Robinson, Stafford & Rude, Inc.
"The premier firm for project improvement & cost management."

Our Services at Robinson, Stafford & Rude, Inc.

Value Planning

Value Planning (VP) is a relatively recent addition to the applications of the Value Methodology. It combines the techniques of the Value Methodology with the traditional planning process in a synergistic way to create an optimized process for project or program planning. Through the use of the tools in the Value Methodology, this optimized process improves the communication between the project owner, regulators, planners and stakeholders at a very early stage in the planning process to craft a range of alternatives that innately address the concerns of all of these perspectives. The process combines one or more directed, multi-stakeholder workshops with more traditional office and field work to more quickly and more effectively generate solutions to meet the problem at hand.

Where the historical applications of the Value Methodology start with an existing solution to a problem and further optimize it, Value Planning is different, in that it actually synthesizes the initial solution set. Because the Value Planning process involves the regulators and other stakeholders in the ultimate project earlier in the planning process, the alternatives identified in the Value Planning process are more comprehensive and integrated in how they address the various stakeholder concerns. This speeds the planning process, while at the same time produces alternatives that are more palatable to all concerned.

Like the other applications of the Value Methodology, Value Planning is function-based. By concentrating on the functions that must be accomplished for the owner, designer, regulators and other stakeholders, rather than focusing on differences about the physical solutions, it frees the planning team to develop creative alternatives that are more cost-effectively and more successfully address the concerns of all.

The process starts, as do all value processes, and as does traditional planning, with gathering the necessary information to understand the nature of the problem and the circumstances that surround it. It then gathers the key stakeholders in the solution together in a room to ascertain the functions that each stakeholder needs to achieve for the project or program to be a success.

The process then moves on to creatively formulate alternative scenarios that will address the needed functions. Sometimes these are specific projects or group of projects. Sometimes they are adaptive management strategies that can flexibly weave their way through the morass of regulations and public opinion to achieve success. Either way, they are formulated to be consistent with the functions identified earlier in the process.

Once the alternatives have been identified, they must be developed with supporting technical, cost, schedule, political and regulatory information. This is best done in the traditional fashion through office and field work.

As soon as the alternatives have been clearly characterized, a managed workshop is convened to evaluate the alternatives against a set of criteria that reflects the concerns of all parties, resulting in a preferred alternative that is a reflection of the technical, political and social environment in which the project or program must succeed. Importantly, facilitation of that workshop by an objective, independent, but technically knowledgeable RSRI facilitator frees all parties in the process to articulate their concerns and at the same time avoids the potential for one of the stakeholders in the process to lead the meeting and “guide” the solution towards their preferences.

Use of the Value Planning process substantially reduces the potential for the “Scope Creep” that so often results in dramatic increases in project cost during design. It also reduces the chance of encountering surprise opposition to the project. Early involvement of the regulators also virtually eliminates the appearance of surprise regulatory requirements after planning is complete. It also often mobilizes support for the project from the stakeholder community because they are listened to early in the process, and also because the Value Planning process provides a better understanding for all of the complexity of the issues that face any project today, the tradeoffs that must be considered and the often complex implications inherent in essentially all choices in the process.

If you are already involved in the traditional planning process, it is not too late to capture at least part of the benefits of Value Planning, because many of the later steps in the Value Planning process can be applied to a partially completed planning process with significant benefits.

Contact us and find out how we may be of assistance to you in your next (or current) planning project.

Back to Services