MERIT 2017 - Atkins India retain the Sponsors Award

celebrationsCongratulations to Atkins India, who have retained the Sponsors Award after a very close battle with Atkins China.


The Finalists are also now decided.

Squeezed out in the final round were Waterman's 'Waterman is coming' slipping from 6th to 9th place. Rising to fill the gap in the top six are Atkins India's 'INNOGRADS' rising from7th to 4th.

At the very top are 'CEG' replacing Atkins China's 'P M Kids' who slip to 3rd but still competing in the Final.

Tim Broyd, President of the ICE and Alan Crane Past President of CIOB will attend the final to present certificates to the finalists, the Silver Salver and the cash prize.

The record shows that, more often than not, the team in first place at this stage fails to become champion, although last year the leading team did go onto win. We have also experienced the winner coming through from sixth place.

Remarkably only 359 points separate the top place from the sixth place. It has never been this close. 359 points can disappear in one round and there are eight rounds in the Final. The Final is more competitive with teams competing against each other as well as the simulation, this generates more turbulence and with the teams so closely packed any of the top six can win.

Given the points score of the finalists and another eight rounds of an even more competitive competition under severe time pressure any team can win. We look forward to the tension and excitement of the battle to come. All we can promise is the final will be competitive with the high motivation of all six finalists.

Many teams put in fine performances and we trust all the teams who didn't make the final enjoyed the MERIT 2017 competition and the training experience in company, business and financial management, together with the experience of the need for team work and leadership to deliver disciplined decision making. MERIT has a record of raising aspirations and influencing future training and development as individuals think about what role in the industry they aspire too. The advice in taking part was to think like a director, act like a director. If you liked the role then set out to train to be a director. The industry needs leaders.


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MERIT 2017 - Cards on the table

cards on tableThe top six have had a quick shuffle. Atkins China's P.M.Kids and CEG with no sponsor remain first and second. Atkins India's 'That Team' rise by one to third, Waterman's 'Waterman is coming' rise to two places to fourth. Atkins India's 'A team with no name' slip two places to fifth and Arup's 'OVErachievers' slip one to cling onto sixth, care will be needed to stay there. Just outside the top six the big mover was Arup's 'SupernOVAs' rising six places to eighth need to watch they don't simply replace their colleagues. Also rising is Highways England's 'Didn't he do well' Slightly further back big upward movers include Mott MacDonald's 'Mott MacDonald Sheffield' and SWECO's 'Pro SWECO'. It can be done and the top six aren't secure yet. It's time for the chasers to be courageous.

One thing to keep an eye on is the market conditions. If the spend on marketing in the right sectors isn't adequate it will result in fewer jobs to bid for. If the market is tightening this could be significant. This is just one factor. All the others need controlling as well: head office staffing, estimating effort, bids, project manager selection, project staffing, company capital, borrowings, investments, dividends, retained profits. They all matter; no one said a director's job was easy. Enjoy the challenge.

With two rounds to go, at this stage some successful decisions get described as heroic and inspirational, other less successful ones as simply foolhardy.

Maybe it's time to put your cards on the table.


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MERIT 2017 - Stress test

Under pressureThe top six are still there but cracks are starting to show. 'PM Kids' from Atkins China remain top but by only 65 points from 'CEG'. Arup's 'OVEachievers' climb three places to third to consolidate their claim for a place in the final. Atkins India's 'That Team' drop one place and 'The Team with no name' stays put at 5th. Waterman's 'Waterman is coming' slip two places to sixth and are only in the top six by four points, it doesn't get any closer. 'Waterman is coming' will need their full concentration to keep their place. I cannot imagine they'll get much real work done this week as they calculate how to defend their position!

Less than two hundred points separate the top six that is close. Outside the top positions there are a number that could well make it. The highest percentage improvement in the leading teams was 19% this round the lowest was 7% a difference of 12%. That difference takes you do to virtually position twenty. So there is still scope for some change at the top. It's tense and you can feel it.

There are a cluster of teams just outside the top places who can still threaten so the top six will try to dig in. Past data suggests that teams in the top twenty at this stage could well disturb the rankings. With one round to go there is some tension in both the top teams defending their position and the chasers still chasing. The positions may well change but it's impossible to predict. Experience suggests that the chasers will take the biggest risks in their pursuit for top place. The top six will probably check everything many times to ensure that they don't make a last minute silly mistake. Lower down everyone is still trying to improve their final position. There is some satisfaction in generating an improvement at this stage.

Will the teams pass this stress test.


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MERIT 2017 - No team is safe

creepTwo drop out of the top six with 'OVEachievers' from Arup and 'Waterman is coming' from Waterman rising to 5th and 6th. Waterman are a new sponsor for MERIT and they should be proud of their team's performance. 'PM Kids' from Atkins China remain top 'CEG' an unsponsored team are doing well rise to second. The average improvement for the top six was 18% which gives a target to aim at in order to advance.

In past years at this stage the leading teams get twitchy and cautious. A final place seems to be in their grasp but a mistake, an uniformed decision, or a reckless decision that goes the wrong way could change all that. This caution and defensiveness will give opportunities for those in the chasing pack to show their flair and take courageous decisions to catch them. The top six are looking over their shoulder the chasers are breathing down their neck.

For all teams, If your strategy hasn't been reviewed this is probably the last opportunity to do so. It is time for a serious review of the strategy you've been following to determine what changes in the next three rounds will yield the biggest gains. It's time to take some decisions that earlier you might have considered as risky. This is when leadership and disciplined decision making should show its value. Teams can greatly improve their ranking in these rounds. It takes sense and strength to change your strategy.

Aspects that some teams might like to consider a little more carefully is matching the project manager to the project, a critical factor in efficiency, the number of measurement staff helps recover all you are due, the estimating effort required for accurate estimates and the company's capital. Yes there is a lot of variables and they all interact which is why disciplined decision making is required.

With three rounds to go, no team is safe.


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