Non-Legal Fine Points of Yacht New-Build and Refit Contracts - IV
IN YACHT PROJECT MANAGEMENT, NOTHING SUBSTITUTES FOR AN INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF BOAT BUILDING OPERATIONS AND PROCESSES…
You run across a lot of jive talk about yacht build project planning and scheduling. Indeed, it seems that just about everyone in the marine industry with a computer talks about Microsoft Project, Gantt charts, Critical Path analysis, JIT (just in time) supply chain management, and a myriad of other concepts and techniques related to project management.
However, app or not, garbage in means garbage out...
When all is said and done — when your MS Project app is up and running, nothing, absolutely nothing, substitutes for an intimate knowledge of boat building operations and processes, and especially how they integrate into a logically sequenced whole.
The key elements in developing a project plan/schedule are:
• Identification of tasks (operations and sub-operations)
• Estimate of task durations
• Analysis of sequential dependencies among tasks
All such project elements must be accurately developed if a plan is to bear any resemblance to the reality of the shop-floor work...
But even with an accurate plan/schedule constructed and in place, you’re still on the uphill climb. Tracking and keeping a project on schedule hinges almost entirely on another bit of critical information — percent complete of any task or group of tasks as at a given date. And this information is, in turn, prerequisite to tracking earned value, which is the ultimate metric for understanding precisely where the project is at and how it is trending as it move toward completion.
Experienced-based ability to accurately status the work in progress is where most project management falls down...
Without this ability, one simply cannot forecast or project schedule slippage, developing bottlenecks, necessary workaround plans, or any of the other real-time, real-world necessities of successful project and schedule management.
Such knowledge and ability are only accumulated over several years of hands-on boat building, as well as in boat building operations management. Without such knowledge and ability, the most detailed project plan/schedule, developed with the best purpose-specific computer software, will turn out to be an utter delusion. And your project will never even come close to completing "on time and on budget."
The next installment of this series will deal with estimates versus quotations. — Phil Friedman
Author's Notes: The information, opinions, tips and comments here are based on my 30 some years in the yachting industry, including my several year stint as president and CEO of a major, world-class megayacht builder.
If you find yachts and yacht building of interest, you may want to read some of my other marine industry related articles:
"Sizing Generators to Run Greener and Cleaner"
"App or Not, Garbage In Means Garbage Out"
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About me, Phil Friedman: With 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation, and am currently supervising, as owner's representative, a new yacht build in Taiwan. In a previous life, I taught logic and philosophy at university.
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Text Copyright © 2016 by Phil Friedman — All Rights Reserved
Images: Courtesy of Port Royal Group LLC and Phil Friedman
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