Capital Excellence
We help organizations achieve higher and faster returns by deploying best-in-class thinking across the capital projects portfolio and project delivery value chain.

Too often, capital portfolios don’t translate overall strategy into capital allocation across a portfolio of projects. Many projects lack a mature and optimized business case, and fail to return their cost of capital. The Capital Excellence approaches help improve returns and program performance across the entire portfolio with a rigorous, holistic methodology enabled by digital and agile techniques.

We help industry players—including owners, operators, and investors—align capital strategy, optimize portfolios, and transform project development and delivery across asset classes. At each stage we discover, create, and ultimately grow value—for all participants in the value chain—and build teams with the right skills to manage complex workstreams. By combining proprietary technology, advanced analytics, and capability building, we deliver Change that Matters on an end-to-end journey of capital transformation, resulting in reduced risks, saved money, accelerated progress, increased returns, and improved performance.


average capital cost savings


point average uplift in ROIC


typical reduction in project schedule timeline

What we do

Our work often begins with a rapid assessment, powered by Westney Capital Analytics, to provide our clients with an objective, fact-based view of strengths, opportunities, and the size of the value at stake.

Capital strategy and portfolio optimization

We partner with organizations to define strategic direction, optimize capital spend, and build enterprise-wide capex capabilities, including designing digital transformations.

Project development and value improvement

We identify and evaluate early stage projects and apply strategic levers to improve project business cases significantly. We also optimize design, procurement, and the critical enablers – organization, culture, capabilities, risk, contracting, digital and analytics – to realize the full potential of the project.

Project delivery and construction

We help deliver projects through a disciplined execution rhythm to accelerate schedules, improve safety outcomes, maintain quality, and reduce costs. This end-to-end value assurance and optimization support, tailored to major projects, can be further enhanced by full-time support from McKinsey experts embedded in the leadership team.

Our Approach

Analytics and technology

Applying analytics and technology is core to our approach, changing the way we help clients deliver projects. We combine proprietary solutions like Digital Control Tower and Project Production Management with advanced analytics through Westney Capital Analytics, and create partnerships with leading technology providers. This ecosystem of innovators allows us to deliver leading-edge solutions that support capital portfolio performance by improving project management, identifying project complexities, and predicting outcomes.

Capability building

Maintaining capital portfolio performance requires the right mix of team skills to sustain the impact of transformations in the long term. In addition to ongoing coaching throughout projects, we help clients embed new capabilities with McKinsey Academy’s Capital Excellence program, and build digital skills through our proprietary education and external partnerships.

Impact stories

Getting smart about capital spending

An energy company transforms how it plans capital projects, freeing up billions to enter new markets.

An engineering and construction giant reignites profitable growth

Better strategy and strong leadership pipeline unlock growth, boost revenues, and safeguard margins.

Strategic approach to hospital design and construction cuts cost by 20 percent

Improvements to building costs, construction approaches, and procurement help a US healthcare provider reduce capital costs and raise service quality.

Featured Video

Applying Capital Excellence to our own major project

As our Digital Capability Center in Venice expands, we are leveraging our expertise to help deliver the project. Watch what we’ve learned so far.

Featured Experts

Tip Huizenga
Senior Partner, Sydney
Leads clients through comprehensive restructuring and transformation programs, drawing on substantial expertise in oil and gas, metals and mining and operations
Olivier Legrand
Senior Partner, Singapore
Leads McKinsey’s Capital Productivity & Infrastructure Practice in Asia, and coleads our Operations Practice, with deep expertise in large-scale operational transformations, postmerger management, and capital projects
Mikhail Kulikov
Partner, Moscow
Leads Electric Power & Natural Gas Practice in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Russia and work on performance improvement in capital-project management in Africa, the CIS, the Middle East, and Turkey
Gernot Strube
Senior Partner, Munich
Leads the Capital Projects & Infrastructure Practice in Europe and coleads the Operations Practice, advising clients in the infrastructure, aerospace, rail, and machinery sectors on digital transformations, operational strategy, and performance improvement
Roberto Fantoni
Senior Partner, São Paulo
Leads the Capital Projects & Infrastructure Practice in Latin America, serving some of the largest industry leaders and a few major family-owned conglomerates; brings deep expertise in corporate governance, growth, mergers and acquisitions, organization, and portfolio strategy
Steffen Fuchs
Senior Partner, Dallas
Steffen leads McKinsey’s global work in capital productivity with a focus on digital and innovation. He works across multiple regions, including North and South America, Asia, and Europe.

Featured Insights

The Next Normal

As the world becomes more urban, more people will live and work in high-rises. What will that mean for builders, real-estate companies, and tenants? In this edition, The Next Normal explores the high-rise of 2030.


Agile delivery of capital projects

– Industry leaders are using the agile approach to reimagine how capital projects are delivered.

Walking the talk: Best practices for digital construction

– We are taking the advice we typically give our clients and applying it to our own construction project—and we’ll be sharing the challenges and lessons as we go.

Resetting capital spending in the wake of COVID-19

– Amid the pandemic, many CFOs are struggling to stabilize cash flows. A quick reset of capital spending—which can usually be achieved in about four weeks—can help them reach their goals.

The next normal in construction: How disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem

– The COVID-19 crisis looks set to accelerate an overdue transformation of the world’s largest ecosystem. We expect nine shifts to radically change the construction value chain, and offer a blueprint for the next normal ahead.

Collaborative contracting: Moving from pilot to scale-up

– Despite the early successes of collaborative-contract adopters, the industry remains hesitant. Five steps can help project owners better envision the transition toward more collaborative approaches.

Modular construction: From projects to products

– Shifting construction away from traditional sites and into factories could dramatically change the way we build. Will modular construction make a sustainable impact this time around?

Reinventing construction through a productivity revolution

– To transform the sector, action is needed in seven areas or through broader adoption of mass-production approaches.

More from this practice

Practice page

Global Infrastructure Initiative

Our research suggests up to 40 percent of global infrastructure and capital project investment is poorly spent because of bottlenecks, lack of innovation, and market failures. McKinsey established the GII to address these issues, promote economic growth, and contribute to more resilient and secure communities.
Blog Post

McKinsey welcomes Westney Consulting, a leading capital-projects consultancy

– The acquisition further helps us ensure on-time and on-budget delivery of our clients capital projects.

Connect with our Operations Practice