Strike Group is a leading energy service and oilfield construction company based in Calgary, Alberta. They are focused on servicing clients throughout the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, with 17 shops located throughout the oil producing region. They build small and medium plants and facilities, construct and maintain pipelines, install electrical and instrumentation, and fabricate and assemble modules and pipe spools.
Coming out of the 2014 oil price downturn and the resulting pressure to reduce prices and take on riskier projects while less work was available, Strike recognized the need to stabilize project performance and relieve the financial pressure from years of lower margins. The company’s existing tool to achieve this was a 3” ring binder full of standards, procedures, and templates for estimating, planning, managing, and controlling projects. But even after a full re-vamp both conformance to the standards and project performance were still inconsistent. It was clear that the manual wasn’t being read, let alone used.
Strike contracted Synaptix Learning Solutions to help build a 2-day instructor-led training program around the standards manual to drive its use in the field. The initial scope was to train about 30 staff on the manual after performing a Needs Analysis on the company’s operations. After the Needs Analysis and ongoing engagement with senior leaders and management, the scope changed significantly. Before the course could be delivered, two completely new, much shorter, and re-organized Project Execution manuals had to be developed and printed. Synaptix facilitated the process by editing and helping design the manuals but all content came from Strike’s subject matter experts.
The course was built around the new manual, structured to flow with the sequence of Strike’s new Project Execution model. Using a government grant, the course was extended to 3 days and the enrollment more than tripled while keeping the costs the same as the original estimate. The course integrated activities that used the actual templates and procedures from the manual and allowed learners to input real project data and discuss actual challenges with peers and senior management.
The course was delivered to 122 staff in 5 locations over 8 sessions to very positive feedback from the learners and leadership stakeholders. It allowed rapid deployment of the new system and standards and enabled leaders to set clear expectations around usage. Strike is already seeing a reduction in risk and an increase in margin.
Equally important, implementation of the system has kickstarted a structured feedback loop from project managers to management to improve and tailor the estimating and reporting tools (among other changes). This resulted in streamlined templates that reduce reporting time allowing project leaders at every level to spend more time focusing on the project. This key improvement was impossible when each group was developing its own processes in isolation without a single source of truth and centralized support.
The Project Execution Manual was created to assist us in getting to the next level when it comes to estimating, planning and execution. With the guidelines presented in this course, we will have the entire team working consistently with the same systems, processes and procedures.
Exceptional Execution is our ultimate goal. The PEM will help us get to the highest standards that will position us ahead of our competitors.
- Dale Ziegler, President, Canadian Plains Energy Services