Critical Success Factors

to Optimise Power Plants Life Cycle Management



By Lalamani Budeli and Prof J H Wichers

South Africa



For power utilities to secure a competitive edge in the energy sector, improving efficiency of life cycle management programmes must be achieved through successful execution of projects. In today’s competitive environment, producing products that are fit for purpose, meet or exceed quality requirements, as well as being cost competitive, are key factors to determine organisational failure or success.

Effective project management practices require a project management system that supports management to achieve its organisational project goals in order to position the organisation strategically for future performance. However, because of projects inaccurate monitoring resulting improper management, the project success rate is very low with great economic impact on organisations.

These papers demonstrate how utilities can achieve sustained project performance by identifying how the combination of project management best practices and life cycle management methodologies can recognise process improvement opportunities.

Keywords: Critical success factors, life cycle management, variation management, performance management.


According to Gadonneix et al (2010-14), the development of power plants started in 1866 with a coal-fired power plant. The first central power station in New York was built in 1882. Gadonneix et al 16 (2013-33) indicates that the unit capability factor (UCF) monitors progress in attaining high unit and industry energy production availability. This indicator reflects the effectiveness of plant programmes and practices in maximising available electrical generation and provides an overall indication of how well plants are operated and maintained during their life cycles. The unplanned capability loss factor (UCLF), monitors industry progress in minimising project/outage time and power reductions that result from unplanned equipment failure or other conditions. This indicator reflects the effectiveness of plant programmes and practices in maintaining systems for safe electrical generation. The planned capacity loss factor (PCLF) is energy that was not produced during the period because of planned shutdowns or load reductions due to causes under plant management control. The relationship between UCF, PCLF and UCLF is represented by the equation below:

UCF + PCLF + UCLP = 100%                  (1)

The objective of the power plant life of plant plan (LOPP) is to ensure the sustainability of future energy supply. Every LOPP starts with a set of user’s requirements which are translated into unique technical specifications for a specific environment for implementation purposes. As a result, the execution of a life cycle project is subject to numerous constraints that limit the commencement or progression of field operations, which invariably have a significant negative impact on overall project performance.

This study aims to provide basics for measurement and control of efficiency generating project where operating hours is proportional to system performance. System engineers design and prioritise the system requirements ensuring that the different system attributes are appropriately weighed when balancing the various technical efforts by deciding which risks are worth taking. They also determine whether a new approach to the problem is necessary, whether intense effort will accomplish the purpose, and whether the requirements can be surmounted to relieve the problem. The application of system thinking in project management will improve project delivery because all project stakeholders will focus beyond their direct responsibility.

Key concept definition

According to Gadonneix et al (2010-14), different project management scholars take different factors into account that affect the progress and the overall success of a project. Prabhakar (2008-7) believes that budget compliance and accurate schedules will matter less if the project results do not meet the project goals and expectations. Kerzner (2001-48) holds that factors that create an environment which ensures that projects are managed in a consistently successful way, are critical. Humphrey (2005-27) indicates that critical success factors are those factors that will significantly improve the chances of project success if addressed appropriately, which requires choosing processes and activities that will address critical factors.


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How to cite this paper: Budeli, L. & Wichers, J. H. (2018). Critical Success Factors to Optimise Power Plants Life Cycle Management; PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue X – October. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/pmwj75-Oct2018-Budeli-critical-success-factors-to-optimise-power-plant-life-cycle-management.pdf


About the Authors

Lalamani Budeli

South Africa


Lalamani Budeli
obtained his degree as an Engineer in Electrical Engineering at the Vaal University, BSc honour in Engineering Technology Management at University of Pretoria, Master in engineering development and Management at North West University, Master of business administration at Regent Business School and currently busy with Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Development and Management at North West university, Potchefstroom, South Africa. Currently, he is a technical support manager at Eskom. His research interests include plant life cycle management, advanced systems analytics, project early warning system and the use of artificial intelligence in project management.  Lalamani Budeli can be contacted at [email protected]


Prof J H (Harry) Wichers

South Africa


Harry Wichers has been a part-time lecturer at the North West University (NWU), former Potchefstroom University for CHE, on pre- and postgraduate levels in Systems Engineering and Reliability Engineering from 1986 – 2000.  He continued to lecture on pre and postgraduate level at the same university in various Engineering Management subjects from 2003 to 2010.  These subjects included Creative Entrepreneurship, Maintenance Management and Entrepreneurial Career Skills. He has also lectured at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), Vanderbijlpark, in the subjects Maintenance Engineering. He was instrumental in 2004 in the establishment of the Centre for Research and Continued Engineering Development in the Vaal Triangle, (CRCED Vaal), focusing on delivering Master and Doctoral degrees in Engineering Management to Industry. Prof. Wichers is a registered Professional Engineer with ECSA, member of the Institutes of Business Management and Mechanical Engineers (SAIME) and founder member and ex-president of the Southern African Maintenance Association (SAMA).