I work for a chemical factory and have many project such as plant modification to increase capacity or some project for improve quality of product. I really like to know the first thing how to set the system of project management?

At one time I did that sort of thing for a food processing company. I think the key elements especially when dealing with multiple projects at various states of completion is making sure nothing gets forgotten.

The first step is to have some way of keeping track of projects. I used a numbering system based on the date the project was assigned to me. That way I could sort the projects by the project number and they would be in the order they were assigned.

Your primary focus has to be on keeping things moving forward. You may want to create a tasklist for each project and check off items as you complete them. You must have a scope of work, schedule and budget for each project. A critical path plan should be prepared as well, this will help you understand which task and lead times are actually controlling the overall schedule. There should be references to how to prepare these online.

Don’t get bogged down in the details, you have to recognize which decisions you need to make and which decisions you don’t need to make. It always goes better if you get the production and maintenance people involved in making a lot of the detail decisions. The production people should know the process and the maintenance people know what equipment they perfer. They need to buy into the project and become the owners of it, it helps at the end if you can turn it over to them cleanly and move on the next project.

In most cases you will need the assistance of consultants and contractors to get the job done. For consultants I prepared a list of design guidelines for them to use. Such things as minimum and maximum allowable velocities for piping, types of seal and or where canned pumps were required. Minimum insulation levels, and what assumptions they and use and cannot use.

Contractors can help you with scheduling and also in value engineering. Although I would not rely too heavily on contractors schedules unless they have demonstrated they can accurately schedule.

Means data has a lot of scheduling information with times and crew requirements for standard jobs. There are also several project management software packages available that automatically adjust the schedule as situations change.

Once a project is underway the biggest time delay is errors by either the contractor or the designers. No plans are ever perfect and everyone makes mistakes. To avoid delays a represenative of the owner needs to be on site and making inspections of the work on a daily basis. A considerable amount of time and expense can be saved just by paying attention and catching mistakes before they are set in concrete or welded in place.

The second biggest time waster is change orders. They are unavoidable, but a sharp owners rep on site can push these through so that Engineers and Contractors don’t waste a lot of time going back and forth. The other reason if there’s going to be a deviation to the plans I think the owner should approve the deviation as well as the Engineers. You don’t need Contractors and Consultants making design changes that you are unaware of.

I would also check into project management training courses or seminars as well. You can pick up lots of good information at one of these very quickly.

Good luck, you’ve got one of the toughest jobs, but its also very exciting to see a new or improved process come to life though your efforts.