The 2nd annual Interface Management for Capital Projects conference was another success this year with delegates and speakers joining the event from 15 different countries and several major energy, rail, and infrastructure players including Shell, CB&I, Mott Macdonald, PEMEX, Parsons Brinkerhoff, Petrofac, Saudi Aramco, Kuwait Oil Company, and Saipem.

In preparation for this year’s conference, project professionals were asked a few survey questions related to the planning of capital projects. One question asked was, what are the main challenges faced when applying a multiple contracting strategy? Overwhelmingly, Communication came out as the biggest challenge, followed by Defining Roles and Responsibilities, both of which help to reinforce the concept of interface management being necessary on projects. As Stefano Salustro, Upstream Interface Manager at ENI pointed out during his presentation on day one, “Interface management is a must have system.” A good interface management plan ensures:

  • Visibility, communication, and informed decision making
  • Well-defined job roles
  • Well-defined project priorities and KPIs that are in-line with the project strategy
  • Regular interface meetings and early lines of communication
  • Risk mitigation through integrated interface and change management

That same afternoon, John Thropp, Interface Lead at Wintershall, presented the challenges he faced on a very complex subsea tie-in project. There were multiple operators, each using their own contractors and multiple oil field licenses to handle. “Interface management was identified as one of the top risks,” John explained. Contractors actually ran the interface meetings and owners were like the “referees”. This allowed for stakeholder buy-in, diligent oversight, and timely communication.

In addition to speakers from the oil & gas industry, interface management experts from other industries attended the conference to share their experiences. Douglas Steptoe and Derek Price, Principal Engineers at Mott MacDonald and Network Rail, as well as Steve Turner and Gyandeep Saikia of Parsons Brinckerhoff all made presentations on the interface challenges and solutions on major rail infrastructure programs. With rail projects doubling in frequency, being 50% longer and with increased station capacity, Steve and Gyandeep described interface management as a critical discipline within systems engineering. In fact, there are more similarities than differences between rail and energy projects when it comes to managing physical, geographical, and operational interfaces.

Other common interface management and project success themes that emerged during the workshops and two-day conference included:

  • Complexities associated with common contracting strategies are driving the need for tools beyond Excel spreadsheets
  • Direct interface communication between contractors and disciplines is key to project success
  • Developing a full interface management plan and metrics, supported by governance processes, will help improve project performance
  • Owner’s should include interface management as an invitation to bid requirement and then ensure a well-defined IM process and plan
  • Integrating interface management with other core project processes, such as change management, will give project managers increased information for better decision making
  • Interface management is not only useful for greenfield projects, but can also be beneficial to the successful management of operations and completions
  • Interface management is the responsibility of the whole project team

Some of the presentations from this event included:

  • Using Interface Management in the Engineering Process Workshop, by Michael Bible
  • What Project Characteristics and KPIs Drive the Need for Interface Management, by Michael Bible
  • Developing Interface Management Processes on Mexico’s First Deep Sea Development Project, by Arthur Ruiz
  • A Case Study of Technical Interface Management Applied to a Major Rail Infrastructure Programme, by Douglas Steptoe
  • The Challenges of Two Operators – Each With Their Own Contractors, by John Thropp
  • Developing an Information System for Interface Management at a Major Oil Field Project, by Sergey Volchkov
  • Integrating Complex Infrastructure Programmes, by Steven Turner and Gyandeep Saikia
  • Managing Process Challenges for Brownfield Projects, by Sulaiman Al-Naqbi
  • Successful Integration of Interfaces in Project Management, by Torstein Landaas
  • Interface Management Best Practices and Why Capital Projects Need It, by Samin Shokri

If you are interested in any of these presentations, please send us a request:

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