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Get a balanced scorecard - without lifting a golf club

ICE news

WITH GOLF a known favourite of the construction industry, it is probable that most engineers would expect talk of a 'balanced scorecard' to refer to a good round at the weekend rather than an on-track construction project.

But this is not the case. Balanced scorecards are in fact the key to performance management (PM), the latest technique to measure and manage progress on construction projects.

PM has good credentials.

Used by Bechtel on Contract 430 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, PM is credited with pulling back 14 weeks over a period of 13 months, bringing the project in six weeks ahead of programme.

How this was achieved will be described in detail by key players in the project team to a number of ICE meetings over the next few months, beginning next Thursday in London.

Changing the behaviour of managers is at the heart of PM, and Alasdair Cathcart and Howard Lees, project manager and operations manager respectively, will explain the hard reality of achieving such a change.

'PM is not without its difficulties. People are set in their ways, ' says Lees, now a behavioural consultant to various UK construction clients. 'Many senior managers succeeded by 'command and control'. The John Wayne approach worked for them in the past, so why change now?

'Partnering is a widely used term, sometimes correctly employed to describe a trusting relationship such as a successful marriage. But on many so-called partnering projects the statements of values signed by everyone on the project team are simply a testament to man's ability to live a lie.'

The starting point for PM is to work with project teams, getting them to align their efforts to complete their project, says Lees.

PM is used to establish clear values and objectives for the project, agreed among the team.

The output is a statement of future direction and an implementation plan, using a balanced scorecard as the means of measuring performance on a monthly basis.

This provides the understanding of the project team's current culture and individual perspectives, while the behavioural change is achieved through the use of applied behavioural science (ABS).

'Our experience is that teamwork is best built through a shaping process where the team has a reason to work together, where positive peer pressures are prompted and reinforced, ' says Lees.

'Like gravity, ABS works whether you believe in it or not.

The hard part is getting senior, experienced, energetic, successful project team members to accept that the success of the project is as dependent on their behaviour as it is on the work processes involved.

'Company cultural change takes time, even if there is complete commitment from the top.

Staying the course takes a lot of faith and considerable effort, ' Lees says.


Partnering - evolution or revolution? Lessons learned from the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Contract 440 is free and open to all. It will be held at the ICE on 26 September at 6.30pm. To attend contact Pauline Arundel (020) 7665 2236 or e-mail pauline. arundel@ice. org. uk.

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