Q. What happens when planning goes wrong – on multiple levels?
A. The Home Insulation Program and the deadly price of fast-tracked planning
You may remember the ‘Pink Batts Disaster’ during the Global Financial Crisis. Over $20 million was wasted, it took out a minister, destroyed the industry, 94 house fires were reported, and most catastrophically of all, 4 young men died.
If you’re looking for an interesting case study of the effects of disastrous planning, look no further than the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP).
The 2014 report is linked here.
At its very heart, the planning of HIP was fundamentally flawed and contrary. It was led by a department with no capacity to undertake a program of this size, and next to no project management expertise. Not only that, the HIP was in essence a dangerous program turned wild on the market.
After reading the report, the major flaw that struck me was the speed with which the scheme was planned from the start.
"To both insulate 2.2 million homes and stimulate the economy, the first required detailed and careful planning over time, and the other required speed."
Says the report, “in the case of the HIP, planning was sacrificed to speed.”
From its inception, large sections of proper planning model was fast-tracked, overlooked or deleted.
Impossible to isolate any one failure, the report puts forward extensive, detailed recommendations to avoid repetition of this disastrous program.
In particular, any future large-scale programs are recommended to include BEFORE implementation a succinct and candid assessment of the skills needed, to be undertaken by an agency with advice from expert and experienced staff.
From large organisations to micro startups, planning should be straightforward:
a) Engage seasoned experts who knows what they’re talking about
b) Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve (strategy)
c) Get your value goal right from the start
For Sponsors, PDs, Program Managers and PMs mobilising and executing a large program of works, the findings of the recent Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program is an illuminating read.
For a dozen tips on mobilising your program and avoiding deadly risks click here
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