Project Management at Lithon Project Consultants

At Lithon, we’ve recognised the pivotal role project management plays in delivering well-executed and cost-effective projects. As part of our long-term strategic plan for the business, we established a dedicated Project Management Office (PMO) in early 2020, headed up by our COO, Scott Richards. Our goal? To not only develop an effective project management culture and approach within Lithon, but to offer this service and its benefits to our clients. 

Let’s see what Scott has to say about this exciting space. 

What’s been happening in the Lithon PMO?  

We’re in the process of building project management capacity and awareness within the company. Last year, 12 staff members completed in-house project management training over a two-month period. And this year, four staff members will participate in more intensive training with the goal of obtaining their Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) through the Project Management Institute (PMI). 

In terms of our project management approach, we use the PMI Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). We began incorporating it into the company in mid-2020 and we’re starting to see results in better project delivery and improved efficiencies. We’re also seeing good synergies on multi-disciplinary projects, where various disciplines like structural and electrical engineering and transportation are required on a single project.

Why is designated project management important?

In any engineering project, there are a large number of interrelated factors that can affect its outcome – and derail it, if they’re not managed properly. That’s where project management comes in. It brings structure to the way projects are planned, coordinated, monitored, and controlled. To be most effective, project management should be brought in at the inception stage of a project and it should be a separate department to the engineering teams working on the project. When done correctly, it results in projects that are better planned, better executed, and more cost effective. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the PMI?

The PMI is an international body that offers globally recognised certifications and courses. I’ve been part of launching the Namibia Chapter of the organisation – to not only create awareness of project management but also to provide the opportunity for professional certification. We’ve seen massive interest from a broad sector since the launch, and I’m optimistic that there’ll be many more project management professionals registered in the country in the next 18 months. 

What does the PMBOK approach entail?

The Project Management Body of Knowledge is the PMI’s blueprint for project management in business. It covers 10 areas that form the basis of a project: Integration, Scope, Schedule, Cost, Quality, Resources, Communication, Risk, Procurement, and Stakeholders. At the start of a project, the project manager will create a document that details their plan and approach for each area – how they’re going to manage, monitor, and control it over the lifespan of the project.  

Lithon’s PMO is facilitating the Hosea Kutako International Airport upgrade. Can you tell us more about this?

This is a big project which has given us a platform to not only promote our project management services, but also to demonstrate to the client the benefits of a structured approach. We identified risks early on and have been able to implement mitigation plans rapidly, the project is nearing completion, currently within budget, and we’ve maintained excellent project team relations. The various teams working on the project have also seen the benefits of this approach – so much so that many of them are now in some stage of Project Management Professional registration through the PMI.