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Why developers should use experienced consultants

February 14 2023, Michael Holm

In-house or externals? When does it make sense to invite consultants on board your project? According to science experienced external help is actually the best you can do for your project.

Why developers should use experienced consultants

The development of offshore wind projects is a complex and challenging undertaking that requires a high level of expertise and experience to be successful. While many offshore wind developers may believe that they can handle the challenges of these projects on their own, relying solely on internal resources can lead to significant risks and costs. To minimize these risks and ensure the success of the project, offshore wind developers should consider using experienced consultants.

One of the world’s most famous scientists when it comes to understanding the dynamics of mega-projects and why they often are delayed and end up costing to much, is Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, Oxford University. He has just published a book summarising research from his lifelong work; How big things get done”.

He notes in his research on mega projects such as bridges and wind farms, that experienced consultants have a deep understanding of the challenges and risks associated with these projects, and can provide valuable insights and recommendations to help developers mitigate these risks as they have done it several times before. This expertise can help to increase the chances of project success, and ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and with a high level of safety and environmental standards.

Danger: The less you know

Another benefit of using experienced consultants is that they can help mitigate the effects of the Dunning-Kruger effect, a psychological phenomenon where individuals tend to overestimate their own abilities and expertise. This can lead to inexperienced teams making incorrect assumptions and decisions, leading to costly mistakes and delays in the project. By working with experienced consultants, offshore wind developers can avoid these mistakes and ensure that the project is managed effectively and efficiently.

It is also important to note that using experienced consultants is not necessarily more expensive than relying on internal resources. In fact, it can save money in the long run. Experienced consultants can identify inefficiencies and areas for cost savings that may not be apparent to an internal team and can also provide valuable insights into how to secure the necessary financing and regulatory approvals. Additionally, their expertise can help to reduce the risk of project delays and cost overruns, which can be significantly more expensive than the cost of using consultants.

Furthermore, in highly competitive markets, where demand – also for skilled people resources – exceeds supply, developers should consider, what they see as the right internal and external resources and ask: “Should or can we even hire a person for this project/role or are we better off, working with an external partner on this?” 

“Should or can we even hire a person for this project/role or are we better off, working with an external partner on this?”

In conclusion, offshore wind developers should not rely solely on internal resources when developing offshore wind projects. Using experienced consultants can provide a wealth of knowledge and experience that can help to mitigate risks, increase the chances of project success, and even save money in the long run.

The top ten pieces of advice for developers to kick off a great project would be: 

  1. Start with a clear and comprehensive project plan: Define the scope, objectives, and deliverables of the project, as well as the schedule and budget.
  2. Involve experienced project management consultants: Utilize their expertise and knowledge to help identify and mitigate risks, manage stakeholders, and ensure the project is delivered on time and within budget.
  3. Conduct thorough feasibility studies: Ensure that the project is technically, commercially, and financially viable.
  4. Accurately estimate costs and risks: Use robust cost estimating methodologies to ensure adequate contingency is built into the budget to mitigate risks.
  5. Manage stakeholder relationships effectively: Engage with all stakeholders, including local communities, regulatory bodies, and suppliers, to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed.
  6. Develop a robust contract management strategy: Ensure that contracts are clear, concise, and properly executed to avoid disputes and delays.
  7. Use the latest technology: Use digital tools and platforms to manage project data, track progress, and collaborate with stakeholders.
  8. Continuously monitor and control the project: Regularly review the project schedule and budget, and take corrective action if required.
  9. Foster a culture of continuous improvement: Encourage all project team members to continuously identify and implement best practices to ensure the project is delivered to the highest standards.
  10. Be transparent and accountable: Regularly communicate project progress and performance to stakeholders, and be transparent and accountable in your decision-making processes.

If you want to know more:

  1. Daniel Kahneman: A Nobel Prize-winning psychologist who has written extensively on cognitive biases and heuristics that impact decision-making.
  2. Gerd Gigerenzer: A psychologist who has studied the role of heuristics and intuition in decision-making and argues that they can be more effective in some cases than purely analytical methods.
  3. Nassim Nicholas Taleb: A statistician and author who has written about the role of rare events, uncertainty, and unpredictability in decision-making.
  4. Karl Weick: A management theorist who has studied organizational sense-making and the importance of practical, experiential knowledge in decision-making.
  5. Herbert Simon: A social scientist who is credited with developing the concept of "bounded rationality," which suggests that decision-making is constrained by limited information, cognitive biases, and other factors.