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Project Execution Strategy and Planning Overview

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

When a project is initiated whether internally or externally it is important to progressively develop how you plan to execute the project. This is commonly called Project Execution Planning. Even at the conceptual stage of a project, you need to have some outline of how you plan to execute the project.

Mark Cowley Office
Mark Cowley Office

As the project definition and scope gets firmed up and more detailed then so should your execution planning:

Project Execution Methodology Development
Project Execution Methodology Development

During the early stages of Front End Design of the project (Feasibility, Pre-FEED, FEED, FEL..), an Execution Philosophy should be agreed upon with all relevant internal and external stakeholders.

During the transition from Front End Design (FEED, FEL), whether it be some form of negotiation or competitive bidding process an Execution Strategy or even an initial “Execution Plan” should be developed and agreed with all relevant internal and external stakeholders and be the basis of the schedule and cost estimate.

Immediately after some form of Notice to Proceed the Execution Strategy or even initial “Execution Plan” should be further developed and validated with all relevant internal and external stakeholders to become the agreed Project Execution Plan (PEP) no later than 90 days into the project, especially the client and key and be the basis of the baseline schedule and budget. The PEP should be updated with any significant changes during execution and the key elements communicated to the whole project team.

When the organisation ("Contractor") executing the project is contracted under some form of commercial & contractual arrangement with the Owner of the proposed facility then their execution strategy & plan needs to be developed with the commercial and contractual framework proposed between the parties. In particular, the apportionment of risk between the parties as dictated in the proposed contractual/commercial framework is a key input to the Execution Planning:

Execution Strategy & Contract Strategy Interdependency
Execution Strategy & Contract Strategy Interdependency

Here are some key points that should be followed:

  • Execution Philosophy - A basic, customer-focused execution philosophy should be set out from the Front End Design phase

  • Communication of Philosophy - Projects can’t proceed into design without a broad team and key stakeholder engagement on the execution philosophy, ensure you have buy-in at all levels.

  • Review of execution strategy - Ongoing Execution alignment with the philosophy/execution strategy should be reviewed periodically to ensure continued alignment.

  • Right competencies - the Execution Philosophy should be developed by a multi disciplinary team including an identified lead - preferably the project leader who will lead the project team executing the project.

  • Contractual/Commercial Framework - the execution strategy development needs to be in the context of and aligned to any commercial/contractual framework between the Owner of the facility and the Contractor executing the project.

In my next blog post, I will dive deeper into execution planning and how to organise it.

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