Improving Estimating

The Head of the Cost Office in the UK arm of an internationally operating engineering organisation, had been tasked with improving the estimating capability within the organisation as part of the overall improvement strategy to be implemented within the organisation.

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Background

Background

Background

Group HQ felt that the ability to estimate required improvement

The customer is the UK arm of an international engineering organisation, designing and manufacturing equipment for use in the transportation, aerospace, defence, financial and security sectors. Working in partnership with many well-known organisations and government bodies, the organisation is instrumental in many aspects of daily living including travel, banking and safety in the UK. With thousands of staff worldwide the organisation has considerably complex training requirements, and recognising the need for on-going people development to help build a sustainable future, they ensure L&D within the workforce is a top priority.

Problem

problem

The Problem

Group HQ felt that the ability to estimate required improvement

The customer organisation felt that the ability to estimate required improvement. Some new tools to support estimates were being rolled out, but what they needed to also improve was the capability to provide the tools with the right data in the first place. There were already guidelines in Chorus 2 on the tools, techniques and roles involved, but they were not effective on their own. They therefore felt a more focussed training programme looking at estimating would be beneficial to up-skill the team.

Solution

solution

The Solution

Group HQ felt that the ability to estimate required improvement

To ensure individuals were fully equipped with the information and knowledge they needed to use the tools already in place and those being rolled out more effectively, several areas of need were identified. This included offering training to those new to the field of estimating via a “Passport to Estimating” programme, supporting more experienced individuals in improving their working practices via an “Estimating Practice” course, and delivering training to those managing the estimating process in a programme called “Estimating Management”. This approach was intended to ensure the entire staff connected with the estimating process would have adequate skills and knowledge to properly engage with and use the tools to get the information needed. These programmes were developed in partnership with the customer organisation who clearly defined what aspects they needed addressed and utilised TLD’s expert knowledge to deliver the most appropriate solution to achieve these objectives.

Training

Training

The Training

Group HQ felt that the ability to estimate required improvement

The 3 instructor-led workshops were all designed to be interactive and thought provoking. Estimating challenges included theoretical situations such as a journey from Land’s End to John o’Groats and Moving a Mountain. These were intended to help the individuals use the knowledge they’d gained and put it into practice to help ensure easy transfer back in the workplace. After the initial design, pilot sessions were delivered to members of the Cost Office Community, and then to a wider audience of practitioners in different domains. Feedback was then collated, reviewed and the production versions of the workshops created for release in 2016.

Challenges

Challenge

The Challenges

Group HQ felt that the ability to estimate required improvement

The two main challenges included:

  • Supporting the different parties in agreeing on the definition of “An Estimate” - due to the nature of estimating, there remains some confusion and disagreement about what an estimate actually is. In order to ensure that TLD could offer a cohesive training package to individuals at all levels, it was vital that prior to design of the course, an agreed upon definition was established. This ensured that when delivering the training, there was alignment between all groups in their understanding of the term, making it much easier for communications and use of information in the future.
  • To understand the importance of the role of Estimate Manager - Most of the pilot groups did not realise that such a role existed, and it required input from TLD and the customer organisation to find a way to explain this role and how it impacted the business and team outcomes. Following the training some individuals realised that they had been performing the role badly, and were supported in developing the skills needed to improve.

Outcomes

outcomes

Outcomes

Group HQ felt that the ability to estimate required improvement

The pilots were delivered to over 60 people in total and raised the awareness levels considerably. Additional programmes are now planned for 2016, including the possibility of sharing them with our French colleagues.

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