Industrial Projects Interface Management

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

There are many different stakeholders involved in the delivery of Industrial Projects, which includes owners, contractors, sub-contractors, and suppliers. The effective control of all the interfaces between these different parties can have a significant impact on the project's safety, as well as its commercial and technical success. Interface management is a critical process that manages and assures the flow of critical information in a timely manner between the various project stakeholders through the lifecycle of projects. 

In general:

  1. Each involved party should have a full understanding of their overall interface responsibilities and their respective contractual interfaces within and through the lifecycle of an industrial project.

  2. All Parties should have available to them, a viable communication structure in which interface discussions can be held, the specific information requested, and responses provided. This information flow may be person-to-person, formal/informal, scheduled group meetings, etcetera.

  3. Each stakeholder Project Management Team should have a Single Point of Contact, who has the responsibility and accountability to ensure that interfaces are fully managed within their team. 

  4. All Support Team members whose function is not embedded within a Project Management Team should have a designated Single Point of Contact interface.

The primary scope of an interface management plan is to identify tools and methodologies to identify, manage, and resolve interface issues. The implementation of an interface management process does not "work" the issues; instead, it assures the issues are being worked such that the project activities can be advanced, and any reworks minimised. The process defined within an interface management plan should support the identification and resolution of all interface issues with the objective of minimising the impact on project cost and schedule. In addition, it should provide an auditable trail documenting overall information flow.

Note: Interface management tools do not replace the need for a conversation.

An interface management plan should not be utilised for internal non-technical interfaces. All such interfaces should be addressed through accepted practices, systems, and contractual terms.

Interface Management Plan Key Objectives

The interface management plan should outline the procedure to be utilised in the overall management of all project interfaces during the execution of industrial projects. 

The primary goal of an interface management process should be to identify and facilitate interface issues closure between the project delivery/support teams to facilitate engineering activities can be advanced. It should also deliver a process to manage all difficult interface issues to their overall resolution. 

The key objectives of having an interface management plan are to establish:

  1. A framework which encourages efficient management of both hard and soft interfaces, ensuring that the requirements of all parties for data and information needed for all works are identified and met in a timely manner.

  2. A process which proactively identifies and defines interfaces during project execution, identifying accountabilities and responsibilities, and enhancing communication to help ensure items of work are executed efficiently, eliminating gaps and overlaps in work scope.

  3. A process to identify and track interface issues as well as monitoring the status and progress of interface issues.

  4. A system whereby such interface issues can be resolved in an orderly and efficient manner to minimise the impact on the projects.

  5. A means to escalate project issues should a resolution not be readily forthcoming.

  6. A repository for resolved/closed interface issues.

The Projects Team Ltd. (TPTL) Interface Plan & Process

TPTL Interface Management Plan & Process is based on the following key principles:

  1. Clear project organisation, roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities.

  2. Proper interface boundary delineation.

  3. Identified key interfaces at each stage.

  4. Clear communication methods, plans and procedures.

  5. Project interface management team roles and responsibilities.

  6. Linking interface management with project planning.

  7. Timing of interface response recognising the criticality of adequate closure.

  8. Reporting and monitoring.

TPTL interface management process encompasses the following elements:

  1. Definition of the resultant interfaces derived from the Control Documents, known project work scope and contracting strategies.

  2. The population of the interface management system tools with defined responsibilities and pertinent data.

  3. Progress active issues being worked toward resolution and freezing.

  4. Monitor progress, address problem areas and close-out interfaces.

  5. Intervention and escalation of interface issues where intractable problems arise

  6. Follow-up activities to ensure interface agreements are reflected within design documents.

  7. Engage interface stakeholders in the management of change and/or document distribution process when design documents which address interfaces are changed or updated.

Utilising our proprietary interface management system(s), along with the expected delivery timing, TPTL will implement all necessary functions to resolve all interface issues. The assigned Project Management Team are the owner of the interface, and they are ultimately accountable for proactively resolving all issues. In the event that a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved promptly, the issue is escalated for intervention.

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