Infrastructure and AEC Possibilities "Fix It First"

President Obama announced in his State of the Union Address we should be focusing on fixing the broken infrastructure elements in our country. Not long after President Obama's address the civil engineers announced our county only earned a D+ in infrastructure condition and performance. While a lot of focus has been on the roads and bridges our water systems are in deplorable condition. Many cities have pipes which leak almost 20% of their input back into the ground at a tremendous cost to rate payers. Electrical grids and telecommunication networks are aging and in rural communities are often among the oldest installations left in our country.

Roads: Why Fix Them When You Can Build More?

Democrats would rather build more than fix much of anything. Building new cost x times more than to fix what is already there. 
Cutting red tape, increasing private investment, and designating $40 billion for urgent repairs are the three cornerstones of President Obama's new plan for U.S. infrastructure.
Fleshing out the "Fix it First" plan announced Feb. 12 in the State of the Union Address, the White House issued a Fact Sheet on Wednesday (Feb. 20) with more details of the proposal.
"Investing in infrastructure not only makes our roads, bridges, and ports safer and allows our businesses and workers to be as competitive as they need to be in the global economy; it also creates thousands of good American jobs that cannot be outsourced," according to "The President’s Plan to Make America a Magnet for Jobs by Investing in Infrastructure."
... What remains unclear, however, is how the Obama administration plans to pay for this and other infrastructure initiatives that the President outlined in his State of the Union speech last month.
In a speech to the National Governors Association Monday, the President fleshed out additional details of the plan, announcing that his administration will create "regional teams" that will assist states in implementing infrastructure projects.

Fact Sheet: The President’s Plan to Make America a Magnet for Jobs by Investing in Infrastructure

White House fact sheet on infrastructure projects. 

Finally, what appears to be a 'shot in the arm' for the basic needs for the country is only a temporary fix to a systemic problem. Costs of federal procurement is higher than any other roadway and infrastructure project type of its kind. Lower real value is produced per dollar spent than in any other kind of construction. While welcome to the larger infrastructure design and construction firms, smaller firms will have to scratch it out to gather their part of the pie. And when the pittance of 40 Billion is spent when we are really talking about over 1 Trillion in needs, the short-term fix will leave us with significant needs to deal with.

Call and write your federal legislators in both the House and Senate to use this as a starting shot in the arm for real wage growth in the country. While you are at it introduce them to the idea of integrated design and delivery to help each dollar go further. 


Top Five Most Read Articles at this blog.

 Seems people over the past year were really interested in the lean topics but just as interesting three of the most popular articles came from pretty early on and all three were tied to BIM in some way. But one of my favorites about the Design Age is still there in the top five.
Feel free to chime in about your favorite. Oh, and if there's something you would like to hear about more let me know that too. 
And thanks to everyone for your readership and support. 
Remember, "Collaboration is the glue of success."


Why Do Projects Fail? - A contrarian POV

Earlier today I came across an article entitled, "Why Do Projects Fail? - Learning how to avoid failure."  An engaging topic to be sure. Especially for me, since I'm in the business of helping folks deliver successful projects and managing the change which often accompanies those projects.

Well the article rounded up the usual suspects of project requirements, losing focus, disengagement, impossible deliverables, the wrong deliverables, the wrong project statement, governance and poor implementation. Now I'm not going to debate the importance of everyone of the stated reasons in the article, but I am going to take issue with the basic premise of a project' existence. The single item above which get's closest to this idea is the 'wrong project statement.'

Project Statements and Their Assumptions

We begin a project with the best intentions in place. Thinking that it will deliver clear benefits to it's constituent users and make their lives better. But hold on a minute. Who asked the question about why this idea came about in the first place. Why did they think this was a good idea? Who is the real champion behind this idea and why are they interested? What is the failure surrounding this project's initiation? What is the value of that Failure? Even more importantly, what causes the failure in the first place?

Did you catch on the Who, What When, Where, Why theme. As a long-time problem solver both in the singular and collaborative group context, often I've found few, if any, of the above questions or others similar have been asked and seriously answered. In many cases the key question is about the failure surrounding the genesis of the project in the beginning. More than once when looked at closely, this failure value question gets to the heart of where the real solution lies and more than likely, the solution wasn't what people thought it should be.

So the assumptions made at the beginning of projects are more likely to contribute to the failure of a project simply because the problem statement is all wrong from the beginning. It is of no consequence if there was complete engagement, perfect execution and implementation; in the end the project will fail to survive because it serves no real purpose of delivers any significant value and will be abandoned.

I mention this not from the perspective of building projects so much as the processes we use to deliver projects. Often our efforts to make our businesses more effective only continues to contribute to the confusion and failure within and between organizations. We find ourselves chasing rabbits, ghosts and digging holes for no reason. All the ineffectual, "Stupid" stuff many of us deal with daily.

The Challenge

So the next time someone proposes a project, find out if it can stand the scrutiny of the Who, What, When, Where and Why sisters. If it does, then likely you are on the right path and success is more likely than if you don't.

This is a continuing series of monographs and conversations about the Connections of ideas as Strings and Links of overlapping ideas dealing with project management, business management, business processes and project delivery.
Remember "Collaboration is the Glue of Success."