Every project is different, which means determining the feasibility of every project requires a tailored approach, particularly in the infrastructure sector.
Determining the viability of a project is something that needs to occur very early on in a project lifecycle.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to break it down into 5 easy to follow steps.
Identify your driver
Most infrastructure projects come about as the result of a problem that needs solving, oftentimes, a really big problem or the potential for really big problems in the future.
This is your project bottom line and it is necessary to explicitly state it and refer back to it continuously at all stages of the project lifecycle.
Why are we here?
What are we trying to achieve?
Do our current deliverables work towards that in a big picture sense?
While this Step might seem like a no-brainer to some, it is crucial in ensuring the success of your infrastructure project.
Chances are, there is more than one way to solve the problem you’ve got. But your job is to figure out the best way in terms of utilising time, funding and resources.
A great way to ensure you are focused on the right solution is to list the others that exist in parallel.
Conduct a small SWOT analysis for each solution to really map out why it is you’ve chosen the one you have and why it’s more suitable than other options.
Consider if you need an entirely new solution or the redevelopment of something already in place.
Clearly understanding the alternative solutions to your driver will help you to complete the rest of your feasibility study competently.
Study the solution
You have chosen your solution and you know why (Step 2).
But can you actively deliver it on time and in budget?
Assessing the actual feasibility of your solution requires a range of methods. Get started by delving into those detailed below.
You’re probably not the only one to ever have encountered this infrastructure problem and come up with a solution. Do some research into other companies who have completed similar projects. What was their driver? How did it compare to yours? What was their solution? How did it compare to yours? This is a great way to identify possible risks too. Were there any pitfalls experienced by others who have attempted a similar project? Can you mitigate to ensure you don’t fall foul of the same traps?
Now you have some idea of the highest risk parts of your project get to work building some sample prototypes to help work through these potential issues. Can you learn anything from the problems encountered by others doing similar things? Can you touch base with them in an effort to seek any advice they could give? If prototyping isn’t possible, is your real-life project going to come off?
Break your project plan up into tasks and the amount of time they will take, based upon the research you gleaned from others and your own industry knowledge and expertise. List the most pressing concerns on your time and ways you can possibly overcome losing valuable hours, days, weeks and months. In infrastructure projects; time is always equitable to money – often lots of money. Ensure you’re realistic about your approach from the outset. It’s better to under-promise and overdeliver than overcommit yourself and disappoint.
Take a fine-tooth comb to task planning
You’ve outlined your problem; you’ve picked your solution and you’ve done some research into the how and when. Now it’s time to knuckle down and plan this task to the most minute of detail.
This is a huge job and requires you to include every single stakeholder required on this project to ensure its completion – from the most high-level engineering specifics to the methods of rubbish removal you will employ on site.
Step 4 takes time and resourcing, but it’s integral to ensuring you are approaching your project from the right perspective. It’s better to see an infrastructure solution in the planning fail than to see a half-finished infrastructure project fail when a great deal of money, time and resources have already been employed.
Start this Step by listing off the stakeholders you will need to complete this work in an informed manner and take your time.
Report your findings
Graphs, spreadsheets, balance sheets and mock-ups are you friend here.
While Step 4 had you crunching numbers and hours, Step 5 is the time to pull together your findings and report them to those who will be integral to your project’s success.
At Balance Advisory we are specialists in independently evaluating opportunities through our focused and client-specific approach.
We can assist you with Step 1-4, but our assistance is often truly important in Step 5 – when it comes down to the crunch and you are faced with the decision of – will this project work, or not?
If you have made it through this Step-by-Step plan you should have the highest confidence possible that this project will work, or if not, why exactly you need to get back to the drawing board.
Balance Advisory delivers unique intelligence for those who own, develop, operate, regulate or manage infrastructure projects.
If you’re at the stage of attempting to determining the viability of an infrastructure project, we can help.
We’d love to connect with you today.