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How Consistent Are You?


We’ve heard the phrase “consistency is key” since we were kids. In fact, I say it to my own children. It is true in life, and it is true in the world of Project Execution Planning and Startup and Commissioning (CSU). The word consistency means “conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness.”

When I begin looking at contractor checkout forms, work packages, system numbering, checklists, etc., I often notice a huge lack of consistency around these documentation and planning activities. This almost always leads to a confusing and inefficient startup. Why reinvent the wheel? When people bring their own method of project or startup management (because there either is no consistent process or they disregard because of perceived flaws), it can lead to a lack of good teamwork.

To illustrate – a few weeks back, I did a CSU workshop for a company to help them understand their current processes related to CSU. We gathered a mix of Project Engineers, Discipline Leads, and Project Managers. As the meeting started, it became apparent that the group’s focus had been on executing project design and not CSU. As we further discussed one of their major projects, we discovered that only a few people were actually aware of certain CSU activities that leadership thought were being executed on all projects. Because it wasn’t documented or communicated correctly, the plant leadership (wrongly) assumed that these activities were being completed under another team’s scope.

Bad news – the other team didn’t understand these expectations. This created a lot of inconsistencies not only in work processes but also when it came to executing an efficient startup. They expressed frustration and a sense of defeat regarding their recent startup efforts. Not to mention they were spending more time learning processes than executing work!

Creating Efficiency through Consistency

When consistency is introduced to your project, it

  • Allows for measurement
  • Creates accountability
  • Ensures maintainability
  • Allows for reproducibility and scalability to fit future projects
  • Creates predictable results


These are all important elements when it comes to establishing clear communication among a project team and meeting a project schedule. Of course, the first step in implementing consistency is planning and utilizing the RIGHT processes. Once you have that in place, the team must understand and agree to execute the project as communicated. In my experience, whether you’re on a project team or managing a household with five little ones, consistency saves time, energy, and sanity!

I am happy to report after a few simple planning sessions and implementation of more consistent practices, we have made a huge impact on our client’s project execution and CSU activities. This emphasis on consistency is already beginning to show long-term benefits in our CSU effort across the board.

If you have questions about planning and executing a successful project startup, contact us.

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