Strategic Value Solutions makes many publications throughout the years. This page will be regularly updated and contain all the publications made by SVS.

Moving from a Mandated Environment to a Value-Oriented Culture

The planning and design process already generates alternatives to meet the stakeholders’ needs within the available budget, and there are already multiple reviews throughout the project development process to ensure projects stay on schedule and on budget.  So, why are we forced to do VE?  We’ve all heard this question numerous times and may struggle to respond.  This paper will attempt to answer the question by defining the function of value engineering.  It is intended to provide support to the VE Community of Practice when communicating with project managers, designers, executive managers, stakeholders, consultants, and others on the specific purpose of value engineering and why it is uniquely different than any other planning, design, review, or problem solving processes currently employed to deliver projects.  This paper will spell out what has to be done and/or accomplished to be considered VE and how someone can substantiate it was accomplished properly.

Written by Kyle Schafersman, PE, CVS

Specificity Matters: How Nominalizations and Passive Verbs Hinder Function Analysis

The philosophy of authors to use very colorful, vivid words to describe situations in literature parallels what value practitioners do on a day-to-day basis, especially during the Function Analysis Phase. However, there are hindrances to Function Analysis. These hindrances come in the form of nominalizations and passive verbs.

It could be asserted that the level of attention to extremely specific verbs and nouns is “merely semantics” or “just word games”. However, if practitioners wish to grow the industry and foster the value culture, then these subtleties matter. These matter because every project is unique and every project has unique functions. If these unique, specific functions are not identified and understood by the team, it will affect all phases before and after the Function Analysis Phase, and ultimately, the results of the study will suffer.

In order to improve Function Analysis and ultimately improve the usefulness of study results, practitioners must spend more time on the Function Analysis Phase and must learn to ask more specific questions about the functions identified by the team. Not only must practitioners ask more questions, but they must learn to ask the right questions. This takes time and practice, but the outcomes are much more impactful to the industry. Function Analysis is what sets the Value Process apart from any other creative or analytical processes. If practitioners can improve their Function Analysis, then the Creative Phase will result in more innovative ideas. This will result in better outcomes of the study and, ultimately, a greater demand for the use of the process throughout the country.

Ryan Robinson, PE, AVS

 Function Wheel

In the world of the Value Methodology, there are many ideas and opinions for how to best perform both the process as a whole and each of the individual phases.  Arguably the most contentious phase to attempt to present ideas is in the Function Analysis phase.  This is the phase where we, as practitioners and lovers of the art of value, can tend to diverge and polarize into as many directions and philosophies as there are religions in the world.

This paper is meant to be an exploration into another tool, another approach, another opportunity to use our favorite tool, Function Analysis, the one thing that differentiates us as Value practitioners, to improve the experience of our workshops and the output from said workshops.  I am writing this in the hopes that some will be so inspired and have the liberty to use this tool within their own workshops that they will be able to, in turn, improve on it.

Written by Jeff Rude, CVS

Value Added Strategies to Sustain a Successful Value Improvement Program

We have all seen and many have enjoyed the fruits of successful Value Programs. We have also watched time and time again as these successful and robust Value Programs gradually spiral downward until they are no longer considered viable or beneficial. This paper addresses how actions can result in unintended consequences that contribute to the downfall of a successful Value Program. The paper will discuss many of the common compromises that are made relative to the scope of the value effort and the consequences that result from these decisions.

Further, the paper will provide value program coordinators and value consultants the knowledge, tools, and techniques to allow them to justify proper scoping of value studies to include such issues as required disciplines, number of team members, level of experience and expertise, and study duration.

Written by John Robinson, PE, CVS-Life, FSAVE

Analytical Method for the Development of Watershed Plans, Stormwater Programs and Stream Reclamation Projects

While we all acknowledge that the body of knowledge in water resources management is imperfect, a methodological weakness also underlies the relatively poor performance. This paper demonstrates a methodology based on function analysis that uses a six-phase process to improve the value of our efforts.

Despite the best of intentions, talent and energy, many water resource projects are reactive and therefore symptomatic. Developed in response to impending urban growth, a budget crisis or a disaster, the urgency and intensity of the issue de jour frequently engenders myopia and accommodation of short-term interests even with experienced professionals. Stormwater programs based on near-term cost benefit ratios often address symptoms and lack serious effort to identify and manage root causes of problems. Commonly efforts that could prevent future degradation by improving systemic stream health languish as lower priorities.

We propose a methodology in which the multidisciplinary team essential to all successful plans identifies the essential project functions and develops alternative ways to achieve those functions. The method includes a disciplined selection process to determine the best solutions for achieving the required functions. These function-based solutions are then combined into workable value alternatives. Here thorny policy, economic, social and technical issues are effectively expressed and integrated. This approach easily accommodates the complexity of water resource issues and provides methods to fully integrate the skills of scientists, engineers, economists, resource managers and public officials. The methodology has been proven worldwide for water resource projects and merits much broader application. The authors will illustrate the application of this methodology in both large and small projects.

Written by Robert Prager, PE, CVS and John Robinson, PE, CVS-Life, FSAVE

Award Winning Paper on Revealing Hidden Economic Externalities in Major Projects with Value Methodology

An economic externality is a cost or benefit that is not reflected in the price of a project or product. It is borne by those who are not willing parties to the transactions of producing the project. Economists tell us that economic externalities are distortions of our marketplace because some costs or benefits falling outside the project are not accurately reflected in its costs. By properly examining and eliminating external costs, our adverse impacts on the larger world are reduced and our projects become more sustainable. This paper addresses how these externalities arise in engineering design, some approaches to applying economic measures to services provided by nature and how the process influences team member selection.

Written by Munsell McPhillips, Ph.D., CVS

Applying the Theory of Spiral Dynamics to the Practice of Value Analysis

“Spiral Dynamics” is a theory describing the development and interactions between individuals, cultures, organizations and cultures. Its origins parallel those of value methodology and the founders of both methodologies met regularly and exchanged ideas. One methodology addresses the process of innovation (VM) while the other examines how people and organization respond to the notion of innovation (SD). By exploring how people and their organizations respond to the challenges posed by the value methodology process, Spiral Dynamics offers insight into more successful team building and reducing the barriers to accepting recommendations.

Written by Robert Prager, PE, CVS

Finding Value in China’s Environment

China’s rapid growth and new emphasis on sustainability can produce either intractable design conflicts or exciting opportunities for creativity. In a recent project outside Tianjin, PRC, value methodology helped achieve the latter. The author is part of a team of wetland/stormwater designers invited to bring this technology to a fast track design of a city with housing, schools, commercial/industrial and entertainment facilities for 50,000 people. The entire complex had a three-year construction period and included stringent water quality standards. Over the course of the VM study, the essential elements of sustainable design were integrated throughout the project and a true team was created. Value methodology, particularly function analysis, was critical to the process. In this application VM was used as a design tool rather than for project review. The project was successfully constructed and the designers are incorporating the methods learned in other projects throughout China.

Written by Munsell McPhillips, Ph.D.

MILCON Transformation

SVS conducted 13 Value Engineering/Management Workshops to help the US Army Corps of Engineers transform its Military Construction Delivery Process for needed execution. “The Value Engineering work culminated in award of a pilot project at 100 percent scope, within budget, during a difficult construction bid climate due to Hurricane Katrina, while using less funds per facility than allowed in previous years,” according to the DoD information paper announcing the Louisville District awards.