Case study analysis in support of front end planning on capital projects
Irons, Kyle Taylor
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Many research investigations have indicated that projects have a higher chance of success when thorough front end planning is performed. Previous research efforts have sought to determine a statistical link between front end planning and the performance metrics for both building and industrial projects. The author of this thesis intends to supplement prior research with case study analysis that provides situational insight that supports business decision making of business managers and project representatives. The research conducted in this study was performed in conjunction with CII Research Team 213, Support for Pre-Project Planning. The data for this thesis was gathered through a series of questionnaires and interviews with project representatives from 17 projects totaling $1.5 billion. Case studies were written by the author, reviewed by supervising professor and project representatives for accuracy and anonymity. The lessons learned from the case studies were distilled and evaluated to uncover correlations between front end planning issues and project success. A matrix of issues was created, and along with pattern-matching techniques, project data were sorted. The conclusions were drawn using expert knowledge of the author, supervising professor and research team. The case study analyses identified several planning related issues that affect project success, including: defined front end planning process, adequate scope definition, existing conditions definition, correct contracting strategy, alignment, teambuilding, participation of owner and contractors in the front end planning process, leadership, experience, and labor availability and skill. Anecdotal evidence is provided to support the proper implementation of these issues.