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Case Study

Building project manager business acumen at Kenny Electric

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Client need

Kenny Electric, a middle-market electrical engineering company focused on project management, was struggling with the productivity and retention of its people, shifting expectations for contractors, and declining performance and profitability. Increasingly, clients expected project- and construction- management companies such as Kenny Electric to take on greater responsibility, accountability, and risks involving procurement and execution. As a result, Kenny Electric’s project managers needed to improve their understanding of both the contracts themselves and the downstream impact of executives’ decisions on their project KPIs.

With the goal of improving the company’s profitability, retention, and reputation, Kenny Electric’s CEO engaged BTS to facilitate a workshop that simulated the entire lifecycle of a project. Leaders participated in a fun, fast-paced, and collaborative simulation to gain a better understanding of how to effectively serve customers by practicing making business decisions in a realistic yet risk-free environment.

Solution

Leaders across every function of Kenny Electric’s business participated in the simulation experience, which consisted of four key project-execution phases.

  1. Contracting: In the initial phase, participants negotiated the terms of their project, and made decisions related to risk tolerance, terms and conditions, and liability. They then chose a leadership team and execution strategy. Each of these decisions would impact the cost structure of the project budget and following phases.
  2. Design and execution strategy: Participants leveraged the principles of large-scale, complex project management by selecting different approaches for the execution strategy.
  3. Initial construction: To reach the 50 percent program-completion milestone, participants practiced making critical construction decisions while experiencing setbacks related to subcontractors, procurement, and other challenges typical of large-scale construction projects.
  4. Completion and handover: Participants completed the construction project in full, after surviving major disruptions caused by acts of nature, supplier issues, and owner-requested changes.
Program learning objectives
  • Align an execution strategy to the contract.
  • Manage competing KPIs to fulfil financial goals, client objectives, and basic safety and employee-engagement requirements.
  • Understand how both the leadership team’s capabilities and the contract impacted the execution strategy through all phases of execution.
Results

The program was well-received by participants, earning a Net Promoter Score of 100. Moreover, it served as a capstone learning event that increased personal accountability and project-execution capabilities, enabling participants to better perform and execute projects. Client Feedback

  • “This was the best development program we have ever run for my leaders. Each scenario, discussion, and tradeoff was realistic. The program helped build knowledge and strengthen relationships, and the ROI was far beyond what I expected.” – Dave Pavelka, CEO, Kenny Electric
  • “Thanks to the BTS Team for coming out and giving an excellent hands-on approach to learning/training [tailored] to what we deal with daily. This class fit the mold for what contractors face daily and gave a better understanding of expectations.” – Program Contracts Manager
  • “While skeptical when I first came to the training, I felt that the presentation and format allowed my team to work through problems in a way that was representative of choices we would make [in the] real world. I thought the collaboration that we used to solve problems and make decisions was interesting and allowed us to grow as a team.” – Senior Project Manager
  • “I felt this could be a continued education [program] that would benefit the company as a whole.” – Senior Leader

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