How to Maximize the Value of Meeting Minutes During the Project Construction Stage?

You will rarely find any construction project, regardless of its size, type, location or duration that does not require having meetings between the project parties. Meetings are scheduled gatherings of individuals for stated purpose, to discuss and act upon matters of common interest. Meetings serve valuable purpose in the project to effectively communicate information, exchange ideas, render decisions, resolve issues, coordinate work, prevent problems among others. It is estimated that project management team members spend more than 50% of their time in participating in meetings.

What Meetings Are Common to Construction Projects?

During the construction phase of a project, there are different type of meetings for which each serve a specific project management purpose and accordingly the attendees of those meetings could differ by type. Those meetings include kick-off meeting, progress meetings, technical meetings, contractor meetings, QA/QC meetings, HSE meetings, change management meetings, steering committee meetings, BIM coordination meetings, risk management meetings, interface management meetings, project handover meetings among others. The frequency of those meetings could vary as some could be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or when needed.

How Can Technology Improves the Management of Project Meetings?

The majority of those involved in managing and delivering construction projects today, continue to use applications like MS Word and MS Excel to capture, report and present their meeting minutes. This limits those involved in taking actions or ensuring actions were taken on those meeting minutes from tracking, monitoring and evaluating the status of those actions as well as who need to use the meeting minutes information to support a claim submission or any other type of argument.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) solution like PMWeb provides the parties involved in delivering construction projects with a single web-enabled platform to manage all project processes including meeting minutes. To start with, the project manager needs to establish the dates, timings and locations of the different meeting types to ensure that the required team members needed for those meetings are available to attend.

What is Common to All Meeting Minutes?

All meeting minutes share the same requirements for what data to capture although the content will vary from one meeting type to another. The first requirement for a meeting minute is that it needs to capture the particular of the meeting such as project, type, subject, WBS level, location, date, timing among others. Second it needs to captures the details of those invited to attend the meeting and who has actually attended the meeting.

The third requirement which is the most important of all, the business items discussed during the meeting, who are responsible to address those business items and by which date, the status of this business item if it is still open or closed, the actual date this business item was closed and the project schedule activity that could be subject to be delayed if this business item is not closed as per the set due date. Of course, additional details such as business item category and type can be added to improve the classification of the business item.

Another challenge in maintaining complete, accurate and effective meeting minutes is that it is common practice during a meeting, documents such as drawings, reports, pictures, videos, catalogues among others are shared among those attending the meeting. Therefore, it is critical that all those documents are attached to the meeting minutes to ensure that they can be reviewed when needed. In addition, the meeting minutes could have links to other PMWeb records like submittal, risk register, changes among others that can be linked to the meeting minute.

Sharing and Distributing the Meeting Minute

When the meeting minute is complete and all supportive documents are attached, the meeting coordinator can then generate a transmittal to distribute the meeting minutes through a pre-defined workflow to those who have attended the meeting as well as others who might need to be involved to review, approve and share the content. Usually, if within 2 days no objection is received on the meeting minutes then they are considered approved.

Generating the Next Meeting Agenda

In addition, meeting minutes require to keep track of the history of business items from one meeting to the other. Therefore, the follow-on meeting agenda needs to be generated from the previous meeting to ensure that closed items are removed and on-going items get captured in the next meeting. This will enable the project team to keep track of all business items and when those items were closed.

Presenting the Meeting Minutes

Most construction projects, at least in the MENA region, requires the party authoring the meeting minutes to formally present a printed version of the meeting minutes. The layout of the meeting minutes could vary from one project to another and even between one meeting type and another. Those printed meeting minutes can be designed in an intelligent format to provide the authorized reader the option to drilldown to the meeting minutes item captured in PMWeb to review all attached documents and linked records to that particular meeting minute business item.

Tracking Status of Business Items

PMWeb Business Intelligence (BI) report writer allows creating different reports to track the status of the different business items discussed and recorded in the meeting minutes. For example, a report can be created to capture the history of each business item, when it was first recorded and when it was closed. The report could include filters to limit the reported data to a specific individual for which the business items were assigned to. The report could be limited to single type of meeting minutes for a single project or portfolio of projects or for all meeting types across a single project or portfolio of projects.

Searching Content of Meeting Minutes

Sometimes there is a need a search for the content of meeting minutes as well as other project records for specific incidents and events. PMWeb allows the project team member to search for key words that relate to those incidents and events across all project records including meeting minutes. Those records that are related to the specific incident or event can be saved in an electronic issue file to enable the project team member to review and take the needed actions.

Analyzing Business Items Performance Trends

The granular data captured from the meeting minutes business items for the different meeting types across the different projects managed by the project owner provides unmatched knowledge and insight to the quality and efficiency of meeting minutes. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can be created to measure the efficiency of resolving meeting business items as well as trigger actions when the performance is not in accordance with approved performance benchmarks.

Project Communication Dashboard

In addition to meeting minutes business items, there are other formal project communication that needs to be managed, monitored and evaluated when it comes to delivering construction projects. Usually, a project communication dashboard is will be created to provide the insight on the performance of other project communication RFI, Submittals, Transmittals, Correspondence among others. The communication dashboard will usually display key performance indicators for volume, growth over time, approval periods, items by status among others will be captured at this dashboard.

Project Dashboard

The project communication data along with other project’s data captured from cost management, schedule, risk management, quality control, safety and health and other PMWeb modules will provide the input for the project dashboard. This is a dashboard that will summarize the KPIs of all those data sources as well as show additional data such construction camera among others.

Conclusion

Project meetings is one of the most important formal communication that takes place during the construction stage. Meetings bring project entities to discuss and act upon matters of common interest. It is estimated that project management team members spend more than 50% of their time in participating in meetings. PMWeb PMIS helps in capturing the details of all project meetings regardless of their type. This enables monitoring and evaluating the performance of meetings minutes in communicating information, exchanging ideas, rendering decisions, resolving issues, coordinating work and preventing problems.

How to Use Earned Value Method to Monitor and Evaluate Your Property Gross Development Value (GDV)?

Gross development value (GDV) is one of the most important performance metrics that all investors and property developers closely monitor and evaluate when building their project assets. The gross development value of a property investment project gives a near accurate figure of what that property or real estate development project may be worth when all development works have been completed. In other words, it will show if a profit has been, or will be made from the development project, and at what level.

How to Calculate Gross Development Value (GDV)

The most common and most basic formula to estimate the Gross Development Value is as follows:

GDV = Land + (Construction + Contingency + Fees + Profit)

Where:

GDV = Gross development value

Land = Purchase price of land/property/site acquisition

Construction = Engineering, construction and management costs

Contingency = Contingency and Management Reserve

Fees = Fees and transaction costs

Profit = required Developers profit

How to Use Technology to Monitor and Evaluate Gross Development Value (GDV)?

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) platform like PMWeb will provide the investors and property developers with a real-time monitoring and evaluation of the property Gross development value (GDV) that is based on trust worthy data captured using the different project management processes mapped into PMWeb. This will enable using earned value method (EVM) to monitor, evaluate and report on the Gross development value (GDV).

The Earned Value Method (EVM) budget cost will be set to equal the property Gross development value (GDV). This will include the budget cost for the land purchase price, engineering, construction and management cost, contingency and management reserve, fees and transaction cost and the required target developers profit. PMWeb Budget module will be used to capture those details at the level of detail set in the cost breakdown structure (CBS). The assigned budget value for each CBS level can be in the currency associated with the estimated cost. The sum of all those budget line items is what is know as the Budget at Completion (BAC) or the property Gross development value (GDV).

Each budget line item will be linked to project schedule activity the details the planned start and finish dates of spending the funds associated with that specific budget item. PMWeb allows selecting the spending curve pattern associated with each budget line item. This will be the basis for creating the Planned Value (PV) for spending the property Gross development value (GDV).

The project budget baseline could be subject to revisions until the project is formally approved to proceed. PMWeb can maintain all those budget versions to enable the real estate investor to compare and track the changes in the GDV as well as other metrics like the IRR, NPV among others.

When the gross development budget value is frozen to become the approved GDV budget baseline, all revisions to the approved project budget should be carried out using PMWeb budget adjust module. This will provide a formal process for submitting, reviewing, approving and tracking all changes to the approved budget. Those could be changes that could result in increasing or decreasing the budget as well as to transfer funds from one cost center to another including all contingency and management reserve drawdowns. The workflow assigned to the budget adjust module will incorporate the approval levels set by the real estate developer.

Verifying the Gross Development Budget

The gross development budget (GDV) is based on the property sales and lease values that was established on the information that can usually be obtained from leasing agents or specialist firms of valuation surveyors. This will help to establish how much the real estate developer can expect to take in sales and rent on a per annum basis for the building asset when completed.

Although the details of those revenue contract agreements and other sales opportunities could be captured in different applications, nevertheless, it is highly recommended to add their details in PMWeb revenue contracts module. The PMWeb revenue module will be used to capture the summary information of those contracts which could include possible property sales, long term lease agreements, long term usage agreement (healthcare, education) among others. PMWeb allows capturing the revenue earning durations as this will be needed when it comes to calculating the Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Net Present Value (NPV) and any other time-sensitive performance measures.

In addition, having the revenue details captured on the same PMWeb platform enables the real estate developer to track changes to the market trends and demand for the developed assets. This could have massive impact on the initially anticipated gross development value which will require immediate actions to revisit the project budget or gross development value.

Monitoring and Evaluating the Schedule Aspect of the Real Estate Development

One of the key factors in achieving the targeted GDV is to ensure timely completion of the real estate asset to ensure that the planned revenue is materialized. In addition, many of those revenue contracts could have penalty clauses should there be delay in handing over the real estate assets. To evaluate and monitor the on-time completion of the real estate asset, three performance measures will be needed. Those will be the Total Float (TF), Schedule Variance (SV) and Schedule Performance Index (SPI).

To calculate those measures, the Earned Value Method (EVM) will need the progress schedule data to capture the Percent Complete for each activity assigned to the budget line item. This will be used to calculate the Earned Value (EV) which is based on multiplying the approved percent complete for the project schedule activity assigned to the GDV budget line item by the budget value for that line item. For example, if the budget price of the land is USD 20 Million and the land acquisition was completed during that particular month, then the Earned Value for the land acquisition is USD 20 Million.

The schedule performance analysis is not limited to analyzing if the project is on schedule or not, but also to ensure that the allocated budget spending is spent as planned. This is important as otherwise the real estate developer will have funds that were blocked but they are not being used. This indicates lack of efficiency when it comes to budget spending. The Schedule Performance Index (SPI) is the measure that shows the efficiency in spending the project budget.

Monitoring and Evaluating the Cost Aspect of the Real Estate Development

Ensuring that the project budget does not exceed what has been planned and approved is very critical as otherwise the real estate developer will have an asset that has a cost that exceeds the value set by market for similar developments. The real estate developer would usually retain the services of a project management consultant, engineering consultant, contractors, suppliers among others to deliver the project scope of work. PMWeb commitment module will capture all of those contracts as well as changes whether they are potential, under review, approved or disputed.

At the end of each month, a progress invoice will be issued to capture the cost of approved completed scope of work. Usually, the same schedule percent complete will be used to calculate this cost. For actual cost expenses that are not invoiced against a specific commitment contract, PMWeb miscellaneous invoices module will be used to capture those expenses. In addition, for the real estate developer own resources, timesheets will be used to capture the hours spent on the project. PMWeb allows defining different rates for each resource to capture their actual cost incurred on the project.

By comparing the earned value (EV) for completed project scope of work with the actual cost (AC) spent for the scope of work, the real estate developer can immediately determine if there is any cost variance (CV). The cost performance index (CPI) details the cost efficiency in spending the approved project budget. For example, a CPI of 0.80 indicates that for each US$ 1,000 value of works, the real estate developer spent only US$ 800 for achieving this scope of work. In addition, it is important to report on the project contingency and management reserve drawdown as those are funds allocated by the real estate developer to respond to the project’s accepted risks.

Putting All Together

The schedule and cost value measures along with the earned value method at completion measures are used to assess the gross development value (GDV) coupled with the IRR and NPV measures provides the real estate developer with a real-time single version of the truth monitoring and evaluation of the real estate development performance status. This provides the real estate developer leadership team with the insight to trust worthy information to make better and fasted informed decisions.

Why Monitoring and Evaluating Your Capital Project Investment IRR Is Critical?

Although for those who are involved in investing in capital projects have many criteria to decide if the project opportunity worthwhile investing in or not, nevertheless, two of the most important measures that will always appear on this list are the Risk Attractiveness and Internal Rate of Return (IRR). Those interrelated measures identify the organization’s appetite when it comes to investing in capital projects as the common sense always says the higher the risk is, the higher the return should be.

Assessing Project Risks

Assessing the risk attractiveness of a project requires the organization to implement a formal management process to identify, analyze, respond, monitor and control project risks. A Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb not only enables the organization to implement their project management process across their complete projects’ portfolio but to also monitor and evaluate how the risk attractiveness of a project could change over time. The risks captured during the project life cycle stages across the organization’s projects’ portfolio provide a risk knowledge database that no organization can afford not to have. The real-time risk register will be used by the organization to monitor and evaluate their risk exposure and trigger needed actions to keep it inline with the organization’s risk policy.

Assessing Project Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

Assessing the project IRR requires have a consolidated cashflow project of all project costs and revenues. The project cost will include all construction direct and indirect cost for building the project asset, professional services, price of land, statutory fees, operation cost, funding and financing cost, pre-sales commission, marketing and promotion fee, contingency and management reserve allowance among others. On the other hand, project revenue could be from building assets sale, short and long -term lease, operation revenue like school fees, hotel room and restaurant revenue, healthcare revenue, interest received among others.

WBS and Control Accounts (CA)

To estimate the project cost, the organization needs to define the work breakdown structure (WBS) which will detail the project scope of work. The more detailed is the WBS is, the more accurate cost estimate the organization will have. The WBS will also become the Control Account (CA) which will be used to capture other project cost components including in addition to cost estimate, budget, budget adjustments, commitments, changes, actual cost, revenue contracts, revenue adjustments, actual revenue collected and project funding.

Cost Estimate

For each Control Account (CA) level, the quantity of the work needs to be calculated in accordance with international recognized quantity take-off standards. If Building Information Model (BIM) is in use, then those quantities can be extracted from the BIM model. Again, the level of accuracy depends of the BIM Model level of detail (LOD) which will improve as the project design moves from concept to detailed design development.

Project Schedule

The Control Account will also enable the organization to develop the project’s delivery schedule taking into consideration design, authorities approvals, contracts and material procurement, construction, commissioning, handing over and other scope of work needed for delivering the project asset. In addition, the schedule should include all revenue, maintenance and operation activities during the complete revenue generation stage of the asset life cycle. Applications like Oracle Primavera P6 is usually what capital project owners would use to develop the detailed project schedule. The schedule which is aligned with the WBS needs also to be aligned with the cost estimate to ensure that scope of work and level of effort to delivery is fully captured in the integrated project schedule.

Project Budget

The control accounts, cost estimate and project schedule will be imported into PMWeb to have a single repository of those important components who will be used to develop the other records needed to come up with the project consolidated cashflow to calculate the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) as well as other measures like Net Present Value (NPV). The project budget will be the first record to be generated from the approved cost estimate. Of course, different budget versions will be created depending on the cost estimate revisions.

The project will be appended with additional records that were not covered by the cost estimate. Those could the project finance and funding cost, price of land, contingency, management reserve among others. PMWeb allows having multiple currencies within the budget itself to allow for the currency exchange rates to determine the impact on the budget if those were not covered under other budget line items. Each budget line item will be also linked to its relevant project schedule activity to determine their planned spending dates. When those schedule dates are revised or updated, a new budget version needs to be created to reflect the new schedules while keeping track of previous budget versions. PMWeb allows distributing the budget amount using predefined projection curves like linear, bell-shaped, front-ended and back-ended. This will help in getting a more accurate budget cashflow projection.

Budget Adjustments

All adjustments to the approved budget will be captured using budget request module. Those adjustments could be to reflect budget increase or decrease due to some changes, transferring approved budget amount from Control Account to another. One of the most common budget transfers is the one associated with project contingency and management reserve for which the organization needs to keep track of the funds drawdown during the project life cycle. Each budget adjustment needs to be posted to the financial period that it had occurred at.

Revenue Contracts

The revenue contracts module in PMWeb will be used to capture all planned and actual income sources for the project. This would usually include building assets sale, short and long -term lease, operation revenue like school fees, hotel room and restaurant revenue, healthcare revenue, interest received among others. Similar to the budget, each revenue source will be linked to the relevant control account and the project schedule activity. This will ensure that the revenue projection is captured in the consolidated project cashflow.

Planned Cashflow Projection and the IRR

With both, the planned budget spending and revenue, the planned consolidated cashflow projection for the project will be generated. This will also enable the organization to make adjustments for the those captured values. For example, for the planned budget per period, the organization might decide that the Earned Progress Value should be 90% of the budget amount, allowing for the 10% retention, and it needs to be delayed by 30 days for the review and approval period. This earned value amount will become the Actual Cost to be paid but again with another 30 days delay to accommodate the payment terms. The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Net Present Value (NPV) at 18% measures will be calculated using the formulas that are common to reporting tools used by PMWeb. Should the organization be interested in running “what if scenarios” on the project cashflow without modifying the budget and revenue data captured in PMWeb, the projection cashflow report can be saved in MS XLS file format to enable the organization to run different scenarios and calculate the associated IRR, NPV and other needed financial measures.

Should the organization be interested in running “what if scenarios” on the project cashflow without modifying the budget and revenue data captured in PMWeb, the projection cashflow report can be saved in MS XLS file format to enable the organization to run different scenarios and calculate the associated IRR, NPV and other needed financial measures.

Of course, the monitoring and evaluation of the IRR, NPV and other financial measures will continue to be needed during the project life cycle stages. This entails that control accounts that are part of bid packages awarded to consultants, project management firms, contractors, subcontractors, vendors, suppliers among others will become the basis for the planned cost spending rather the budget planned spending. In addition, actual cost incurred for scope of work delivered plus the actual cost of all miscellaneous invoices will be used to record the past periods actual cost. Those cashflow adjustments will automatically result in recalculating the IRR, NPV and other financial measures.

Awarded Commitments

The commitment of the organization to spend the approved project budget is usually linked to the award of contracts, subcontracts, purchase order among others. The procurement of those commitments need to follow a formal process that will include defining the bid packages, which include all relevant control accounts, qualifying the bidders for each bid package, create the contract documents for bid packages, invite qualified bidders, capture the submitted proposals by those bidders, reviewing and analyzing those bids and finally award those commitments. Each commitment will include the payment terms for the approved completed work. The anticipated commitments spending, which also referred to as the Contractor’s Cost Loaded Schedule needs to be reviewed and ensure that is aligned with the approved budget spending plan.

Changes to Awarded Contracts

All potential and actual changes, whether they are approved, under review, rejected or disputed, will be captured in PMWeb. This will enable the organization to have real-time understanding of the revised committed project cost and the projected at completion project cost. Again, as a best practice, all those changes need to be captured in a single document that will also detail the changes in the approved budget as a result of those changes. This document is known as the change event. Similar to budget adjustments, commitments changes need to be posted to the financial period that it had occurred at.

Actual Cost and Actual Revenue

The actual cost for approved work in place for each awarded commitment contract will be captured using the monthly progress invoice for which the project schedule activity percent (%) complete for each control account will be imported. This will be repeated for each period. In addition, the actual cost for all miscellaneous invoices incurred at each period will be also captured in PMWeb. Similarly, the actual revenue from building assets sale, short and long -term lease, operation revenue like school fees, hotel room and restaurant revenue, healthcare revenue, interest received among others will be captured using the revenue requisitions module.

For some organizations, there could be a requirement that all actual costs and revenues to be captured using their accounting and ERP applications like SAP, Oracle, MS Dynamics, JD Edwards among others. Should this be a requirement, PMWeb provides the option to import the actual cost and revenue data into PMWeb using the Integrator Manager. In addition, there is an option to create more advanced integration using the application programming interface (API) which is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components.

Monitoring and Evaluating IRR, NPV and Other Measures

The organization needs to continue monitoring and evaluating the IRR, NPV and other financial measures including but not limited to project budget, revenue, commitment, earned value, actual cost, paid amount, cost performance index (CPI), schedule performance index (SPI), cost variance (CV), schedule variance (SV), contingency drawdown among others.

Conclusion

Those involved in capital project investments require a number of financial, risk among other measures to ensure that their investments are still viable. The Internal Return on Investment (IRR) is one of those important measures that executives would like to track to ensure that the return on investment is still attractive. PMWeb PMIS provides a single web-enabled platform to capture the data needed to calculate the IRR, NPV and the many other key performance indicators needed to monitor and evaluate project investments performance. Thus, not only enable those investors to have real-time single version of the truth performance status but the insight to make better and faster informed decisions to keep their investments on track.

Monitoring and Evaluating Progress of PPP Projects

Monitoring and evaluating financial progress for PPP project as presented in the previous article, is crucial but not enough. In addition to financial aspects, a successful PPP project delivery requires monitoring and evaluating physical, schedule, risk, issues among other aspects of a project. PMWeb project management information system (PMIS) will provide the two parties of the project finance agreement with a real-time single version of the truth platform to monitor and evaluate all project management processes. PMWeb will help the two parties of the contract to implement the best practices of project management like those of the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

Project Life Cycle

PPP projects might take 5 to 20 years to repay its project finance. This requires having complete understanding of the asset life cycle covering the period to build the asset and the period to collect the lease rentals. Using the PMWeb Stage Gate module, the two parties of agreement can agree on the stages, deliverables for each stage, and the success scoring criteria for assessing the completion of each stage among others.

Scope Management

A well-defined project scope will reduce the likelihood of incurring the risk of “scope creep” and other risks associated with incomplete and improper scope definition. The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) will be used to decompose the project scope to the desired level of control. PMWeb will be used to create or import the WBS levels so they can be used with the different project management processes. In addition, the WBS Dictionary document template will be used to identify the exact scope of work including the requirements that are included or excluded from each WBS level.

Schedule Management

With the WBS levels well defined, the project detailed integrated schedule can be developed using Oracle Primavera P6 for which the baseline schedule and all subsequent updates will be maintained. The schedule will be resource loaded as well as include all activities for technical submittals, procurement, interface points, authorities’ approvals, testing and commission among others. To ensure that time-sensitive project management processes are aligned with the current project schedule, the schedule activities will be imported to PMWeb. The imported schedule % complete will be also used to calculating the earned value for completed works which will be the basis for determining the monthly progress invoice for awarded contracts.

In addition, PMWeb will be used to create forms to formally review and analyze the baseline schedule and periodical updates, capture delay events and their impact on the project schedule along with available options to accelerate to recover those delays, report on the project the milestones status among others. The objective is to ensure that all needed project management measures are taken to ensure on-time project completion to enable the repayment of the project finance loan as it was originally planned.

Value for Money (Vfm)

Achieving value for money is a key requirement when a PPP project is selected. This concept should never end when the PPP project is awarded but should continue during the complete project life cycle. The objective should be to reduce the project life cycle cost as this will help in making more funds available to repay the project loan or even increase the profit for the PPP shareholders. Value engineering is a proven practice that needs to be implemented during the engineering and construction stage of the project. PMWeb will be used to capture all ideas generated and their evaluation as well as value engineering proposals.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC)

The project asset should be designed and built to the standards set in the PPP not only to comply with the contractual obligations set in the PPP agreement but also to eliminate the high cost of maintaining low quality products which will affect the borrower ability to repay the loan. QA/QC should start as early as when the design is being developed by conducting formal design reviews and coordination workshops to cleanse the construction documents, eliminate ambiguities and ensure that building systems are well coordinated. Technical material and shop drawings submittal should be reviewed thoroughly and approved in a timely manner to avoid project delays.

Site inspections should be performed for all key project systems and elements. Non-conformance reports for work to be rectified should be completed without delay. Snag list needs to be implemented during the project’s construction and not to wait until the project’s handover. There should be a strategy to handover the project in phases where a snag list will be used to ensure that the completed work is in accordance to what was specified and agreed on.

Health and Safety Management

By principle, no organization should allow accidents, fatal or not, to occur on their project sites. Those involved in the project construction should implement all measures to ensure site and labor safety. Should any accident do occur, the details should be captured and reported on. This will help in identifying the causes of those accidents and what measures should be taken to avoid repeating such accidents. PMWeb accident report will be used to capture the details of all accidents to make it available to report on. PMWeb meeting minutes modules will be used to document all safety meetings and actions taken during those meetings. PMWeb custom form builder will be used to create Safety Audit Checklists, Permits and other related safety management communication.

Human Resources Management

The sustainability of the key resources assigned to manage the project asset delivery is a key performance indicator when it comes to delivering PPP projects. Good resources quit a project due to lack of leadership, role mismatch, responsibility ambiguity, lack of appraisal among many others. Managing project resources require having organization charts that details the authority and reporting lines during each stage of the project delivery stages. For each position, PMWeb will be used to create role template to capture the purpose, key responsibilities, key relationships, key competencies and skills among others. The project manager will be responsible for conducting periodic appraisals of the project team members against the skills and responsibilities assigned to each as per the job description. Those appraisals will help the project manager and the organization in identifying issues that relate to the key project resources.

Communication Management

There are many types of formal communications that take place between the different parties of a PPP project. Some of those communications are usually captured in pre-defined document templates such as transmittals, request for information, site work instruction, meeting minutes, notice to proceed, substantial completion among many others. All those document templates are either available as out of the box forms in PMWeb or can be created using the custom form builder. For each document templates, the workflow for submitting, reviewing, approving or rejecting the communication is usually pre-defined for each project. The workflow will also include conditions and branches to enforce compliance with the set authorities and responsibilities assigned for each project role. Documents can be attached to those document templates to provide the recipient with complete details on the project communication.

In addition, to document templates, formal communications also include letters or correspondence which are used as formal communication on as-needed basis. PMWeb allows the organization to create letter templates that has the right legal content to ensure proper formal communication. Similarly, all supportive documents can be attached to those letter communications. The importance of having all project document templates and letters created, submitted, reviewed and approved in PMWeb is that the organization can track all those communications to avoid delays to the project milestone dates.

Project Document Management

Delivering PPP projects will result in massive volume of project documents including drawings, specifications, operations and maintenance manuals, catalogues among many others. Most projects until now, at least in the MENA region requires maintaining hardcopies of documents that could have legal and financial implications. PMWeb document management repository enables the project team members to map the filing structure into folders and subfolders to upload an electronic copy of all those documents. Attributes and other important details of each document need to be added to those uploaded documents to improve the search and location of those documents when needed. The document management repository allows keeping versions of all documents, redline and add comments as well as view those documents.

Project Interface Management

PPP projects has many internal and external interface points. Interface management is the control and oversight of interactions and information flow between the major contracting parties on the PPP project. Effective management of the interfaces will facilitate good communication and transparency across these boundaries and allow each party to request, offer or exchange data and technical information in the best interest of the Project.

Each interface point could include a number of interface agreements (IA) which contain interface information and “Need Date” by which the interface data to be made available for resolution. The IA shall be the only recognized document for the sharing the interface information between all parties. Interface Agreements will be used to document and track the exchange of information and deliverables between contractors that are part to an interface. Interface Agreements are created and tied to an Interface Point.

Project Risk Management

Risks are part of every PPP project delivery. Risks identification, analysis, response, monitoring and control should be an on-going process until the conclusion of the PPP project. Not only this will help in mitigating the negative impacts of risks on project’s budget and completion date, but will also help in creating knowledge database of all those unknowns uncovered during the PPP project delivery. A knowledge database that will benefit the current PPP project as well as other PPP projects. PMWeb will be used to capture, analyze and respond to project risks. The risk register will be a real-time report to monitor and control the project’s risk exposure. In addition, issues management will be implemented to respond to those risks that were accepted as is without a formal response action. This will help in limiting the negative impacts of those risks.

Project Issue Management

An issue is a problem that is currently occurring. An issue must be resolved as soon as possible, otherwise it will have detrimental effects on the project budget, schedule and scope. Each project, including PPP projects should have a documented process for managing issues details who does what, the detailed procedures, forms, workflow, etc., protocols for levels of authority and how to communicate and promote the process and its importance to all participants. PMWeb custom form builder will be used to create the customized issue form along with the workflow to submit, review, close or escalate an issue. This will enable having a real-time visualization of all issues that could harm the PPP project.

Stakeholder Management

Although stakeholder management is one of the requirements for managing projects, but in PPP projects this is even far more important than other projects. PPP project involves stakeholders that are not common to other non-PPP projects. For example, a PPP project could include the media (social, TV, Radio, Newspaper, etc.), community, labor unions among others. Stakeholder management requires identifying and assessing the influence and the interest that those stakeholders have in the PPP projects and how to engage them to get them migrate them from the current interest level to the desired interest level. Those requires running campaigns, improve communication and other actions to achieve the desired state.

Monitoring and Evaluating the PPP Project Performance

Having a single web-integrated platform like PMWeb means that all projects data captured from the different project management processes will become available for the authorized project team members to report on. This could be a tabular or graphical report to report on the status, performance trends, transactions volume growth and other details that are specific for a single project management process like issues log, risk register, change orders log among others. In addition, data for interrelated project management processes can be aggregated to provide a complete understanding of how that perspective is performing. For example, the financial perspective will aggregate data from project budget, budget adjustments, funding, contracts, potential change orders, change orders, progress invoices and revenue contracts. The same would apply to the quality, schedule, risk, safety, procurement, communication and other dashboards. Finally, the same data used in the logs and the perspective dashboards will be the data source for the PPP project dashboard. A dashboard that will provide a real-time single version of the truth of the PPP health and performance status. Of course, it is very common to create different PPP dashboards depending on the party visualizing the dashboard, nevertheless, all dashboards are based on the same PMWeb data source.

Conclusion

Monitoring and evaluating financial progress for PPP project is crucial but not enough. In addition to financial aspects, a successful PPP project delivery requires monitoring and evaluating physical, schedule, risk, issues among other aspects of a project. Having an integrated project management information system (PMIS) platform like PMWeb not only provides the real-time single version of the truth reporting of project’s performance and health but the insight to trust worthy real-time data to make better and faster informed decisions to keep the project on track. Further, the data and document transactions granularity captured in PMWeb, provides the transparency and accountability needed for internal and external audit.

Monitoring and Evaluating Financial Progress of PPP Projects

According to a joint report published by JLL and DLA Piper, public-private partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly being used in Saudi Arabia as a platform to encourage more private-sector engagement in different sectors including real estate. PPPs are considered as a key component of the country’s National Transformation Programme (NTP), which aims to increase the percentage of private sector investment from 40% of GDP in 2016 to 65% by 2030.

A key motivation for governments considering public-private partnerships (PPPs) is the possibility of bringing in new sources of financing for funding public infrastructure needs through project finance. Project finance as defined by International Project Finance Association (IFPA) is the financing of long-term infrastructure, industrial projects and public services based upon a non-recourse or limited recourse financial structure where project debt and equity used to finance the project are paid back from the cash-flow generated by the project.

Islamic PPP Project Finance

One of the available project finance options in the Islamic world in general and the GCC in particular is project finance that is compliant with Sharia law, also known as Islamic Project Finance. The most common form of Islamic project finance structures is the combination of procurement (Istisna’a) and forward lease (Ijara). This will be used to explain the needed financial progress monitoring for PPP projects.

The Istisna’a procurement agreement will be used by the borrower to build the project assets and deliver upon completion to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) (owned by the Islamic financiers), as the purchaser. As consideration for the project company procuring the assets, the Islamic financiers agree to pay the project company an amount no greater than the total project cost of these assets. The project company, as lessee, and the SPV, as lessor, will also enter into a forward lease agreement to lease the assets on delivery. The forward lease agreement operates during the operational phase of the project.

Monitoring and Evaluating Financial Progress of PPP Projects

For Islamic as well as other types of project finance, it is of great importance that the funds allocated to construct the assets are not exceeded as well as the completed assets to be delivered on time and in accordance with the agreed quality standard to ensure timely payments of periodic lease rentals. PMWeb project management information system (PMIS) will provide the two parties of the project finance agreement with a real-time single version of the truth platform to monitor and evaluate project finance. Although PMWeb can be used to implement the best practices of project management to manage, monitor and evaluate physical, schedule, risk, issues and other aspects, nevertheless, this will article will only address the financial aspects as it relates to PPP projects.

Performance Budget Management

One of the most critical objectives in project finance is to ensure that there will be no cost overrun for the approved budget to be financed. Actually, failing to adhere to the project’s approved budget baseline would have drastic impact on the project’s viability and the target internal return on investment (IRR). It is therefore a must to have detailed cost estimate that covers direct and indirect cost as well as contingency or reserve to cover for the unknowns. The detailed cost estimate which is usually done a third-party cost consultant needs to be imported into PMWeb to maintain track of all cost estimate versions and those involved in reviewing and approving the cost estimate along with all the documents used to come with the cost estimate. It should be noted that the cost estimate should not be limited to the asset building stage but also for the operation and maintenance stage.

The project budget will be generated from the approved cost estimate using the cost breakdown structure (CBS) levels which will become the basis for controlling the project cost. Some organizations might opt to have the CBS to be the same as the WBS levels used to define the project scope. Since PMWeb allows multi-currency at line item level, budget line items could have different currency than others when needed. PMWeb has an automated currency exchange module to update the exchange rates at the desired frequency.

The next important step is to provide the financial projection for each budget line item taking into consideration the relevant project schedule activity’s start and finish dates and the expected budget spending for each project period. There are pre-defined projection curves to expedite the projection allocation process, nevertheless, this can be manually adjusted to improve the planned budget value for each period.

All adjustments to the approved baseline budget including budget additions and ommissions as well as transferring funds between cost centers will be governed using the budget request process. This will also include any usage of the approved project contingency and management reserve. Workflow can be assigned to the budget request adjustments to formalize the steps to submit, review and approve those adjustments.

This will enable having real-time report on the project budget performance which could include comparison between the different budget versions, budget planned spending projection which is the same as loan drawdown, list of all budget adjustments along with the reasons for those adjustments, drawdown of project contingency and management reserve among others.

Project Funding

PMWeb project funding module will be used to capture the details of all fund sources that are available to the project including debit (Istisna’a), equity or any other source. It will also include all funding requests issued against those fund sources and the authorization to release those funds. The fund authorization allows breaking down the authorized funds against each Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) levels of the project to keep track of how the funds were dispersed.

Commitments

Although the project performance budget should be accurate, nevertheless the degree of accuracy can be only verified when the actual purchase orders, subcontracts and other commitments to deliver the project asset are formally awarded. PMWeb will be used to capture all those commitments including their payment terms and conditions. PMWeb will be also used to capture the details of the main contractor who might be also one the equity partners of the PPP project. PMWeb procurement and online bidding modules will be used to manage the procurement process and ensure that there is documented technical and commercial evaluation for all awarded commitments. In addition, PMWeb pre-qualification module can be used to ensure that all awarded contracts where to only pre-qualified suppliers and subcontractors.

Actual Cost and Actual Payments

All invoices received for completed work in place for each commitment contract as well as all miscellaneous invoices and the cost submitted through timesheets for any other resources assigned to manage the project will be captured in PMWeb. All those invoices will be assigned a workflow to formalize the submit, review and approve process. PMWeb will be also used to capture the actual payments made against the approved progress invoices.

Change Management

Changes to the approved commitments could have drastic impact on the project’s approved performance budget as well as project’s completion date. Therefore, there should be a robust proactive change management process to reduce if not eliminate the negative impact of those changes. PMWeb potential change order module will be the early warning notification process of all possible changes that could impact the project. Based on the formal review of each potential change order, change events will be created for all those viable changes. The change event will capture the impact details of each change on the project’s performance budget and relevant commitment contracts. This will become the basis for issuing a change order to adjust the affected commitment contract. To enforce transparency and accountability, workflow will be assigned to the change order process with conditions to escalate the change order to right individuals based on the approval authorities’ levels assigned to them.

Loan Recovery (Ijara)

For a PPP project, the revenue to be generated from the project asset is what makes the project viable or not. The revenue could be based on long term commitment form organizations, public or private that will be using the project assets. For example, for an affordable housing project, the government, semi-government and private sector organizations might commit to long term lease of those houses. The same approach could be applicable for residential and commercial buildings, hospitals, hotels among other type of capital projects. PMWeb revenue contract document will be used to capture the details of all those agreements and the due payment dates for those periodic lease rentals. In addition, the revenue module will be used to capture any changes to those lease or revenue agreements. Further, the revenue module will be used to issue the invoices for those leases and the actual payments received against those invoices.

Consolidated Financial Report

All of the financial transactions captured above will be consolidated by PMWeb in a single table called the cost ledger. This real-time cost ledger is linked to each financial transaction to provide immediate transparency on the source of the transaction. The cost ledger will become the data source to create what is known as the Cost Worksheet which looks like a spreadsheet with the option to save as a MS XLS file. PMWeb allows creating unlimited number of cost worksheet including new columns and formulas to provide the needed financial analysis.

Reporting Financial Performance

The real-time data captured from the performance budget, budget adjustments, awarded commitments, potential, pending, disputed and approved change orders, progress invoices, actual funds payments, lease and other revenue sources among others will become available to report on in different forms and formats depending on the project stakeholder requirement. What is important is that regardless of what is being displayed, the data source for all is the same.

Conclusion

Monitoring and evaluating the PPP project physical, risk, issues and financial progress is a must for all parties involved to ensure that the PPP project is on track and to trigger performance alerts when needed. Having an integrated project management information system (PMIS) platform like PMWeb not only provides the real-time single version of the truth reporting of project’s performance and health but the insight to trust worthy real-time data to make better and faster informed decisions to keep the project on track. Further, the data and document transactions granularity captured in PMWeb, provides the transparency and accountability needed for internal and external audit.

Why Interface Management Is Critical in Capital Projects Delivery?

By nature, capital projects delivery involves different entities for which each have part of the project’s scope to deliver. For example, multiple contractors and subcontractors could be part of a specific project or even a program delivery. An interface is the place at which independent systems meet or communicate with each other. For example, flange connection details, cable connections, valve connections among many others.

What is Interface Management?

Interface management is the control and oversight of interactions and information flow between the major contracting parties on projects. With the increased complexity of today’s capital projects, the need for interface management has really became a must. A project can typically have in the range hundreds, if not thousands of interfaces to manage.

Effective management of the interfaces will facilitate good communication and transparency across these boundaries and allow each party to request, offer or exchange data and technical information in the best interest of the Project. Interface management is one of the formal communication processes that a project would have.

Technology and Interface Management

Interface management can not be managed in isolation of the many other processes needed to manage a project. Those include processes for project controls, engineering management, quality management, HSE management, contract administration and management, change control and management, procurement management, risk and issues management, communication and document management, commissioning management and handover management.

Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb provides a collaborative environment that allows all contracting parties on a project to participate in interface management, providing the visibility and tracking needed to mitigate project risk when it comes to interfaces. All parties have the information they need to complete the required interfaces on time, and all parties are aware of roles and responsibilities. The same applies to all other project management processes that are needed to manage the project life cycle.

The Interface Manager (IM)

Each entity involved in the project delivery shall nominate a representative as “Interface Manager” to act as a single point of contact for a scope package or for the entity as an overall. The Interface Manager will have a support team, which consists of discipline engineers who will support and assist the Interface Manager in preparing and responding to queries. Interface Manager of each entity has overall responsibility for implementation and maintenance of the interface management process throughout the project life cycle.

Interface Point

Interface Point (IP) is a contact point where two or more entities, for example contractors, come together. Most often deal with physical interfaces but can also include commercial or regulatory interfaces. Physical interfaces include for example flange connection details, cable connections, valve connections among many others. Interfaces could be also for civil works such as roads, interfaces for paving, cable trenches, electrical and instrumentation interfaces

There are Internal and External interfaces. Internal interfaces are those interfaces between disciplines, or within work area of contractors’ responsibility whereas external interfaces are those interfaces between scope packages. Internal interfaces include Technical, Physical, Logistical, Commercial, Organizational interfaces.

In addition, interfaces can be grouped into two types, tangible or intangible. Tangible or hard interfaces, have a physical connection such as a structural steel connection, pipe termination, or cable connection, tie-in to existing facility whereas intangible or soft interfaces, involve the exchange of information such as design criteria, clearance requirements or utility needs between delivery teams.

The project’s integrated master schedule, which include the work schedule for all entities or contractors, should include all interface points as activities. This will help in determining the need dates for those interfaces, the allotted duration to complete the interfaces agreements, and their criticality to the project’s completion milestone dates. They will also identify the preceding and succeeding activities for each interface. Those activities will be part of the schedule activities imported to PMWeb to make them available for Interface Agreements.

Interface Agreement

The Interface Agreement (IA) contains interface information and “Need Date” by which the interface data to be made available for resolution. The IA shall be the only recognized document for the sharing the interface information between all parties. Interface Agreements will be used to document and track the exchange of information and deliverables between contractors that are part to an interface. Interface Agreements are created and tied to an Interface Point.

PMWeb custom form builder will be used to create the Interface Agreement form. The form will capture the details of the interface point activity, IBS (Interface Breakdown Structure), phase, discipline, system, location, type and other particulars of the IA. It will include the title of the IA along with detailed description of the IA as stated by the originating party and the response by the responding party. Additional fields can be added depending on the project requirements.

Most of the fields in the Interface Agreement form will be available from a list of predefined values that is specific for the organization as well as the project being managed. For example, for the Phase field, the predefined list will include Design, Procurement, Construction, Pre-Commissioning, Commissioning and Closeout. The same will apply for WBS, IBS, Location, Type, Discipline, System, Nature among others.

Interface Agreement Documents

Documents such as drawings, tests, certificates among others will be needed for each interface agreement. It is recommended to have an interface management filing system that is aligned to what is known as the Interface Breakdown Structure (IBS). The IBS will have the project as level 1, work package as level 2, interface point as level 3 and interface agreement as level 4. For each interface agreement, all documents will be uploaded under its own specific folder. This will ensure that all documents are properly captured and stored.

PMWeb document management repository will be used to upload and store all documents needed for each interface agreement. PMWeb allows the entity to create folders and subfolders to match the IBS. In addition, it is recommended to enable the “subscribe to RSS notifications” for each IA folder as this will send email notifications to the subscribed users whenever documents/revisions are added, documents are checked in/out, documents are moved out/deleted and documents are downloaded. Of course, it all maintain all versions of uploaded documents.

Those uploaded documents will become available to be attached to each Interface Agreement. In addition, those involved in the interface agreement process can link other relevant PMWeb records to the IA form such as interface meetings, daily reports, action reports, correspondence and any other type of project communication that is relevant to the IA. In addition, email communications which were imported to PMWeb can be linked to the IA similar to other project communications.

Interface Agreement Workflow

PMWeb workflow will be used to manage interface agreements. Interface Agreements can be created and initiated by the Interface Manger or by the technical contacts supporting the interface manager on the project. In either case, the agreement must be reviewed and approved by the Interface Manager of both the requesting and responding party.

The interface team input for each workflow step for each IA will be captured during the execution of the IA process. All those comments and team input will become available to review and report on. PMWeb will capture the date and time those comments to maintain a complete audit trail for each IA.

Interface Data Register (IDR)

The IDR is a consolidated real-time list that records the status of current Interface Agreements (IA) identified with assigned action for each IA within the parties. The IDR is reviewed within Interface Managers on prescribed time frequency in meetings. The layout of the IDR can be fully customized by the organizations to display the needed details. For example, it can be designed to display Project ID, WBS Level, IBS, Package Title, IP Activity ID and Title, Originating Contracting Party, IA No., IA Title, Phase, Description, Responding Contracting Party, Status, Need Date and Close Date.

Interface Meetings

The PMWeb meeting minutes module will be used to capture the interface management Kick‐Off ‐meeting, and then the regularly scheduled Weekly Interface Meetings. The attendees for those clients could include participants from the Client(s), Project Management Consultant, Engineering Consultant, Contractors, Vendors, Discipline Leads and concerned attendees as required. During those meetings, a review outstanding interface issues, which are available in the IDR, agree on means to resolve issues, set new target dates or revise, record action items with due dates.

Interface Management Dashboard

The Interface Management Dashboard provides real-time status and performance reporting of all interface management processes. The dashboard will include the list of interface points that are due in the next 6 weeks, list of delayed interface agreements, visuals on the performance trends of interface agreements among others. The dashboard will quickly highlight any areas or interfaces which require immediate attention. For example, in the case of the Early Warning dashboard, interface agreements that have their status as red is bad. Those are overdue interface agreements that should be looked at and closed.

Conclusion

Interface Management should be part of every project management plan. In the past, interface management was limited to complex mega capital projects mainly in the oil and gas sector. Nevertheless, no project regardless of its size or type will be free of interfaces between the different entities of the contract. Failing to manage those interfaces in a structured, integrated and comprehensive process will create many risks for the project owner who needs all project components and systems to function as one integrated facility regardless of the entity who completed which component. PMWeb provides an integrated web-enabled platform that can enforce the implementation of interface management, as well as the many other project management processes, across the complete project life cycle stages.

Do You Still Believe That Construction Claims Can be Won on Merits Alone?

If you still believe that construction claims can be won on merits alone, then you are mistaken.

No one can deny that construction claims in the GCC in particular and globally in general are on the rise. The decline of new project awards, delivering projects at very low profit margins, liquidated damages claims for late completion are rising in frequency and amount, and tough pressure on margins among other issues are compelling owners and contractors to become more contentious and adversarial thus resulting in growing volume of claims and disputes.

Those involved in analyzing, preparing, submitting, presenting, negotiating and defending construction claims understand that winning those claims need to provide timely notices as set in the contract agreement along with the complete documentation to support the claim merit as well as the justified and fully supported quantification of financial damages and time extensions to the project’s completion date.

Technology available today like PMWeb Project Management Information System (PMIS) can provide the organization with a single integrated platform to increase their chances of winning construction claims as well as maintain the relation with project owners by providing them with the needed documentation to review, analyze and recommend an amicable settlement for the submitted construction claims. PMWeb will enable your organization to analyze and assess project’s risks including those covered in the contract agreement, prepare the needed response should a risk occur, issue formal notices for the right to claim as set in the contract agreement, quantify the damages along with the supportive documents, and submit the formal claim submission.

Assessing Contract Risks

Contract agreements include clauses that will identify which party of the contract will own, or share, the different project risks. Those include the risks associated with Acts of God, Acts of Government, Actual and Constructive Acceleration, Adverse Weather, Cardinal Change, Commercial Impracticability/ Performance, Commercial Impracticability/ Supply, Constructive Change, Defective Specifications, Delay of Approvals, Delayed Issuance of Change Orders, Delayed Notice to Proceed, Destruction of Work, Destruction of Materials, Differing Site Conditions, Early Completion Prevented, Impossibility of Performance, Improper Inspection, Inadequate Supervision, Inadequate Utilities, Interference, Labor Shortage, Lack of Access, Lack of Information or Decision, Lack of Permits, Lack of Right of Way, Late Drawings, Late, Defective Material, Payments Not Made, Scheduling Difficulties, Stacking of Trades, Strikes, Nominated Subcontractor Delay, Superior Knowledge/ Misrepresentation, Supplier Delay, Suspension of Work/Delay among others.

PMWeb is used to capture those risks, assess their occurrence likelihood and impact on the project cost and schedule to quantify the risk exposure, decide on response actions to be taken to reduce the risk exposure as well as decide on what should be the actions to be taken should this risk actually occur and who will be responsible for those actions. Those actions along with the assigned responsibilities for taking those actions will be documented in what is known as the “Occurrence Report” which will be triggered when a risk event occurs.

The Occurrence Report: Capturing the Facts

There will be different occurrence reports for each specific project risk identified in the project risk register. Each occurrence report will have two sections, the first is to identify the information that needs to be captured by the field supervisor or site engineer whenever one the possible risks occur while the second is to capture the Project Management Analysis and Action List.

The list of data and actions to be captured in the first section of the Occurrence Report could differ from one risk to another. For example, the Occurrence Report for Differing Site Conditions, the first section will include the following details:

1.     A warning for the Site Supervisor for not disturbing the site condition until he/she have notified the project stakeholders of the condition.

2.     The location of the differing site condition.

3.     Description of the condition along with photographs of the condition

4.     When the condition was first observed

5.     Who observed the condition

6.     Describe how the condition affected the current work

7.     Describe how the condition could affect future work

8.     Whether the project owner or authorized representative are aware of how the condition would impact the work

9.     If the condition delayed or disrupted the workforce or resulted the work to be done inefficiently

10. If the condition would require the use of additional labor, equipment, material or supervisory efforts

11. Where any materials lost or damaged due to this condition

PMWeb Custom Form Builder is used to create the occurrence report for each type of risk. Many of the form fields that includes locations, resources, dates among other standard contents will be picked up from predefined list to reduce the chances of data entry error as well as expedite the process of data capturing.

The project team responsible for completing the occurrence report will be required to attach all supportive documents such as pictures, videos, drawings, specifications and other project documents to the form. Those documents need to be uploaded and stored in PMWeb document management repository under a new folder that is this specific to this risk occurrence. This will ensure that all those supportive documents are reviewed by the authorized project team members.

For each occurrence report, a workflow will be assigned to capture the sequence of actions to be taken by the project team members when such a risk actually occurs. Those predetermined actions will ensure not only the event details and supportive are captured by the right project team member but also ensures that the form get reviewed by the contract management team and others responsible for managing the project’s contractual obligations.

Formal Notification

Based on the occurrence report review, the contract team will advise the project manager with the required formal notification to be sent to the project owner and his/her authorized representative. Using a PMIS like PMWeb will enable the organization to have all notification letters for each type of risk occurrence ready as templates to be used by the project team when needed. Those letter templates will make reference to right contract clauses using the proper contractual language to protect the interest of the organization. The project manager just needs to complete the basic sections of the letter before formally issuing it.

Damages Quantification

The project’s cost engineer or quantity surveyor and the planning engineer will start in quantifying the damages associated with this risk occurrence as soon as they are notified by the occurrence report workflow. Usually, they will start with daily reports which provide an excellent source of information to determine and quantify direct and indirect cost as well as delays associated with the risk occurrence. The daily report is a formal project communication that is used to detail and quantify the work executed as well as the actual resources, labor and non-labor, that were deployed on the project site on that particular day. Those resources are usually linked to the project schedule activity for which the work performed relates to.

In addition, the project team responsible for quantifying the damages, need to search and locate all project communications that could be used to provide proof for the calculated damages and in particular to the schedule delay time impact analysis. PMWeb search command will be used to search for those communications and save them as an issue folder that will be reviewed by the project team to determine their relevance to damages quantification for the occurred risk.

It is recommended that the quantification for the schedule to be captured in a document template called Delay Event form. This form which is created using PMWeb form builder will be used to capture the particulars of the delay events and their impact on the project’s completion date. The form will identify if the quantified delay is compensable or not, if it is concurrent with other delays, among others.

The delay event form will have a number of attached documents including the schedule time impact analysis report and the schedule report that shows the project’s completion date before the risk event occurrence and after the risk occurrence. In addition, all other related project communication including the occurrence report, notification letter, daily reports and others will be linked to the delay event form to ensure that event form has all the backup project documents and records to justify the damages quantification.

Claim Submission

Now the organization is ready to formally submit the change order request associated with the risk event occurrence. PMWeb Potential Change Order will be used to formally submit this change request along with the supportive documents that had been captured when the risk event has first occurred. The submission will include the additional cost and time extension claimed by the organization for this risk event occurrence.

The organization will maintain a log of all submitted claims or potential change order requests to keep track of all those changes and their status in terms of what has been approved, under review and rejected.

Conclusion

Construction claims, which are on the rise, are never won on merits alone. Winning construction claims require providing timely notices as set in the contract agreement along with the complete documentation to support the claim merit as well as the justified and fully supported quantification of financial damages and time extensions to the project’s completion date. PMWeb Project Management Information System enables you to analyze and assess project’s risks, prepare the needed response should a risk occur, issue formal notices for the right to claim, quantify the damages along with the supportive documents, and finally make the formal claim submission.

Are You Faced with Garbage In, Garbage Out Syndrome When It Comes to Making Decisions on your Projects?

Almost each one of us will need during his or her as a project management team member to make decisions, of various importance, that could impact the project objectives. Also, almost all of us would agree that lacking the access to trust worthy real-time data will limit our ability to have the insight to make better and faster informed decisions. In a nutshell, if we are given nonsense data, or garbage data, then most likely we will make many nonsense decisions, or garbage decisions.

Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb will help project team members in eliminating this Garbage In, Garbage Out syndrome by implementing common sense practices to the current practices that created this syndrome. Practices that address the following four important points: Capturing data, sharing and distributing data, and storing and accessing data.

Capturing Everyday Projects Data

PMIS solutions like PMWeb comes ready with pre-defined input forms that are specific for capturing projects’ everyday data. Those could include meeting minutes, request for information, daily reports, submittals, transmittals, snag lists among others. Those forms include the different fields needed to for each type of project communication as well as fields that are common to all such as WBS, Activity ID among others. Some of the common fields come ready with dropdown lists of pre-defined values to ensure consistency in captured data. In addition, additional user defined fields can be added to the default forms to make them more specific to each organization’s best practices and requirements.

Those default forms are not limited to everyday project communications but also include cost forms like budget, budget adjustments, commitments, potential change orders, change orders, progress invoices, funding requests, funding authorizations, cost estimates, online bids, bid analysis, timesheets among others. Similarly, additional user defined fields can be added to the default forms to make them more specific to each organization’s best practices and requirements.

Knowing that no PMIS solution can meet or fulfill all types of project communications, solutions like PMWeb provides a form builder that will enable the project team to create additional new forms. Those could include risk identification, issue management, non-compliance reports, request for inspections among many others. Those forms can be designed in any form or layout as well as they can be in any language, Latin or non-Latin.

Since it is very common for project communications to have supportive documents attached to it, PMWeb allows the project team members to upload project documents into a specific folder or sub-folder in the document management repository. Those could drawings, pictures, videos, brochures, catalogues, certificates among others.

Similarly, a project communication could be lined to another project communication including email communications. PMWeb allows importing project’s emails into the email inbox repository. Those emails and similar to all other project communications created within PMWeb can be linked to any other PMWeb project communication.

For all those forms, whether available by default or created by the project team, access rights can be assigned to limit user access to each type of project communication as well as limit access to specific fields within each form. Those are usually set by the system administrator.

Sharing and Distributing Projects Data

PMIS solutions like PMWeb would usually allows the project team members to create workflow to formalize the steps for submitting, reviewing, approving or rejecting the submitted project’s data. PMWeb role-based workflow allows defining the sequence of those steps and whether a step will involve a single role or multiple roles in reviewing the data.

The PMWeb workflow allows creating branches and conditions to enforce the approval authorities’ levels set for each project. Those could include conditions that are based on financial value, for example value of change order, amount of approved progress invoice, budget adjustment amount among others. Those conditions could be specific to an action, for example if the submittal is a material sample or shop drawing, mechanical or electrical, RFI has cost/schedule impact or none, among others.

The created workflow will then become an integral part of the project communication form, where it will show the history of the communication. This will comments made, date reviewed among others. The form will also display a graphical presentation of the workflow and its current status.

For some forms, like Action Forms, the project team member might require what is known as ad-hoc workflow or collaboration. In this case, the different project team members that need to be involved in sharing and distributing the data captured in the form will be invited to the form. Those project team members can then add their comments and input on this specific project communication.

Storing and Accessing Data

The everyday project communications data captured in PMWeb will become available for the authorized project team members to provide the real-time information to give them the insight to make better and faster decisions. Tabular and graphical reports are usually produced in the form and format that the project team members need to enable them to make the needed actions and decisions.

In addition, the growing use of interactive business intelligence and data visualization applications like MS Power BI, Qlik, Tableau, iDashboards among many others is providing project team members is extending the ability of the project team members to make better use of the everyday captured data. Those applications enable the project team members to analyze trends, data growth, correlations and sensitivity of the captured data to run what-if scenarios as well as dice and slice the information in any desired format.

Of course, the everyday data will also become to other project’s executives and stakeholders who are keen to monitor and evaluate the project’s or even a projects’ portfolio performance. The executives and stakeholders might need to drilldown to more performance details on certain aspects of the project when needed. The dashboard could also include hyperlinks to construction cameras that are used to provide real-video streaming of project’s activities or pre-recorded performance videos by drones.

Conclusion

Regardless what business an organization is in, whether it is project related or not, the Garbage In, Garbage Out syndrome will always have a high likelihood to occur when there is no transparent and accountable process to govern the capturing, sharing, storing and accessing everyday data. Technology such as PMWeb Project Management Information System provides a proven solution to capture the right data, in the right format, by the right individual at the right time. Having this real-time trust-worthy data available for the project team members to review and analyze, will for sure provide them with the insight to make better and faster informed decisions.

Does Your Project Remind You of the Blind Men and the Elephant Story?

For many organizations who are in particular involved in delivering engineering and construction projects, find that their projects tend to remind them of the Blind Men and the Elephant Story. It is very common to find that within each project, there are groups that will focus on capturing, analyzing, monitoring and evaluating the processes that relate to their assigned roles and responsibilities but with very little and even no coordination with other project groups. Thus, none of those groups as well as the project manager and other executive stakeholders can have the complete single version of the truth on how the project is performing.

Each one of those project groups will create the dashboard and reports that can best provide them with details of their processes performance and status. Those could include dashboards to report the project’s schedule performance, budget and cost, procured contracts, quality and site inspection, document management, health and safety, risk and issues among other. Each dashboard would usually include key performance indicators, other performance and trend measures as well as summary logs of key actions.

There will be another project group, maybe the project control group, that will then consolidate the information from those different spreadsheets or applications to produce the monthly project performance report. The team can use the same MS XLS file used to consolidate this multi-data sources or any other data visualization tools like MS Power BI among others to generate the monthly project dashboard in the desired format.

Nevertheless, the issue goes far beyond the wasted effort in consolidating, reviewing, analyzing and reporting the information from the different data silos and the delay in sharing this information which could make it of no or little value when it comes to making informative decisions. The real issue is that many transactions for the different processes managed by each group are interrelated with the processes managed by other groups. The links between those transactions must be clearly identified and managed if the organization is serious about having a single version of the truth when it comes to managing, monitoring and evaluating their projects’ performance.

Differing Site Conditions

To explain the seriousness of this issue, we will use the “Differing Site Conditions” event which is rarely not part of every engineering and construction project. We will also use PMWeb project management information system to explain how can technology available today address and resolve this issue.

The risk of encountering differing site conditions is usually part of every project risk register. The likelihood and impact of this risk varies depending on the project particulars and set objectives. The most common response action for this type of risk is to escalate as we cannot avoid the cause, transfer to a third party, effectively mitigate its impact or simply accept the additional cost and delays associated with the event.

To ensure that all the particulars of the differing site condition are captured when it occurs and the right project team members that needs to be involved in managing this risk is escalated to, a risk occurrence template is created. Those are pre-defined templates for the top 39 risk incidents that could occur during the delivery of engineering and construction projects. The template “Occurrence Report: Differing Site Condition” has specific data fields and actions that must be performed as soon as such risk event occurs. Pictures and other supportive documents will be attached to the form as well as it will be linked to the risk form that was originally used to capture and analyze the differing site conditions risk. The form will have a workflow that will map the steps to submit, review and decide on the actions to be taken to protect the interest of the organization.

Based on the particulars of the differing site condition captured in the form, the contractor’s contract administrator will issue a letter to the project owner or the authorized representative to formally notify them of this incident. The contractor would usually have pre-defined letter templates for every possible formal notification needed during the project delivery. Those are letter templates that are drafted by the organization’s legal team taken into consideration the terms and conditions of the contract agreement. The notification letter could have pictures and other supportive documents captured in the occurrence report attached to the letter as well as the link to the occurrence report.

The project owner and his/her authorized representative would require the contractor to submit his formal change order request that will be reviewed and assessed by them. PMWeb potential change order module will be used to submit this change request as well as any other changes that the contractor feels that there is an entitlement for additional cost and/or extension of time.

The contractor will be required to quantify the change request as usually the associated cost with differing site conditions are not readily available in the bill of quantity. Therefore, the best source for quantifying those damages is to review the resources, labor and non-labor, that were either became idle or used to rectify the situation. The daily report is the best formal communication that details what has happened, resources consumed and project schedule activities impacted.

To assess the time impact of the differing site condition incident, the contractor will use all of the information captured in the occurrence report, daily reports and updated project schedule to run the analysis. The details of this analysis will be captured in the Delay Analysis form created using PMWeb form builder. The form will be linked to all other relevant communications as well as the Time Impact Analysis (TIA) and other project schedule details will be attached to the form.

All clarifications and change order negotiation meetings will be captured in PMWeb meeting minutes module to maintain track of all events and actions taken to settle the change order. The meeting minute module is also used to capture the many project related meetings including but not limited to project kick off, safety, submittal review, progress review, interface management, handover among others.

When all is done and approved by the project owner, the contractor will receive the formal change order from the project owner for the differing site conditions incident. The change order will detail the financial adjustment to the contract amount along with the approved days for the delay impact.

Not only all the above processes were managed on one single platform, that is PMWeb, but the link between those interrelated processes are all captured and documented. The authorized PMWeb user can trace the records and documents that were part of any project communication captured in PMWeb. This even more important when there is a project incident or event that was not successfully identified as an incident that could impact the project cost and/or schedule. The search command allows the PMWeb user to search and locate all those records using key words that relate to the incident. Those records can be saved in an issue file where the PMWeb user can review the selected records and trace the other project communications that were linked to those selected records.

In other words, the organization will not only have all the dashboards that they need to share available at all times without wasting the effort in capturing, analyzing, preparing and reporting the information, but they can drilldown to the data source to identify the project communication and all related records and documents behind what was reported.

So, if you still feel that your project reminds you of the “Blind Men and the Elephant Story” and if you strongly believe that visualizing a “Single Version of the Truth” of all project management processes across a project or all projects is a must, then you have no choice but to adopt digital transformation for your project management processes.

Can You Afford Playing Chinese Whispers on Your Projects Delivery?

Valuable and critical information get generated every day during capital projects delivery. Information that relates to financial, technical, administrative and other aspects needed to manage the project get generated by the different entities involved in this delivery. Some of the information could be formal and have contractual implications if not managed in accordance with the contract agreements terms and condition while others could be informal but yet critical to provide complete understanding of the project’s performance. Many organizations continue to use fragmented, manual or semi-manual methods to capture, store, aggregate, analyze, blend, review, share and report projects information thus creating barriers that drain the value of this critical information sharing.

Understanding the Information Barriers

When it comes to capital projects delivery, there are usually six types of information barriers that organizations could encounter when it comes to reporting projects’ information. The first barrier is the link between the project communication and the project documents that are usually attached to those communications to provide additional needed information. Project communication usually uses document templates such as request for information (RFI), submittals, transmittals, meeting minutes, daily reports, request for inspection, non-conformance reports, potential change orders, change orders, progress invoices among many others. In addition, project communication includes letters such as letter of award, notice to process, termination letter among many others. Usually, the organization would have a folder for each type of document templates and maybe letters. In addition, the organization would also have folders to store the project documents that are usually attached to those project communications. There could be folders for drawings, pictures, catalogues, specifications among others.

The second barrier, is the barrier between the document templates for each project communication type. For example, if the project team member wants to identify what change orders where issued due to unforeseen site conditions, he or she needs to review the complete change order folder records to locate those documents. Of course, some might assume that this barrier can be eliminated by logging the details of the project communication in a MS XLS file. Nevertheless, the issue is how much of the data within each communication we need to retype in MS XLS which carries its own risks of data quality and time validity. In addition, even if those document templates are located in the MS XLS file, one stills needs to go back to the file folder and locate those records.

The third barrier is the silos created using MS XLS for each type of project communication which are usually created by different project team members depending on the relevance of the communication to them. For example, the document controller might be the one responsible for maintaining the RFI, submittal, transmittal, meeting minutes, daily reports, request for inspection and non-conformance reports logs while the cost manager might be the one responsible for maintaining the logs for potential change orders, change orders, progress invoices among others. If a project team member needs to understand what project communications have contributed to a change order, he or she needs to check different project communication MS XLS files and eventually the document folders that have those records to have that comprehensive understanding.

The fourth barrier is the ability to have a single project status report or dashboard that provides real-time visualization of the overall project’s performance status. The MS XLS logs created to capture some of the data included in the project communications not only carry the risk of data errors, lacking data consistency, data silos but also could be stored at different locations. Therefore, multiple MS XLS files need to collected, loaded, linked or copied to a single MS XLS file, analyzed, manipulated, reviewed and prepared to be used for the report. Not only this is a time-consuming process, which might take one week to complete but also requires the involvement of key project team members and carries the high risk of faulty data manipulation and analysis as well as the validity of the time-sensitive reported information.

The fifth barrier is the requirement of the organization’s executives to have projects portfolio report and dashboard. This could be at program level, projects group level or enterprise level. Even if we assume that the organization has invested in a business intelligence and data visualization application like MS Power BI, this requires receiving MS XLS file from each project that consolidates the project’s performance data needed for that report or dashboard. This entails the risk of not receiving those MS XLS in a timely manner with the exact form and format of project’s performance data to be reported on.

Nevertheless, the worst barrier of all is the knowledge barrier. Having projects information captured in hundreds if not thousands MS XLS files is a direct waste of the knowledge that an organization would expect to have from delivering projects. The wasted knowledge is not limited to the current projects being delivered by the organization but it extends to all other completed, shelved and planned projects that usually their MS XLS files are deleted, corrupted or misplaced. Even if the organization creates a task force to capture all of those MS XLS files, the efforts and associated cost for locating those files and making use of their content might not be justifiable.

Those barriers not only carry the high-cost of using expensive resources to capture, store, aggregate, analyze, blend, review, share, report and present the needed projects’ information but also the time-lag between the date that this information is captured and become available to be shared which raises the major concern on the validity of this information to provide the insight to make better and faster informed decisions.

How Can Technology Remove Those Barriers?

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb not only eliminates those barriers but will ensure the quality of captured data by enforcing the use of the right forms, by the right project team members, to capture the right data in the right format and at the right time. This will be done on a single integrated, web-enabled platform for all project management processes across the complete project life cycle and for the complete organization’s projects portfolio regardless of their status, type, phase, location among others.

This will be achieved by automating the project management processes by the providing the input form to capture the needed data. Many of the capital projects delivery forms come ready with PMWeb but the custom form builder can be also used to create additional input forms.

Each project communication can be attached with documents that are either uploaded and stored in its appropriate folder or subfolder in PMWeb document management repository or can be uploaded directly. In addition, links to other PMWeb records can be added as well as to email communications that were imported to PMWeb database. This will remove the first information barrier as all attached documents are available for review.

Workflows can be assigned for each form to map the steps for submitting, reviewing, sharing and approving or rejecting the project management process. The workflow could include branches and escalation conditions to map the project authorities level usually set for each project role. Notifications can be added to remind those involved in the workflow process. For some forms, there could be a need for what ad-hoc workflow where project team members are simply invited to provide their input of feedback using the form.

The data captured in each form will become automatically available for displaying the transactions for each project communication. This real-time log of all those transactions remove the second barrier between those communications. Layouts can be created to display the data in the desired format with the option to order and filter the transactions by the desired field.

Since all of the project management processes are captured on the same PMWeb platform, reports and dashboards that will analyze the information captured across different type of project communications will be readily available. For example, the cost dashboard is an example a dashboard that aggregates the data across all of the project financial communication documents including budget, budget adjustments, awarded contracts, changes orders, progress invoices among others. Similar reports and dashboards for other type of project communications can be also be created. This removes the third barrier of not being able to relate to information captured in different types of project information.

Similarly, with all project related data is captured in PMWeb with the option to import data from other applications either directly like the schedule data from Oracle Primavera P6 or MS Project or import data through application integration, the organization can have a single version of the truth project performance dashboard. This will allow the organization to monitor and evaluate real time project’s performance and status. Accordingly, the fourth barrier of reporting project’s performance is eliminated.

As PMWeb allows the organization to capture all of their projects’ portfolio regardless of their status, location, type, phase, size among others, the organization can have dashboards to report on a program, group of projects or all projects. Dashboards can be designed to include maps to visualize the location of those projects as well as include other visuals to better analyze and visualize the projects portfolio performance. The dashboards can be designed to allow drilling to a specific project as well as project information. This eliminates the fifth information barrier.

Finally, PMWeb is one of the very few PMIS solutions that are available as on-premise solution where it can be hosted on the organization’s own data center or any other preferred data center to provide what is known as private cloud. In addition, PMWeb public cloud offering or SaaS provides organizations with the option of having their own dedicated data server to ensure that their confidential and valuable data is not mixed with other organizations known as tenants. This enables the organization to use business intelligence and other applications to analyze the everyday data captured across all of their projects’ portfolio in confidence. The captured data is not limited to the project communication needed to manage the project but could also include data captured in custom-defined lessons learned document templates to enforce knowledge capturing and sharing in the organization. This data can also be made available to machine learning and other new technologies that will help in improving the use and dissemination of projects’ knowledge thus eliminating the final information barrier.

Conclusion

In conclusion, organizations who are keen in improving their insight to make better and faster informed decisions as well as make use of the everyday knowledge gained in delivering projects to become more efficient and knowledgeable, have no other choice but to use to technology to take advantage of their projects’ information. Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb is an example of how readily available technology today can remove the barriers for improvement, otherwise, you might be forced to play Chinese Whispers.