Intrigued by value planning for your next big capital project or infrastructure project? Like any powerful tool, it’s designed for certain circumstances. You wouldn’t use a pole saw to trim your mustache, now would you? To figure out when to use value planning, follow these guidelines:

Best for Complex Projects at the Early Stage of Planning. Value planning may be the tool for you if you’re working on:

  • Tough projects: when you’re stymied by the complexity of the project, big money is at stake, or stakeholder concerns are a big factor.
  • Early planning stage: before your designers start sketching and engineers start calculating – that’s when you want to know your project is solving the right problem, for the right reason.

Other signs that value planning will give a good return on your investment:

  • The perceived problem may not be the underlying problem
  • People hold widely differing opinions about the problem and the cause(s)
  • The project is complex (a lot of moving parts, no clear way forward)
  • Several alternatives exist for the solution
  • Multiple stakeholders care about the outcome
  • The risks are high (regulatory, reputational, financial, legal, etc.)
  • The conventional solution costs too much

Read about two projects where value planning delivered big results: Fones Road Olympia and City of Stevenson Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Not for Every Project, Though. Although value planning offers many benefits and adapts to many project types and sizes, it doesn’t make sense for all projects. In general, value planning will not be cost-effective for your project when it has several of the following characteristics:

  • Complexity is low or negligible
  • Costs are low
  • Risks are negligible
  • The project is a routine or familiar type of project
  • The solutions to your problem are well-known, efficient, and affordable
  • Technologies involved are standard and known to your operators
  • Stakeholders have little or no dispute over your project

The characteristics outlined above are guidelines and depend on your team’s experience. For example, your public works department may be well-versed in building and maintaining natural stormwater management systems in residential areas. Therefore, you wouldn’t use value planning for these routine projects. However, another city and its stakeholders may be new to bioswales, rain gardens, and infiltration ponds. In their case, value planning could be a worthwhile investment in choosing the right alternatives and bringing people on board with the project.

What kind of project are you wrestling with? If your infrastructure project is a bit tough and in the early stages, please get in touch to find out how value planning can help.


Thin color border