Unlocking Step Changes and Productivity Gains
We talk about enabling real-time decision making, but what about real-time iteration?
There is an important difference between them…
Real-time decision making is about having access to the information you need, in order to make a quick and effective decision. Often this is based on a linear, predefined view or assumption about the end goal.
How does real-time iteration differ? In this situation you are deliberately testing a number of scenarios. Acknowledging that you don’t have perfect information about the ideal outcome or can’t perfectly predict how to get there.
Unlocking step changes and productivity gains
One thing we know for sure is, we can’t expect new outcomes if we continue to work as we have done in the past.
With this in mind, it is important to create safe ways of testing new ideas, along with our preconceived assumptions, to review how they really perform.
At Mooven, we often talk to teams who have so called ‘wacky’ ideas. Ideas that they think could make a difference but don’t have the means to test or confirm the outcome. Often we find these ideas are actually genius and one of our goals is to help our customers unlock this existing potential.
My perfect plan didn’t survive the first hit
It would be amazing if we could create a plan and have this survive the first punch or major hit. However, this is almost never the case in practice.
No matter how well we plan, these thing hold true:
Everything is changing, always;
Our actions cause ripple effects;
Likewise, the actions of others (which we don’t have visibility or control of) will also create ripple effects.
What does this mean for the delivery of infrastructure programs?
It’s easy to see program plans as fixed, however they are not.
Throughout the life of any project we are constantly dealing with change, and there is a real opportunity to use this to our advantage. Real-time iteration is about asking:
“What other ways could we approach this problem”?
“What would the benefits be if we could”?
“What are the associated risks”?
“With this in mind, how would you define a safe test to see what is possible”?
Once we have opened up these questions, we can look for safe opportunities to test and inform our thinking. Luckily, infrastructure delivery is normally measured in years and decades so we have plenty of opportunities to build key learnings into our programs.
There is a lot of talk about ‘failing fast’ and I think this is useful, but there is a better way to frame this. Instead, we could talk about how quickly we can confirm if an idea works or not.
No one likes failing. Quickly finding out that an idea won’t work is not a failure, it is actually a success. When iterating, we know some ideas won’t work, that’s why we are trying.
The real failure would be not trying anything new and continuing to leave opportunity on the table.
Where to start?
Here are some of our tips on how to start. Keeping it simple and building momentum is the name of the game, so you can use early wins to gain buy-in and ongoing support.
Step One: Get informed
A great first step is to simply gather information on potential alternatives first.
For example, you’d like to close a lane but you’re unsure if this would cause an issue. Rather than just looking at traffic volume on that road, check if there are potential detour paths and measure journey times to see if there are viable options.
Step Two: Create a low risk test
You now have information suggesting a detour could work, enabling work to be carried out more efficiently. Before jumping in boots and all, look for safe ways to confirm this.
For example, set up the lane closure and detour early in the day, with works that can be quickly moved if there is an issue.. Use live monitoring to confirm performance and if it’s not working, stop works and open up the lane again.
Step Three: Now we’re running
Begin to test the new approach during full construction - watching and monitoring the wider network closely to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Step Four: Don’t stop there…
Outstanding, you’ve learnt something new and achieved real gains. That’s just your first go around the merry go round. Now review the status quo again, ask “what if '' and look for potential ways to improve again then design internal tests to confirm and implement.
Give it a go
You never know what you’ll find. Think of all the great accidental inventions such as 3m post-its, playdough, super glue, even the age-old microwave was an accidental invention.
Mooven is adaptive and enables you to iterate and respond early across single sites to larger scale programs. Providing you with the opportunity to accelerate innovation and find more efficient and previously untried ways of working.
If we don’t change how we work, we shouldn't expect to keep growing and getting more efficiency gains each time we deliver a new project.
We can't expect to ‘deliver more with less’ with what we’ve done in the past.
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