IPA's Capital Solutions group provides real-world solutions for capital project systems.

Consulting and implementation services for capital project systems

IPA Capital Solutions applies IPA’s extensive knowledge of capital projects and project systems to collaboratively develop and implement client solutions.


What We Do

The purpose of capital project investment is to deliver maximum value to shareholders. Selecting the right investments and executing those investments effectively drives long-term competitive advantage and supports innovation, business value, and profitability. 

Getting all necessary elements of the complex project system—organizations, processes, skills, and accountability—in place and working together effectively to achieve these goals is exceedingly challenging.

IPA is the leading organization to diagnose the core issues that prevent the system from working at its best. Companies rely on IPA’s robust databases of more than 17,000 capital projects collected over almost 30 years to provide a data-based knowledge of project systems.

IPA Capital Solutions collaborates with its clients to develop and implement practical and powerful tailored solutions to bring the necessary elements into alignment in a system that makes sense for each company. Our solutions are not theoretical—they are based on data and actual systems that have been implemented and are driving desired results.

We partner with clients to build the capability to deliver maximum value. And, we leave our clients with a baseline and a scorecard to measure performance over time.

Project Development and Delivery

Organization Structure and Capability

Functional Excellence

Targeted Improvement

Project work process

Governance and  gatekeeping

Functional interfaces

Project sponsor role

Project system documentation

Portfolio management

Organizational design

Capability and competency needs

Talent management systems

Staff assessment and development planning

Organization planning for programs

Project management

Cost and schedule estimating

Project controls

New technology deployment



Optimizing owner team cost

Revamping project management training system

Developing key performance indicators for manufacturing sites

Developing Value Improving Practices (VIPs) program

Implementation of project sponsors



Our Focus

We derive our deep understanding of the drivers of capital project success from:

  • IPA’s projects database of more than 17,000 projects performed by more than 300 companies globally
  • IPA’s organizational and system databases describing over 80 owner company approaches to personnel deployment, work process, and governance and gatekeeping for capital projects
  • Nearly 30 years of working directly with our clients’ project organizations to measure performance and drive improvements through data-based benchmarking and research

Capital project systems are different from normal business operations. The rules that govern successful business operations do not apply. That is why general management consulting firms, while able to effectively address and implement improvement efforts across a wide range of business issues, struggle when applying those same approaches to capital project systems.

Capital projects that routinely deliver value to their businesses are produced by a carefully balanced development and delivery project system. Capital projects need to keep three elements in balance:

  • A governance structure that creates the checks and balances that drive value-maximizing decision-making. Value-maximizing decision-making means that uncertainty, the perspective of key stakeholders, and risk to reward trade-offs are carefully analyzed and factored into decisions
  • A project development process that incorporates global Best Practices but is not so bureaucratic and burdensome that it takes forever to complete a project or rigid that changes are never allowed
  • A system supported by a project management organization that delivers functional excellence and can handle the peaks and valleys of the capital spending cycle

IPA Capital Solutions’ sole focus is on project systems and helping our clients to define and implement the changes needed to make their systems successful. We understand all elements needed to keep a project system in balance and produce competitive advantages for our clients. We also apply the principles of change management to our work to ensure our clients realize the full benefit from the improvements.




Our Approach

The Basis of Our Approach

Our solutions are grounded in the knowledge and experience of IPA personnel gained from 30 years of client engagement and project research and benchmarking. Our clients benefit from IPA’s:

  • Breadth of Knowledge
    • IPA Capital Solutions offers holistic understanding of the entire project system
    • Our understanding of process starts with the origins of projects—from initiation to business case development, carries through to project development and planning, continues with project execution and startup, and extends further into operability and ultimate value obtained
    • Our understanding of organizations builds from individual competencies, to effective project, and to the system level
    • Our understanding of the “how to” ranges from the specific tools, templates, and data; to procedures and methodologies; and to the overall governing processes the system operates under
  • Depth of Knowledge
    • IPA Capital Solutions calls on the most extensive database of capital projects, systems, and organizational performance in existence
    • We have access to cutting edge research on projects, project systems, processes, and organizations
    • We know the methods, tools, processes, and organizations that work in practice
    • Our models of systems are based on real-world performance
  • History
    • We have diagnosed, supported, and measured 300+ project organizations embarking on continuous improvement efforts over 30 years. No one else has this view




Solution Development


Problem statement and objectives

Boundary conditions

KPIs for success

Stakeholder analysis

Scope of work and roles and responsibilities

Change management plan

Gather data and benchmark

Analyze results

Perform root cause analysis

Prepare solutions

Develop "From - To" analysis

Engage stakeholders

Obtain interim approvals from change leader and key stakeholders

Pilot solution

Plan for implementation

Rollout changes

Train and coach

Issue documentation

Measure progress

Institutionalize change



Our Solutions

Developing KPIs for Manufacturing Sites  

Problem or


Existing KPIs failed to measure leading and lagging indicators and drove wrong behaviors.

  • Using predictability metrics only can result in padded cost and schedule estimates
  • Metrics such as percent owner cost can be very misleading indicators of competitiveness
  • Clients do not have ready access to much data

Develop suite of KPIs for client tailored to drive improvement.

  • Include competitiveness metrics to balance predictability metrics
  • Metrics based on client's own data and IPA cost and schedule models
  • System set up to routinely update benchmarks quickly and efficiently

Use client and IPA data to provide specific, meaningful comparison ranges.

  • Use client benchmarking results to identify specific practices that net greatest benefit for individual sites
  • Use IPA databases to provide ranges for specific regions, industry sectors
  • Provide guidance on proper application / interpretation of KPIs

Client sites have achieved "Most Improved" in Industry 4x since adoption.

  • Deployment across global organization
  • Standardization of tool, KPIs, implementation to ease adoption
  • Incremental change driven, then magnified
  • KPIs form the basis of site-specific improvement plans across organizations


Implementing Project Sponsor Role  

Problem or


Frequent late changes to and recycle of projects during definition phase.

  • Projects were developed without a clear leader of the business case
  • Incomplete FEL 1 work and poor approach to concept selection left issues open or led to poor decision-making

Install a strong project sponsor role to establish accountability.

  •  A strong project sponsor “owns the business case”
  • Clear accountability improves decision-making
  • Key to ensure cross-organizational alignment on business case and project strategy

Develop project sponsor job description and coach newly assigned sponsors.

  • Outlined the project sponsor role based on industry Best Practice
  • Discussed role with key stakeholders including Board of Directors and CEO to get input and perspective
  • Modified role for client needs and organizational capability
  • Worked directly with project sponsors on two high profile projects

First two projects with new role show improvement.

  • Project sponsor was able to achieve cross-functional understanding and alignment
  • All functions are working on a set of shared objectives
  • Expect significant increase in quality of information used to update business case at next stage gate


Developing Best-In-Class FEL 3 Packages  

Problem or


Existing process precludes the development of Best-in-Class Basic Design, Cost Estimate/Schedule, and Contracting Strategies.

  • Client has a functionally based organization
  • Inherent weakness of functional organization is lack of collaboration on projects
  • Each function has its own objectives and KPIs

Develop new processes and suite of KPIs designed to drive improvement.

  • All three work processes updated with current research on Best Practices for workflow, roles and responsibilities, and new accountability definition
  • Created KPIs for gatekeeping and assurance for basic design, cost estimating, scheduling, and contracting

Analyze and re-design each work process, interfaces, responsibilities, and accountability.

  • Client and IPA formed working teams to develop detailed work process maps for each activity
  • Work processes included interface points between each organization, including information flow across the interface; roles and responsibilities; and accountabilities by function

Current deployment of solutions with upper management acceptance and alignment.

  • A full suite of work processes were completed that had leadership support from all functions
  • Work processes are now being deployed across the company and expanded to other project areas


Re-Align Project Management Organization With Reduced Capital Spend  

Problem or


Client’s PMO was too large for reduced capital spend.

  • Client had to reduce staffing but did not want to lose PMO capability to do current project portfolio
  • Client also wanted to minimize long-term damage and be able to ramp up for the next upturn

Develop organization design and staffing levels.

  • Share alternatives for PMO organizational structure based on industry practice
  • Provide staffing benchmarks for direct and indirect personnel based on current portfolio
  • Identify other ways to save money to make more funds available for staffing

Collaborate with client and use IPA research to explore options.

  • Formed a working team with client to develop recommendations for new organization and staffing levels
  • Shared research, options, and benchmarks to identify preferred solution
  • Communicated frequently with senior management to ensure understanding and alignment

Client reorganized but maintained functional capability.

  • Client used the outcomes to adjust staffing levels and to reorganize
  • Retained enough competency to be ready for the next upturn in the business cycle



Key Contacts

Paul Barshop

Paul Barshop
Director, IPA Capital Solutions


Paul is a Director of IPA Capital Solutions. He provides support to clients implementing changes to their capital project development and delivery systems to improve performance.

Paul was IPA’s Chief Operating Officer from 2004 to 2015. He previously served as Director of IPA’s Netherlands Office from 2000 to 2004, serving European and Middle Eastern clients. Paul joined IPA in 1994. In his early years at IPA, he served as Quality Manager and Project Analyst.

Paul is the author of Capital Projects: How Executives Can Avoid Costly Mistakes and Make Their Major Investments Pay Off, published by John Wiley & Sons in September 2016.


allison headshot

Allison J. Aschman, Ph.D
Director, IPA Capital Solutions


Allison is a Director of IPA Capital Solutions. She works collaboratively with IPA clients to develop and implement real working solutions to achieve maximum value from capital project investment.

Allison was IPA's Asia-Pacific Regional Director from 2009 to 2015. In that role, she gained an in-depth understanding of the most pressing issues regarding capital project investment for companies throughout Asia and Australia. She previously served as manager for IPA's Chemicals and Life Sciences business unit from 2003 to 2009. Allison has led numerous benchmarking studies, individual project evaluations, training workshops, and "should be" work process and organizational efforts for clients across all industrial sectors.


Carlos TapiaCarlos Tapia
Director, IPA Capital Solutions


Carlos is a Director of IPA Capital Solutions. He also leads an IPA initiative focused on establishing deeper and stronger ties with senior corporate and business executives at IPA client companies.

Carlos has served as the Regional Director of IPA's Latin American operations based in Brazil. In this position, he was responsible for overseeing IPA’s increasing involvement in all business sectors in the Latin America region, with a particular focus on oil and gas exploration and production, refining and petrochemicals, and mining and minerals processing.



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