VAL101 Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) Principles and Practices

This course offers participants the opportunity to learn how to use the PDRI methodology in front end planning to achieve substantially improved performance in capital project cost, schedule and delivery against operational asset business objectives.

The course provides lessons learned on how to achieve increased team alignment, identify gaps and risks, and objectively measure progress in scope definition.  Each of the project templates (industrial, infrastructure and buildings) is introduced, along with guidelines on how to select the best template for each project. Recommended facilitation techniques are explained, as well as roles, responsibilities and logistics of conducting a PDRI session.

Who Should Attend

This course targets project stakeholders involved in front end planning. Past attendees include Program Managers, Project Managers, Design Managers, Designers, Construction Managers, Technical Managers, Project Estimators and Schedulers Business Unit leaders, Site Supervisors, Project Finance personnel, Operations leaders, Contract Administrators, Maintenance Managers, Risk specialists, Procurement professionals, Materials Supervisors, Quality specialists, Legal, Project Controls analysts , Engineers and Planners, Information Commercial Managers, Cost Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Health & Safety professionals and others.

In What Industries

Government, Engineering and Construction, Manufacturing and Industrial, Oil, Gas and Petrochemical, Power, Water Utility Plants, Pharmaceuticals, Environmental Management, Shipbuilding and Repair Yards, Real Estate Development, Defense and Aerospace.

Course Outline


  • Overview of course objectives and agenda
  • Interactive exercise – participants will complete a poll on the level of maturity of scope definition in their organization.
  • Introduction to the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) and its role in improving project performance

PDRI Methodology

  • Introduction to front end planning (FEP)
  • Structure of PDRI in Carve
  • Application during front end planning (FEL) stages
  • The assessment process
  • Scoring system
  • Measuring progress of scope definition

Project Templates

  • Introduction to available templates
  • Walkthrough of the
    • Industrial template
    • Building template
    • Infrastructure template
  • Using PDRI in greenfield and brownfield projects
  • Using PDRI for small, large and mega-projects
  • Interactive exercise – participants will use interactive polling to vote on the best project template to use for a PDRI assessment in multiple project examples.

Preparing for a PDRI Session

  • Who should attend?
  • Specific benefits for
    • Business unit leaders
    • Cost estimators
    • Scheduler/planners
    • Risk managers
    • Engineering contractors and consultants
    • Shutdown/turnaround managers
    • Procurement managers
  • Session roles, responsibilities and logistics
  • Characteristics of great PDRI facilitators
  • Background materials to provide a facilitator preparing for a PDRI session
  • Interactive exercise – using a case study, participants will apply the fundamentals of risk management to identify risks and prepare for a PDRI session.

Conducting the PDRI Session using Carve

  • Recommended techniques to ensure consistency in the element review process
  • Using the low definition element list
  • Creating effective action items
  • Importance of the executive summary
  • Comparison of total score to industry and internal benchmarks
  • Putting the final PDRI report to use
  • Importance of a debrief session
  • Sharing PDRI results with senior stakeholders
  • Interactive exercise – using a case study, the group will participate in a Mock PDRI session. Each participant will be assigned a role from the project team and provided with behavior hints. The instructor will facilitate the Mock PDRI session using Carve. The group will assess a range of elements and practice behaviors that encourage open and honest communication, identifying gaps, capturing relevant comments, and assigning a definition level.

Lessons Learned on Increasing Alignment

  • Using an early reviews to increase project team alignment and understanding business objectives
  • Using PDRI to increase alignment between owners and contractors
  • Leveraging PDRI to communicate known risks when a project handover occurs after FEL-3


  • Revisit the group’s poll results on organizational maturity of scope definition
  • Review how PDRI can be applied to improve scope definition and project performance
  • Discuss important “take-aways”
  • Conduct course evaluation

Course Instructor

Sandra MacGillivray, MBA, PMP is the Managing Director for Valency Inc., a provider of project readiness solutions that reduce risk for organizations that manage a large portfolio of capital projects. She is a Certified PDRI Facilitator, Registered Education Provider (REP) with the Construction Industry Institute (CII), and a Project Management Professional (PMP) with over 15 years of project management experience. Sandra is a past research team member with the Construction Industry Institute on front end planning, risk management and portfolio management. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo and a Master in Business Administration from Wilfred Laurier University.


A certificate of completion will be issued to those who attend and complete the course. The course is conducted by Valency, a Registered Education Provider for the Construction Industry Institute (CII). Those who complete the course will earn 8 Professional Development Hour (PDH) credits.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course participants will be able to:

  • Explain the PDRI methodology and benefits to their project organization
  • Recommend when a PDRI session should be conducted in front end planning
  • Select the most appropriate project template to use for a project
  • Understand the roles, responsibilities and logistics for a PDRI session
  • Select project professionals that are best suited as PDRI facilitators
  • Understand how to fully utilize findings from a PDRI session to improve project performance

Set expectations with senior stakeholders of how PDRI will improve communication of risk