OCMS Change Management: No-Surprises Solution

Graeme Hoey
Most major manufacturing organizations have significant facilities portfolios to manage and maintain. Many experience challenges in the effective and proactive cost management of their capital programs and maintenance projects.

In this sector, governance and control are vitally important but typically problematic. Clients are seeking a no-surprises methodology – with the emphasis on transparency, predictability of cost and schedule, and uninterrupted business operation.

Over the last ten years, Faithful+Gould has supported industrial clients via our best practice industrial cost and performance management system, Epoch. Epoch was developed in-house and has successfully enabled clients to efficiently improve cost predictability and control throughout the project lifecycle.

When our client base highlighted a gap between the core project controls tools dealing with estimating, scheduling and cost management, we set out to address this by introducing centralized standards in change management.

The system has been continually refined, adding innovations based on client feedback and the latest technology. When our client base highlighted a gap between the core project controls tools dealing with estimating, scheduling and cost management, we set out to address this by introducing centralized standards in change management.

As a result, our first OCMS (Online Change Management System), an Epoch module, went into production three years ago. Historically, change management had been conducted via Excel or Word-based methods, typically backed by a bundle of printouts of design documents, estimates, notes and sketches. Clients had experienced the disadvantages of these bundles, which could take many days or even weeks to make the trip around operations, engineering, planning/scheduling and project management. This unsatisfactory process also meant that the cost engineer using Epoch had only a partial view of the cost impact of change. In such an environment, surprises in the form of late forecast overruns were inevitable.

"The main benefit of OCMS to Michelin is being transparent across the globe in the management of change, with all changes being routed to France for review and approval in one common system."

Bruno Batisse, Michelin Global PMO Program Manager.

Our OCMS system was added to Epoch to facilitate centralized standards in change management. This removes delays, offering greater efficiency, cost accuracy and a higher degree of predictability. OCMS is a browser-based Change Request (CR) submission and workflow tool which allows project stakeholders to submit change requests online. These are automatically routed to stakeholders assigned to pre-defined roles based on the client’s individual business rules. As OCMS is fully integrated with Epoch, the cost impact of changes can be automatically reflected in cost forecasts.

Our team of IT consultants – all project managers and cost engineers – begins the process by facilitating the completion of the OCMS configuration workbook. Supporting a high degree of configurability, this workbook is built in Excel for ultimate portability among stakeholders. Client benefits include:

  • A highly intuitive swim lane format that clearly communicates the flow of an electronic change request
  • A table of project roles and role assignments for each project
  • A delegation of authority (DOA) matrix to allow clients to specify financial and other approval levels
  • Searchable lists for change categories and types, based on clients’ own standard lists
  • Notification matrix, enabling notifications based on the client’s extended project organization

Next, our technical team enables OCMS configuration and deployment, completing a delivery process that typically takes four to six weeks, including training and roll out. Bottleneck avoidance is a key issue and we have designed the system to cope, via these features:

  • Unlimited number of role-based delegates on a project-by-project basis
  • Individual delegates to allow stakeholders to assign approval rights for all of their projects to one individual
  • Out-of-office feature that automatically invokes CR re-routing to delegates
  • ‘Ball-in-Court’ view that allows all project stakeholders to see each pending CR in the work flow and who has the current action
  • Automated email notifications and reminders when tasks remain pending after a client-defined waiting period
  • One-click access to your personal queue of outstanding actions which features prominently on the OCMS home page

Client feedback for OCMS has been extremely positive. Those who have adopted OCMS for all projects in their organization have described significantly elevated transparency across the portfolio and an end to cost surprises.