The objective of IPA’s Pacesetter Analysis is to give a project team an early interpretation of the drivers and expected outcomes of a project and to provide specific recommendations for the successful completion of the critical project definition phase. The analysis also aims to highlight key activities that need to be completed during Front-End Loading (FEL) 3 to finalize definition and, thereby, minimize risk.
IPA’s Pacesetter Analyses are performed at approximately the midpoint of the project definition phase of a capital project. Pacesetter Analyses can be performed together with a Business FEL evaluation. Typically a Prospective Analysis is also conducted once the project has reached the end of the FEL 3 phase.
The comprehensive analysis covers an evaluation of the project's current status of FEL, use of applicable Value Improving Practices (VIPs), and Team Development Index (TDI). The Pacesetter Analysis also provides industry average performance benchmarks for critical project outcome metrics, including the estimated cost, planned schedule duration, and expected operability performance for the project.
Pacesetter Analyses give a project team and the project sponsors a clear understanding of their project’s current level of definition and use of industry Best Practices. The analysis also outlines the critical deliverables needed to achieve the Best Practical level of definition at the end of FEL. As part of the analysis, IPA provides lessons learned from similar projects executed by other companies, which give the project team insights not available from any other source. Our clients find that Pacesetter Analyses are especially useful because they establish a roadmap for the project team to follow as it works through the last stage of project definition. Our data show that projects that undergo a Pacesetter Analysis typically reach better levels of definition at the end of FEL than do projects that did not have the early evaluation.
To gather the necessary data and information for the analysis, an IPA Project Analyst will meet face-to-face with project team members. The project team members interviewed usually include, as relevant, the project manager, the process and lead design engineers, the cost estimator, the cost and scheduling engineer, and research and development, operations, maintenance, and business representatives. Data are gathered by using a standard IPA workbook involving several major components, including general information (project location, type, size, etc.), technology (level of technical innovation), project management (contracting strategy, team integration, etc.), cost (estimated costs, contingency, etc.), schedule (planned by phase), operational performance (planned), project definition (site-specific factors, project execution planning, and completed engineering), and Value Improving Practices (as applicable).
IPA delivers a written report detailing the results of the Pacesetter Analysis. The report includes an overview of the project background and scope, assessment of the project drivers, comparisons of the planned outcomes with industry averages, conclusions of the analysis, and recommendations based on the analysis results. The report also provides detailed discussions of the basis of comparison used in the analysis, lessons learned that have been collected from comparable projects, and any previous IPA research studies that are applicable to the evaluation. The report is developed using both detailed text and graphics. IPA will also deliver a separate briefing to the project team if requested.