A project is considered a temporary endeavor that is undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite beginning and end. To that broad definition a correlation with dry-dock can be found since vessel’s dry-dock for special survey and repairs is also within limited time and serves a specific objective which is repeated periodically as per Class registry requirements and shipping industry practices, writes Capt. Yiannis Kapageridis, QA Superintendent, TMS Tankers.
very project and therefore Dry dock will have a distinct beginning and end. The life cycle of the project includes four stages: initiation, planning, execution and closure. These series of four stages consists the entire duration of a project. In order to clarify the confusion between the terms “project” and “project management” we could simply think that the “project” refers to a temporary endeavor with a specific goal.
“Project Management” involves effectively planning the process of achieving a specific goal within given constraints, and then making sure that all necessary actions are carried out. Essentially, Project management and Dry dock Management is the application (or use) of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to meet project requirements.
The Project Management Triangle
Success in project and in this case dry dock management is defined by the “Project Management Triangle” model. This triangle traditionally contained the three primary and competing constraints of schedule, cost and quality that a project manager has to effectively balance in terms of scope in order to deliver on the project objectives.
In view of the project triangle constraints, each dry dock project should be:
- On budget: The cost of the dry dock should be within the frame of a budget taking into account any money reserves and margins for unforeseen issues.
- On schedule: Proper planning such as no delays and minimize off hire time.
- Within Scope (quality requirements): the work to be done. To create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to verify and control scope within specific quality criteria.
Developing an initial schedule
One of the toughest parts of a ship repair project manager’s job is to coordinate all available resources and ensure they are used optimally and effectively.
There are three primary tools that can be utilized in order to develop the project’s schedule and budget:
- Gantt chart
- Network diagram
- Work breakdown structure (WBS)
We will focus on the Gantt chart. This is actually a method of graphically representing the project (dry dock) schedule as a timeline of summary activities, work packages and schedule activities so that the timing of each activity can be clearly seen.
One of the benefits of a Gantt chart is that it allows the project manager to see at a glance how much schedule flexibility an activity has; in order to make adjustments to the schedule to achieve an optimal project schedule.
As part of the Dry dock managing team, it is vital that you are aware of what the WBS involves. The key purpose of the WBS as a project management tool is to enable the supervisor manager and the team to organize, plan and define the project’s total scope of work. In essence is the hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the shipyard team.
The WBS can be represented it two main formats:
- List format
- Graphical format
The list format can accommodate a lot more information and a sample can be found in figure below.
Creating a WBS is a structured but flexible process where work and deliverables are arranged into logical clusters. These clusters can then be broken down further to form smaller discrete components. The smallest work component or lowest level deliverable of any branch of a WBS is called a “work package”. A deliverable – oriented WBS provides many benefits to the project, including the following:
- Better communication to project sponsors, stakeholders and team members
- More accurate estimation of tasks, risks, timeline and costs
- Increased confidence that 100% of the work is identified and included
- A foundation for the control process within the project
Project compression strategies
It’s often the case that one or more of the drydock constraints ( scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources and risks) will make it difficult or even impossible for a project to meet its planned objectives. Where this occurs, the project will need to be balance. Balancing the drydock project means to adjust the plan, for example the scheduling of activities or allocation of resources, or even it’s main objectives (time, cost, quality and scope) to achieve organizational objectives. In other words, a project parameter such as budget or schedule duration cannot be changed without affecting other parts of the project.
In this article, we will focus on two particular methods of balancing a project:
- Fast Tracking: Is a technique that compresses the project schedule by allowing activities to be performed in parallel for some portion of the time rather than completing activities in sequence that are not dependent on one another.
- Crashing: is a strategy that compresses the project schedule by adding resources to a project.
Where there is a projected shortfall in time, funding, or resources available, the situation should be assessed realistically in order to allow for proper remediation where possible.
The essential project team
A big factor in successful project and therefore drydock management lies in selecting the right project team members for the job, understanding the interpersonal qualities of different team members, building positive team sentiment and assigning responsibilities effectively.
How to create a positive team environment
There are four general areas in which a project manager can ensure that the work environment is positive:
- Ground rules: Rules should be communicated from the beginning to all team members and these should be upheld. Ground rules serve to establish specific values and contribute to the way team members interact.
- Team identity and significance: Individual should be unified by the project goal and understand how they contribute to that goal both individually and as a team.
- Clear listening: Team members need to be able to communicate and listen effectively to successfully solve problems.
- Effective meetings: Meetings should be well organized and should enhance collaboration to achieve high levels of productivity. There should be a clear purpose and agenda for each meeting, which is published ahead of time for more formal meetings.
Once team members are working in an environment that is positive and where they feel they are respected and valued, they will likely form relationships with fellow team members and take personal ownership of their work and of the project’s goal.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.