Energy & Utilities Case Study

Project Management Methodology Development and Implementation


The client is a large energy company mandated to develop clean and renewable energy facilities (wind, solar, thermal and hydro-electric) servicing the North American market.
They have over 50 operating power generation facilities with a large portfolio of development projects coming on-line in the next few years. The development projects are large and technically complex with inherent risks in new technology (e.g. solar panels and wind turbines), permitting and environmental compliance (avian and habitat impact), and construction (e.g. weather delays). It should be emphasized here that the client truly has safety at the top of mind, which is reflected in their culture, “on-the-ground” activities and in their corporate values: Quality, Efficiency, and Care.


The client’s management staff developed a high-level “stage gate” process combining project development life-cycle deliverables i.e. those deliverables necessary to plan, engineer and construct the actual product – wind farm, solar farm, etc. in a stage-by-stage progression overlaid with project gating control at the end of each stage (as one component of management governance and oversight). In addition to the product lifecycle and the gating mechanism, repetitive (by stage) and progressively elaborated project management deliverables were identified.
At this point, management asked Watershed CI to develop a project management methodology based on their high-level stage-gated model. The challenge for Watershed CI was to seamlessly incorporate the stage-gate concept with the client’s product development methods into an industry best practice project management methodology (henceforth called the Client Project Management Methodology or CPMM).


Through initial consultation with project development and management senior staff we identified and developed the following components of the CPMM:
PM Processes (Change Management, Cost Control, Cost Planning, Project Reporting, Onboarding (a pre-project Stage unique to the client), Risk Management, Scope/Schedule Management and Stakeholder Management) inclusive of:
  • swim lane diagrams
  • detailed process steps (with step inputs, step activities and step outputs)
  • related document templates
  • related tools
  • Project Governance and decision-making requirements
  • Project Organization model
  • Project and governance roles and responsibilities definitions
  • Process RACI


The goals of the engagement were four-fold. One, develop a project management methodology that integrated the unique aspects of the client’s product-development lifecycle with stage gating and industry best practice project management concepts. Two, engage the client’s staff (Executive, senior management, project managers and key internal project stakeholders) through a series of training sessions. Three, provide ongoing support for the roll-out of the CPMM to project staff and four, ensure continuous improvements of the CPMM through regular reviews and updates.
At this point in the engagement the CPMM initial development and training sessions have been completed. Two development projects have been piloted. The CPMM is fully  implemented across the current portfolio of a dozen or more development projects.

Why Watershed CI?

As experts in the field of Change Integration™, we recognize that one size does not fit all. Each client comes with distinctive needs, culture, level of maturity and tolerance for complexity. We weigh these factors when selecting the appropriate solution – this ensures the suite of deliverables achieve high-quality, customized results.