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Small details at the heart of Olympian-sized task

‘Project management rigour’, the buzzwords from the London 2012 Olympic build project. Speakers from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and delivery partner CLM once again stressed the importance of the rigorous application of project management as a key reason for the construction project’s success at last night’s Learning Legacy event.

The event, the second in a series of five learning events hosted by official legacy partner, APM, looked at the process of setting up the project in the right way. Kenna Kintrea, head of venues and infrastructure, ODA, said it was always the intention of the project team to manage in such a rigorous way, before adding that it had also remained flexible as more information became available.

The application of the approach focused on the details at the front end, which were designed to test the suitability of people and processes through a procedure known as Competitive Dialogue, and later on in the governance and reporting structures.

Asked if the success of the Olympic Park build and the rigour adopted had provided a template for the success of projects in future, Kenna said it was a ‘very important’ part but not the only element. “It’s what you do with the monitoring information and how management react to things like implementation reviews to support the teams and sort out issues with contractors.”

Work at the front end, including time spent building and integrating different team structures, was key to successful delivery on the ground, according to Caroline Blackman, head of organisational management, CLM. Tasked with bringing together over 10,000 workers across the Park, CLM focused on ‘behavioural rigour’ through the use of chartering to bring people together.

She said: “Too often, what happens is that people go straight into action mode and don’t engage, and go off and do it individually. We said we’re not actually going to do action plans, we going to talk about building a charter, and before we do anything we’re going to establish a baseline for how we operate.”

“Once you get some level of engagement then you can drive action plans,” she added.

John Fernau, head of procurement at the ODA, advised that engaging with senior management will help to identify wider objectives, beyond the obvious, that can be built into the procurement process to ensure they are delivered. The evening then finished with a video of Jonathan Edwards taking a look at the latest progress on the Olympic Park as the 200 days to go milestone is reached.

The next Learning Legacy event in the series to share more lessons learned and best practice is called ‘Greatest show on earth – delivering the Olympic Park‘ and will take place on Wednesday 28th March at The Charing Cross Hotel in London – book your place today.

>>> Watch videos of all three speakers

Previous event:
Learning legacy launch debate: Lessons learned on the construction of the Olympic Park

About DaynerProudfoot

Dayner Proudfoot is PR and Marketing Manager at the Association for Project Management (APM), the largest professional body of its kind in Europe. Dayner has over 8 years of marketing experience and is responsible for the external communications of APM.

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