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Ahmed Albalawi


More Efficient and Effective

Director General, Mashroat


As the Director General of Mashroat, Ahmed Albalawi was responsible for setting up the organization. Prior to that, he served in progressive roles at the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. Starting as a mechanical and project engineer, he became an engineering director and general manager of technical affairs. He holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from KFUPM.

“There are many organizations that have national responsibilities that touch on, or impact, Mashroat's activities.“

What are Mashroat’s primary project management activities and overall mandate?

The National Project Management Office (NPMO) was announced by royal decree in September 2015 with the mandate to improve efficiency in the delivery of projects by adopting the best international project management practices, developing a project management approach for implementing the best international practices, setting criteria for the establishment of project management offices within government entities, and preparing a standard contract template for government entities to engage project management companies. A subsequent royal decree issued in August 2017 extended the scope of the NPMO to include operations and maintenance, which resulted in changing our name to Mashroat. Our approach to realize this mandate is built on four pillars. The first is alignment and ensuring a more consistent and standard approach to the planning and execution of projects that reflects best international practices. These are captured in the Mashroat Projects White Book. The second pillar is enablement, namely supporting the restructuring of entities to be more capable and competent in the delivery of public infrastructure in line with our developed best practices. Third, we strive to provide the necessary support and resources, both people and training materials, to help entities adopt and implement the Mashroat methodology. Our last pillar is evaluation, for which we are developing a national projects dashboard to monitor project performance metrics and facilitate analysis of project performance in ways not currently possible, thereby providing greater transparency at different managerial levels.

How is Mashroat equipped to provide the necessary training and consultations to these entities?

We have captured our methodology in the Mashroat Projects White Book. This contains a complete and comprehensive set of processes, procedures, and templates for planning and execution of infrastructure projects across the entire project lifecycle. These materials have been informed, refined, and developed to reflect best international practices. We have been supported in these endeavors by Bechtel and are building Mashroat’s capacity through a structured knowledge transfer program. All the materials developed by Mashroat to support its approach are available to government entities and their suppliers via a portal on our website. In total, this represents over 800 separate deliverables, which include 28 packs of training materials covering of project management, professional development, leadership development, and leading change. For government entities, our approach involves analyzing their projects portfolio and sitting down with them to understand how they deliver infrastructure projects. With this information, we provide support by advising them on organization and structures that reflect best international practices, and how they will facilitate more efficient and effective delivery of projects. In addition to this organizational support, we place enormous importance on the personal development of Saudi nationals. This will be realized through an entity-specific knowledge transfer program, whose objective is to support the entities to become more competent, capable, and self-sufficient over time.

How do you interact with other organizations striving to make public entities more efficient and better equipped to deliver on their projects?

There are many other organizations that have national responsibilities that touch on, or impact, Mashroat’s activities. To reflect this importance, a key position in the organization is the director of external stakeholder management, who is responsible for engaging with these organizations to understand where we have common interests and how we can work together. Among the most important external organizations are the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Bureau for Spending Rationalization (BSR), and the National Center for Performance Measurement (Adaa). Mashroat works closely with MoF and BSR to develop project appraisal processes and procedures that will be used to develop robust business cases for infrastructure projects. We have also developed a suite of procedures to support five-year project portfolio planning, and are working with BSR on the execution of an outreach program to support entities employing these methods.



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