Today, most organizations understand the value that BIG DATA could bring to their business and enable them to become the leader in their business. This is also true for projects centric organization where BIG DATA can play a vital role in ensuring that the right projects are selected and then ensuring that those projects are delivered right from the first time. BIG DATA is the basis for having the right information which in turn will provide the right knowledge to have the wisdom to make the right decisions.
Nevertheless, failing to capture the right data at the right time by the right team member will increase the risk of having faulty and outdated data. This will lead in turn to report the wrong information to the project team members and other stakeholders which will limit their ability to have the true knowledge about their current projects performance and available choices to give them the wisdom to make faster and better right decisions.
Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) similar to PMWeb provide proven solution to address the high risk of reporting faulty and outdated data. PMWeb PMIS will help projects centric organizations in avoiding this high risk by addressing the following four causes of faulty data risk by providing a single web-enabled solution that will provide:
1. BIG DATA repository for all projects managed by the organization
2. Document Management Repository for all projects documents
3. Platform to Capture the data of all project management processes needed to manage projects
4. Data Visualization to monitor, evaluate, analyze and report the projects health and performance
BIG DATA repository for all projects managed by the organization
Projects centric organizations will rarely exist to deliver a single project. Even for Special Vehicle Enterprises (SVE), which are usually created to deliver a program of interrelated projects. Therefore, a PMIS needs to cater for this multi-project environment and enable the organization to manage all of their projects’ portfolio. Some of those projects could be projects opportunities that are yet to be approved for execution, others could be projects being executed but could be at different stages of the project life cycle while others could be completed projects.
PMWeb PMIS enables those organizations to capture unlimited number of projects and programs. For each project, the organization can capture the needed data including the project specifics, stakeholders, target budget and milestone dates, companies involved in delivering the project, attach all supportive documents such as the feasibility study, business case among others. All of this data is captured using predefined input forms for which most fields have predefined lists of possible data entries to ensure the quality and validity of captured data.
Since most organizations have already invested in having their own enterprise planning and scheduling solution like Oracle Primavera EPPM P6 and MS Project, PMWeb allows the organization to import the activities, planned and actual dates, % complete and other data that is needed to link other projects records to. Of course, PMWeb also provides its own scheduling tool for those organizations that might not require importing their projects’ schedule data from other applications.
In addition, PMWeb PMIS maintains a single database repository of all companies and stakeholders that the organization could consider when it comes to delivering their project investments. Those will include qualified contractors and consultants, suppliers and vendors, government authorities, financial institutions and any other entity that could have an impact or influence on their projects delivery. For each company, PMWeb allows capturing the details of all individuals that might be involved or were involved in delivering the organization projects. It also allows adding the resources that could be used to deliver the projects’ scope of work. Those could be manpower, equipment and other type of resources.
Using PMWeb Pre-Qualification module, the organization can enforce a formal process for maintaining that latest details of all organizations that could be used in delivering their current and future projects. The online prequalification form can be customized to meet the organization’s own needs in what information needed to enable comprehensive qualification for the right entities to be involved in delivering their projects.
Document Management Repository for all projects documents
Delivering projects in general and engineering and construction projects in particular involve the creation of many type of documents such as drawings, specifications, contract agreements among others as well as maintaining signed version of all formal project communications which could be needed in the case of disputes and litigation. Depending on the country regulations, some of those documents need to be maintained for as long as 15 years. Those documents need to be stored in a structured filing system not only to ensure ease of access but also to limit access to only authorized team members.
PMWeb PMIS allows the organization to create folders and subfolders to match each project filing structure. Access rights can be assigned to each folder and subfolder as well as notifications can be enabled to send notifications whenever a new document get uploaded or an existing document get downloaded. Other required functions like checking out and checking in documents to enable documents versioning is a default. In addition, the organization can specify the attributes or additional fields that need to be assigned to each uploaded document.
PMWeb document viewer allows viewing PDF and Picture files to enable the project team members to add their comments on the reviewed documents. For those organizations that might require more advanced redlining and commenting functions and features, PMWeb has built an interface with Bluebeam Revu to enable those advanced requirements.
Yet the most important function of PMWeb Document Management Repository is that all uploaded documents can be attached to any of the project management processes that will be implemented in PMWeb. Of course, PMWeb also allows attaching other uploaded documents to another uploaded document in case there is a relation between those documents.
Having the documents uploaded in a single document management repository will allow the authorized project team members to search for documents that could include the required key words. For documents with readable content, PMWeb allows searching for those key words within the document itself.
Platform to Capture the data of all project management processes needed to manage projects
Managing a project in a professional format requires the organization to implement a number of project management processes that need to be aligned with the best practices of scope, time, cost, quality, communication, human resources, risk, procurement, safety, claim, environmental, financial, benefits realization among others. Those processes are usually aligned with the project delivery life cycle stages for which the responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) will identify the stakeholders who will be involved starting the process by submitting the predefined document template and those who will be involved in reviewing and approving or rejecting the process.
PMWeb helps in automating those processes including the stage gate approval processes. This will be achieved by providing the input form with the required fields for each process to allow capturing the right data. It also allows attaching the related documents which were uploaded into the document management repository as well as linking other relevant project management records. When the record is ready to be submitted for review and approval, the assigned workflow will automate the distribution of the record to its intended recipient thus ensuring that data capturing, reviewing and approval is done by the right authorized project team member. This will ensure that the organization and the authorized team members have access to real-time BIG DATA that can trusted.
PMWeb comes ready with the most common project management processes like meeting minutes, safety incidents, request for information, daily reports, snag list, cost estimate, budget, budget adjustments, revenue contracts, commitment contracts, change management, progress invoices among many others. For organizations who might need to capture additional data, all of those forms allow adding user defined fields to enable capturing this additional data.
It is very much possible that many organizations might have the need to manage additional project related processes that are not available by default in PMWeb. The PMWeb custom form builder enables the organization to create unlimited number of new input form in What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) format. Those forms can be created in any language as it should be expected that projects might exist in environments that English is not the first language. For example, in countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait among others there will be a need to have some of those forms in Arabic and to capture data in Arabic.
In addition to the capability of attaching supporting documents to every project management record, PMWeb allows linking other PMWeb records that could be of relevance to the project management record. It also allows linking project email communications that were imported into PMWeb email inbox repository. In addition, it also allows creating hyperlinks to websites where related documents or catalogues could provide additional details for this project management record.
The workflow assigned for each project management process will incorporate the different workflow steps and condition branches that are used to simulate the authorities and approval levels that depends on the values of the captured data. For example, for a change order that has a value that exceeds US$ 100,000 and time impact of 10 days might require different approval levels of a change order that has a value that is less the US$ 100,000 and less than 10 days of time extension. It no wonder that some processes like submittal review and approval could have more 50 workflow variations depending on the project phase, specification category, submittal type, compliance to what was originally specified, location of the works among many others.
The real-time BIG DATA that will be generated from the every-day project management processes will become available for the organization and the authorized project team members in different forms and formats. Tabular and graphical reports can be designed to provide the needed analysis and information to provide the right meaning to what has happened on the project. Those reports can be designed to filter the data to be reported on as well as create measures that are based on the input of the different data captured in a specific process or group of processes. The information can be limited to a single project or portfolio of projects.
Data Visualization to monitor, evaluate, analyze and report the projects health and performance
The real-time information that a PMIS provides to the organization needs to be visualized in different form and formats to meet the organization’s team members and other stakeholders to monitor, evaluate, analyze and report projects health and performance. This is crucial to build the knowledge to provide the insight to be right when there is a need to take an action. This in turn will provide the project’s decision makers with the wisdom to make better and faster right decisions.
For example, for the project cost/commercial manager, there will be a need to have a single dashboard that captures details of the approved project budget, awarded contracts, potential change orders, approved change orders, disputed change orders and other claims, progress invoices for completed work in place and material stored on site, payments made against those approved invoices, project contingency and management reserve status and other cost related matters. The dashboard viewer can drilldown to view details on all pending and approved change orders using the Change Order log. The same applies to the other project information.
Similarly, the organization could have dashboards to report the performance of the project schedule, risk and issues, procurement, document management, quality assurance and control, health and safety, design development, prequalification of vendors, bids and awarded contracts among many others. The information and measures included in those dashboards will provide the content for the project dashboard which can be designed in any desired form and format. The same drilldown approach will apply where the authorized user can drilldown from the project dashboard to the desired project management stream dashboard.
The projects portfolio dashboard will be a dashboard that will summarize the information from all projects’ dashboards to present a real-time single version of the truth of all projects health and performance. The authorized team member can drilldown from this dashboard to a specific project dashboard and then drilldown to the specific project management stream dashboard. From that project stream dashboard, assuming document management, the authorized project team members can drilldown to the Request For Information (RFI) log report. This will enable the authorized project team member to select the specific RFI that he or she need more details and drilldown to that specific record. This will enable the user to review the record, attached documents and all linked records.
In conclusion, organizations who lacks the right setup to capture the right projects data, by the right team members at the right time will always have the high risk of faulty data. Managing projects is no different than managing any other type of business and actually can prove to be more challenging due to the fact that each project is unique in terms of its requirements, deliverables and those involved in delivering the project’s scope of work. Depending on MS Excel as the repository to record projects data will generate silos of projects data that not only will require considerable effort to compile, analyze and report on but also carry the high risk of data entry mistakes as well as delayed sharing of critical projects’ information.