From Boom To Bust

Time To Be Lean And Mean?

My How Attitudes Have Changed

What a difference the drop in the oil price has made to the corporate attitude about projects. When times are good, money is no object, it’s do as many projects as we can, spend the money,  and get the projects up and running. Now that times are tight the attitude has made a dramatic shift to, don’t spend any money unnecessarily or don’t spend at all. Facilities still have to run and be maintained so there is now a need to get better control of your projects and their costs. You have to go from schedule being the priority to cost being the priority.

That’s A Big Jump

This change in priority is difficult to do. With contractors it’s a big transition to go from Time & Material contracts to Lump Sum contracts. You will notice your regular T & M contractors are having trouble coming up with a reasonable Lump Sum price that you can hang your hat on. This comes about because with T & M they do not have to be cost conscious. Changes are always covered and paid for so why  do the detailed scope definition. Give an estimate and go for it. They got careless and are now paying for it. 

It’s The Same For You 

Management now want Lump Sum prices and they want you to control to the price and don’t go over. The only way you can do it is if you are always cost conscious and control your projects as if they were lump prices with no extras. You have to know and understand the basics of project management and practice them all the time. Even when schedule driven.  When managing projects you can’t be loosey goosey then become lean and mean. It just doesn’t work that way. All your project management tasks are important to the success of the project, not just some of them. You may find some of the tasks boring and no fun so you tend to ignore them. But you can’t as during the lean times those tasks that you ignored now become very important. It’s much easier to treat each task as important, no matter the price of oil, for the success of the whole project.

Management Is Depending On You

I know, companies have cut back on the overhead budgets, but now is when you need the training the most. When the oil price was high, there wasn’t time to go learn how to manage a project properly, and now that the price has declined, you wish you would have gone and taken the workshop. Management are tightening up and they have great expectations from you. Are you up to the task?

It Can Still Be Done

I’ve been through the up’s and down’s before. The commodities get sorted out, the prices rise. But, when the oil prices come back, it won’t be back to the good old days but, let’s now be cost conscious with our projects going forward until we see clear sailing on the horizon. The price of oil will rise again. During this slow period is the time to learn the fundamentals of industrial project management. You can put what you learn into practice, keep management happy,  and get ready for the next upswing. 

Fundamentals of Project Management 

We have upcoming workshops in:

 Calgary AB        September 1 - 3,  2015

Houston TX        October 20 - 22, 2015

Calgary AB        November 18 - 20, 2015

For information / register for the workshop go here:


General Address

Project Management Association of Canada

455 boulevard de la Gappe, Suite 201
Gatineau, Québec
Canada, J8T 0E1

Phone: (819) 410-0427

PMAC Certification Body

Project Management Association of Canada

Box 58043, Rosslynn RPO
Oshawa, Ontario
Canada L1J 8L6

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