More than two-thirds of the survey respondents indicated that their portfolio of projects will grow larger, and 81 percent said their complexity will increase. When asked about their top priorities in optimizing capital project management in response to the expected growth in project size and complexity, the executives cited ensuring the availability of the right leaders and talent for project delivery (72 percent), improving front-end planning and scheduling (52 percent), improved readiness for start-up and a more effective transition from planning to operations (43 percent), and effective stakeholder engagement (39 percent).
Based on the research findings, analysis and Accenture’s experience working with mining and metals companies, Accenture has identified five key areas for improvement in project delivery:
- Establish strong project governance and risk management capabilities. Multi-year capital projects have many variables, making strong governance and the ability to manage risks essential requirements.
- Proactively manage stakeholders’ increasing expectations for sustainability. The already broad range of environmental issues, including biodiversity, is growing, and concern for sustainability is becoming a major barrier to moving forward with capital projects.
- Optimize scarce talent through portfolio management, organizational flexibility, selective outsourcing and training. Since talent in a wide range of areas will be in high demand for many years to come, companies should find the best ways to leverage resources, develop a strategic talent plan to identify and train the next generation of workforces, and improve productivity and safety with more effective training, especially with new hires who have little or no mining and construction experience.
- Integrate information systems among capital project players. The progress of a project cannot be accurately measured if proper data standards are not established at the outset and integration between the information systems of functional areas and service providers is not promoted throughout the project’s life cycle.
- Accelerate operational readiness. A well-planned and managed handover process – from a completed project to operational readiness – can help companies avoid rework and delays and support high production levels from the initial operation of the mine or plant.
“While it is difficult to anticipate all of the changes that can arise from a multi-year project, companies can improve their project management delivery, reduce risks and boost returns on investment by looking beyond aspects of engineering and procurement. To be leading performers, companies will need to increase their focus on governance, human capital strategy, and integrating information systems with business suppliers and operations,” said Suarez.