Adaptive Project Management
How the Triad adaptive project management approach can be used to develop dynamic work strategies that improve overall project management and implementation.
While the Triad approach is usually discussed in the context of dynamic data collection strategies, it can be used to develop dynamic work strategies that improve overall project management and implementation across the hazardous waste site life-cycle of characterization, remediation, and closure.
One of the potential benefits of the Triad is the possibility for compressing activities into fewer field deployments, thereby shortening schedules and saving mobilization and demobilization costs. For small Brownfields sites, this could result in characterization, remediation, and closure obtained in one field activity when conditions are right (e.g., known contaminants of concern, established cleanup guidelines, and pre-determined remedial action options). The Triad Resource Center profiles database includes examples where characterization, remediation, and site closure was achieved in one field deployment by using real-time technologies combined with dynamic work strategies.
As a second example, a Triad approach can facilitate the design and implementation of "treatment train" approaches to more difficult remediation problems such as chlorinated solvent contamination in groundwater. The concept of a treatment train is that the best approach to remediation may include the application of a number of different techniques sequentially. For example, for a DNAPL groundwater problem a treatment train may begin with the excavation and remediation of soils in the original source area, active in situ remediation of contaminated groundwater through the use of an injected reagent, followed by passive in situ groundwater remediation through monitored natural attenuation combined with plume hydraulic control. Treatment train approaches require active management of the overall remediation strategy. This includes making process control decisions for individual components of a treatment train while remediation is underway, and also deciding when to switch from one component to the next. Real-time measurements within a dynamic work strategy can be very useful in this regard.
As a third example, in a Brownfields setting the Triad approach can be used to support site reuse decisions. For Brownfields sites, reuse options (e.g., residential, industrial, commercial, recreational) are tied to the economics of site redevelopment, including the ultimate cost of addressing environmental contamination problems. The use of a Triad approach can allow characterization work to proceed without finalized reuse options, with characterization proceeding from high risk/uncertainty areas to areas of less concern. Decision points can be included at key steps in the characterization process to allow characterization activities to be terminated or redirected based on real-time results, as reuse option viability becomes clarified by the data collected.
Using the Triad to change project management strategies often requires modifying activities to accommodate this approach. For example, closure and remediation strategies may need to be developed to some degree before characterization activities begin. Work flow may need to be structured so that closure is attained for areas with a low probability of contamination before remediation begins or while remediation is underway. Alternatively, data collection may be organized so that work begins with locations that have the greatest implications for the decisions that need to be made (e.g., those with the greatest likelihood of contamination).
Developing Triad project management strategies is part of the systematic planning process. Addressing long-term issues early on (e.g., future land use options, remedial alternatives, closure requirements) and documenting them as part of the systematic planning process helps ensure that upper management is aware of potential decision contingencies that may arise along with their implications. This allows overall project strategies to be initially structured in a way that best manages uncertainties, and sets the stage for modifying or adapting project strategies as work proceeds and site realities become evident.