An agile approach to asset management

Julia Checchia, PMI (Project Management Institute) Sydney Chapter President, spoke about Agility and Asset Management Planning at our Annual Conference in Sydney last week. Here’s a summary of the key points she raised:

What is asset failure?

We see many examples of ‘asset failures’ in the media:

The impact of these types of failures can be significant - collapses causing severe injury or death. These events leave a permanent mark on the community and most often, credibility can never be restored and organisations and ‘asset managers’ will be blamed.

Usually deteriorating condition or structural integrity is the main reason for these types of failures – and with good risk-based asset management planning, we should be able to predict these events before they happen.

We, as asset managers, need to drive the results, culture change, and engagement within our organisation’s to more effectively plan for and communicate the risks and opportunities. The Asset Management Plan (AMP) is often the best mechanism to do this.

However, we often see the production of an AMP as being a significant project that can take years to produce – when considering the strategy, data, systems, processes and people needed to come together. Often the task appears so big that it’s just too hard to start.

What is ‘Agile’?

Agile processes have been used in software development for some time (including at SPM Assets), but are now being applied to all types of organisations. In short, Agile is a set of management principles that allows an enterprise to master continuous change, and to grow and flourish in complex and volatile times.

This video explains what Agile is (and what it isn’t):

The Agile manifesto has full details.

How can Agile be applied to Asset Management?

Some initial pointers include:

  • Doing less can often mean more delivery and less bureaucracy.
  • Use your existing data and knowledge to write your first AMP.
  • Your Improvement Plan should be based on a series of smaller ‘agile’ projects delivered in two to four week ‘sprints’ that provides recognisable value to your stakeholders.
  • Communication is key – a culture change is likely needed.

How to implement an Agile process right now:

  • Break down problems into achievable two- week deliverables.
  • Most importantly, understand the definition of ‘done’ for those two weeks.
  • Make sure everybody understands their roles and responsibilities within those two- week deliverables.
  • Use the Agile ceremonies (Planning, Daily scrum, Review, and Retrospective) to drive performance and productivity of those two weeks.