The PPIR Program

PPIR commenced as a project of the Warren Centre in June 2007. The project was funded by sponsors to research, workshop and provide a strategy to address specific concerns in the engineering profession and industry.

In November 2009 The Warren Centre launched the report Professional Performance Innovation and Risk in Australian Engineering Practice. As set out in the report, the fundamental purpose of PPIR is to bring about changes in the professional, commercial, liability and legal frameworks that govern everyday engineering.

During the period 2010 to 2014, extensive work was undertaken by volunteer teams to promote the PPIR philosophy, and to develop, document and trial the engineer training and industry adoption programs associated with PPIR.

The PPIR Program is now being introduced to the industry and profession.


The Third Element of Engineering Professionalism

Engineers have well-defined standards for ethics and competency, but what is missing is the “third leg of the stool”: a defined framework for performance, or how an engineer’s work is actually carried out and accomplished.

At the heart of the PPIR Program is a performance protocol to provide this framework. The PPIR Protocol defines Performance as: “How the professional engineer approaches, arranges and undertakes a new task to ensure delivery of the final agreed outcome”.

Tools & Aims

The key tools introduced by the PPIR Program are:

  • The PPIR Performance Protocol (applied at the individual engineer level)

  • The PPIR Engagement Protocol (the corporate equivalent of the performance protocol applied for engagement between suppliers and clients)

The PPIR Program’s aims also include:

  • The new concept of an Integrated Element Structure and a formal, fully integrated ‘best for risk management’ approach

  • A co-ordinated approach for the engineering industry and profession to improve the liability frameworks that impact on engineering

Applying the Protocols for Engineering & Performance

In most engineering organisations, the corporate management has developed systems and procedures for the running all aspects of the company. These are generally (though not always) well-documented and covered by QC audits and reviews.

In dealing with contracting partners, organisations develop standard and tailor-made contracts and agreements. Many organisations, however, acknowledge that they experience difficulties in their relationships with contracting partners and outcomes of contracting activities.

The PPIR Protocol for Engagement is designed to drive towards more effective and successful relationships between contracting parties; and better outcomes for buyer and seller.

On the other side of the scale lies the engineering workforce. Most engineering organisations acknowledge that they are not consistently able to achieve their desired level of performance from individuals and teams, especially with regard to effective communication, cooperation and understanding of their role within the organisation.

The PPIR Protocol for Performance is designed to drive towards more effective and reliable engineering teams and better outcomes for engineering projects and tasks.

The Eight Elements of Performance

The essentials of performance for engineers acting in a professional capacity are documented in the eight elements of the PPIR Performance Protocol:

  • Relevant Parties and Other Stakeholders
  • The Engineering Task
  • Competence to Act
  • Statutory Requirements and Public Interest
  • Risk Assessment and Management
  • Engineering Innovation
  • Engineering Task Management
  • Contractual Framework

Results of Adoption

A high proportion of engineers found PPIR to be a highly useful tool for improving engineering performance.

Adoption of the PPIR Performance Protocol drives improved team performance through:

  • Improved communication between groups and breaking down “silo mentality”
  • Better alignment of expectations relating to delegated (or contracted) tasks
  • Proactive identification and resolution of risk issues
  • Driving accountability down to the working level and empowering staff to provide valuable feedback to supervisors

The adoption of PPIR within an organisation is essentially a change management process, requiring the full and on-going support of senior and middle management.

Applicability of the Program

The experience obtained over nearly a decade of development and implementation of the PPIR Program has demonstrated its broad applicability:

  • Application of the PPIR protocol is fully “scalable”, working as effectively for a small task up to the design and delivery of a complex defence project

  • The PPIR performance protocol can be used by engineers at all levels; to understand the context of a task for a junior engineer; as a planning and performance assessment structure for a senior project manager

  • Although the PPIR Performance Protocol is structured around the individual engineer, the benefits are greatly magnified by the application throughout a project, department or organisation

  • The adoption of PPIR within an organisation needs to be recognised as a change management process. Its success will be highly dependent on the strong, visible and ongoing support of management

Interested in finding out more?

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