Planning for, Facilitating & Evaluating Design Effectiveness

RT-233 Topic Summary
RT 233


Design effectiveness (DE) is the degree to which the project design effort contributes to achieving targeted project value objectives. Simply put, effective design enhances project value, and to achieve project goals, design must be effective.

To achieve design effectiveness it is critical to engage in proactive planning and to identify supporting tools and processes. Several of the many factors that enhance DE include front end planning, planning for startup, engineering productivity metrics, value management processes, facility security, sustainability, and project performance benchmarking. Investment in design and pre-project planning lead to lower project cost variability.

RT-233 collaborates with the research on Maximizing Engineering Value conducted by RT-245 to provide a model for implementing design effectiveness on projects of varying size and scope across all industry sectors. RT-233 builds on the original research of RT-8 conducted in 1986.

Project teams are encouraged to apply the full Maximizing Engineering Value/Design Effectiveness (MEV/DE) Implementation Model on their projects in order to achieve targeted value through design.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Design Effectiveness Evaluation Applications

The DE evaluation process involves the vital step of measurement; reliable measurement provides the data needed to assess the effectiveness of design relative to project value objectives (PVO). In turn, this assessment helps provide feedback to design teams and project leaders, and, if needed, can lead to constructive adjustments to design efforts.

A project team may wish to use evaluation criteria based on project value objectives as a way to gain alignment on more specific performance oriented design objectives. Alternatively, interim DE assessments may be desired during the design effort and prior to design completion in order to provide an opportunity to affect mid-course corrections. Long-term performance benchmarking and application of incentives provide two more reasons for pursuing formal design effectiveness. Thus it is clear that Design Effectiveness may be evaluated from the perspective of the owner, the designer, the construction team, or any combination of these parties. (RS233-1, p. 6)

The evaluation of design effectiveness is driven by 4 different motives:

  • Stakeholder alignment on design objectives
  • Continuous improvement
  • Metric for benchmarking
  • Basis for incentives
Reference: (RS233-1)

2 : Implementation Model for Maximizing Engineering Value and Design Effectiveness (MEV/DE)

This model is developed to provide guidance to organizations on how to set up and administer a MEV/DE program within both a company and a project team. The model promotes efficient MEV/DE strategies and tools for both project and organization wide continuous improvement efforts. Design effectiveness is a collection of subcomponents within the larger MEV/DE process. Key components/steps of DE within this model include: (RS233-1, p. 7)

  • Prioritize project value objectives and DE objectives
  • Plan for DE evaluation
  • Evaluate DE performance
  • Make use of DE evaluation
  • Identify strategy implementation lessons
  • Ensure impact of MEV/DE efforts
Reference: (RS233-1)

3 : Design Effectiveness Evaluation Criteria and Tool

The DE evaluation approach is driven by these 11 Project Value Objectives (PVO). Thirty effective design practices are identified in support of these 11 PVOs. (RS233-1, p. 11)

  • Security
  • Operations and Maintenance Safety
  • Construction Safety
  • Regulatory and Standards Compliance
  • Capital Cost Reduction
  • Operations and Maintenance Efficiency
  • Product/Plant/Service Quality
  • Design and Construction Quality
  • Schedule Reduction
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Flexibility for Future Use

Multiple, optional sub-criteria under each PVO category constitute the detailed attributes by which design performance is evaluated. The sub criteria are specific characteristics that together with measurement scales constitute the DE evaluation tool.

Reference: (RS233-1)

4 : Implementation Tool #1

RR233-11, Design Effectiveness Evaluation Tool

An automated tool created to assist in the evaluation of design effectiveness in the context of capital facility projects. The purpose of this tool is to provide guidance in assessing how well a project is meeting desired objectives and criteria for design effectiveness. This tool computes a design effectiveness performance score based on these 5 project inputs: (RR233-11, p. 79)

  • Timing of DE evaluation
  • Relative importance of 11 different PVOs
  • Selected or screened sub-criteria associated with each PVO
  • Assessments of individual sub-criteria
  • Significance weightings of evaluation sub-criteria associated with targeted PVO
Reference: (RR233-11)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved schedule, Improved quality, Improved operations & maintainability, Reduced rework

Research Publications

Evaluation of Design Effectiveness - RS233-1

Publication Date: 05/2009 Type: Research Summary Pages: 21 Status: Supporting Product

Planning for, Facilitating, and Evaluating Design Effectiveness - RR233-11

Publication Date: 12/2007 Type: Research Report Pages: 225 Status: Tool

Presentations from CII Events

Plenary Session - How to Deliver Designs That Achieve Project Objectives

Publication Date: 07/2007 Presenter: Number of Slides: 24 Event Code: AC07

Implementation Session - How to Deliver Designs That Achieve Project Objectives

Publication Date: 07/2007 Presenter: Number of Slides: 51 Event Code: AC07