As gas and oil projects move to more remote, difficult-to-drill locations, they also tend to require more unconventional resources and become more complex. Additionally, market conditions may evolve rapidly, making those projects even more challenging. Successful completion without running late or over budget requires leadership that is able to identify requirements, manage resources, revise operational frameworks, and monitor risk throughout a project timeline. Strong project management successfully moves concepts and ideas from the design and conference rooms into the field while retaining long-term profit potential and maintaining environmental and personnel safety.
Large corporations that manage hundreds of projects typically have their own set of in-house experienced project managers. However, many smaller companies inevitably turn to third-party project management. Even small, technically complex projects can be a challenge to the small business limited by resources. The expertise, experience, and personnel needed to complete a complex project may not be available in-house, requiring outside help. Additionally, in-house staff may not be fully versed in economically sensitive activities such as estimating costs for large-scale projects under even slight levels of uncertainty. This may not arise necessarily because of a lack of project planning but rather because of an inability to quantify risk and opportunity on a project.
Aside from providing industry-specific project planning knowledge, an experienced third-party project management team can also help companies avoid common errors. In some cases a company may mistake a path to a goal as one large project; however, the road down that path may require a careful project management perspective of managing several small, interrelated projects rather than one large project. Another mistake some project teams sometimes make is failing to build contingencies for unexpected and adverse developments into their project schedule. Experienced project planners understand project derailment at the planning, execution, or completion phase is always a possibility, with events such as cost overruns, contractor disputes, and design flaws capable of putting a project to a halt. They build flexibility into and expertly apply quantitative and qualitative techniques to the projects they manage. They’re capable of applying a probabilistic approach to cost-time forecasting within proposed financial and calendar-based goals set by management, and they can systematically tackle any related problems that may arise that threaten the cost-time forecast.