The key to planning a superyacht project in the new normal

Written by Gemma Fottles

It’s no secret that comprehensive planning sessions throughout a complex superyacht build result in a smoother process, more satisfied parties and a superior result. When under the guidance of a project and consultancy management company like Critical Minds, however, these planning sessions can deliver even more significant impacts - including a reduced lead time. Critical Minds planningPhoto: Critical MindsWhile project planning sessions have typically been hosted in person, in the new normal, the vast majority have had to move online. But what impact does that have on project preparation and execution? Here, the consultancy experts at Critical Minds share their insight into the best ways to create lead times through online planning sessions in the new normal.

When it comes to yacht projects, the stakes are high. Meetings between key stakeholders in the beginning, middle, or last sprint of the construction process are the most important, often having a huge impact on the project. Until the past year, these critical meetings were conducted face-to-face, allowing for a lot to be achieved in one planning session. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, though, it is no longer practical to be all together in one room. Many questioned whether this also meant no more lead time reductions. At Critical Minds, we didn’t accept this.Founders and Owners of Critical MindsPhoto: Critical MindsAs the world adjusted and our lives shifted online, various platforms have risen to the challenge and provided excellent digital spaces that bring a lot of agility into our work lives. With these new working environments comes a new way of working, and online planning sessions need to be well facilitated to deliver the same results.Critical Minds planningPhoto: Critical Minds Do’s for an online session
1. Find a suitable online space for both working together on the planning while still being able to talk to one another. Make sure it is accessible and fits the projects needs to ensure you create an environment to facilitate progress.

2. Establish the rules, whether it’s muting yourself while others speak or simply having your video on, establishing the rules and making sure everybody agrees beforehand is essential to maintaining a productive online planning session.

3. Preparation is vital; if you do not know the direction of the session, you cannot move on. Prepare a meeting agenda and send it to the group in advance, so everybody has a chance to come to the table well prepared.

4. Facilitate the ‘coffee machine’ talks; you can perfectly work plenary and in break-out rooms during one session. This is an excellent opportunity for people to connect and speak freely, leading to more open communication in the conversations to come - prep how you want to build this into your session and use it optimally.

5. Colour outside the lines; don’t become too rigid. Planning a project online is an entirely different way of working. That means we need to think outside the box in terms of processes and how we communicate. What works and what doesn’t?

6. Create an open culture. Facilitate time for each person to speak and allow for an open discussion to take place where people do not have to fight to be heard.

7. Most importantly: don’t forget to laugh!Critical Minds teamPhoto: Critical MindsWhat is a planning session?
A planning session with Critical Minds begins by planning your project together with all parties, establishing all details, including desired lead time reduction. All parties working on the project are present, and there is a clear set goal to achieve in the session. Within this, we plan the complete project and discuss bottlenecks right away. We talk about how we will work together and get to know each other. At the end of the session, everybody is on the same page: we know who is responsible for what, what the project’s goals are, and the possibilities for lead time reduction. 

Critical Minds competitive advantage is that we not only focus on the process but also on the people - something in which is increasingly relevant as we continue to live and work online. Sessions with Critical Minds are always interactive and suited to each person’s needs. We don’t strive for perfection; we strive for results. 

With an evolving global landscape meaning more and more digital collaboration, careful planning and revised processes are essential. For insight into navigating the new normal of the yachting industry and beyond, get in touch with the Critical Minds team at the contact details below. 



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