Interfaces represent risk to the project; some carry more risk than others. Interface risk also varies depending on the phase of the project. An interface that represents risk during procurement may not carry the same risk during construction. Interface Managers must work with their team to identify interfaces they feel represent high-risk, and add additional management and oversight.
Interface Management is becoming a must have project discipline for large capital projects and the management of boundaries between the major EPCs participating on a capital project. But when it comes to prioritization, how do you ensure, as an Interface Manager, you have the visibility needed to properly identify and manage those interfaces that present the greatest risk to your project?
When tasked with managing hundreds, if not thousands of interfaces how do you differentiate one another? How do you ensure you are “watching” the right interfaces? Once you determine the right interfaces, how do you ensure you are “watching” them at the right time?
Schedule integration has taken Interface Management to a new level. The ability to integrate with a project schedule, allows teams to identify potential discrepancies regarding work related to interfaces, and eliminate conflicts between schedule dates and actual dates tracked in the Interface Management solution. In order to do this properly, the ability to identify a sub-set of interfaces for schedule integration is required. High-risk interfaces are critical interfaces, and should be tracked against the schedule.
Adding these high-risk interfaces to the project risk register provides additional visibility to the risk management team, as well as to stakeholders like the client and internal project teams. Due to the evolutionary nature of large projects, a solution should also offer the ability to the change the risk assessment of an individual interface; an interface which presents significant risk during detailed design may not be considered of high-risk during construction or vice versa.
Depending on the project size and complexity, Risk Management and Interface Management may be handled by separate teams. Ensuring all teams have the information they need to make the best decisions is critical. Segregating and tracking high impact interfaces will ensure the best decisions are made to mitigate the highest impact risks. When this is done well, everyone wins.