Construction is an important part of the recovery in Victoria and particularly across Melbourne, where over time the number of cranes across the city’s skyline will increase as part of building for the future. But, with an increase in planned scheduling in projects, there is also an increased focus on managing interfaces between projects.
Harmonisation of construction impacts, traffic management plans, train, bus and footpath disruptions is imperative to ensuring the State’s transport network continues to operate and projects can be delivered without delays or disruptions.
Interface management – what is it? It can mean strategy interfaces and ensuring all strategies correctly intertwine and support each other. It can be about network disruption and ensuring project traffic impacts are coordinated. Or it can cover management of interfacing stakeholders like local governments, water and statutory authorities.
Whatever the meaning is for the project you’re part of, one thing does not change. Good interface management depends on great execution of communication principles and behaviours. If the right principles and behaviour underpin your interface management strategies, you’ll know who your key stakeholders are, how you’ll work with surrounding projects, and exactly what everyone else is doing, planning and prioritising during delivery phase.
How are interface management and engagement communications interconnected?
Let’s check out three simple tactics and behaviours that can set your project on the path to effective interface management.
Once you’ve identified your neighbouring projects and stakeholders, set out on a mission to establish a meaningful and effective partnership. Aim to understand the projects around yours and add value to each other’s program and delivery requirements.
The stronger your partnership, the more you can rely on the relationship when you need to negotiate interface issues, like traffic management plans or approvals.
You can also pass on the knowledge you gain to your team members. You’ll be ahead of the game when planning the next stage of delivery, and this will minimise interface risk.
Delivering projects is already challenging enough. The last thing you want is a delay due to surrounding works.
Staying engaged, engaging early and engaging often are three elements success in interface management depends on.
• Stay engaged – be present at meetings, workshops and forums. Reply to emails and answer your phone. The more responsive you are, the more productive your interactions will be to gain a return of useful information.
• Engage early – the earlier you can engage with stakeholders to understand their priorities and needs, the more seamless the planning and delivery of your project will be.
• Engage often – programs constantly shift in delivery. It’s essential to engage with your stakeholders regularly to gauge changes that might affect your project.
Establish communication framework with surrounding projects and stakeholders using agreed platforms and tools. This could be a monthly interface stakeholder meeting, accompanied with a 6 monthly risk and opportunity workshop.
Focus on whether your project program can take advantage or has an opportunity to excel due to surrounding projects works or plans. For example, is there a rail shut-down planned for the same time that your project needs to lift a beam over a road in your area? Will your plans help or hinder each others’ work? How can you each take advantage so everyone wins?