Workface Planning (WFP) was created with the intent to align and integrate all planning-related processes within a large project. However, research undertaken by the University of California at Berkeley has predicted that projects will not benefit from WFP. In fact, those projects may experience cost overruns and schedule delays. One issue highlighted is that WFP does not focus on key relationships between inventory, capacity, time and variability.

This PPI Virtual Conference brought together industry experts, academics and thought leaders to discuss their experiences with WFP, provide the latest updates from the field and review the unintended consequences of an WFP approach such as inventory growth, longer cycle times, lower labor utilization and higher costs.


Panelist Bios

View PDF brochure with additional details including the biographies of our panelists for this virtual conference.

Missed the virtual conference?

A recording of the conference is available below.

Please log in or join to view the virtual conference recording.

Your 7 Most-Asked Workface Planning Questions, Answered

Below are the most frequently asked questions we received during our September Workface Planning Webinar. To better assist those interested in this topic, our expert panelists answered them here in greater detail.

Q: How can we convince senior management, who have been using traditional PM for 30+ years, to shift to PPM?

A: We suggest starting by pointing to historical capital project performance data. Have projects during those 30 years of traditional (best practice) project practices consistently met cost, schedule and production attainment objectives? Clearly, no.

Yet, over the last 30 years, manufacturing industries have realized multifold improvement in efficiency substantially lowering the unit cost of production and increased profitability. How did they accomplish this? By recognizing and using the laws that govern production systems called Operations Science (OS). Capital projects are production systems subject to the laws of OS. Traditional project management practices were conceived with NO understanding of those laws and, in fact, many of those practices like AWP/WFP are actually deleterious to performance.

In addition, some practical steps to consider include:

1 – Determine if projects are critical to business performance (owner: lost market share, revenue, profit, etc. for contractor loss revenue and profit)

2 – Calculate or determine impact of current project outcomes versus better project outcomes to business performance (revenue, profit, cash-flow, etc.)

3 – Prepare a simple report with recommendations in business language that is not too technical

4 – Identify an internal sponsor in the company who understands the opportunity, can do something about and will do something about it

5 – Work with that sponsor to engage other executives in company

If the company does not want to change, move on to one that wants to be a leader in the industry.

Q: During the tender, will we need to create visibility of the systems of the contractor, prior to signing the contract?

A: Absolutely. In fact, we would argue that the bid package lay out the expectations for full transparency of the contractors’ work processes, involvement by the owner’s team in those processes and use of project production control software, methods and analytics.

Q: Can only a truly vertically integrated oil and gas company who designs, builds and operates in-house make PPM work?

A: Any entity doing the work of project development and execution can use PPM. It will be more productive if all parties are engaged together, but there is no reason that for example an engineering contractor couldn’t use it in design or a construction contractor couldn’t use PPM in construction to improve performance and profitability.

Q: If we are to own the work process of our contractors, how should we change our contract strategy and contract requirements?

A: The owner always “owns” the work processes of the contractors, even if they don’t recognize that ownership. Afterall, it is the owner’s money that is being spent. As stated above, contract requirements should clearly lay out the expectations, understanding and true willingness to work together in a different way. This should be tested in the bidding process and selection should be made with companies that are willing to take this on, which may mean not selecting the lowest bidder. PPM can be made to work with any form of compensation, but forms that allow close working relationships such as reimbursable enhance the ability to affect change and work together in a different way.

Q: Can any of the panelists recommend a production control management system software, or do you recommend we develop our own to suit specific project circumstances?

A: This question was fielded in the discussion; however, the answer may not have been clear. A company called Strategic Project Solutions has developed and licenses the use of PPM software. They are the only provider of this software that we know of.

Q: Wayne, thank you for your candor, this is refreshing to hear your observations. What is something you would recommend to other large capital owners considering an AWP pilot project?

A: Don’t do it. Learn from Chevron’s experience. We experimented with AWP and PPM. In our experience, AWP did not yield results that translated to the bottom line. However, PPM and more specifically Project Production Control did, and continues to give us results. We suggest you consider a pilot for PPC instead. It will be a far better use of your time.

Q: Question for Gary, does schedule benchmarking have value in this discourse? Many owners like Chevron have portfolios of schedule performance data, how is that shared with contractors to avoid making past mistakes on completed work?

A: Schedule matters because it is a key factor in return on investment. At Chevron, we liberally shared schedule performance data with our contracting partners. However, in spite of our best attempts, it did not improve performance. I always thought that was just because the project team didn’t follow our project development and execution practices. However, I came to realize the poor performance was perfectly aligned with the laws that govern production systems. I was working on the wrong things, solving the wrong problems and making decisions using project intuition that hurt instead of enhancing performance.

If you were unable to join us for PPI’s past Virtual Conferences be sure to access the recordings here.

For any questions, contact

PPI Virtual Conference sessions bring together experts, practitioners, thought leaders and interested professionals to discuss and explore a variety of topics addressing the current gap in project delivery.