Planning an Energy Efficiency Project: Starting with Sales

This is part one of a two-part series on how to maximise your project’s success.

by Lisa Owens

Every project, no matter how large or small, needs a project management plan. This document describes how the project will be executed, monitored and controlled through all project stages from initiation to closure.

Much of this work and project development should be completed by the sales or business development personnel responsible for scoping the project with the client and determining the agreed contractual cost and arrangements.  Upon contact award this information is passed onto the selected project manager who then has the responsibility to refine the plan, recruit appropriate resources and facilitate project delivery.

This plan details the essential elements of the project including:

·         Project definition, objectives and what success looks like;

·         Project start and finish dates;

·         Work breakdown structure (WBS) including major tasks;

·         Project milestones and decision gates;

·         Allocated time for each activity;

·         Budget for each activity, including expected expenses such as travel and sub-contractors;

·         Personnel required for each activity.  This can be either a nominated individual or generic roles such as senior consultant, director or graduate.

Project people

It is important to obtain resource commitment as soon as possible once the project has been initiated.  As noted above, a human resource management plan needs to be developed to identify and document project roles, responsibilities, required skills, reporting relationships and staff management.

If project team members are to be recruited from within the operational or production departments of an organisation, the role description confirming project responsibilities and expected time commitments should be agreed to and signed off by not only the project team member but by their line manager.  This ensures that everyone is clear that there will be distractions from daily operational duties and provision made for production coverage if required.

Don’t forget about admin

The administration of a project is often overlooked or not adequately allowed for when developing the WBS.  Admin and management tasks include timekeeping, client invoicing, review and approval of expenses, recruitment of team members, progress and performance reviews of team members, project meetings and reporting into senior management.   Often admin is lumped into the project management activity in the WBS which is quite often taken as a percentage of the equipment cost of the project.  Without analysis of the tasks involved, this can lead to an inappropriate allowance being made for these activities.

How we can help

Northmore Gordon has significant experience in the management of energy savings and capital projects ranging from the implementation of monitoring systems to the installation of major site infrastructures such as boilers, compressors and processing equipment.  We have the flexibility to develop a project plan and management structure to suit a client’s specific needs either by facilitating the entire process on behalf of the client or supplementing the client’s internal resources for the duration of the project.