When pursuing work in today’s complex architectural, engineering, and construction industries, it is paramount to communicate an understanding of the problem needing to be solved, the proposed solution, and the merits of that solution. Teams that most effectively achieve that goal during procurement are best positioned to be entrusted with the work. Ms. Katt presented a case study involving a mega project and NetPoint’s transformation of a team’s minimally responsive P6 schedule into a compelling planning document, thereby differentiating the team by highlighting its innovative, thoughtful approaches.
Presented by Shannon Katt
Shannon Katt has more than 20 years of construction industry experience and extensive knowledge of CPM scheduling and schedule risk analysis.
What made this project unique to others you have managed in the past?
It was a proposal for a mega project. Initially we came in as P6 schedulers, but as we got more involved in the project they came to rely on our construction knowledge to help develop alternate plans. We morphed our role from being schedulers to planners – a distinction many people don’t understand.
Of the several team members involved in this project, you said none had prior experience with NetPoint. What were team members’ initial reactions? Did the Owner have any qualms with utilizing a new and unfamiliar tool?
Initially they did resist the idea of using NetPoint. They needed P6 assistance and that’s all they wanted. However, we put the network in NetPoint for some full-wall sessions just to facilitate the process. They quickly realized that it was much easier to see what the plan looked like on a single page. It did help that our team (Jeff Plant and myself) had proven our experience to them already so they had a level of trust in us that helped them to trust the tool.
How did you create a project schedule that accurately accounted for the unique weather conditions associated with building this offshore platform structure?
We blocked off time in the calendar for the planned winter shutdowns. Most of the weather impact was handled in productivity rates and duration calculations – outside of NetPoint. We used shading on the canvas that we manually moved to highlight safety overlap, which was actually more important than the weather.
How were you able to create a successful schedule for contractors across multiple time zones and with multiple native languages?
Most of the work was done in a central location (Newfoundland). In early stages we were emailing P6 and MPP files back and forth, but a point was reached when they abandoned the P6 approach.
Once NetPoint became front and center during the team planning sessions, how did you communicate the schedule to all parties? (e.g. share screen, projector, etc.)?
We used a laptop and projector at in person meetings.
Having successfully completed this project, what is the one piece of advice you would share with fellow industry experts?
A lot of comfort came with their getting familiar with us personally and realizing that we knew what we were talking about from a construction perspective. This was one experience that wouldn’t have gone as well if I hadn’t spent 10 years pouring concrete early in my career. And it helped that I had done work in that specific very remote part of the world. On another line though, we didn’t push NetPoint on them. We started out using it for illustration. Just a picture on the wall. Until the discussion started to go toward “what if” and that’s when we said – let us show you.