Certified PDRI (Project Definition Rating Index) Facilitator
By Dr. Werner Meyer PhD, CCP, PMP
Werner Meyer, Founding Director of ProjectLink, recently added Certified PDRI Facilitator to his list of qualifications and certifications. Werner founded ProjectLink, a project management consultancy, 21 years ago and is still consulting today. He has a profound interest in project risk management and researching failed and successful projects.
The abbreviation PDRI stands for the Project Definition Rating Index; it's a tool that was developed by the Construction Industry Institute (CII). Many capital projects struggle to ensure that they have a good project definition, essentially meaning have they really defined the scope of the project well. Meyer adds, “During the execution or after the execution of unsuccessful projects a bad quality definition is often found to be one of the major contributors to the lack of success or difficulties experienced.” Meyer explains using the PDRI tool we answer a set of questions regarding a project and we score the questions on a scale of 1 to 5, based on how well each item is defined. The PDRI is mainly used for engineering and construction projects, depending on the specific project you are dealing with there are approximately 70 to 75 questions. A typical question might be something like; 'How well defined are the engineering drawings?' Which you can score on a scale of 1 to 5 and the team can discuss it. What is quite important when doing the PDRI is to have a conversation between the project team members, to ensure the rating given to each line item is accurate and reflects what is actually happening on the project in terms of its definition. “Once the PDRI is completed a score is calculated; the lower the score, the better the project is defined.
The PDRI score is out of 1000, for example when we are in late study phases for the project, we try to get scores that are between 150 and 250,” says Meyer. Another benefit of the PDRI is it can be applied in the various phases of the project life cycle or what is sometimes called the FEL (Front End Loading) stages, so it can be used very early on. The PDRI can be repeated several times throughout the project; the initial PDRI can be conducted during the project concept phase, again in the pre-feasibility phase and finally in the feasibility phase. Each time the PDRI is conducted it highlights which areas of the project are not well defined. When the project team goes into the next phase they can give special attention to the badly defined items from the previous phase, ensuring that they spend enough time and effort to define those troublesome areas more clearly before moving forward. “Essentially that’s what we get from the PDRI, is that assurance that the project is well defined which contributes to the probability of project success,” concludes Meyer.