IPA’s Prospective Analyses aim to assess the readiness of a particular project to move into the execution stage, to predict cost, and to schedule an operability outcome for the project. This is done through an evaluation of the project’s drivers and planned outcomes.
A Prospective Analysis is performed near the end of Front-End Loading (FEL), or the project definition phase, of a capital project, ideally right before a decision on full-funds authorization is made. Many organizations use the prospective analysis as a "cold-eyes" review of its projects prior to full-funds authorization. Coupling a Pacesetter Analysis with a Prospective Analysis allows project sponsors to determine if all gaps have been closed prior to each gate in the project development process.
The Prospective Analysis covers all major project drivers, including FEL, the use of the applicable Value Improving Practices (VIPs), and the Team Development Index (TDI). We also examine technological innovation and project management practices. These reviews also provide industry average performance benchmarks for critical project outcome metrics, including the estimated cost, planned schedule duration, and expected operability performance for the project.
Project teams and project sponsors benefit from Prospective Analyses as they provide an objective assessment of the project drivers and expected outcomes. By comparing a project’s drivers and planned outcomes against industry averages from similar projects, we can identify any gaps in definition that could hurt the project’s performance and determine if any of the planned targets add further risk to the project. These analyses also provide a set of specific recommendations to help the project team complete the project successfully.
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), technology (level of technical innovation), project management (contracting strategy, team integration), cost (estimated costs, contingency), schedule (planned by phase), operational performance (planned), project definition (site-specific factors, project execution planning, completed engineering), and VIPs (as applicable).
IPA delivers a written report detailing the results of the Prospective 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 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.