At SL Controls, we have developed an approach called QUAD for the successful delivery of projects. Each of the letters in QUAD stands for an essential pillar – Quality, Utilise, Accomplish, and Design.
We use the QUAD approach in the delivery of all our projects. This includes automation, controls, serialisation, and validation projects. QUAD has much wider uses than this, however, particularly in the fields of engineering and software development.
The Accomplish Pillar Explained
The Accomplish pillar is concerned with executing a successful project. In other words, it is the doing pillar so includes the practical steps required to deliver the project on the ground.
There are four main elements to this:
Let’s look at each in more detail.
Safety is the single most important part of any project. It involves taking steps to ensure the safety of employees as well as ensuring their actions are safe.
This all begins at head office and at other regional offices. Specifically, it involves providing a safe working environment for all members of the team. This helps establish the right health and safety culture.
This health and safety culture is then carried through to the client side of the project during, for example, the installation and commissioning stages.
Firstly, all employees should be safety inducted onto every job and every site.
In addition, many companies have their own health and safety group or health and safety officer. It is important on-site teams and project managers ensure there is good communication with these people.
At SL Controls, we specifically focus on ensuring we are on the same wavelength as the client-side health and safety team, as well as ensuring we comply with all safety standards of the client.
Other health and safety best practices include:
- Carrying out risk assessments on all project tasks
- Producing safe plans of action and method statements
- Conducting safety toolbox talks
- Reporting all accidents and near misses both internally and with the client
The execute element involves project management tasks including scheduling, the creation and management of Gantt charts, and the implementation of agile software development techniques. The objective is to effectively manage the project to ensure it stays within budget and finishes on-time.
The practical steps involve the design group working upfront on the design aspects of the project. This then goes to the developers to complete their work. At SL Controls, we operate a closed loop feedback system between the developers and designers to ensure efficient delivery of the code. In other words, the process of giving feedback is structured and effective, with changes risk assessed and implemented as we go.
In addition to the above, SL Controls also operates a peer review system which we have found to be an effective tool for accomplishing the successful delivery of projects. The peer review system involves one developer creating and checking the code before giving this to another developer to conduct a double-check. This second check ensures nothing in the project requirements is missed as well as ensuring nothing is outside the standard.
In our experience, this peer review system reduces the occurrence of human error.
As well as the in-house phase, you should also plan and implement the installation and commissioning phase. The best approach is to assign a dedicated team, depending on the customer’s requirements. Those requirements might, for example, include evening or weekend work. This needs properly planned and executed.
The validation element ensures the project is validated against the acceptance criteria. Crucially, you should not only do this during the end stages of the project. Instead, validation should be part of the project from the beginning – at the user requirement stage. It should then continue through to completion.
At SL Controls, we follow the GAMP 5 V-model for validation. These are guidelines for project delivery in a regulated environment and are based on industry best practice.
To ensure we meet requirements for the project, we break it down into essential stages and elements. We then track this breakdown through traceability matrices. The objective is to ensure delivery meets requirements from the beginning through to completion when the customer signs off. At each stage, we get client approval.
The way you manage communication in a project is critical to ensuring its successful delivery. The following communication tips will help:
- Only have meetings when they are needed.
- Only include people in meetings when they must be there.
- Use a RACI analysis to determine who should be a meeting. This first involves identifying the key stakeholders on your team, on the client side, and any other third party. With the RACI analysis, you then decide if that stakeholder is Responsible, Accountable, should be Consulted with, or should be Informed. This will help you decide who should be at what meeting.
- Once you have determined who you need to communicate with, you should put in place a stakeholder management plan. This should include, for example, who gets daily updates, who gets weekly updates, and who gets monthly updates. Make sure you deliver these updates according to client expectations.
- Collaborative working platforms, such as Trello, can help with project communication.
Benefits of the Accomplish Pillar
- Everyone goes home safe because of the emphasis on safety.
- The project will deliver on customer expectations.
- You will see a reduction in human error which helps you complete the project on-time and on budget. It also helps reduce double work.
- Members of the project management and delivery team, as well as others, don’t waste time in meetings they don’t need to be involved in.
- Generally, helps you bring projects to completion on time and on budget
Successful projects don’t happen by accident. You need all the pillars in the QUAD approach, including the Accomplish pillar.