You've been awarded the contract... what next?

  • 1st February 2018

In the fourth part of a six-part series, our Programme Manager Louise discusses what happens once a tender has been awarded.

So, you’ve successfully got the tender, but your hard work is not over yet… the planning process now begins. The first step is the pre-start meeting which is your first opportunity to share your plans for your project. It is important to take advantage of this one-time chance to energise and motivate the group, set realistic expectations, and establish guidelines that will help you complete the project on time and within budget. If this meeting is unproductive, you may put the project at risk from the beginning.

The key steps for success in the planning stages are:

Step 1: Identify and set the project goals and deliverables

All parties involved should already be aware of the goals and what needs delivering as part of the project following the tender process. However, it is important to ensure these things are all re-clarified and fully understood, confirming everybody is aware of their individual role in the team.

Step 2: Identify who will be delivering the project and define their responsibilities

Resource needs vary based on the size, complexity and nature of the project, however, it is essential all partners understand their own roles and responsibilities for delivery. At this point, managing expectations of everyone is vital to effective delivery. If all roles deliver what is required of them, it is highly likely the project will deliver successful outcomes.

Step 3: Develop the preliminary project programme

As part of the tender process, a project programme should be supplied. At the pre-start meeting, the plan must be thoroughly reviewed to ensure all work tasks are included and that the completion deadline is possible to achieve. All elements of the programme should be discussed and tested by the group to ensure it is realistic. For example, are there sufficient people employed to deliver the project on time and to the required quality? Any refinements should be agreed at this point.

Step 4: Additional agenda items

The pre-start meeting should cover a range of areas - for example, on a building project this may include the requirement for planning/building regulation approvals, waste management plans, location of onsite facilities, any imposed special conditions or restrictions for the site, risk management, safeguarding strategies, traffic management, information provision (drawings), Health & Safety information (Construction Phase Plan, Risk Assessments, Asbestos Surveys, Service locations), customer liaison, etc.

Step 5: Set KPIs and MI

As the project progresses, it is essential to have clear methods of measuring and controlling its performance. This can be achieved by agreeing and monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which can be defined as ‘a measurement that tells management the precise state of operations at any given point of time’.

There are four components to any KPI:

  • What is being measured?
  • Who is measuring it?
  • At what interval is it being measured?
  • How frequently is the information being reported, evaluated and acted upon?

To manage the project, it may also be beneficial to agree and work to SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals with the project team.

Management Information (MI) is very important when analysing trends, helping you forecast the future and solving any problems you identify. A Management Information System (MIS) focuses on the management of information within the project partner organisations to provide efficiency and effectiveness of strategic decision making, for example, invoices being submitted and/or paid on time.

Step 6: Define key success factors

We believe the final step is making sure every project team member knows what it takes to have a successful project. Take the time to define in specific terms each item that will be required for success and make everyone in the team feel valued and that their contribution is fundamental to succeed.

Set a start date and get going! 

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