Ten Six Helps Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Understand Their Changing Business Model
CNL is Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization. CNL has been a world leader in developing peaceful and innovative applications from nuclear technology through its expertise in physics, metallurgy, chemistry, biology and engineering.
At the end of 2014, the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) initiated a dramatic shift in their business model of delivering results from Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization. In November of that year AECL launched a new, wholly-owned subsidiary called Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) with the intent to implement a Government-owned, Contractor-operated (GoCo) model for the management of Canada’s Nuclear Laboratories.
Among the things impacted by the change in business models was the need to formalize how CNL manages their projects. Not surprisingly, when CNL looked around for best practices to implement, Earned Value Management (EVM) came to the top for its disciplined, measurable methods for tracking, driving and communicating project performance. There was one problem; they were not sure what implementing EVM for an organization would really mean from a people, process and tools standpoint.
Ten Six Approach
Ten Six was selected to perform an assessment of CNL’s existing project management environment to understand what an EVM requirement would look like in this environment. It was also to look at the three pillars of people, process and tools to identify any gaps that existed between their current and future states of project management.
Ten Six worked with CNL Project Management staff to pull together a representative sample of current and future projects. Analyzing the size and type of projects, Ten Six built out multiple models to understand the impact of EVM within the CNL environment. The models included thresholds based on project value and the different types of project scope. They identified how EVM would be implemented in each of the scenarios to achieve the most return on CNL’s investment in the management technique.
Ultimately, Ten Six developed a model for EVM implementation that allowed for CNL to rightsize the level of EVM applied to different projects based upon project size and scope. This multi-tiered EVM model, with full compliance required for major projects and scaled compliance of small projects, allows CNL to realize a return on the investment in management capability that implementing EVM brings.
Where work would not realize a direct benefit from having the overhead associated with EVM applied, for example ongoing support type work, the tiered model allows CNL to leverage other control mechanisms. When the work is a project, but not a large dollar value, the scaled EVM tier is triggered, implementing a subset of the EAI-748 guidelines to gain control advantages without requiring the full investment of utilizing all 32 criteria.
Finally, for large-scale projects, or projects with higher risks to execution, the investment in implementing fully compliant EVM is a worthwhile investment in increasing management control and enhancing the project performance.
Leveraging the implementation model, the Ten Six team did a comprehensive review of CNL’s current state of project management to identity any gaps to EVM guideline compliance. Using inputs from the implementation model and working with CNL staff, Ten Six developed a target list of projects to review to ensure a complete picture would emerge from the reviews.
With this information in hand, Ten Six started its comprehensive review based on the three pillars of project controls People, Processes & Tools. Ten Six reviewed all of the existing process documentation and mapped them to the EAI-748 Guidelines to identify where potential gaps or contradictions existed. For example, when there were different process documents from different divisions, discrepancies between how those documents dealt with things like Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) development were identified and captured in the Documentation Matrix.
Project artifacts, such as schedules and organizational documents, were reviewed to see how they met the different requirements of the guidelines as well as how they adhered to the intent of the existing processes. As with the documents, any gaps were captured and became inputs for the comprehensive gap analysis report.
Finally, the Ten Six team conducted over 40 interviews with key stakeholders and project execution staff from across the organization to understand the ground truth of how project controls was being utilized at CNL and identify were gaps existed.
Interviews were conducted with Project Managers, Project Controls staff, division leads, IT resources and the Finance department to build an understanding of not only how the current processes were executed but also the key limitations of inputs coming from sources like the accounting structure and the value of the outputs to management level project stakeholders.
Leveraging Ten Six’s proprietary Gap Analysis Process that uses structure interviews, scoring and compilation for building a comprehensive picture of CNLs organizational abilities in earned value and direction for what areas they need to address going forward.
The resulting report was briefed up the chain to the CNL CEO and provided CNL management with a clear vision of how to implement EVM within their new business model, what gaps they had to close to meet their new requirements for project execution in an EVM environment and what they needed to do to close those gaps.
To learn more about Ten Six’s Gap Analysis Process and how it can help your organization leverage the benefits of EVM, contact us at [email protected]