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PMI Manitoba Announces the 2021 Project of the Year

April 28, 2021 – Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

On the afternoon of April 28, 2021, PMI Manitoba announced that the 2021 Project of the Year was awarded to the Southwest Transitway – Stage 2 and Pembina Highway Underpass Project submitted by The City of Winnipeg and Dillon Consulting Limited. 

This year, PMI Manitoba celebrated its 17th annual Project of the Year Gala via an online event, to adhere to health guidelines due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Project of the Year celebrates the top project in the province based on superior performance of project management methodologies and practices. A total of approximately 120 guests were treated to a video presentation of this great project:  https://youtu.be/nPkon_F44dA


The Project of the Year Runner-Up title was awarded to The uniFI Program submitted by Celero Solutions and Connect First Credit Union.

The City of Winnipeg is the capital of the Province of Manitoba and lies on the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The City makes up 2/3 of the province’s population and economy. Winnipeg currently has a regional population of nearly 800,000 people, and is forecasted to grow to over 1 million people by 2035. With immigration at the forefront of its growth, Winnipeg is composed of a broad range of diverse communities with numerous attractions: from arts and culture to sports and entertainment. Located near the longitudinal centre of North America, Winnipeg is known as the “Gateway to the West” and is a railway and transportation hub. It has one of the most stable and diverse economies in Canada, playing a prominent role in transportation, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, pharmaceutical, finance and agriculture.

Dillon Consulting Limited (Dillon) is one of Canada’s leading engineering, planning and environmental sciences firms. Canadian owned, the company has grown steadily in services provided, range of expertise, geographic scope and size. Established in 1946, Dillon operates from 20 centres across Canada and internationally, with a current complement of approximately 900 employees, including over 100 local Winnipeg staff. Since establishing a Winnipeg office in the 1960’s, Dillon has earned a reputation as one of the top consulting firms in Manitoba, with proven high quality and value added services, especially in the area of transportation engineering.

The Southwest Rapid Transitway – Stage 2 and Pembina Highway Underpass Project is the largest capital infrastructure project undertaken by the City in its history. The project was approved by Council in 2014 with a budget of $587.4M and extends the Stage 1 Southwest Transitway from Pembina and Jubilee southwards to the University of Manitoba (U of M), connecting service on the Transitway to the U of M and into downtown Winnipeg, with major destinations and intermediate neighbourhoods in the

southwest area of the City on an exclusive, bus only right-of-way, to more efficiently serve the travel needs of those who live, work, and study in the southwest quadrant of Winnipeg. This transformative infrastructure project was designed to move citizens of Winnipeg from their dependency on cars to an attractive mass transit alternative. The project will reduce Winnipeg’s carbon footprint and our dependency on road infrastructure making Winnipeg a more sustainable city for future generations.

The City’s overcame a number of project challenges with strong project management processes. The top three project challenges were:

  1. Scope Management: The overall size, complexity and scope of the project created a challenge in managing project scope. Established scope management processes were critical when addressing the primary scope challenge of scope creep from stakeholders, adherence to the technical requirements and budget/contingency management. A substantial number of agencies, and private land and business owners were impacted resulting in regular requests for changes which relates directly to the second challenge.
  2. Stakeholder Management: Managing and integrating expectations and needs for the numerous internal and external stakeholders was an ongoing and major challenge. The project team focused on clear and concise communication to address these scope and stakeholder management challenges.
  3. Human Resource Management: Ensuring adequate resources with respect to turnover and level of effort were critical for a large scale and long duration project requiring ingrained knowledge. This was overcome by having robust risk and change management practices in place, open communication and team integration, and proactive management of the level of effort required to complete the project.

The City focused on lessons learned during the project, holding sessions and tracking them throughout with three top themes arising.

  1. Ongoing Communication: Communication throughout the project was open, consistent, proactive and collaborative within the project team, with Project Co and with stakeholders. This was a significant success for the project and allowed for a proactive approach to address issues that arose effectively and efficiently.
  2. Project Team: It is important to have a strong and cohesive team that is consistent throughout a large infrastructure project. The project team and human resource management were founded on a strong culture of team integration and teamwork between the City and Dillon. Other City projects have utilized these techniques for team integration since.
  3. Project Planning: The positive impact of successful project planning was a clear lesson learned. The project team developed processes and tools during project planning stages that carried on throughout the project phases based on the PMBOK knowledge areas including risk management, scope management and project documentation.

Top three project successes were:

  1. Change Management: The project team established robust and diverse change management processes to encompass all project aspects. Special processes were developed for change order evaluation, tracking and analysis, answering RFIs throughout the RFP and design and construction stages and approval from multiple levels including utilities and crown corporations such as CN and Manitoba Hydro.
  2. Project Documentation: Strong reporting (project dashboards, issues log and risk registers), and utilizing an information management system to manage thousands of deliverables interfacing with multiple internal and external stakeholders was critical for project success
  3. Communication: Communication processes, in general, were a success, but specifically for stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement and communication was developed in a tiered approach allowing the project team to concentrate efforts appropriately. Established criteria aided the team in developing communication activities that were specific to the needs of each stakeholder, vetted appropriately and reviewed during each phase of the project. The clear delineation of communication efforts and a consistent communication plan brought success to the project.

The project achieved objectives and outcomes through the successful completion of the project.

  1. Under Budget and Ahead of Schedule: The project came in under budget with Value for Money savings of 17.3%, a positive budget variance of 10%, and ahead of schedule by achieving Substantial Completion for design and construction two months ahead of schedule allowing Transit service to commence in April 2020.
  2. Impact on the Public and Stakeholders: This transformative infrastructure project was designed to move citizens of Winnipeg from their dependency on cars to an attractive mass transit alternative. It will reduce Winnipeg’s carbon footprint and our dependency on road infrastructure making Winnipeg a more sustainable city for future generations.
  3. Adapted Project Processes and Procedures for P3 or Non-Traditional Delivery Models: The City’s processes and procedures were adapted through this project to align with the P3 model. The project team used PMBOK principles, knowledge of P3 projects and the City’s base processes to guide the project management processes for this P3 project. These documents have formed base templates for the City to use on future P3’s and other non-traditional delivery models and have contributed to current projects being executed throughout the City departments.

For more information on the PMI Manitoba Project of the Year, contact the organizing committee at poy@pmimanitoba.org.

PMI Manitoba is the local chapter of the Project Management Institute which is the premier advocate of Project Management world-wide with over 500,000 members.   The local Manitoba Chapter has approximately 800 members.



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