Even with oil and gas companies attaining record profits, most are taking a cautious approach to new infrastructure projects as global markets shift toward renewable energy or diversified energy assets. This heedful approach is coalescing with the growth of energy demand globally.

Oil and gas producers may be more mindful of investment expenditures in this dynamic landscape. Fortunately, a nimble and reliable partner can help oil and gas producers meet budget and schedule demands by practicing agile leadership.

Agile leadership is best understood as a management approach focused on communication, adaptability, collaboration and value creation. This dynamic approach empowers teams while encouraging learning and innovation. Oil and gas projects that capitalize on an engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project delivery method benefit from a fully integrated project delivery team that can provide predictable results, increased cost certainty and greater flexibility to meet client expectations. The flexibility attributed to an EPC approach aligns well with the flexible management approach of agile leadership. Specifically, agile leadership can strengthen EPC projects in the following ways:

  • Facilitating effective communication. EPC projects capitalize on the skills of multidisciplinary professionals and training of all parties, including design and construction teams, as well as their clients. This approach helps to bring all ideas to the table and provides transparency. To resolve issues efficiently, agile leaders coordinate meetings to keep everyone informed of project progress, review concerns and project scope. Having a regular cadence to meetings and communication helps teams identify and resolve issues quickly.
  • Encouraging adaptability. Whether it's for dealing with supply chain issues, logistics or labor challenges, oil and gas producers need a partner who can adapt to and address the issues impacting project execution. Agile leaders employ a flexible approach to project management, enabling the team to respond quickly and effectively to changes and challenges. Agile leaders facilitate iterative and incremental approaches, giving teams the ability to modify plans or deliverables based on the newest information.
  • Focusing on value creation. Agile leadership invites managers to adopt a customer-centric mindset that focuses on addressing customer needs and expectations. Project managers operating in this framework can deliver value throughout the project life cycle. Meeting with oil and gas clients on a consistent basis and requesting their feedback allows project managers to align deliverables with client expectations — boosting customer satisfaction and value.
  • Fostering collaboration. In addition to promoting regular communication, agile leadership emphasizes teamwork and collaboration. Agile leadership supports collaboration among multidisciplinary teams so that individual members can contribute specialized knowledge to advance problem-solving. Additionally, agile leaders develop an environment of shared ownership among all team members, to keep everyone engaged and motivated while working toward the same goal.

Agile leadership can have a significant impact on project teams and project outcomes. As team members are encouraged to communicate and collaborate on complex projects, managers can also encourage continuous learning so that team members try new concepts while taking calculated risks. In the long-term, this strategy helps teams and clients stay abreast of industry trends and developments. Using this highly collaborative approach, project managers focus on strengthening relationships among clients, employees, colleagues and business partners to gain credibility and trust, creating partnerships that deliver successful outcomes.

Project managers that use an EPC project delivery approach can foster growth and development for staff, while achieving desired outcomes, by practicing agile leadership. In addition to being cost- and schedule-driven, today’s oil and gas projects are more complex than ever. Agile leadership provides practical concepts project managers can employ to foster collaboration and innovation, encourage adaptability and resilience, facilitate continuous learning, and establish strong relationships among all parties.


Interface management facilitates effective communication among relevant parties, helping to mitigate errors and rework on complex oil, gas and chemical projects. A thorough interface management plan will identify and address potential issues so that projects can be executed on time and on budget.

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Yaman Aroon is a project manager for Burns & McDonell India. He has 14 years of experience and previously served as a senior engineer focusing on project controls. As a manager for oil, gas and chemical industry initiatives, Yaman guides projects through planning, scheduling and cost monitoring.