Introduction: true story (with pictures)

Page 6

Working Level Summary and Detail

(from my report, consideration given to extracting confidential and/or proprietary comments)

DayClock Jangseunpo ModConProgressT

Project Summary:

The project bottom line is one of accomplishment. In terms of schedule, we shipped somewhat ahead of the aggressive target shipping dates. This is at least three months earlier than the next best bidder (experienced Japanese yards) and also three months ahead of a high level Exxon/Fluor schedule audit assessment.

In terms of cost, we will complete at about 9.1% below the control budget, 21.2% below the estimate at time of contact award. A significant part of this underrun comes from controlling the development allowance through prudent administration of the contract.

Three factors can be identified as major contributors to this performance:

  • A committed contractor with ample raw capacity
  • Participative Project Management
  • Clear priorities, unwavering support from top management

(The fabricator’s) desire to enter the modular fabrication field, and to prove the shipyard could complete a project successfully, resulted in a strong commitment and spirit of cooperation. However, at this stage, the shipyard is still heavily dependent on outside guidance (the Project Management Team). This is true in certain skilled trades and especially true with regard to weakness in basic project management skills.


courage2 truth2 clarity2

Courage Truth Clarity

Schedule Control “Tool Kit” Summary

In this prototype environment, with a relatively unsophisticated contractor, we used some new tools along with the classical ones…

The format follows a six-point chart I put together to aid discussions with (the managing contractor) and (the module contractor).



Master Schedule

We took a very active role with both the managing contractor and the module yard fabricator prior to the start of actual work in preparing the Contract Master Schedule. Let us expand a bit on this, as it also illustrates a typical aspect of modular work: the additional managerial interfaces.

In the early schedule development stages, the managing contractor and the module yard fabricator were up to six months apart in terms of need dates/ availability dates for the interface items (drawings, specifications, MTO’s, materials, etc.). On the managing contractor side, we helped to gain consensus and clearly document realistic target dates for the engineering disciplines and procurement.

On the other side, we took the lead role in guiding the module yard fabricator schedulers visiting the managing contractor’s office in the preparation of their contractual master schedules. The inexperienced group was led through many drafts, resulting in what proved to be a useful contract schedule which the module yard fabricator had confidence in as their own.

Key inputs to the module yard fabricator schedulers included:

  • Disciplining them to develop a reasonable and detailed basis, then apply it consistently
  • Critical path studies at the activity, and then the task level
  • Resource / congestion / manpower studies
  • Module by module reviews / sketches, detailed construction sequencing

The resultant schedule was the (unrevised) plan throughout the job, one which the module yard fabricator presented as their own and both the managing contractor and we (Exxon) could accept as a reasonable compromise. It proved to be a useful yardstick in working together for on-time completion.

An underpinning to all this was the US-Gulf-Coast-equivalent-manhours developed in the Exxon Class II Estimate (see my post “A Beautiful Thing”)

Master Schedule Briefings

A briefing by us prior to formal approval critiqued the Master Schedule as a “tight but achievable” managing contractor / module yard fabricator compromise requiring “better than average performance” to complete (which, in retrospect, it appears we got). Five recommendations were made, including “a strong sense of managing contractor home office urgency” and “a quick delivery emergency procurement plan”. This was supported by a comparison to the Japanese bidder’s schedule details and AIChE module symposium data, which we had compiled as a test for reasonableness.


Total Construction Progress (yellow actual progress; below is manhours; bars represent incremental monthly progress/ manhours)


Manhours per %-Complete (yellow actual; dashed is the Schedule Audit Forecast)


The building block of reporting was the weekly report, which we took great care to format and sampled extensively to ensure accuracy with the physical work. The Exxon follow-up visit (to the Schedule Audit Team) considered “the timeliness and structure of the weekly report… to be excellent”.

In terms of timing, each week ended as of Sunday. Monday morning physical quantities were verified at the task level – the Project Management Team (Managing Contractor with Exxon integrated team members) verified the module yard contractors figures through a sample physical check. These weekly reports formed the basis for the Wednesday weekly meetings, and for weeks ending the month served as invoice verification as well.

Project Measurement

For Progress measurement, the work was broken down into level

  • Task:(2-6 for each Activity)
    • note: we took great care into seeing that the module yard contractor properly weighted the tasks – our goal (perfection) would be a straight line manhours per %-complete curve… to that end, such items as the hydrotest of piping and punch-list reconciliation were given maximum weight, while earlier, easy to perform tasks were weighted more lightly.
  • Activity (13 for each module x 28 modules = 364 activities)
  • Project (the sum of all activities)

The module yard contractor reported to us progress at the activity level; the activities were already defined in the contract. Support at the task level was available upon request.

At the task level, each task must be measured based on verifiable, actual physical progress in the field.

At the project level, we used two weighting methods. For the weekly reports, and especially in forecasts using manhours per percent complete, the 364 activities were weighted on the relative number of manhours. For progress payment (and the Earned Value Reports to Saudi) progress weightings were based on the lump sum dollar value of each activity. (This is the way the Module Yard Contractor got paid every month – hence it attracted the necessary attention.)

note: I cannot overemphasize the importance of getting good task weightings, and of performing accurate physical verification of progress in the field weekly (for some projects: daily!). Without a solid basis here, your reporting lacks verification of a key leading indicator: prescriptive progress per percent complete.


Activity Progress: Superstructure (of 13 Activities)



Activity Progress: Piping (of 13 Activities)



Activity Progress: by module ( 4 of 28 modules)


Activity Ship01

Activity Progress: by Shipment 01 (of five shipments)


Construction Flow Diagrams

These were prepared for contractual discussions, with overview from Exxon (me), between the managing contactor’s home office staff (responsible for drawings, MTO’s, and owner furnished equipment) and the module fabricator’s schedulers, prior to work start. The CFD’s facilitated the kinds of discussions one might now have in a Constructability VIP workshop (see my post): work package sequencing; construction area layout; crane selection and sequencing; material storage, verification and delivery; manpower and congestion studies, etc.). Think coordination and cooperation, here.

CFD 1of3CFD 2of3CFD 3of3

Construction Flow Diagrams (sheets 1, 2 and 3) – a very early rough draft!

Responsibility Flow Diagrams and Interface Curves

At the “getting started” and “hitting stride” phases of each of the 13 major activities, interfaces surfaced as a major factor towards successful completion. We developed some Responsibility Flow Diagrams” and some “Interface Curves” to assist in our management of these processes. Note that most of the problematical interfaces were internal within the module fabricator’s organization. The Interface Curves were useful in discussing backlogs to accumulate before action was taken.

RFD 1 0f4RFD 3 0f4RFD 4 0f4

Responsibility Flow Diagrams (sheets 1,3 and 4) – Steel Fab and Erection (typical of base frame, module support and superstructure systems) – also a rough draft!.



Interface Curves – Baseframe Drawing Issue, Cutting, Assembly



Interface Curves – Baseframe Material Delivery and Assembly



Interface Curves – Superstructure Steel Drawing Issue, Order, Delivery, Cutting



Interface Curves – Piping MTO, Order, Isometrics and Shop Drawings


Work Remaining Schedules

During the later stages (ten weeks before shipments), conformance was keyed to the work remaining schedules. These were based on the Owner’s Team early punch lists. In this regard, as well as in their assistance in the field, the owner’s Team deserves major credit towards the module fabricator’s on time performance.

Our 20 April forecast based on piping progress, manhours available, and actual productivity concluded that if we required ten full weeks after piping reached 95%, shipments would be 1-2 weeks late. As it turned out, it took an average of only six weeks from piping 95% progress to shipping, and modules were ready 1-4 weeks early.


One Comment

  1. Justin Smith
    Posted August 28, 2007 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    I found the summary of this posting (page 8) very useful. It is clear that you have a lot of good insight into the oil industry. I would like to learn more about the political pressures -internal and governmental- your projects faced, and your recommendationed solution for overcoming/circumventing these obstacles.

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