Rapid Mobilisation Playbook Webinar summary

As part of the Accord's Towards High Performance Webinar Series, the Playbook was recently launched by the Minister for Building and Construction, Hon Jenny Salesa and other construction sector leaders.

The Rapid Mobilisation Playbook(external link) provides practical guidance to help organisations and project teams activate new projects and mobilise them rapidly, helping construction and infrastructure projects get to the start line faster.

Speaking at the webinar, Construction Sector Accord co-chair Chris Bunny said, "It's important that our construction sector is able to mobilise quickly to support recovery. The Rapid Mobilisation Playbook is a fantastic resource which will be a great support for both public and private organisations involved in large construction projects, working to tight timeframes."

Joining the webinar panel were Alison Murray the Director of Commercial Procurement, Education Infrastructure Service, at the Ministry of Education and Duncan Kenderdine, Executive General Manager of Strategy and Development for Downer. Both Alison and Duncan offered valuable insight into how the tools and templates found in the Playbook, along with the good practice collated from the experiences of agencies and contractors can help organisations – both large and small.


Duncan said that rapid mobility, insourcing (or outsourcing), and ecosystems are the most important priorities when considering rapid mobilisation.

"Doing things rapidly, rather than over a traditional timeframe, that we and our clients aren't used to can come with a level of risk", said Duncan. "This means the appropriate risk protocols need to be in place. This starts the process and creates momentum. It often takes a lot of time and effort to get going at the start when we change processes, so we have to be prepared to commit the right people, and at the right level to make decisions."

Understanding the overall structure, scope and budget is crucial for the whole ecosystem and 'critical path' of the project. This includes the market in which the project sits, the scale, pace, and also its option for repeatability. Governance and stakeholder management is also important, as well having the right people to undertake the project. You may need to outsource additional skillsets such as human resource expertise.

"Whether it be legal advice, commercial project management or otherwise, we also need to be clear about our ability to deliver the reporting and the support functions, particularly in the rapid space, because things need to happen quicker," says Duncan.


As a government client, the Ministry of Education Infrastructure Service's Director of Commercial Procurement, Alison Murray, stressed the real need for upfront planning and to be very critical on needs and risks. Alison also said that a good plan needs to be flexible so it can adapt quickly where situations change.

"This is all part of the rapid mind-set. You need to make sure that all your key stakeholders and decision makers are on-board and engaged, inputting into the plan and understanding why things need to happen and when. If you do your planning in isolation, your project will fail," Alison said.

For public sector projects Alison warned that normal governance or approval processes may not work for a rapid mobilisation project. This means you must adapt to differing approval and decision making phases, especially for key projects that have to be delivered quickly. Again, continue to consider risks at each stage of the project and make sure all are involved in both their identification and mitigation. Do this as early as possible in the plan and reflect it in mapping of the mobilisation timeframe.

The Playbook runs through a number of stages but the experts stressed, once a thorough plan has been developed, stages may be best to run in parallel, rather than sequentially. Communicate clearly about each person's role and responsibilities within all parts of the project, whether it be governance, management or technical implementation.

Outcomes and budgets

In regard to the all-important budget, Alison said, remember this has to be put together with objectives of the project, and these become the outcomes. In addition to senior and experienced individuals, also consider adding independent advisors to your governance team to help challenge assumptions.

There’s also a difference between outputs and outcomes, especially in their importance to clients and broader stakeholders in the project. Duncan explained how a disciplined approach must be taken between the project sponsor and the governance team on what must be achieved and the related cost.

"These desired outcomes will underpin the project brief and scope of work to be taken through to procurement in contract form. You must ensure that the desired outcomes and the project brief are achievable within your available budget. It’s very hard to change ships in midstream… be robust and get it right the first time."

Rapid Mobilisation Playbook – 11 Playbook Pointers

  • Be open and upfront when considering your organisation’s capability and track record of delivering projects at pace.
  • Adopt a rapid mindset and streamline decision making processes, which are often a major cause of delays.
  • Appoint dedicated and experienced project owners who have a strong understanding of the sector and good commercial nous.
  • Establish clear governance processes to meet the needs of the project – this may involve working outside of business-as-usual governance arrangements to move at the required pace.
  • Ensure the governance group has the right balance of skills and is able to make decisions in a manner that supports rapid mobilisation.
  • Make sure your team engages with the market early to gauge interest and prepare tenders.
  • Challenge your team on whether traditional procurement processes are fit for purpose.
  • Seek support from MBIE, the Infrastructure Commission or external experts if you are unsure about the approach that should be taken.
  • Use standard contract terms and allocate risk in a fair way.
  • Make sure your team builds a good relationship with suppliers and supports them to deliver.
  • Challenge your teams to truly collaborate with partners to create a culture of urgency, and help them to deliver by ensuring the project team has the right resources.

The Construction Sector Accord, New Zealand Government Procurement, and Infracom, worked with Aurecon Limited and other industry partners to develop the Rapid Mobilisation Playbook.

It can be used by:

  • Project owners — the team responsible for mobilising the project
  • Senior leaders in governance and decision making roles
  • Internal and external funders.

A key part of the Playbook is to identify where you may benefit from assistance. This may be just in the form of making connections with others who have been through similar situations, or looking for good practice methods. If you need assistance or advice, we have established a Construction Advisory Team in conjunction with the Accord and New Zealand Government Procurement. Email us at accord@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 10 September 2020