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  • Brian Roach, MATRIX PMO

Be Safe, Plan the Work, Work the Plan

Project success is typically defined by factors related to cost, schedule, and quality. Project managers also gauge project success by return on investment. However, no project would ever be considered a success if it resulted in injury or death of those working to deliver the project.

Thorough, complete, and robust project plan development and risk assessments are key to ensure cost, schedule and quality requirements are met. Risk related to human performance is, however, often overlooked during the development of a project plan. The risk register often lacks development of risk related to human performance. Deviation from project schedules and related work plans is also often not recognized as contributor to risk of human error that increases the chance of injury to workers.


Those working on a project are often faced with schedule pressure, tight resource availability and the need to respond to metrics which focus upon cost and schedule performance. Response to factors that cause plan deviation often result in actions that increase the chance of human error, injury and/or equipment damage.


MATRIX PMO Project Managers understand the drivers of human performance error. Up front project planning, and risk development goes beyond mitigation planning to recover postulated cost and schedule impacts. Project plans and risk development identifies potential scenarios where plan deviation is most likely to occur. Mitigating actions include reinforcement of decision-making authority and provides varying degrees of prescribed response that ensures workers do not respond without conscious recognition of risk.


Schedule and plan deviation is recognized as a significant contributor to industrial safety risk. To the best of their ability, workers will attempt to respond and self-mitigate impacts as they arise. Their responses often result in unfamiliar and inadequately planned scenarios that raise the potential for human performance error, injury and/or equipment damage. Deviation from project baseline schedules and baseline risk registers is recognized as a contributor to industrial safety risk.


MATRIX Project Managers maintain granular leading indicators that serve to identify plan deviation before impacts are significant and risks to project safety performance increase unacceptably and beyond the human factors or engineered controls built into the plan.


MATRIX Project Managers place a significant emphasis upon development of the project plan. Risks are identified and included in the risk register with robust mitigating actions. Decision making authority in response to the occurrence of unplanned or inadequately developed risk is emphasized to ensure command and control is maintained when it is most important.


MATRIX Project Managers recognize how risk to safety and quality is impacted by deviation from the plan and how schedule slippage and cost pressures contribute to the imparting of risk by well-intentioned workers.


The safest place to be in any project is on schedule. Schedule deviation will occur. Development of mitigating actions to manage the reality of schedule pressure is an element inherent to every MATRIX project plan. Be safe, Plan the Work, Work the Plan.

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