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Why does COTES educate all employees in project management: from general director to legal counsels

  • 19.07.2019

In June, COTES Engineering team got new PMI PMBOK ® Guide 6th Edition (2017) project management professionals. It was the second four-day training for employees held in the company.

Both certified employees and beginners attended the training because it is like a fresh air for everyone. Although participation was mandatory only for engineers, departmental heads, design chief engineers, and top managers, this year, support departments also took part in it.

COMMUNICATION IS A KEY

The training format is very eventful and practical. After the short theoretical introduction, the participants started analyzing the current projects: risk identification, searching for opportunities and solving complex tasks using the PMI PMBOK standard. Error analysis is a key skill that was developed in the course of the training.

If our previous project was implemented according to the system, we would have prevented many errors, – said Larisa Bazarova, Group Lead of Heat Engineering Team. – It often happens that a person knows something and thinks that everybody knows that, either. However, it is not true… Dashboard we are going to create now will help us stay informed and do not miss anything.

I missed the training last year, and now I can see my managerial gaps, – said Alexander Puzyrev, Chief-manager of turn-key projects. – The main point for me is that I have to divide “management issues” and “technical issues”. Almost all of us are engineers. This is great, in one respect, but this is still somewhat troublesome. It is too often that we immerse into the technical aspects although we need to communicate more with the customer at the management layer and using the corresponding language. I got another insight: the training does not provide any ready-made solutions, but only provides us with “blocks” and the understanding of how we can use them. It depends on us what we will do next.

“I have highlighted a simple but critical point for myself: communications are essential, – said Alexandra Morozova, Leading Specialist of the Project Management Department. – Efficient communications within the team and with the customer means half the battle. Brainstorming, dashboards, and meetings – we should not be afraid of sharing the information. The issues that are obvious for you, can be a discovery for others. We have something to achieve in this area.

PROPER PLANNING IS 90% OF SUCCESS

You can see this rarely, but each person in the company enthusiastically uses the obtained knowledge in his/her work. COTES’ employees responsibly approach to meeting the new standards. They create dashboards, generate project data sheets (the bulk package of internal documents that help structuring the work).

If this is used in each project, our efficiency will grow significantly, – said Vitaly Kuchanov, Chief Engineer of COTES. – Surely, there can be exceptions, but they are representative. If the works are minor, the absence of the system may be unnoticed. If the works are significant, it will inevitably lead to chaos. It happened before: enormous heroic work, meetings and talks, using more resources, but the result gets even worse. Not having a plan means more trouble, and it is not only about the money. That is why this is not an option for us.”

The use of the PMI PMBOK project management standard in the work is not a whim or some tribute to fashion, but a vital need for the companies like COTES Engineering. “This is the second time we have a training and distract the entire company from work for several days, – said Dmitry Serant, General Director of COTES Engineering. – It is critical for implementation of large, complex projects. The most valuable companies today are the engineering companies that provide integrated solutions supported by professional engineering and an opportunity to cover the entire process: scheduling, financing, budgeting, risks, and support until the final result is achieved. This is possible if not only managers but also engineers, legal advisors, and even accountants possess the fundamental understanding of the process. Proper project planning in the very beginning provides a 90% guarantee of successful completion of the project.

HAPPY CLIENT IS THE THE BEST AWARD FOR THE TEAM

However, the main reason why the education continues and is to be held in the company every year for all of us, is the results. The 2018 results have demonstrated that it is much more efficient and comfortable to work according to the standard. “Statistics shows, – told Vitaly Kuchanov, – that we have in total completed 18  projects, 5 of which were not performed according to the system, since the training was only held in August. Only one of them was completed without any time failures, within the budget, and without the customer’s criticism. The other four cannot be even called successful. Thirteen projects were performed according to the system and were absolutely successful: no criticism, positive feedbacks, although some of them were complex. I think that the most representative project is a feasibility study for the construction of 8 MW mini-TPP for ZAO “Ekran-Energy”. Management was performed by a young employee who, acting in accordance with the standard, coped to complete it without any failures or comments. Based on my own experience, I can say that it is not usually like this. Young managers learn by their mistakes and by getting bumps and bruises. We could avoid it.”

The impressive results are obtained via the efforts of the entire team, enormous self-improvement work and many hours of additional work. Any theory is useful only when it is regularly used in practice. Moreover, although it gets harder to work at the beginning, the result is inspiring. The best award for the team that worked hard for several months is a successfully completed project and happy customer that comes back to the company with new tasks. This is proved by twelve positive feedbacks in 2018.

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