Schedule Performance in the Design Phase of Oil and Gas Construction Projects
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Performance indicators can be constructed in a number of different ways depending on which aspects of performance you want to measure. Performance indicators have advantages, problems and limitations associated to their use. The essence of the limitations of performance indicators is that they fail to capture all aspects of an outcome. As an individual tool, performance indicators are not able to address the questions of why certain actions lead to certain outcomes or how outcomes may be improved. Indicators are, however, useful as a tool to direct attention to problematic areas so that causes can be established and mitigating actions can be initiated. A performance measurement system is a prerequisite for utilizing performance indicators. The design of a performance measurement system is an extensive process which includes identification of company strategy, key stakeholders and performance requirements in order to have a foundation for designing the performance indicators. The company s existing performance measurement system must be thoroughly understood as a basis for deciding whether to implement changes to the existing system or to discard the entire system and implement a new one. In the context of design management, one important application of a performance measurement system can be regarded as monitoring of cost and schedule performance. Once a schedule has been established, progress must be measured against the schedule with the use of indicators in order to maintain control. The importance of a well-defined work plan is in this context a prerequisite for measuring progress correctly with the use of schedule performance indicators. Design should be viewed as a combination of a conversion, flow and value generation process rather than purely conversion. The conversion view of design considers design as task management where focus is directed towards optimizing the work within each activity. This view of design ignores the importance of work flow and the value generation aspects of design. The conversion view of design was confirmed as the dominating view of the detailed design phase of oil and gas construction projects based on results from the interviews in the study. The results from the study also indicates that waste affecting schedule performance in the detailed design phase often can be traced to problems with information transfer between engineering disciplines and lack of planning skills among the people defining the work plans. These findings confirm the lack of emphasis on work flow in design. More emphasis on planning awareness is needed in order to improve the definitions of work plans and consequently, obtain a higher degree of schedule control during the detailed design phase. Another important aspect of when considering schedule control in design is to have a balanced set of indicators in order to obtain a complete picture of progress. The analysis of indicators in isolation may in some cases give an inaccurate or a misleading representation of reality. The indicators should also have associated target values and control limits which determines when the indicators values are within acceptable performance limits and when the indicators values are below the limit of accepted performance which should trigger an immediate response.