AACE 2019 (AACE International Conference & Expo 2019) are holding their annual conference June 16-19 at the Sheraton, 500 Canal St, New Orleans, LA. This is a global event attracting 1,500 delegates from five continents. All categories of delegates from Executive Leaders and Industry Experts to Project and Program Professional will meet for this 3-day event. The AACE 2019 program schedule is Keynote Speakers, Technical Tracks, Expo, Networking and Entertainment.
Monday June 17
Meagan Johnson is a Generational Humorist and trainer and some of her clients include The C.I.A, Honeywell, Boeing, Cisco, Harley Davidson and PepsiCo. Meagan’s own research and program customizations suggest that all generations have differences and strengths which go beyond age and appearance. In her keynote address Meagan will challenge these generational myths and offer insights on how to make the most of all generation employees.
Tuesday June 18
Drew Tarvin is author of ‘Humor at Work: 501 Ways to Beat Stress, Increase Productivity and Have Fun at Work’ and a Humor Engineer. Drew has helped over 200 organizations increase productivity and get better results whilst having more fun through humor. In his keynote address ‘Humor that Works’ Drew will offer his insights on by introducing humor in the workplace employees are less stressed and more engaged, increasing productivity results.
With over 100 hours of tracks available at AACE 2019, we took a closer look at Project Management, Earned Value Management, Decision and Risk Management, Planning and Scheduling, Cost and Schedule Control and Professional Development.
Chantale Germain P.Eng and Dr. Nathalie Drouin will present a track ‘Improving Project Success by Introducing Safety Measures Early in the Project Cycle’ Chantale and Dr. Nathalie will use a literature review of a Canadian energy company to demonstrate how project success in the first phase improves when safety measures are introduced in the planning phase. Chantale and Dr. Nathalie will both offer their insights on how accurate planning is the key to the success of any project, and safety incidents are just one important consideration which can impact planning and scheduling performance.
Dr. Diana Nada will present a track ‘ WYSIATI “What You See Is All There Is”: How Are Capital Projects Delivered?’ Why has delivering projects not improved with the entire project management advancements? Why is it not uncommon to see projects over budget, over time again and again? Dr. Diana will present the way people who make decisions share information and communicate on projects are a key factor to projects’ success. The ‘What’, the ‘How’, and the ‘When’ determines how executives and project implementers make strategic decisions, approve funds and deliver projects. Dr. Diana will review research which reveals that there are many strategies that can improve the way capital projects are delivered. Dr. Diana will offer her insights into Neuroeconomics, which can help resolve barriers to decision-making in project delivery. By embracing uncertainty and recognition of ‘sometimes’ having an irrational approach to capital investment decision-making can be key to bridge the gap in project delivery.
Molly I. Donaldson, CCP will present a track ‘ Portfolio Management in P6’ Primavera P6 allows the user to group projects into portfolios and to then perform analysis on those projects as a group. Molly will offer her insights on the process of creating, using portfolios and displaying portfolio data. Molly will also examine calculations performed by the software to provide portfolio level data such as performance status and Earned Value metrics. Finally Molly will discuss, the differences between Primavera P6 Professional and Primavera P6 EPPM as a consideration for portfolio management.
Earned Value Management (EVM)
Edward McNamee and Charles W. Immonen will present ‘Use of EVM as a Communication Tool with the Project Team and Client’. Edward and Charles will look at the EVM guidelines from a communication perspective, explaining how using EVM can improve project performance and relationships. Both Charles and Edward will offer their insights on how a proper implementation of an EVM system can lead to:
- A clear understanding of the project requirements
- Easier identification of issues, therefore quicker resolution of these issues
- An objective measurement or performance which can be used to communicate progress and issues with the client
Farah Demachkieh and Dr. Mohamed-Asem Abdul-Malak will present a track ‘Emergent EVM Techniques for Construction Schedule Performance Measurement and Control’
The earned value management (EVM) method remains the most recognized project performance measurement and control tool. Farah and Dr. Mohamed will present a proposed framework which can systematically guide the construction contract engineer in measuring and controlling project schedule performance. Farah and Dr. Mohamed will offer their insights on how a proposed framework aims to make this control tool better accustomed and suited for exercising construction schedule control. Farah and Dr. Mohammed will explain how the tool accounts for the several extensions, involving variant metrics that have been developed to complement other proposed EVM-compatible methods, in order to offer better means for studying the project schedule performance and measuring the total expected delays.
Mostafa AbdelRazik EVP PSP will present a track ‘How to Calculate Estimate at Completion at a Project Level’ in this interactive session Mostafa will compare two varying methods of software, MS Project and Primavera P6 which are used to calculate EAC at project level.
- Adding up EAC for all control accounts on a project, at their appropriate levels to generate the EAC of the project.
- Adding up actual costs and earned value for all control accounts on a project at their appropriate levels, calculating the project’s cost performance index (CPI), and using this CPI to calculate EAC.
Seamless reporting of EAC is essential and the differences between software on how estimate at completion (EAC) is calculated at a project level can confuse and mislead project management professionals, especially if these differences result in extreme project performance indicator variances from one software to another. Mostafa will offer his insights on the accuracy of method 1 compared to method 2 inviting comments from the audience to gain a consensus on how EAC is calculated at project level.
Decision and Risk Management
Aaron Ingebritson PE will present a track ‘Actions for Improving Risk Management Culture.’ Aaron will describe how risks assessments can be controversial because the results can challenge organizational beliefs and highlight poor decisions and control. Aaron will offer his insights on how an enterprise risk program is an important for effective project and organizational management. Aaron will review research which shows with proactive risk management better organizational results are achieved. Aaron will also show how organizations can take actions to improve their risk culture and to facilitate the establishment of a robust risk management program.
Dr. Manjula Dissanavake, CCP will present an interactive track ‘The Future of Decision and Risk Management in the Post-Digital Era’. Machine learning can enhance risk management, enabling new capabilities and unlocking possibilities considered unfeasible in the past for Risk Management. Dr. Maujula will present a track about the use of digital as a lever to rationalize and optimize risk management practices to deliver predictable project outcomes. Dr. Manujula will offer his insights on the key issues and challenges to adopt digital technologies in Risk Management and the actionable insights relating to people, process and systems. The audience are invited to participate in this track.
Eric Ho will present a track ‘Holistic Risk Management’. Risk Managers typically focus on two types of impacts cost and schedule, both of which determine contingency and project confidence. Although other risks may be acknowledged they are often dismissed; resulting in missing key risks to a project which can have an impact on the overall project performance. Eric Ho will offer his insights on performance impacts such as quality, scope aesthetics, operation maintenance, health & safety and environment and why these metrics should be included in the risk register for a full risk analysis. Eric will explain that without adopting performance impacts a risk that could result in a critical performance impact to the project could be minimized or excluded from the risk register and analysis.
Planning and Scheduling
William W. Davis will present a track ‘Protect Your Project Schedule Using the Unified Scheduling Method.’ Many projects suffer schedule overruns, therefore building a schedule that leads to on-time delivery requires balancing the need for schedule safety with the need to complete the project as quickly as possible. William will introduce the Unified Scheduling Method (USM), explaining that project planners can forecast how many critical path activities will suffer schedule delays, then create a schedule contingency to buffer the schedule so the project still finishes on-time. William will offer his insights on how USM relies on the binomial distribution functions inside Microsoft Excel to determine how many activities are at risk of schedule failure. William will explain that once the risks have been indicated determined project planners can choose from among a conservative, moderate, or aggressive schedule contingency. The benefit of USM is that it gives project sponsors and planners a way to balance their need for schedule safety with the competing need to finish projects quickly.
Dr. Amin Terouhid, DRMP PSP; Dr. Maryam Mirhadi, PSP; Thomas M. Boyle, PE PSP will present a track ‘Analyzing Near-Critical Paths’ and provide a guideline on analyzing near-critical paths in project schedules. Delays and unexpected circumstances can adversely affect near-critical path activities to the extent that they become critical. A near-critical path consists of one or more near-critical activities that are susceptible to the risk of becoming critical and/or causing critical path delays .Dr. Armin, Dr. Maryham and Thomas will all offer their insights on the significance of near-critical paths in projects. They will demonstrate how to identify near-critical paths and provide a process for tracking, trending and analyzing near-critical path.
Abbas Saifi and Greg Hall, PSP will present a track ‘Alternate Methodology for Managing Large Complex Project Schedules’. Schedulers’ jobs are becoming more complicated with the trend to keep pace with more complex projects. The project team and scheduler must capture key activities in the project schedule whilst justifying why they are important. This can result in micro managing a project as the key activities making the schedule tedious and time-consuming to maintain and update. Alternatively, the project team, in an attempt to minimize the number of activities and thus day-to-day-workload, may omit crucial activities. Abbas and Greg will offer their insights on:
- The disadvantages of micro managing a project
- Highlight the vital deliverables that must be looked at
- Introduce master project and sub project for managing such complex schedules.
- Key Benefits of master project and sub project: i. Scheduler will generate key reports with ease. ii. Scheduler will be able to assist the project team in performing risk assessments.
Cost and Schedule Control
Aditya Arya, PSP will present a track ‘MS100 Modular Reporting Framework’ This framework is for schedule and cost reporting at Project, Program, and Portfolio and Enterprise levels. Aditya will explain the key features of this framework that sets predefined, specialized reporting milestones, which are embedded in the schedule WBS modules. Aditya will give her insights on WBS modules; throughout the schedule WBS, parent child relationships are maintained between WBS modules, and their WBS sub-modules using these specialized reporting milestones. Hence the concept of “modular”. In practice as well as theory, an infinite number of modules can be assembled together to form “parent modules”, and so forth. Aditya will also offer her insights on the advantages of this framework:
- It merges index and metric functionality for reporting at Project, Program, Portfolio, and Enterprises Levels.
- It provides data for benchmarking, trend analysis, and comparison of project progress for programs / portfolios.
- A set of specialized milestones which could be utilized industry wide as “standard indices” for reporting. For example, MS1 represents Project Start, MS100 represents Project Finish.
- This framework provides project progress in predefined steps which simplify executive reporting.
Ken Carrico, Eric Dembert PE, Mike Hollowell and Jesse Lund, CCP PSP will all present a track ‘The Power of Projections: Innovative Schedule Forecasting Techniques’. Schedule forecasting is critical and accurate project progress can mean frequent benchmarking and identifying periods when production deviates from the plan. Ken, Eric, Mike and Jesse will offer their insights on two approaches to schedule forecasting Critical Path Method (CPM) and Earned Value Management (EVM).
- CPM provides a clear path for the project, but may be subjective and biased.
- EVM techniques can be applied to estimate the end date, but can be optimistic.
Ken, Eric, Mike and Jesse will offer their insights on increasing confidence in forward-looking schedules, by exploring three quantitative and practical methods that provide both a clear end date and an outline of future progress:
- Maintaining Average Production
- Modeling Performance Against a Standard S-Curve
- Applying Baseline with and without Inefficiencies for an Expected Performance Band
By exploring these options, with the necessary tools project managers will able to make confident decisions and projections without relying on CPM updates or an EVM program.
Augusto Tiezzi, David Lott PE, Wayne Lott, Dr. John Borcherding and Dr. William O’Brien will present a track ‘The Clear Flow Matrix: An Effective Production Control Technique Using Crew Level Planning’ Cost overruns and schedule delays are common in the construction industry and are often the result of poor production and control in the field. Augusto, David, Wayne, Dr. John and Dr. William will all offer their insights the clear flow matrix(CFMx) a production and control system which is visual for all levels of management and trade supervisors. Augusto, David, Wayne, Dr. John and Dr. William will explain the CFMx which is a matrix integration of the trade activities and locations where over a period of time and workflow rhythm are represented through the progress of a unique balanced work front, which balances client completion demand and trade contractor operations efficiency as trade work progresses through the building areas. Augusto, David, Wayne, Dr. John and Dr. William will review three building projects where CFMx was used and questionnaires and interviews of trade supervisors and managers verified that the matrix based tool was visually evident, easily implemented in the field without extensive knowledge of scheduling or training.
Stephen Beck, CCP will present a track ‘14 Key Areas to Improving Your Cost and Schedule Team’s Performance’ The Benefits of the steps are to:
- Eliminate Stress on staff and managers by implementing every day actions.
- It is a system that is easy to implement.
- The system is designed in order of complexity and is a path of continual growth.
- Although the system requires discipline it will maintain a consistent rhythm of growth and is a path of continual growth.
- The steps should be mastered in order to achieve operational excellence in cost and schedule control.
The AACE 2019 Expo offers delegates the opportunity to browse the vendors’ products; experience hands on demonstrations and often finds ‘the answer’ to a software problem. By discussing best practices with vendors new insights can be found.
Networking and Entertainment
Networking is an invaluable where not only contacts are made, but best and new emerging practices are discussed. Networking is scheduled throughout the conference after each track.
Oracle who have a strong presence at AACE 2019, will be offering a New Orleans taster session on Mon June 17 at 5.15pm-6.30pm. Often networking continues away from the conference into the evening and Bourbon Street is a popular venue with several iconic bars:
Old Absinthe House –an old favorite frequented by Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, General Robert Lee Franklin Roosevelt and Liza Minnelli
Saints and Sinners- opened by Channing Tatum after several location shoots. Saints and Sinners is styled after the red light bordellos and burlesque halls of New Orleans ‘Storyville era’
Cats Meow– has retained its title of ‘the best karaoke bar in the world’ for 25years. This venue offers non-stop good clean fun with a mixture of live guest and DJ music. Guests have included Bill Gates Microsoft, Charles Barkley NBA and Miley Cyrus.
AACE 2019 Registration Costs
We reviewed two top hotels close to the ACCE International Conference at the Sheraton, The Eliza Jane Hyatt Hotel and the Wyndam Hotel.
The Eliza Jane Hyatt Hotel
315 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA
The Eliza Jane Hyatt hotel is a four star boutique hotel situated 0.1 miles from the Sheraton. The Eliza Jane is built within nine historic warehouses, although these have been expanded from the inside they retain some memorabilia from the original occupants including The Daily Picayune newspaper and the Gulf Baking Soda Company. The staffs are extraordinarily helpful, the bar is great and the breakfast has been described as ‘terrific’. The rooms are beautifully decorated with high ceilings and overlook a courtyard. The beds are comfortable and the hotel is clean. The Eliza Jane is two blocks from the busy French Quarter and a 10-minute drive from the tranquil Garden District.
The Wyndam Hotel
124 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA
The Wyndam Hotel is a four star hotel located 0.1 miles from The Sheraton. The guest rooms have been renovated and are light and spacious with comfortable beds. The staffs are very polite and knowledgeable of the local area. The Wyndam has a Business Centre for the use of business guests which has high speed Wi-Fi. Just a stroll away from the hotel is the Historic French quarter with multiple restaurants and cafes as well as the lively jazz clubs along Frenchmen Street.
Whether you are a program scheduler or a project manager AACE 2019 offers the opportunity to improve your skills and knowledge. AACE 2019 covers a wide range of topics related to cost and schedule performance across the life cycle of your assets, programs and projects.
AACE 2019 tracks are divided into a variety of options; from project/program management, decision and risk management, planning and scheduling and earned value management. So, you can explore the ones relevant to your industry.
Networking at AACE 2019 is invaluable, as well as a great way to make friends and enjoy the entertainment away from the venue. AACE 2019 offers best practices, new ideas and new emerging practices, which you can apply back in the work place.