible for ensuring all project risks are identified and managed throughout the cycle of the project. Risk discovery and management is a continuous process and all members of the project team need to be engaged in the risk management process. The Proposal Manager is responsible for ensuring all project information upon contract award is handed over to Operations. Handover of the risk register is one of a number of key turnover items summarized as follows:


Scope of Project

Project Objectives and Project Drivers

Scope of Services

Joint Ventures, Subcontracts, Agreements

Proposed Execution Plan including Schedule, Responsibility Matrix, Proposed Organization and project resource needs, and Information Management strategies.

Contract Synopsis with key contractual obligations and any contract interpretation issues backed with an "intent paper".

Risk Register that includes major operational risks, schedule, procurement and HSE risks as well as liquidated damages, process guarantees and any other Contract risks.

Bid Negotiation meeting minutes.

Estimating basis for bid including qualifications, assumptions, and contingency exclusions.

Commercial basis and payment mechanism (or include in Contract Synopsis).

Key Success Factors for Client and Company and identification of any "gaps".

Previous projects with Client and any applicable Lessons Learned.


1.4 Innovation


The success of the project will be brought about by people who create new ways of working, new and improved products and new markets opportunities. Innovation means change for the better. It means looking out for the new methods used in different industries. It requires an open minded approach to suggestions and ideas, sometimes from people who know less about a subject than the experts. The Project Manager is responsible for encouraging and recognizing innovation.


2. Project Starter Plan


During the start-up phase, there are many administrative meetings and activities that must be completed for the project to effectively start. The general purpose of this procedure is to outline the key administrative activities and meetings that must be accomplished early in a project. The Project Starter Plan should address these activities in detail.


3. Early Meetings


After the Project Starter Plan is established there are several key activities and meetings that form the basis for the Project Execution Strategy.


3.1 Project Award Meeting with Client


The Project Manager (PM) should meet with the client to discuss the project as defined by the Company's Technical Proposal and Client's objectives, and to cover open questions and data requirements Project Alignment/ Teambuilding Sessions with Project Leadership Team. The client project manager and the PM plan a series of sessions that clarifies, defines and facilitates agreement on Driving Forces, Critical Success Factors, identification of barriers, actions to mitigate the barriers, and other external influences that affect project success.


The Alignment Process is not a single event only, but a continual project-long process which monitors and assures compliance with alignment strategies. The Alignment Process is the basis for all downstream activities and is used to develop the Project Execution Strategy. The initial alignment session should be facilitated by an approved facilitator from either Project Management or Quality Departments. The alignment session is the beginning of team building. Team Building utilizes the output of the alignment session, and should be used to build team dynamics and enhance needed skills. Team Building is the responsibility of the Project Manager and can take several forms, with different durations and occur at any time during the execution of the project.


While there is structured team building sessions, team building is a continuing process throughout the duration of the project.


3.2 Project Kick-Off Meeting with Project Team


The PM should conduct an internal Company meeting held with the project team, discipline management and Management to discuss Project, answer questions and provide clarifications within the project requirements. The contract review and risk register review may be part of the agenda of this meeting or may be held in a separate meeting(s). Also included in this meeting should be the schedule and the cash flow plan developed during the proposal or the FEL stage.


4. Value Improving Processes (VIPs) with the Project Team


The VIP should be initiated within the traditional work process and culminated in a facilitated workshop. Any changes from the workshop should be reflected in the work processes or project scope which is then carried forward by the project team.


5. Operations Management Project Execution Strategy Review


The Project Execution Strategy should be formally presented to Operations Management. The intent of the meeting is to ensure that Company’s management is fully aligned on the expectations of the project just awarded. The strategy should be sent to Contract Management for their distribution as required.


The subjects for the meeting are:


As-sold project definition.

Business Objectives.

Execution Principles.

Contract Issues & Risk.

Risk Mitigation Strategies.

Incentives & Targets.

CVA Expectations.

Revenue and Profit Expectations and Strategies.

HSE/ Security.

Business Practices.

Systems implementation (Engineering Systems, Project Controls Systems, and Information Systems).


6. Project Execution Plan


The final step of Project Initiation is to produce a Project Execution Plan (PEP). The PEP is a detailed written plan describing the How, What, When, and Where of all project functions, and is really the culmination of the above steps. It is the Project Managers responsibility to ensure that the Project Execution Plan is completed for the project.




Link to related articles:

Project Execution Plan

Starting the Project


The importance of good communication. Or telepathy as the alternate!

An “armchair scheduler” or frontline messenger?

Why Project Controls

Selected Articles


Love them or hate them. How to conduct successful productive meetings.

Funny, but true. Video on the functions of Project Controls.


Settings do matter: pick the wrong settings and your schedule’s output will be meaningless.

What the text books didn’t tell you
Primavera P6 Settings
Video - Project Controls

Selected Articles

Tips on Scheduling

50% Science, 50% Art, 100% Communication

Why Project Controls?

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