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Grane selected as "Project of the year"

May 4, 2004, 14:30 CEST

The Norwegian Association of Project Management, together with the Norwegian Computer Association and the Norwegian Center for Project Management, has voted Hydro's development project for the Grane field "Project of the Year".

"The Grane project has met all the statutory requirements for the prize with flying colours," says Jan Sverre Volle, who is a member of the board of the Norwegian Association of Project Management, in connection with the prize-awarding ceremony at the association's conference in Oslo on Tuesday. The association is made up of 27 member organizations, including the Norwegian Defence, Hydro, Statoil, Statsbygg and Telenor.

"I am honoured to receive this prize as head of the Grane development project. The prize comes somewhat as an afterthought, as the project was completed last autumn, but personally it will never be completely over for me," says Per Melsom, who was previously in charge of the Grane project, and is now head of organizational development in Hydro's exploration sector.

Melsom took on the development of the Grane field during a turbulent period for the Norwegian offshore industry, but succeeded in completing the project three weeks ahead of plan and one and a half billion kroner below budget.

An efficient and motivated organization

"In order to keep within the schedule and budget we had to take serious note of all the experience we had from similar projects in the nineties. The other important factor was building up a project organization that was as efficient as possible, as well as being highly motivated," says Per Melsom.

Right from the start he set up a forum called the Grane School for everyone on Hydro's project team. "We wanted to create an arena for security, trust and understanding in the organization. And the Grane School helped to achieve just that," he explains.

In addition, each person in the project was involved in clarifying what the organization around them expected of them. Melsom is convinced that this gave everyone in the project a greater sense of ownership to everything from project strategy to how they should tackle their own tasks.

Cost efficient and well defined

A strong and motivated project group knuckled down to the actual engineering work before construction started.

"We constantly challenged the process and previously accepted technical truths, the specifications and requirements, asking ourselves: Is this really necessary? Can this be done more cheaply?" says Melsom.

With a good portion of courage, the project group spent nearly 150,000 hours drawing up the product specifications the contractors were to bid for. But this meant that when Hydro sent out its invitation to tender, it was very certain that all the details had been correctly defined.

The contractor selected for the construction work, Aker Kværner, adopted a similar model to the Grane School.

"This helped create a strong, joint culture, and this brings me on to what I believe is the most important factor of success: the personal relationships and the chemistry between the people who were involved in the project," says Melsom. "I felt that the communication we had and the shared trust and understanding for how tasks should be carried out was almost magical. The result was a project that kept within all the time and budget deadlines."