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She is manager project control at project De Entree and works for Count & Cooper, a partner of Max Bögl. Eline van der Bij, who lives in Amsterdam herself, is responsible for project management together with her team. “We have been a partner from the start of the tender”, Eline opens the conversation. Count & Cooper is responsible for project management. This includes project control, a crucial role in the case of De Entree. “Building in one of the busiest places in ‘my city’ presents complex challenges.”
Eline van der Bij, manager project control at project De Entree.
“What I like about our approach to De Entree is that everyone from Count & Cooper who has a role in the central project management team also has a role in the discipline teams. This way of working with the partners brings an innovative view to the right places in the organization. This is how we guarantee the integrality of the project.” The activities of project De Entree are divided into five disciplines, each with its own team. Each process coordinator has all management aspects in his or her portfolio within the discipline team. “Then we are talking about planning, risks, quality and interfaces,” explains Eline. “Managing money, time and quality in a challenging environment like this is sometimes literally a fun puzzle. To properly map out what we are building, we plan the underground bicycle parking in 4D. By linking the time factor to the 3D design, we make it clear in advance where any bottlenecks are.”
The other major challenge is the changing scope of the project. Eline: “Of course it is essential for this type of project, but at the same time it is often an illusion to freeze the scope. The fact that the scope is now much larger than when we took on the project calls for 'controlled adoption'. For project control, this means that we make sure that it is clear to everyone with which starting points we plan and that we know the right time to implement the scope change. Due to a combination of changes, the project would be delayed by more than a year. We investigated opportunities and - by adjusting the phasing - we managed to regain half a year on the critical path.”
An important key point from the tender phase is building in the 'rhythm of the city' in order to minimize the nuisance for Amsterdam. “It is precisely that rhythm that has changed due to the corona measures. The situation is difficult, but it also offers opportunities,” says Eline. “We may be building on one of the busiest points in Amsterdam, but due to corona it is now relatively quiet on the street. This allows us, for example, to carry out paving work earlier. Dealing with these changes requires clear decision moments and flexibility from all project employees. That is sometimes difficult, but in this day and age I prefer to see it as a luxury problem that we have to deal with.”
When asked how Eline ended up at Count & Cooper, she replies: “I wanted to work in an environment where the result is visible and I found that here. What have I learned since I started working? That everything stands or falls with human work. As a management party, Count & Cooper is used to acting as oil between the gears. But we cannot realize a project without good partners. It is about the right combinations of companies and people. If what we came up with together in the tender phase also works in the implementation, the puzzle will fall into place. I am proud of that!”
Text: Jan Mol | Images: Gemeente Amsterdam | Date: 17-12-2020