Crisis-Project Ma­nage­ment

Crisis project management puts ailing projects back on the road to success

Due to insolvency, contractual inaccuracies but also due to false expectations and lack of
Communication can cause delays or even a standstill in the planning and construction process and damage the project.
If a crisis occurs in a project, quick action is required in order not to jeopardise the overall success of the project.
In such a situation you can rely completely on CANZLER's experienced experts to bring your project back on the home stretch.

Holger Richter, Dipl.-Ing. Elek­tro­tech­nik, managing director at CANZLER and responsible for project management and project control of major projects and Andrej Diebels, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Elektrische Ener­gie­tech­nik, authorised signatory and manager of the department of electrical engineering - explain the crisis management for projects in distress which CANZLER has already successfully implemented several times:

Mr. Richter, for many years as managing director at Canzler you have been responsible for the project success of numerous large-scale projects. What distinguishes your company in the cooperation in these projects?

Holger Richter:

A large number of engineers, experts and specialists from different fields work together on very large construction projects. The planning is a multi-layered construct of interdisciplinary cooperation, individual responsibility and technical specifications and all this within a tight time and cost framework. The contractually agreed performance of the project participants in terms of deadlines, costs and quality form the basis for the success of the project. However, the personality of each individual is also decisive for the interaction of all - in the team with us and in the entire project team. If everything is structurally regulated and well defined, if everyone is on track via specifications and quality management systems and if communication is right, a project is usually completed successfully even under great time pressure. However, this ultimately depends on the commitment of each employee - everyone must and can rely on the other!

What are your organisational structures like?  As managing director, you don't sit on the construction site from morning to night?

Holger Richter:

As the partner responsible for the project, I always measure the success of the project. Of course, personal presence is not always necessary for projects, but nowadays your workplace is not fixed. I see my presence there more as a service for our customer, as a responsible contact person on site and to pick up wishes and concerns directly. This has proven itself many times in my projects. Because not everything always runs smoothly - and then I prefer to be on the spot when there is a fire.

Mr Diebels, how do such scenarios happen?

Andrei Diebels:

Sometimes the engine just stutters - then there is sand in the gears and the project gets into a crisis situation if relevant specialist planning is behind schedule. Then project progress loses momentum and the whole project starts to falter. In many projects Canzler joined the project team as a TGA planner only in the planning phase and made sure that the project got back on track first as an expert and later also as a planner.

What are possible reasons for Canzler's late project entry?

Andrei Diebels:

There can be many reasons. Contract ambiguities, insolvencies but also simply communication problems. The high implementation speed of projects nowadays allows no or only little delay. If a planning partner breaks away or does not provide sufficient services from the client's point of view, the success of the overall project is also endangered. The consequence is always the same: planning delays and, in the worst case, resulting construction delays. And then there is stress in the project, where it is actually useless - in the planning team. And what may seem manageable and solvable at the beginning can quickly develop into a threat to the entire project. 

What can Canzler offer here?

Holger Richter:

In order to put such distressed projects back on the road to success, you as a builder-owner first need the help of a neutral expert who will show you ways out of the crisis. We will familiarise ourselves with the situation, clarify matters and step in when the need arises. Trust in the performance of the company, but also in the immediate person, plays a decisive role. And that is why the presence of an experienced colleague during the project also makes sense in order to take up the question from before. At Canzler we discuss a corresponding service profile that we can offer to customers whose project is in an emergency. Components of our crisis project management are the development of a crisis management roadmap, acceptance and change management in the planning team as well as the assumption of service packages for project rescue

Crisis project management - how do you approach it?

Holger Richter:

Very cautiously - because we do not want to earn a reputation for ousting other colleagues from the project. In all the projects we have successfully handled in this way up to now, an amicable settlement has always been reached and many a colleague has even been grateful for our efforts - our client anyway.

And how does this actually work in the project?

Andrei Diebels:

Our interdisciplinary team of engineers and experts quickly familiarises itself with the project, determines the actual planning status and compares it with the contractually agreed planning target. The team examines the contract, the coordination processes and the management guidelines. Finally, based on the project and process analysis, we develop measures and guidelines with the primary goal of ensuring the long-term success of the project. Decisions on the future composition of the project team are made and implemented in consultation with the client.

Are there any rules for cooperation at Canzler?

Holger Richter:

Without rules this is not possible! The developed trust in our services but also in the acting persons is the foundation stone. In the process we stand for a fair, open and honest communication with all project participants. We focus on a critical review of the project status without regard to project roles and hierarchies in order to show all parties involved the right solution. After all, we want to reach our goal safely.

Mr Richter, Mr Diebels, thank you very much for the interview!