Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time

RT-193 Topic Summary
RT 193


Projects in today’s world rely heavily on time to gain a competitive advantage. This has created an increased demand for high performance delivery of a project with a drastic decrease in actual project delivery time. Radical reduction of cycle time refers to the reduction of 25% or more in project cycle time compared to industry norms for similar projects.

To address this radical reduction in project cycle time, CII established the Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time Project Team (RT-193) to investigate the reality, requirements, and barriers to this topic. Through surveys and follow-up in-depth case studies of projects covering a cross section of the industry, the team identified the CII best practices and other techniques most commonly used to achieve radical cycle time reductions. The team also developed tools to optimize the implementation of these techniques/best practices. These include the Project Manager’s Game Planner (IR193-2) and Project Manager’s Playbook (IR193-3).

The research also noted several common themes involved in such projects. The four main drivers for radical reduction were: a compelling business need, owner commitment, a high performing team, and detailed project planning and execution. Of the four drivers, owner commitment is key to successful cycle time reduction. Other themes include the selective employment of management techniques, schedule reduction techniques, and best practices. Furthermore, projects with radical cycle time reduction often experienced collateral benefits, including improved safety and quality, as well as reduced costs.

Although radical reduction is not possible on every project, if the necessary drivers can be put in-place and the identified best practices and techniques are available for utilization, radical cycle time reduction can be considered a plausible strategy. (RS193)

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Four Key Drivers

To achieve radical reduction in cycle time, four key drivers must be present, with owner commitment being the most critical: (RS193-1, p. 1)

  • Why
    • A compelling business need
    • Owner commitment
  • How
    • A high performing team
    • Detailed project planning and execution
Reference: (RS193-1)

2 : Best Practices

In order to achieve a 25% or more reduction in project cycle time, the four key drivers listed in key finding #1 must be present. Furthermore, the use of CII best practices are also key components and themes present in typical projects where we find this type of radical reduction. The CII best practices most frequently and successfully used in the case studies are:

  • Alignment
  • Material management
  • Pre-project planning
  • Constructability
  • Design Effectiveness

Management and schedule reduction techniques from other industries are also required in conjunction to CII best practices, in order to achieve radical reduction. The top five include: (RR193-11, p. 190)

  • Startup Driven Scheduling
  • Use of Electronic Media
  • Participative Management
  • Construction-driven Schedule
  • Employee Involvement
Reference: (RR193-11)

3 : Project Characteristics

The characteristics of the projects that showed the most promise for radical reduction in cycle time were as follows:

  • Complex
  • High degree of integration with outside stakeholders
  • High degree of upper management support
  • Large projects with high level of purchasing activities and multiple packages
  • Projects with strong business drivers
(RS193-1, p. 7)
Reference: (RS193-1)

4 : Game Plan Development

How to develop a game plan:

  1. The first step in developing a game plan is to identify your project phase (pre-project planning, design, materials management, construction, or startup). Then, choose the radical reduction techniques (RRTs) from the lists included in this IR that can be applied.
  2. Next, determine the relative impact of your chosen RRTs, based off of the information provided in pages 8 and 9 of this IR for your particular phase.
  3. Once the highest impact techniques have been identified using this chart, transfer this information to your playcard for a game card.
Reference: (IR193-2)

5 : Management Involvement

Project involvement by upper management is one of the most important aspects of successful implementation of a radical reduction in project cycle time. If upper management does not stay engaged with the project, the team will not be properly motivated. Ten successful qualities of a management leader have been identified. They include: (IR193-3, p. 10)

  • Must run interference with respect to upper management so that the team can concentrate on work.
  • Must operate from a business perspective and not the perspective of any one particular function. In other words, he or she must be in alignment with the needs of the business.
  • Must provide resources and answers to the team, so that it can complete the work.
  • Must be able to resolve issues and overcome obstacles, keep everyone on course, and work within the existing system (“strength of personality”).
Reference: (IR193-3)

6 : Project Manager's Game Planner

The Project Manager’s Game Planner can be developed into an extremely effective decision tool. Based on the criteria of the project, the user can build a customized Game Planner for their requirements, which can be seen below:
Reference: (RR193-11)

7 : Implementation Tool #1

IR193-2, Project Manager’s Game Planner for Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time

Can help to assist companies to develop an approach to radically reduce project cycle time.
Reference: (IR193-2)

8 : Implementation Tool #2

IR193-3, Project Manager’s Playbook for Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time

Is a reference guide using bulleted items and short passages so that information can be found quickly and put to use.

Reference: (IR193-3)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved schedule

Research Publications

Techniques for Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time - RS193-1

Publication Date: 08/2004 Type: Research Summary Pages: 17 Status: Supporting Product

Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time - RR193-11

Publication Date: 06/2004 Type: Research Report Pages: 286 Status: Reference

Project Manager's Playbook for Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time - IR193-3

Publication Date: 06/2004 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 66 Status: Tool

Project Manager's Game Planner for Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time - IR193-2

Publication Date: 06/2004 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 15 Status: Tool

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time

Publication Date: 06/2004 Presenter: Number of Slides: 23 Event Code: AC04

Session - Radical Reduction Workshop

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 4 Event Code: PIW1008

Session - Radical Reduction in Project Cycle Time

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 36 Event Code: PIW1008