Lesson 3: Know who to ask
Navigating your customer’s organization chart – and knowing who can make a technical decision – isn’t always easy. To keep communication productive, work with your customer to develop a matrix that clearly defines roles and responsibilities. And share it with the entire project team at the beginning of your engagement.
Depending on project scope, communication may also extend from skid suppliers to other vendors providing equipment for the installation. Easing system integration and communication is the goal of any communication between vendors. Don’t assume other suppliers speak your language. Be sure to clearly define and describe all equipment and control functions to avoid misinterpretation.
Lesson 4: Test early, test often
Insufficient testing can cause a good project to go bad quickly – and can wreak havoc with your commissioning schedule. To mitigate setbacks, define testing with your customer for all stages of the project.
An appropriate testing cadence includes module testing of your skid design internally, by your engineers. Then process and integration testing against functional design specifications with the system integrator. Issues uncovered during these testing phases should be addressed – and systems retested – before moving onto the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) – and ultimately, Site Acceptance Test (SAT) – with the customer.
Lesson 5: Learn from your mistakes
We all hope to learn from our mistakes. But the truth is, there’s generally not much time for reflection. Once a challenging project is completed, the next one is beginning.
To break this cycle, keep a “lessons learned” log throughout the entire project duration – it’s much easier than trying to remember and record issues at the end. Once the project is completed, hold a session with your team and determine what can be improved next time.
And remember – project methodology is an iterative process. The incremental improvements you make from project to project are critical to long-term success.