How To Avoid The High Risk of Faulty Projects’ Data?

Today, most organizations understand the value that BIG DATA could bring to their business and enable them to become the leader in their business. This is also true for projects centric organization where BIG DATA can play a vital role in ensuring that the right projects are selected and then ensuring that those projects are delivered right from the first time. BIG DATA is the basis for having the right information which in turn will provide the right knowledge to have the wisdom to make the right decisions.

Nevertheless, failing to capture the right data at the right time by the right team member will increase the risk of having faulty and outdated data. This will lead in turn to report the wrong information to the project team members and other stakeholders which will limit their ability to have the true knowledge about their current projects performance and available choices to give them the wisdom to make faster and better right decisions.

Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) similar to PMWeb provide proven solution to address the high risk of reporting faulty and outdated data. PMWeb PMIS will help projects centric organizations in avoiding this high risk by addressing the following four causes of faulty data risk by providing a single web-enabled solution that will provide:

1.      BIG DATA repository for all projects managed by the organization

2.      Document Management Repository for all projects documents

3.      Platform to Capture the data of all project management processes needed to manage projects

4.      Data Visualization to monitor, evaluate, analyze and report the projects health and performance

BIG DATA repository for all projects managed by the organization

Projects centric organizations will rarely exist to deliver a single project. Even for Special Vehicle Enterprises (SVE), which are usually created to deliver a program of interrelated projects. Therefore, a PMIS needs to cater for this multi-project environment and enable the organization to manage all of their projects’ portfolio. Some of those projects could be projects opportunities that are yet to be approved for execution, others could be projects being executed but could be at different stages of the project life cycle while others could be completed projects.

PMWeb PMIS enables those organizations to capture unlimited number of projects and programs. For each project, the organization can capture the needed data including the project specifics, stakeholders, target budget and milestone dates, companies involved in delivering the project, attach all supportive documents such as the feasibility study, business case among others. All of this data is captured using predefined input forms for which most fields have predefined lists of possible data entries to ensure the quality and validity of captured data.

 

Since most organizations have already invested in having their own enterprise planning and scheduling solution like Oracle Primavera EPPM P6 and MS Project, PMWeb allows the organization to import the activities, planned and actual dates, % complete and other data that is needed to link other projects records to. Of course, PMWeb also provides its own scheduling tool for those organizations that might not require importing their projects’ schedule data from other applications.

In addition, PMWeb PMIS maintains a single database repository of all companies and stakeholders that the organization could consider when it comes to delivering their project investments. Those will include qualified contractors and consultants, suppliers and vendors, government authorities, financial institutions and any other entity that could have an impact or influence on their projects delivery. For each company, PMWeb allows capturing the details of all individuals that might be involved or were involved in delivering the organization projects. It also allows adding the resources that could be used to deliver the projects’ scope of work. Those could be manpower, equipment and other type of resources.

Using PMWeb Pre-Qualification module, the organization can enforce a formal process for maintaining that latest details of all organizations that could be used in delivering their current and future projects. The online prequalification form can be customized to meet the organization’s own needs in what information needed to enable comprehensive qualification for the right entities to be involved in delivering their projects.

Document Management Repository for all projects documents

Delivering projects in general and engineering and construction projects in particular involve the creation of many type of documents such as drawings, specifications, contract agreements among others as well as maintaining signed version of all formal project communications which could be needed in the case of disputes and litigation. Depending on the country regulations, some of those documents need to be maintained for as long as 15 years. Those documents need to be stored in a structured filing system not only to ensure ease of access but also to limit access to only authorized team members.

PMWeb PMIS allows the organization to create folders and subfolders to match each project filing structure. Access rights can be assigned to each folder and subfolder as well as notifications can be enabled to send notifications whenever a new document get uploaded or an existing document get downloaded. Other required functions like checking out and checking in documents to enable documents versioning is a default. In addition, the organization can specify the attributes or additional fields that need to be assigned to each uploaded document.

PMWeb document viewer allows viewing PDF and Picture files to enable the project team members to add their comments on the reviewed documents. For those organizations that might require more advanced redlining and commenting functions and features, PMWeb has built an interface with Bluebeam Revu to enable those advanced requirements.

Yet the most important function of PMWeb Document Management Repository is that all uploaded documents can be attached to any of the project management processes that will be implemented in PMWeb. Of course, PMWeb also allows attaching other uploaded documents to another uploaded document in case there is a relation between those documents.

Having the documents uploaded in a single document management repository will allow the authorized project team members to search for documents that could include the required key words. For documents with readable content, PMWeb allows searching for those key words within the document itself.

Platform to Capture the data of all project management processes needed to manage projects

Managing a project in a professional format requires the organization to implement a number of project management processes that need to be aligned with the best practices of scope, time, cost, quality, communication, human resources, risk, procurement, safety, claim, environmental, financial, benefits realization among others. Those processes are usually aligned with the project delivery life cycle stages for which the responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) will identify the stakeholders who will be involved starting the process by submitting the predefined document template and those who will be involved in reviewing and approving or rejecting the process.

PMWeb helps in automating those processes including the stage gate approval processes. This will be achieved by providing the input form with the required fields for each process to allow capturing the right data. It also allows attaching the related documents which were uploaded into the document management repository as well as linking other relevant project management records. When the record is ready to be submitted for review and approval, the assigned workflow will automate the distribution of the record to its intended recipient thus ensuring that data capturing, reviewing and approval is done by the right authorized project team member. This will ensure that the organization and the authorized team members have access to real-time BIG DATA that can trusted.

PMWeb comes ready with the most common project management processes like meeting minutes, safety incidents, request for information, daily reports, snag list, cost estimate, budget, budget adjustments, revenue contracts, commitment contracts, change management, progress invoices among many others. For organizations who might need to capture additional data, all of those forms allow adding user defined fields to enable capturing this additional data.

It is very much possible that many organizations might have the need to manage additional project related processes that are not available by default in PMWeb. The PMWeb custom form builder enables the organization to create unlimited number of new input form in What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) format. Those forms can be created in any language as it should be expected that projects might exist in environments that English is not the first language. For example, in countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait among others there will be a need to have some of those forms in Arabic and to capture data in Arabic.

In addition to the capability of attaching supporting documents to every project management record, PMWeb allows linking other PMWeb records that could be of relevance to the project management record. It also allows linking project email communications that were imported into PMWeb email inbox repository. In addition, it also allows creating hyperlinks to websites where related documents or catalogues could provide additional details for this project management record.

The workflow assigned for each project management process will incorporate the different workflow steps and condition branches that are used to simulate the authorities and approval levels that depends on the values of the captured data. For example, for a change order that has a value that exceeds US$ 100,000 and time impact of 10 days might require different approval levels of a change order that has a value that is less the US$ 100,000 and less than 10 days of time extension. It no wonder that some processes like submittal review and approval could have more 50 workflow variations depending on the project phase, specification category, submittal type, compliance to what was originally specified, location of the works among many others.

The real-time BIG DATA that will be generated from the every-day project management processes will become available for the organization and the authorized project team members in different forms and formats. Tabular and graphical reports can be designed to provide the needed analysis and information to provide the right meaning to what has happened on the project. Those reports can be designed to filter the data to be reported on as well as create measures that are based on the input of the different data captured in a specific process or group of processes. The information can be limited to a single project or portfolio of projects.

Data Visualization to monitor, evaluate, analyze and report the projects health and performance

The real-time information that a PMIS provides to the organization needs to be visualized in different form and formats to meet the organization’s team members and other stakeholders to monitor, evaluate, analyze and report projects health and performance. This is crucial to build the knowledge to provide the insight to be right when there is a need to take an action. This in turn will provide the project’s decision makers with the wisdom to make better and faster right decisions.

For example, for the project cost/commercial manager, there will be a need to have a single dashboard that captures details of the approved project budget, awarded contracts, potential change orders, approved change orders, disputed change orders and other claims, progress invoices for completed work in place and material stored on site, payments made against those approved invoices, project contingency and management reserve status and other cost related matters. The dashboard viewer can drilldown to view details on all pending and approved change orders using the Change Order log. The same applies to the other project information.

Similarly, the organization could have dashboards to report the performance of the project schedule, risk and issues, procurement, document management, quality assurance and control, health and safety, design development, prequalification of vendors, bids and awarded contracts among many others. The information and measures included in those dashboards will provide the content for the project dashboard which can be designed in any desired form and format. The same drilldown approach will apply where the authorized user can drilldown from the project dashboard to the desired project management stream dashboard.

The projects portfolio dashboard will be a dashboard that will summarize the information from all projects’ dashboards to present a real-time single version of the truth of all projects health and performance. The authorized team member can drilldown from this dashboard to a specific project dashboard and then drilldown to the specific project management stream dashboard. From that project stream dashboard, assuming document management, the authorized project team members can drilldown to the Request For Information (RFI) log report. This will enable the authorized project team member to select the specific RFI that he or she need more details and drilldown to that specific record. This will enable the user to review the record, attached documents and all linked records.

In conclusion, organizations who lacks the right setup to capture the right projects data, by the right team members at the right time will always have the high risk of faulty data. Managing projects is no different than managing any other type of business and actually can prove to be more challenging due to the fact that each project is unique in terms of its requirements, deliverables and those involved in delivering the project’s scope of work. Depending on MS Excel as the repository to record projects data will generate silos of projects data that not only will require considerable effort to compile, analyze and report on but also carry the high risk of data entry mistakes as well as delayed sharing of critical projects’ information.

How To Have An Integrated Project Financial Management System?

Regardless of the project investment that an organization has decided to invest in, there are best practices that had been identified by professional bodies to be implemented to reduce the risk of project cost overrun. From the project owner perspective, cost overrun means that the investment will have a lower return on investment and a longer period to recover this investment. From a contractor perspective, cost overrun means a direct loss that could impact the contractor’s cashflow and operation. Sometimes, the cost overrun could be very severe and could impact the organization’s ability to stay in business.

Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb has enabled those projects centric organization in implementing integrated project financial management at the project level to ensure that every-day events and activities that could impact the project’s financial status are captured, analyzed and reported on. A PMIS will eliminate the bad practices of using MS Excel to log project’s data not only with a practice that lacks transparency, accountability and real-time reporting but that creates data silos that prohibits having a single version of the truth on the project’s financial status.

This article details how a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb can be used to enforce the best practices of project financial management using ready-to-use out-of-the-box templates. Of course, there is always the option of adding new process using the custom form builder. Nevertheless, all those ready to user or custom forms have access to the document management repository to attach all supportive documents as well as the option of having a workflow to formalize the process for capturing, submitting, reviewing, analyzing and approving the different financial management processes.

Setting Up the Project Financial Management

To be able to have an integrated project financial system that can applied on a single project or projects across the enterprise, we need to define two important documents. The first is the Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS) or Cost Control Accounts (CA) while the second is the financial periods which are the same financial periods used at the corporate office to report the organization’s financial health.

The Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS) represents that control level that the organization wants to exert on their project’s financial performance. Similar to the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), the CBS included multiple levels to decompose the project scope and associated cost. It is highly recommended that organizations adopt the same CBS across all projects or at the least the first 3 to 4 high levels and then use lower levels to decompose the project scope further.

In addition, it is important to have standard financial periods across all projects managed in the PMIS that are aligned with other corporate financial systems that are used to capture other cost data that could have an impact on the project’s financial status.

Project Cost Estimates

Regardless of the project size or type, every project should have an estimate of the costs associated in delivering the scope of work as defined in the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and project schedule. The cost estimate will quantity the resources, manpower and others, that are needed to deliver the project scope of work. Some organizations might use their own advanced cost estimating systems to come with those cost estimates, others might use MS Excel while others might use the PMIS like PMWeb to come with this cost estimate. The most important of all, is that the cost estimate must be reviewed and analyzed before it can be improved as the project cost estimate. Further, all supportive documents such as drawings, specifications, bill of quantities among others need to be attached to the cost estimate to ensure that the basis of the cost estimate are documented and available for review whenever it is needed. In addition, all cost estimate versions need to be maintained.

Managing the Project Approved Budget

When the cost estimate is formally reviewed and approved, the organization can them proceed and generate the project budget from the cost estimate. The project budget will include in addition to the cost estimate the other costs of risk contingency, management reserve, funding and financing cost, corporate overhead contribution, profit allowance, price of the land in the case of a project owner among others. All versions of the project budget need to be maintained although only one budget version can be labelled as an approved budget.

An important aspect of every project budget is the spending plan for the budget against the project’s financial periods to enable the organization to allocate those funds when needed. The planned budget value or as sometimes known as the budget cost of work scheduled needs to be aligned with the approved project schedule that will detail the start and finish dates of the project’s cost accounts. The distribution of the budget over those periods can be linear, front loaded, back loaded or any other desired distribution.

All changes to the approved project budget need to be managed in a governed format. Budget changes could result in increasing or decreasing the budget as well as in transferring funds from one cost center to another within the same project or to other projects that are being managed by the organization. Workflows need to be assigned to those budget changes to ensure that the necessary approvals are secured before this change can take place.

This will provide the organization with a single report that provides real-time status of the project budget performance that is based on the real-time data captured in the project budget and budget request modules. The layout and format of this report can be designed in any desired format to provide the needed information and knowledge for the project’s team member.

Determining the Desired Project Revenue

Now the organization needs to verify the project’s expected revenue or income will justify the project investment as detailed in the approved project budget. For a project owner, the revenue will be generated from selling the completed products of the project whereas for the contractor, the revenue will be the bid price that will be assigned to each item in the Bill of Quantity or Schedule of Values. Similar to all other out-of-the-box modules of PMWeb, the Contract or Revenue module of PMWeb will be used to capture the details of the expected revenue along with all supportive documents. In addition, a workflow can be assigned to the contract to formalize the review, analysis and approval of the document. All payment terms and conditions including provisions for taxes and other adjustments will be captured and become part of the agreement.

All changes to approved contract will be captured in the change order module to detail why this change has occurred, who has requested this change and by whom it was approved. All supportive documents will be attached to the change record similar to other PMWeb records.

The actual earned revenue for which in the case of the contractor this will be the monthly progress invoice submitted for approved work in place and materials on site whereas for the project owner this will be the actual sales or lease of project’s completed products. Workflows can assigned to enforce transparency and accountability in submitting, reviewing and approving those records in accordance with the project’s responsibility assignment matrix.

With the project budget and revenue captured on the same PMWeb platform, the organization can run different business intelligence reports to analyze the attractiveness of the project investment and the recovery of the investment.

Committing Actual Project Costs

Up to this point, the organization still did not commit to start spending the approved project budget. For the project owner, this will commence when the successful contractors, consultants, vendors among others are awarded their relevant contracts. Similarly, for the contractor the spending will commence when the contractor starts deploying the resources, awarding subcontract and material supply agreements among others. Of course, there are other expenses that could be incurred by project owners and contractors from sources other than the signed contract agreements like permits and other expenses. Those commitments are the awarded contracts that the organization has selected from the different offers received either using online bidding or the traditional approach of physical bid submissions.

The commitment contract will include the details of the bill of quantity or schedule of values line items. It will also include the contract agreement terms and conditions such as retention, advance payment, taxes among others.

Similar the project budget, the organization needs to ensure that the anticipated commitment spending is aligned with the approved budget spending otherwise there were will be either a shortfall in making payments for approved work in place or funds sitting idle that could deprive using it on other projects that is more needed. The distribution needs to be aligned with the project approved schedule and the method those funds will be spent.

With this additional project’s data becoming available, more reports can be generated to report on the commercial and technical analysis of the different bids received by the organization, comparing planned budget spending with anticipated commitment spending among many others. The Business Intelligence (BI) reports depends on what matters most for an organization or a project team member when it comes to having the needed information and knowledge to manage the project’s financial performance.

Managing Project Changes

No project will ever be delivered without a change that could be attributed to many reasons. Most of those changes could have an impact on the project cost and schedule for which an adjustment to the contract would be needed. Depending on the organization’s change management practices, different processes could be needed to manage those changes. Nevertheless, the minimum change management processes that an organization need to adopt at the processes of Anticipated Changes or Anticipated Variations and Change Orders or Variation Orders.

Similar to other PMWeb processes, PMWeb anticipated variation and variation order will be used to manage all changes that could affect the project. They will be used to capture the cost and schedule impact of each change. All supportive documents will be attached to those records and workflows will be used to formalize the submission, review, analyze and approve or reject those changes. In addition, other PMWeb records like Request for Information, Occurrence Report, Daily Report, Meeting Minutes among others need to be linked to the change order.

Tabular and graphical reports will be created to analyze the impact of changes on the project’s financial status as well as to analyze reasons for those changes and growth trends. Since the project’s data from other processes are all on the PMWeb platform, the organization can perform analysis to identify if there is correlation or trend worth to consider and study for why changes happened on their projects.

Managing Project Actual Cost

The actual cost will be incurred from progress invoices made against approved work in place and material on site for each awarded contract. Those invoices will usually be submitted at the end of each project financial period. Those invoices will be subject formal review and analysis before they are approved for payment. PMWeb progress invoice module will be used to capture this data.

In addition, actual cost could also result from miscellaneous invoices for permits, transportation, facilities, lease of warehouses among many others. All those expenses will be captured using PMWeb miscellaneous invoices module. In addition, actual cost could result from the organization’ own resources spent on the project which are captured using PMWeb timesheet module. Those resources could be manpower, equipment among others. The timesheet module allows specifying if those hours were spent during normal working hours, overtime or over weekends.

With the actual cost data being captured along with the planned cost, the organization can run meaningful and trust worthy project financial performance reporting using the best practice of Earned Value Management. Cost and Schedule Variance metrics and Cost and Schedule Performance Indices will be used to provide real-time single version of the truth status of the project financial performance.

Consolidating the Project Financial Performance

PMWeb cost ledger captures the details of the different financial-related transactions listed above in a single table to allow the organization to present this consolidated information in any desired format using the Cost Worksheet. This module which looks like a MS Excel spreadsheet, but it is not, allows the organization to select the cost data fields to be displayed, add new fields along with formulas to calculate the value of those new fields, filter reported data by status (approved or pending) and time periods that are related to. The organization can create different layouts to fulfill the different reporting needs but with the content all based on the real-time data captured in PMWeb by the different financial management processes. Those cost worksheets can be saved as MS Excel file if needed.

The same data will also be available to graphical reports that will summarize the project’s financial status and provide the organization with a visualization of how the project is performing from a financial perspective. The layout and content could vary from one organization to another but they are all based on the real-time data captured in PMWeb.

Of course, this financial performance data will become part of the overall project performance reporting which could provide performance details of project schedule, risk, issues, safety, quality, document management among many others.

Since PMWeb is an enterprise solution that allows capturing the performance of the complete projects portfolio of an organization, the data captured for each project will become part of the projects portfolio performance dashboard for which the organization’s executives and top management will use to understand how their projects are performing. PMWeb dashboard drilldown approach allows those executives to drilldown to the project dashboard, then to the financial status dashboard then to the specific financial data log, for example the variations log, and then drilldown to the specific variation order record to review including who was involved in the approval or rejection process as well as review all attached documents, linked other related PMWeb records and imported email communications that have influenced this change order record.

Conclusion

In conclusion, no projects centric organization can afford not having an integrated project financial system. Organizations who continue to use MS Excel to log those records are not only losing the real-time aspect of reporting information but increasing the high risk or wrong or incomplete data capturing as well as promote the lack of transparency and accountability in reporting the project’s financial status. Those organizations will store their valuable financial data in data silos that will take effort to compile and consolidate at a project level as well as at enterprise level.

The financial data captured in PMWeb will provide the organization with real-time single version of the truth on the project’s financial status. For those organization who use ERP and other accounting systems to capture some of the data captured in PMWeb, can either integrate PMWeb with their ERP application or simply extract, associate and blend the data from both PMWeb and ERP application to reconcile and report on the project’s financial status.

How Can Technology Improve Project Risk Management?

For those who are involved in delivering engineering and construction projects, regardless of their type, size, location among others, understand that they need to make many assumptions to address the many unknowns that could impact the project schedule, cost among other project objectives. By definition, a risk is the possibility of a problem that has not occurred yet, and if it occurs it would have a negative impact on a project budget, schedule and scope.

Managing Projects Risks

To enforce professional project risk management practice, an organization needs to formalize the processes of risk identification, assessment, response and control. PMWeb Project Management Information System provides a single web-enabled platform to manage all project related processes including those of project risk management and other related processes like project issue management and project change management.

Similar to other type of project management related processes, risk management process requires having an input document template to capture the data needed to manage the risk particulars. The level of detail of risk-related data to be captured differ from one organization to another differ. Therefore, PMWeb custom form builder will be used to design the Risk Form that is specific to meet each organization needs. The form below is an example of a basic risk input form. The risk form should include as a minimum the likelihood and impact of the risk before taking any risk mitigation actions (pre-mitigation) and the likelihood and impact after risk mitigation (post-mitigation). This will provide the risk score values.

Of course, the output risk form can be designed differently to take into account the risk identification, analysis and assessment results in the desired output format. This format could differ depending on the project life cycle stage, risk type and project that the risk relates to. Nevertheless, what is important to maintain is that the same data fields are used across all projects. This is critical when it comes to analyzing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting project risks across a program, portfolio of projects or the enterprise.

For ensuring that the right data for the risk identification, analysis, assessment and response is provided by the right project team members at the right time, workflows need to be created to formalize the risk management process. PMWeb workflow will be used to map those steps as identified in the project risk management plan and the sequence to be followed in completing risk identification, analysis, assessment and response actions.

For each step, the actions that need to be taken by each reviewer will be identified. Those will also include the duration allowed for each step, description of what needs to be done, what will happen if it needs to be returned, options available for the step owner and notifications rules.

PMWeb workflow also allows incorporating conditions in the workflow that could for example depends on the risk type, risk likelihood, risk impact, risk response among others. When those conditions are incorporated in the workflow, PMWeb will allow creating branches and decision points that will affect how the risk management process will behave to comply with the authorities and approval levels assigned to each project role.

During the different steps of the risk management process, the project team members involved in this process might find it necessary to upload and attach project and other related documents. For example, this could include specification sections, drawings, progress photographs, weather conditions for the past years, contract agreements, insurance documents among others. Those documents will be uploaded into PMWeb document management repository where they can become available to be attached to the risk form.

In addition, PMWeb allows linking the Risk Form to other PMWeb records like the project schedule, cost estimate, budget, awarded contract among others. This will enable the reviewer to launch that record and review the details. PMWeb also allows linking the Risk Form to websites like the Meteorology and Seismology website of a specific country where the project being executed.

The risk data captured by PMWeb will become the basis for creating the real-time risk register which can be designed in any desired format. The risk register will provide details of each risk along with pre-mitigation and post-mitigation risk scores along with the approved risk mitigation actions. In addition, the risk register data can be saved in MS Excel file format to enable the organization to conduct advanced qualitative and quantitative risks analysis using Business Intelligence and Monte Carlo simulation software applications to run the needed risk analysis.

In addition, using PMWeb Business Intelligence (BI) reporting tool, the organization can create dashboards to analyze risks and the impact of those risks on projects objectives across all projects. The enterprise risk management dashboard can be designed in any desired format to provide the organization with the knowledge and trends needs to better manage their projects risks.

In conclusion, although many organizations are now more conscious about the need to manage their projects’ risks, nevertheless, the majority continue to use MS Excel or risk logs provided as part of project planning and scheduling software applications. Although, this is far better of not having a risk register in place, nevertheless, it lacks enforcing transparency and accountability when it comes to risk identification, analysis, assessment and response due to the absence of having a formal risk management process. A process that requires a document template, workflow and access to supportive documents. In addition, capturing the risk register in multiple data silos, not only prohibits the organization from analyzing risks across programs and projects but also wastes the knowledge gained from identifying, analyzing, analyzing and responding to risks. Further, risks cannot be managed in isolation of other project management process such as cost management, schedule management, communication management, procurement management among others. Finally, project risk management needs to be closely associated with the project issues management which are the risks that have actually occurred and project change management which quantifies the actual impact of those risks that have actually occurred.

Why Daily Reports Are a Must for Assessing Productivity Rates on Construction Projects?

One of the key challenges that faces contractors and other organizations who are responsible for delivering projects is how to determine the actual resource productivity rates. Using time attendance systems including timesheets, RIFD and other advanced technologies are good for assessing the actual total resource hours spent on the project but they all fall short from accessing the actual resource hours spent against completing specific project scope elements which is needed for assessing the actual resources productivity rates.

Daily Reports which is a must requirement on all construction projects can provide a quick and robust solution for this challenge. Along with adopting professional project management practices and using applications like Oracle Primavera P6 and PMWeb PMIS, organizations can implement effective project control system that address the resources productivity analysis and reporting needs.

Defining the Control Accounts Needed to Deliver the Project Scope of Work

For a construction project and prior for developing the cost estimate and project plan, the project scope of work needs to be well defined using the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). In addition, the responsibility for delivering this scope needs also to be determined using the Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS). The intersection of the WBS and OBS will identify the control accounts for which the project’s resources, cost and schedule will be estimated, planned, monitored and controlled.

The control accounts are usually the cost accounts that will be used across the project to have a common definition of the level of control to be performed on the project. The cost account will consist of multiple levels to map the level of detail the organizations wants to have their projects controlled at. In addition, the cost account number will be the same cost account number will be used in Oracle Primavera P6, PMWeb PMIS and other applications used by the organization in controlling project’s resources and expenses.

Planning the Resource Hours Needed to Deliver the Project Scope of Work

It is very common in construction projects to have the planned resource usage for delivering the project done in Oracle Primavera P6 where the schedule activities will be loaded by the labor and non-labor resources needed to deliver each activity. Usually, the resource loaded schedule will be created from the cost estimate where the project work quantities, productivity rates and required resources will be estimated.

Oracle Primavera P6 will be used to create the estimated resources report which will include the following fields:

·        Cost Control Account

·        Schedule Activities included within each cost control account

·        Resources Assigned to Each Schedule Activity

·        Planned Resource Hours Estimated for Each Activity

Capturing the Estimated Resource Hours

The Oracle Primavera P6 estimated resources report will be saved as a MS Excel file and then imported to PMWeb Estimate template where it will be saved as the Baseline Estimated Resource Hours. It is recommended to attach the detailed resources report and other schedule layouts and reports, in PDF file format to the Estimate template. The template will have a pre-defined workflow that will map the steps for reviewing and approving the project’s estimated resource hours. Should there is a need to have an updated version of the estimated resource hours, then the process will be repeated to ensure that all versions are maintained and can be tracked and reported on.

Capturing Actual Resource Hours Used to Deliver the Project Scope of Work

The Daily report is a formal project document used to capture the details of completed work in place and the resources used in completing this work. It is formal because all construction contract agreements require the contractor to submit the daily report to document the work accomplished, events occurred and other details on what has occurred during that particular day. The contractor should itemize the completed work for each particular day to the level that will enable the contractor to make full use of this data to report actual progress, assess productivity rates and provide support when there is a dispute on what work was done on a particular date.

For the reported completed work on each particular day, PMWeb daily report module allows the contractor to capture the location of the work done using the Location Breakdown Structure, Company who did this work, description of work done, quantity and unit of measure for completed work and the relevant cost control code for that work. Again, those are the same cost account codes used in Oracle Primavera P6.

PMWeb daily report module also allows capturing the actual resources, labor and non-labor, hours that were used to accomplish the reported work in place. For each resource entry, the daily report will capture the schedule activity that those resource hours were spent against, the cost control account associated with resources, the achieved activity % complete and the actual resource quantity spent on that date. For the resource hours, PMWeb daily report allows capturing when the resource started and finished working, total hours and whether those hours were normal pay, overtime or weekend pay. In Summary, PMWeb Daily Report module will be used to capture the actual resources hours spent at each control account which is also known as Actual Quantity or Actual Quantity for Work Performed.

Similar to other document templates in PMWeb, a workflow will be created for the daily report to ensure that it is formally submitted by the project team member who was assigned to prepare the daily report. The daily report will be forwarded to those team members who are responsible for reviewing and approving the content of the daily report before it is transmitted to the project owner’s authorized agent.

Of course, the PMWeb daily report is not limited for capturing the completed work and actual resource hours spent, but also include all other requirements of a daily report such as weather conditions, progress photographs which can be attached to reported completed work, checklists to confirm quality of delivered work among others. The daily report output format can be designed in any desired format to meet the project’s daily report reporting requirements.

Nevertheless, the most important aspect of the daily report is that it is a formal project document that needs to be transmitted on daily basis to the project owner’s authorized agent. A PMWeb Transmittal will be generated from the daily report to ensure that it complies with the project’s communication requirement in terms who need to review and approve the report.

The importance of being a formal project document is that the same work in place and resource hours spent used in assessing the productivity rates will also be the same data to be used by the contractor in case there is a claim for disruption, lost efficiency among other claim headings that require assessment of actual resources hours spent on completing specific scope of work.

Why Using Daily Reports to Capture Actual Resource Hours and Not Timesheets

Although PMWeb Timesheet module allows capturing the actual hours spent by each resource against each cost account and schedule activity similar to what was captured in the PMWeb Daily Report module, nevertheless it lacks capturing the details of what work was accomplished during each specific day of the week. In addition, it is not a formal project document like the daily report where the contractor needs to submit to the project owner’s representative on daily basis. The hours captured in the timesheet could be good for payroll purposes or when reporting engineering tasks rather than construction tasks but for sure not for measuring resources productivity rates on a construction site.

Nevertheless, the resource hours captured in the Timesheet module could be of great value to assess the resources efficiency rate which is unlike the resource productivity rate, its purpose is to determine the total hours charged by each resource as reported by the Timesheet against the total actual hours spent by each resource in performing specific work as reported by the Daily Report.

Assessing and Reporting Resources Productivity and Efficiency Rates

The resources productivity and efficiency analysis will use the data captured in the Estimated Resource Hours module and the Daily Report module. A combined tabular report will be produced that will have the following fields:

·        Project. This is the project reference for which the reported resources data is presented.

·        Cost Account. This is the cost account used in the Estimated Resource Hours and Daily Report Modules of PMWeb as well as all other modules. It is also the same cost account number used in Oracle Primavera P6. It is a recommended best practice the projects across the organization use the same cost account number reference.

·        Task. Those are the tasks that are part of every cost account.

·        Resource. Those are the resources needed to perform each activity. It is a recommended best practice the projects across the organization use the same resources reference.

·        Budget At Completion (BAC) Hours. Those are the estimated hours for each resource to complete the activity scope of work.

·        % Complete. This is the activity % Complete as reported by the updated schedule at the end of the reported period which is usually the same as the monthly financial periods.

·        Earned Resource Hours. This represents the resource hours that should have been spent based on the reported % Complete. It is calculated by multiplying the Budget At Completion (BAC) Hours by the % Complete.

·        Actual Hours. For each task within a resource, there will be the actual resource hours spent to complete the scope of work as reported by the daily report.

·        Spent Hours. For each task within a resource, there will be the actual resource hours charged as reported by the timesheet or any other time attendance system.

·        Variance Production which will be the difference between the Earned Resource Hours and Actual Hours.

·        Variance Spent which will be the difference between the Actual Hours and Spent Hours.

·        Resource Productivity Index which will be the Earned Resource Hours divided by the Actual Hours spent in completing the same activity.

·        Resource Efficiency Index which will be the Actual Hours divided the Spent Hours.

·        Period and Year for which the reported resources data is reported at.

This report is a standard report across all projects being executed by the organization. Data can be selected for a single project or for a group of projects or all projects. The reported can be filtered by period, cost account and resource reference. It is recommended to limit using the Task filter till after a project is selected as task or activity numbers would vary from one project to another.

The same reported data can be also displayed in different graphical formats to make it easy to identify variances at project, cost account, resource and even task level. In addition, graphical reports can be created to display the variance and efficiency trends during the project duration as the data is captured at each period of the project duration. This analysis can be also done across multiple projects.

In conclusion, contractors and similar to other organizations who are involved in delivering construction projects are always faced with the challenge of having reliable resources productivity that will help them not only in coming up with better project cost estimates but also to reward productive resources. Daily Reports which are a contractual obligation to use and maintain on construction projects, can prove an effective solution to overcome those challenges.

How to Extract More Benefits from Your Construction Project Schedule?

Almost all construction projects in the GCC and Middle East region have standardized on Oracle Primavera P6 as the planning and scheduling tool. P6 provides the functions and features that enables contractors to develop detailed execution schedules that can be loaded with all type of resources as well as cost. It provides powerful resource levelling and analysis to help the contractors to better allocate and manage their resources during the project duration.

Nevertheless, for the project owner and other project executives, this detailed construction schedule is very complicated and difficult to use when it comes to reporting the project’s schedule performance. Those executives are keen on understanding how the project’s milestones are performing and reasons for their favorable or unfavorable performance. They are interested to know about project’s delays and why those delays have occurred. They are also interested to know the impact of delayed decisions and actions on the project’s milestone dates.

Formal Review and Analysis of The Project Schedule

For the project’s detailed construction schedule to become an approved document that can be used by all project’s stakeholder, it needs to be compliant with the project’s requirements. Similar to other technical submittals, a project schedule must comply with the specifications specified by the contract agreement. Section 01 32 16 Construction Progress Schedule is the specification section that sets the requirements for the Baseline, Revised and Updated project schedules. This section will detail the WBS levels, activities attributes, schedule level of detail, resources and cost loading schedules, list of milestones, among many others.

To ensure the quality and compliance of the submitted schedules with the project requirements, the project owner needs to implement a process to formalize the schedule review and analysis and assign the roles and responsibilities for this review. For example, using PMWeb Project Management Information System (PMIS), a document template will be created to include all items that need to adhered to when conducting the schedule review and analysis. The schedule review and analysis form will also have the different schedule reports like the detailed schedule report, critical activities report, resource loading charts among others attached to it. In addition, the form will include a workflow to identify the roles and responsibilities set for reviewing, analyzing and approving the schedule.

Using Project Schedule Data in Other Project Management Processes

When the project schedule is approved, PMWeb PMIS allows the organization to import the schedule data so it can be used in improving the management of other project processes. For example, the schedule activities and dates are of great value for the project owner and other stakeholders in driving actions for time-sensitive project communications like submittals (shown below) and request for information. In addition, daily reports and timesheets will be used for capturing the actual resource hours spent in performing the different schedule activities on daily basis. Further, the schedule data can be used to create schedule reports in the desired layout and format without the need for having Oracle Primavera P6.

Delay Analysis and Extension of Time Requests

You would rarely find a construction project that will not encounter events and incidents that would result in delaying the originally planned schedule activities. Sometimes, those delays could result in extending the project’s milestone and completion dates. Those time extensions could also result in entitlement for compensation for prolongation costs, lost productivity, additional resources among others. Some of those delays could be concurrent with other delays which could affect the entitlement for time extension and associated financial compensation. PMWeb PMIS custom form builder can be used to capture the data needed to perform this delay analysis.

Making Use of Captured Everyday Data in Construction Projects

Of course, the value that a PMIS like PMWeb will bring to this delay analysis is the accessibility to all project communications and documents that are needed for the delay analysis and which are captured by PMWeb. Those could include daily reports, RFI, meeting minutes, submittals, correspondence among many other default and custom created document templates. One of those interesting forms is the Occurrence Report which is a custom form created in PMWeb to ensure that all incidents and events that occur on the construction site get captured on the spot by the site engineer or field superintendent and then shared automatically with the management team using the predefined workflow. This will ensure that the right notices as set in the contract agreements are issued in a timely and correct manner.

Monitoring, Evaluating and Reporting Project Schedule Performance

The project’s detailed construction schedule needs to be updated on periodical basis and in accordance with what has been specified in the Construction Progress Schedule specification section. The updated schedule will be subject for the formal review and analysis process before it is approved. The contractor will be required to provide different type of reports including detailed schedule, past period progress, delayed activities, critical activities, near critical activities and others which will become part of the updated schedule submission.

Nevertheless, project executives and senior management will never use those reports to find out on their own on how the project’s milestones are performing and if there are delays and the reason for those delays. They would expect that the experienced project planner to prepare an executive report that will analyze and summarize the current status of each milestone with narrative description of the events that could have an impact on the milestone’s expected completion or had an impact on the actual completion date. The PMWeb Milestone Tracker report will be used by the project planner to report this information at the end of each progress period. All of the updated schedule reports will be attached to this form should the reviewer have interest in viewing those reports.

The Schedule Performance Dashboard

The information generated from the imported project schedule data, milestone tracker, delay analysis form, daily reports, timesheets, submittals, RFIs and other schedule-related documents will be presented in the schedule dashboard. The dashboard would usually include schedule related key performance indicators (KPI), scorecards, progress curves, progress pictures among others.

Dashboard Drilldown

Similar to other dashboards in PMWeb, the schedule dashboard can be part of multiple dashboards and reports for which the project team members can drilldown and rollup project information to the desired monitoring, evaluation and reporting levels. For example, the organization’s chief executive can start at the projects and programs portfolio dashboard. Should he or she decides to have more details on a specific project, then he or she will click on this project entry to drilldown to the project dashboard. Assuming that the executive is interested to know more on the project’s schedule performance, he or she will click on the schedule tile. This will display the schedule dashboard for which the executive will be able to have a completed understanding of the project schedule performance and all matters that could have an impact on the project’s milestone dates. From this dashboard, the executive can drilldown to the project’s schedule, delays log, earned value curve, delayed submittals and other project communications that could impact the schedule among others.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Oracle Primavera P6 and similar to other planning and scheduling tools can provide great information and knowledge on the project schedule, resources requirements, schedule performance among many others. Using a PMIS like PMWeb along with the organization planning and schedule tool will help in extracting more benefits from the project’s schedule. PMWeb will help in formalizing the many schedule related processes that project planners need to perform. Those could include schedule review and analysis, delay analysis, extension of time requests among others. In addition, the imported schedule data can help better managing time-sensitive documents by identifying the tasks that they could delay if approval is not granted in a timely manner. In addition, it allows analyzing the actual productivity rates as reported by the daily reports and linked to the project schedule. Further, it provides project executives with an easier yet effective and reliable format for monitoring and evaluating the project’s schedule performance.

How to Unleash the Great Value of Everyday Data in Engineering and Construction Projects?

Regardless of the size, type, location or nature of your engineering and construction project, project team members will use pre-defined document templates to communicate and share project information. Those could be document templates for meeting minutes, request for information, permits, safety incidents, submittal, change order, progress invoice, site work instruction, non-compliance report just to list a few. Professional bodies like the Construction Specification Institute (CSI) among many others have developed recommended layouts for those document templates for which organizations can use to develop their own document templates.

What Most of Us Continue to Do Today

Nevertheless, and due to the fact that most of organizations who are involved in delivering engineering and construction continue to use manual or semi-manual process in generating those document templates, only limited part of the content of those document templates get captured electronically using applications like MS Excel. The document controller will usually use MS Excel to create the log of the document templates which mainly will cover the very basic details of each document like status and dates but excludes the main content of the document template like the question and answer of a Request for Information (RFI) and if this RFI has an impact on the project scope, cost and schedule including the activity it might impact. The log will also exclude the details of documents attached to the RFI and if this RFI has links to other project’s document templates and communications.

Ensure the Trust Worthiness of Your Project’s Data While Eliminating Wasted Effort

On the other hand, if the organization is using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb where most of the input forms for those document templates are readily available out of the box or can be created using the custom form builder, then the organization can be set assured to get the first benefit of not wasting any data that was captured in the document template. Of course, there is also the benefit that the captured data is correct as most of the data will be selected from pre-defined lists of values such as dates, topics, subject, specification reference, location, WBS level, activity number among others.

In addition, the documents such as drawings, specifications, pictures and others that would usually accompany the document template to provide the supportive information to action the document template can be attached to the input form. This brings the additional benefit that all of those supportive documents are available for immediate review rather than wasting the time and effort in requesting and getting those documents.

Those project documents are not limited to a single project communication but it is quite possible that the same project document is needed by many other communications. In addition, those project documents which are generated during the project life cycle stages need to be handed over when the project is completed. Further, some of those documents could have more than one version like for example project drawings. Also, its common to add remarks and notes to those project documents. Using PMWeb PMIS, all of those requirements among others will be fulfilled using PMWeb document management repository.

With the high possibility that a specific project communication like the Request for Information for example, could have been issued as a result of another project communication or it is related to another project communication, it is important to link those project communications to the record. Again, we have the benefit of saving the wasted effort in trying to identify and locate those project records that are linked or referenced by this communication. Those linked records are not limited to the project’s document templates but could include email communications that were imported into PMWeb email inbox repository.

All of those benefits resulting from saving the wasted effort in generating the project communication cannot be viewed as trivial benefits if they are compared with the benefits generated from enforcing accountability in completing the content of the document template as set in the project management procedures plan. Using PMWeb visual workflow, the organization can map the different steps assigned to each project team member for submitting, reviewing and approving the document template. Those workflows will incorporate the different authorities and approval levels set in the project manual for actioning every project communication type. Those authorities and approval conditions depends on the attributes of each input form such as value, specification type, category, location, schedule and cost impact among many others. Having such automated workflows will ensure that each project communication is received by its intended recipient as soon as the previous step was completed as well as the ensuring that each recipient provide the input for his/her assigned fields.

Accordingly, the workflow steps along with input, dates and comments made by each workflow step owner will be recorded on the input form to provide an audit trail of what has happened when this project communication was completed. In other words, in addition to the great benefit of enforcing accountability in actioning project communications, the specific particulars of those workflow steps are readily available to be reported on.

Unleash the Great Value of Everyday Trust Worthy Project’s Data

An organization who is able to have their everyday project’s data captured in a real-time format by the accountable project team member would at least provide them with a trust worthy data content that they can monitor, evaluate, study, analyze and have the insight for better and faster informed decisions. To start with, the logs and registers that MS Excel was used to create, is now readily available with the latest information without depending on the document controller to update the log and then share it. There is no limit to the number of logs that can be created depending on the data, format, filter, grouping and layout to be displayed. The reader of this log can drilldown to each single record in that log to get more details if needed. In addition, there is no need to send those logs to any project team member as they readily available for the authorized PMWeb users anytime, anywhere using any device.

In addition, reports to analyze the performance trends and growth of those everyday project communications can be developed. Histograms, pie charts, line charts, scorecards and other type of graphical reports can be generated to enable the reader to better understand the project’s data. Of course, all of those reports will use the same trust worthy data captured by PMWeb PMIS.

In analyzing the project’s health and performance, the project team member will find it necessary to study and analyze the performance of different types of project communications that could be related or relevant to each other. For example, to assess the performance of project document management, the project team member wants to have an overall understanding of how Request for Information, Submittals, Request for Inspections and other documents are performing. The document dashboard shown below is an example where each chart summarizes the current performance of each project communication type.

On the other hand, to understand how the project is performing as an overall, the project manager would need to have a single dashboard that will show a single version of the truth of the project’s document, cost, schedule, risk, issues, safety and other project aspects that the project manager requires. Again, the project dashboard will use the same everyday trust worthy data that was used to create the logs and trend charts for each project communication.

The organization’s executive management would usually find the level of details captured in the project dashboard is too much when they just need to have an overview of how the organization’s projects portfolio is performing. Of course, they share the same requirement like all the others and that is the information to be shared need to be based on real-time trust worthy data. The projects portfolio dashboard below is an example of such dashboard.

The Great Benefit of Information Drilldown Concept

The Big Data pyramid that is familiar for many of those shows data at the bottom layer, then information on top, followed by knowledge and finally wisdom on top. The same concept is used to create the PMWeb dashboard drilldown starting with the projects portfolio dashboard. In other words, assume the executive manager who will usually review the projects portfolio dashboard decides to have more details on a specific project for which he or she wanted to know more about the performance of a specific project management area like cost, schedule, risk or documents or the performance of a specific project life cycle stage like design, bid, construction or others. Now for a specific project management communication like RFI, change orders, permits, risks, etc., the same executive can drilldown to the process performance and growth trend analysis dashboard. The user can further drilldown to the specific project management transactions register for which he or she can drilldown to the specific project management record to view it along with all attached documents and linked records.

The Great Benefit of Interactive Business Intelligence

The growing trend of user-based interactive business intelligence applications like MS Power BI, Qlik Sense, Tableau, MicroStrategy among many others enable the project team to analyze trust worthy captured data to identify correlation and trends that could have an impact on the project’s objectives as well as identify opportunities for improving how current project management processes. Those BI applications allow reading the data captured by PMWeb but without changing what is already in the database. In addition, those applications allow associating and blending multiple data tables to have a better insight on the captured projects data. The data tables could also include data from other sources.

The reports and dashboards presented in this article show how organizations can unleash the great value of everyday data in engineering and construction projects when technology is used to enforce transparency and accountability in capturing this data. PMWeb is an example of how project management information systems can enable organizations to implement a single web-enabled platform to automate of the different processes needed to manage a project. The captured trust worthy data will become the basis for real-time monitoring and evaluation of projects performance across the organization.

Having the Right Key Performance Indicators for Your Dashboards

Driving a project to success requires having real-time project performance and status reporting to provide clear and concise information of the key drivers of the project performance. Like a car dashboard, the project dashboard is crucial for the project stakeholders to provide them with the insight to make better and faster decisions that could affect the success of their journey or project life cycle stages.

The layout, information shared, level of detail, key performance indicators and other components of dashboards used in projects centric environments vary depending on the needs and role of the dashboard recipient. Some of those recipients could be interested in having the overall performance of all projects being delivered by the organization or a portfolio of projects. Others could be interested to have the performance details of projects that are part of a program or a strategic initiative while others could be interested in the details of a single specific project. In addition, some recipients might be interested in the performance details of a specific phase of the project life cycle like design stage, bid/award, construction, defects liability among others. Further, other recipients could be interested in performance details as it relates to project cost, schedule, risk, procurement of contracts, documents, quality assurance and quality control, health and safety, environment, sustainability among others.

All of those dashboards provide a real-time synopsis of the project performance information in a visual format that is easy to read, remembered and understood by the dashboard recipient. All of this project information should be based on a single data source otherwise those dashboards could provide conflicting and contradicting information for the different recipients. The damage would also extend to the impact of taking uncoordinated decisions that could help in addressing the issues of one recipient while creating new issues for other project team members. Therefore, unless the organization impose formal processes for capturing and sharing project’s data, the likelihood of having conflicting and contradicting information will always be very high.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Similar to the gauges and other meters on your car dashboard, a project dashboard will always include a number of key performance indicators (KPI) to report on the performance, health and status of the project in a visual format. There are hundreds of KPIs that are being used by projects intensive organizations to help them to manage the delivery of their projects portfolio. Some of those KPIs are used to manage the project scope, cost, schedule, documents, risks, issues, quality, safety, sustainability, stakeholders, communications among others.

The list below is an example of some of the projects’ KPIs that are available in the KPI Mega Library book by Rachad Baroudi(https://books.google.ae/books/about/Kpi_Mega_Library.html?id=vDvHbwAACAAJ&redir_esc=y). Of course, there are many other books and manuals that provide example of KPIs used in managing projects performance.

  • # conflicts arisen during the project
  • % decrease in complaints after project execution
  • % of overdue project status reports
  • % of overdue project tasks
  • % of projects on time
  • % of projects or resources allocated through business unit approval
  • % of projects receiving Quality Assurance review
  • % of projects with high risk profile
  • % of projects with missed milestones
  • % of projects with scope changes
  • % of projects without deviation of planned hours of work
  • # project cost performance index
  • # project cost schedule index
  • % budget allocated to budget spent ratio
  • % of projects on budget
  • % of projects on time and on budget
  • % of projects without deviation of planned budget
  • % project budget variance
  • % projects on budget
  • % Full Year Budget Vs. Full Year Actual Cost

For example, for the KPI “% Full Year Budget Vs. Full Year Actual Cost” which is used to report on the ratio of the total project cost to the full year allocated budget. The total project cost is the approved total value of work in place submitted by the contractors using the monthly progress invoice during a specific fiscal year. The full year allocated budget is amount of budget that has been reserved for this project to complete the scope of work planned for the same fiscal period along with contingency allowance for scope creep and variations.

The objective of this KPI is to measure the project management team ability to meet forecasted expenditure targets committed by the project owner. Failing to spend the expenditure targets means that those funds are sitting idle without generating the value that they are supposed to produce as well as depriving other projects from using those funds to pay for work in place. On the other hand, if actual cost spending exceeds the allocated budget spending, then the organization will not be able to fulfill its obligation to make payment for the completed works which could result in a claim for failing to pay or delayed payments.

The performance threshold for this KPI can differ from one organization to another but the best score is achieved when the actual cost coincides with the allocated budget spending. The preferred performance, or the green zone, could allow +/- 5% variance. The warning, alert or amber zone could allow from +/- 5% to +/- 10% variance while the red zone will be any variance that exceeds +/- 10%.

How Can Technology Help in Creating Trust Worthy KPIs?

Using PMWeb Project Management Information System (PMIS), the budget for each project at the desired level of detail can be created. This will be followed by distributing the budget value for each line item into the project’s performance periods. The distribution will be aligned with the project’s schedule and how the allocated budget will be spent for each line item. This will enable the project team to have a spreadsheet report that summarizes the planned budget for each period. For a specific fiscal year, the planned budget value for that particular year will be summed up.

For the actual cost spending, PMWeb Progress Invoices module will be used the capture the details of the work in place for each period. When the progress invoice is formally review and approved, it becomes the actual cost that the project owner needs to pay. PMWeb captures the progress invoices details for all awarded project contracts and the progress invoices for each period. The actual cost will include the approved work in place, materials on site and payments against approved variation orders. The actual cost for a specific fiscal year will be the total of all approved progress invoices approved within that year for all awarded contracts.

The automatically generated tables not only avoid the requirement of having to create them using MS Excel, but also helps in enforcing the trust worthiness of the information included in those report. The forms used to capture the project budget, awarded contracts and progress invoices are examples of the many forms that are available out-of-the-box from PMWeb. In addition, the custom form builder enables creating unlimited number of new forms when needed.

For each form, there will be pre-defined fields to capture the needed data for the needed information. Those fields could be assigned for different project team members to fill depending on the authority levels assigned to each. In addition, supportive documents such as the awarded agreement document and other details can be attached to the form to further enforce transparency. The completed form can be assigned a workflow to formalize the submit, review and approve steps to enforce accountability. Those workflow steps will be in line with the project manual which sets the procedures for managing the different project processes.

The “% Full Year Budget Vs. Full Year Actual Cost” KPI will be automatically calculated by PMWeb Report Writer tool which is used to create the different tabular and graphical reports and dashboards. The same approach will be followed in calculating the many other KPIs that an organization needs to have in their dashboards to provide the decision maker with the insight to make better and faster informed decisions. The drilldown approach adopted by PMWeb in creating the projects’ dashboards enables the decision maker to drilldown to the data source from which the KPI was created. For example, if the reviewer of “% Full Year Budget Vs. Full Year Actual Cost” KPI wanted to have the details of the reported actual cost for a specific period for a specific contract agreement, this can be done by drilling down to the project invoices log, then select the specific contract agreement and finally select the progress invoice for that particular period. The reviewer can view the record and the documents attached to the record as well as the workflow steps which detail who approved the record and if there any comments made.

The same approach will be repeated for all the other key performance indicators that the organization might require for assessing their projects performance. Actually, it also common that there are some KPIs that depend on the value of other KPIs. For example, the organization could have a single KPI to report the overall performance of each project. This KPI could be based on other KPS like the project safety performance indicator, multiple cost performance indicators, multiple schedule performance indicators and quality performance indicator. Each one of those KPIs would have weight factor for which the overall project performance KPI will use to determine how good the project is performing.

What Should You Do When You Spot A Possible Claim On Your Construction Project?

No one can argue that having better chances in winning a claim depends on how fast an organization can react and be ready for the claim. Being fast is not limited for giving the right formal notices as required by the contract agreement but also being fast in documenting and collecting the particulars of the claim.

The Most Common Reasons of Construction Claims

Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb is used today by many organizations to better manage their construction claims. PMWeb is used to issue the claim notices using predefined contractually correct letters, capture daily reports, meeting minutes and other claim related project communications, storing documents that supports claim submissions among others.

In this article, we will show how PMWeb will be used to formalize the implementation of what will be called as Occurrence Report. This is a document template that the content will be specific for each possible reason of a construction claim. The manual, “Construction Claims Organization System” by Robert S. Brams and Christopher Lerner have identified 39 headings that details some of the most common reasons of construction claims.

1.         Acts of God

2.         Acts of Government

3.         Actual Acceleration

4.         Adverse Weather

5.         Bankruptcy

6.         Cardinal Change

7.         Commercial Impracticability/ Performance

8.         Commercial Impracticability/ Supply

9.         Constructive Acceleration

10.     Constructive Change

11.     Defective Specifications

12.     Delay of Approvals

13.     Delayed Issuance of Change Orders

14.     Delayed Notice to Proceed

15.     Destruction of Work

16.     Destruction of Materials

17.     Differing Site Conditions

18.     Early Completion Prevented

19.     Impossibility of Performance

20.     Improper Inspection

21.     Inadequate Supervision

22.     Inadequate Utilities

23.     Interference

24.     Labor Shortage

25.     Lack of Access

26.     Lack of Information or Decision

27.     Lack of Permits

28.     Lack of Right of Way

29.     Late Drawings

30.     Late, Defective Material, Etc.

31.     Payments Not Made

32.     Scheduling Difficulties

33.     Stacking of Trades

34.     Strikes

35.     Subcontractor Delay

36.     Superior Knowledge/ Misrepresentation

37.     Supplier Delay

38.     Suspension of Work/Delay

39.     War and Other Hostilities

A data list will be created in PMWeb to capture those 39 claim reasons and others to make them standard across all claim related communications. Those could include the Occurrence Report, notice letters, RFI, potential change orders, change orders, daily reports, risk register among others. The claim reasons list can be expanded if the organization has identified additional claim reasons that could be relevant to their projects. For example, the correspondence module below shows how one of the correspondence communications was assigned the construction claim reason it belongs to. Of course, the organization can develop more attributes that can help in better managing and reporting on the project information.

The Occurrence Report: Capturing the Facts

The “Construction Claims Organization System” manual has proposed the content of the Occurrence Report for each claim reason. Each Occurrence Report has 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 claims occur while the second is to capture the Project Management Analysis and Action List. Of course, the organization might decide to have more sections in the Occurrence Report depending on the information to be captured and by who.

The list of information and actions to be captured in the first section of the Occurrence Report could differ from one claim reason to another. For example, for 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

Using PMWeb What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) Custom Form Builder, the organization can create their own list of actions and queries that the Site Supervisor or the Site Engineer needs to document as soon as this claim reason do occur. The form below is just an example of how section A of the occurrence report for the Differing Site Condition could be. It should be noted that many of the 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.

Since PMWeb is a zero-foot-print application, this means that the same form can be also be accessed from any web browser including those of smart phones. In other words, the field supervisor can complete the Occurrence Report on the field using his/her iPad or any other smart phone device. This also allows capturing content for the form by either typing it in or saying it and have the speech-to-text recognition to type it in.

Using the attachment command the Field Supervisor can take pictures or videos of the differing site condition and upload those to the Occurrence Report. In addition, the Field Supervisor can attach documents that are stored in PMWeb document management repository like drawings, specifications among others that are relevant to the site condition. Further, other PMWeb records like daily reports, timesheets, RFI among others can be linked to the Occurrence Report.

When the Field Supervisor completes Section A of the Occurrence Report, he/she will use the predefined workflow to submit the same form to the designated project management team member to perform the needed analysis and take the needed actions. The workflow assigned for the same Occurrence Report, that is, Differing Site Conditions, could include predefined conditions to branch out and involve other team members in the review process depending on the actual content of the form. In others, there will be no time wasted in figuring out who show be involved in this process.

The Occurrence Report: Analyzing and Responding

The same Occurrence Report will have section B, Project Management Analysis and Action List. Using the PMWeb security levels, access to section B can be restricted only to the authorized users. Similarly, section B has pre-defined queries and actions that need to be taken. Those could include for example:

1.      After reviewing section A, what additional facts to be considered and added

2.      Determine the schedule impact of the condition

3.      Confirm if the conditions of contract states that the occurred site condition is considered as unforeseen conditions

4.      Review the variation, dispute and notices requirement of the contract

5.      Decide whether to submit a potential change order, formal notice of a claim or both (Those are also forms that should be ready to use using PMWeb own forms or custom forms)

6.      Confirm if the project owner or any of his authorized representatives has made any statements or taken any actions that the reviewer believes constitute an admission of fault, liability or responsibility in any way for the delay, added cost or other impact resulting from this occurrence. If this has happened, then all details need to be provided.

7.      Attach any supportive documents or facts to support the claim using the Attachment command.

The Occurrence Report: Real-Time Reporting

Similar to all other processes managed in PMWeb, real-time logs and reports of all those occurrence reports by category can be produced to track their status. A real-time dashboard can be also created to summarize the status of all those occurrence reports summarized by the 39 most common reasons of construction claims. The organization can also have a real-time dashboard that will analyze and report those occurrence reports across their complete projects portfolio. The indicative schematic chart below explains this real-time dashboard concept that allows management to drilldown to the source of the reported claim.

The Occurrence Report: Business Intelligence

In addition, the use of Business Intelligence (BI) applications like MS Power BI, Qlik, Tableau among others provide the project management team with the ability to analyze the information captured in the Occurrence Reports across on a single project or all projects that the organization is involved with to analyze trends and identify correlation between the different project events. As an example, the BI report shown below is used by an organization to analyze the trends of change orders on projects that are they are executing.

In other words, technology not only will help organizations in reducing the massive volume of data and information that they fail to capture in a complete and integrated forms, but will also help in improving the chances to win due claims and additional scope of work by ensuring that the needed information to support the organization’s request for contract adjustment is done in the right format, at the right time by the right project team member.

Can technology reduce the cost of managing construction project’s information?

Regardless of the level of governance and control an organization wants to enforce on their construction projects, technology can drastically reduce the cost of managing the everyday information generated from the different events, actions and communications. This article will only address the savings that could result from improving the efficiency of generating, capturing, administering, reporting and sharing this everyday information.

Those potential savings will be limited for performing the following tasks which are common to any construction project regardless of its size, type, location or value. Those tasks are:

1.      Project Filing System

2.      Creating Project Communication Records

3.      Distributing and Sharing Project Communication Records

4.      Tracking Project Communication Records

5.      Reporting Project Communications Performance

Project Filing System

Regardless what project you are involved with, there will be always a filing room where folders that have the project documents and records. Those include the contract drawings, workshop drawings, as-built drawings, incoming and outgoing correspondence, daily reports, transmittals, inspection forms, authorities’ approvals, proposed change orders, change orders, safety incidents, permits, request for information, weekly progress reports among many others.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, the organization can duplicate the filing system structure and upload a soft copy of those documents. Those could be scanned documents, PDF files and other type of electronic files. For those uploaded documents, attributes that can provide better information like the location, bid package, category of work, specification section and others. Information that will of great value when there is a need to report or locate those documents. PMWeb also allows sending notifications when new documents are uploaded into a folder as well as keeping the versions of all electronic files that were updated.

In addition, the project team can add remarks and comments on those uploaded documents where the comments made by each team member will be stored in different layer that can be reported on. The redline option allows adding text notes, shapes and stamps to the selected project document.

Having those documents uploaded on PMWeb document management repository, the project team members can search and locate those documents by giving the key words to be searched for. Something that project team members will spent hours if not days in trying to locate records or documents that are related to some event.

The savings in the team effort that an organization can attain from being able to locate needed documents when needed could be of great value specially when there is a need to locate those documents in a very short time. Having the documents in a document management system will also be of great value when those are archived and handed over at the end of a project.

Creating Project Communication Records

Almost every construction project has some kind of pre-defined templates for daily reports, RFI, non-conformance report, permits, inspection among others. Those forms are usually created in MS Excel, MS Work or PDF where the user has the option to print the form and fill it manually or fill it on the electronic template, save it and print it. Some of those electronic templates might have dropdown values to ensure that the project team member use the predefined values. The user also needs to attach the supportive documents that are referenced in the project communication. Depending on the project’s requirements the project team members might need to have 3 or 4 sets of those documents when the communication record is submitted.

Using PMWeb PMIS, most of the input forms needed in project communication comes ready out of the box. Those include RFI, Meeting Minutes, Safety Incidents, Daily Reports, Transmittals, Submittal, Potential Change Order, Change Order, Progress Invoice among many others. Those forms have fields that are designed to pick data form predefined lists including WBS, Activity ID, Phase, Specification Category among others that can be made common to all other forms used in PMWeb across all projects managed using PMWeb.

Of course, input forms are not limited to what comes ready out of the box, but they could include any other forms in any other language to capture the additional information needed on the project. For example, organizations can develop extensive site inspection forms that are specific for each building system like structural, mechanical, fire protection, electrical among others. The PMWeb form builder provides a unique What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) capability to create the form that is identical to what the organization is used to have.

The output communication form that will be formally submitted to the communication recipient can be designed in form and format to be aligned with the organization’ color branding, logo as well as the specific project requirements. In other words, although there will be a single input form, but the output form could vary to meet the specific project’s communication requirements.

As stated earlier, some if not most of the project communications require supportive documents to be attached to that communication. For example, the transmittal form would require the drawings, manuals, schedules and other type of documents to be attached to the communication. Using PMWeb, those documents are usually uploaded into the document management repository to ensure that no project related documented is not accounted for.

Distributing and Sharing Project Communication Records

After creating the project communication, the next step is to send this communication to the intended recipient as per the project responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) which will detail for each project communication who will issue, who review will review, who could be consulted, who needs to be kept informed and who is authorized to approve. The authorization to approve could be linked to specific attribute of the communication such as if the communication could result in additional cost or extension of time among many others.

The RAM is usually detailed into a workflow to capture the sequence for submitting, reviewing and approving the communication where multiple reviewers and approvers could be involved. The workflow also help to detail the workflow branches that are linked to reviewer and approval authorities’ levels. Those workflows can prove to be of great challenge if the project team member wants to manually decide on who should be next on workflow step and ensure that branch conditions are fully respected.

Using PMWeb PMIS, workflows can be created for each communication form taking into consideration the sequence for the submit, review and approval steps. The workflows can include all the conditions that could affect the workflow branches. In addition, PMWeb allows to delegate and replace users already assigned to a workflow if there are not available.

For each step in the workflow, we can assign the time allotted for the step, what actions the step owner can perform, what will happen if the document was approved or rejected along with details on the objective of the step. PMWeb also allows to use to identify if multiple reviewers assigned to a step need all to approved the document or anyone can approve the document.

The savings of the effort needed to submit and share project communication that PMWeb would bring would bring by automating the workflow steps is massive even if we exclude the savings of rectifying the mistakes of sending project communications into the wrong the channels.

Tracking Project Communication Records

Many organizations continue to use MS Excel as the method to track the different project communications. The effort needed to maintain those records in a near-real time status can prove of great challenge as unless the communication record is available then those logs cannot be updated. In addition, with the wide variety and volume of project communications, the effort needed to extract the content and update those records not only needs a lot of effort to add the data but also to review and verify that the data is complete and correct. RFI, Meeting Minutes, Submittals, Correspondence, Safety, Daily Reports and Inspection are examples of the many forms that each organization must maintain a log of.

When PMWeb PMIS Forms are used to capture the information associated with those communication forms and workflows are used to circulate the form and attachments among those who are involved in submitting, reviewing and approving those forms, having real-time logs of all those transactions is a default option. The organization can design the output form in any desired format. The report could define the way the data will be sorted and grouped, what data fields to display and if there is need to add filters to limit the data to be displayed. It is possible for the same type of project communication, say RFIs, to different tabular and graphical reports to display the information.

Reporting Project Communication Performance

One of the requirements of managing any construction project is for the project team to have clarity on the performance and status of project communications. Again, the trend is that those organizations will extract this data from the MS Excel log files and apply formulas to measure and report on their selected Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The issue is that the log file created in MS Excel is usually designed to display the current data and therefore creating trend charts is not possible due to the absence of historical data. The other challenge is that usually there are different files for each log that could be managed by different project team member. Consolidating those tables and KPIs in a single table can prove to be of high risk due to file size and the ensuring that all logs are received at the same time to produce the near-time dashboard.

For PMWeb users, this is not an issue as the project communication dashboard will provide real-time status of the selected project communication. The measures, metrics and KPIs are defined once and they will be calculated automatically when the project communication records get created or progressed. Historical and past periods data are automatically stored in the database to enable creating trend and growth charts. The dashboard can be designed in a format that will be aligned with the organization branding and reporting requirement.

The dashboard is usually designed to be a drilldown dashboard which means that a user can drilldown from this dashboard to the log of a specific communication record, say Meeting Minutes Log. For the Meeting Minutes log, the user can drill to the Meeting Minute output form for a specific Meeting Minutes record. The user can then drilldown to Meeting Minute form itself and review the documents attached to that form as well as other PMWeb records that had been linked to the same meeting minute. This traceability is impossible of MS Excel was the application used to manage the project communication.

Using PMWeb PMIS, the same approach will be followed for other project processes like those that relate to cost, schedule, quality, risk, procurement among others. Following the same drilldown approach, Senior Management who have access to projects portfolio dashboard can drilldown to a specific project. Then they can drilldown to desired management aspect whether it is project communication, cost, schedule, risk, procurement, quality among others.

Now even if an organization ignores the benefits of enforcing the best practices of governance, transparency and accountability when it comes to implementing professional project management processes, the benefits from improving the efficiency in capturing, communicating, tracking and real-time reporting the status and performance of those processes could be something worth looking at. It is estimated that almost 60% of the effort of senior project management team is wasted on capturing, reviewing, analyzing and sharing information that is crucial for them to have the insight to make informed decisions. Using an integrated project management information system (PMIS) like PMWeb could drastically reduce this wasted effort and create massive benefits by reviewing, analyzing and learning from this massive BIG DATA that an organization can capture across their portfolio of projects.

Can technology reduce the cost of managing construction project’s information?

Regardless of the level of governance and control an organization wants to enforce on their construction projects, technology can drastically reduce the cost of managing the everyday information generated from the different events, actions and communications. This article will only address the savings that could result from improving the efficiency of generating, capturing, administering, reporting and sharing this everyday information.

Those potential savings will be limited for performing the following tasks which are common to any construction project regardless of its size, type, location or value. Those tasks are:

1.      Project Filing System

2.      Creating Project Communication Records

3.      Distributing and Sharing Project Communication Records

4.      Tracking Project Communication Records

5.      Reporting Project Communications Performance

Project Filing System

Regardless what project you are involved with, there will be always a filing room where folders that have the project documents and records. Those include the contract drawings, workshop drawings, as-built drawings, incoming and outgoing correspondence, daily reports, transmittals, inspection forms, authorities’ approvals, proposed change orders, change orders, safety incidents, permits, request for information, weekly progress reports among many others.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, the organization can duplicate the filing system structure and upload a soft copy of those documents. Those could be scanned documents, PDF files and other type of electronic files. For those uploaded documents, attributes that can provide better information like the location, bid package, category of work, specification section and others. Information that will of great value when there is a need to report or locate those documents. PMWeb also allows sending notifications when new documents are uploaded into a folder as well as keeping the versions of all electronic files that were updated.

In addition, the project team can add remarks and comments on those uploaded documents where the comments made by each team member will be stored in different layer that can be reported on. The redline option allows adding text notes, shapes and stamps to the selected project document.

Having those documents uploaded on PMWeb document management repository, the project team members can search and locate those documents by giving the key words to be searched for. Something that project team members will spent hours if not days in trying to locate records or documents that are related to some event.

The savings in the team effort that an organization can attain from being able to locate needed documents when needed could be of great value specially when there is a need to locate those documents in a very short time. Having the documents in a document management system will also be of great value when those are archived and handed over at the end of a project.

Creating Project Communication Records

Almost every construction project has some kind of pre-defined templates for daily reports, RFI, non-conformance report, permits, inspection among others. Those forms are usually created in MS Excel, MS Work or PDF where the user has the option to print the form and fill it manually or fill it on the electronic template, save it and print it. Some of those electronic templates might have dropdown values to ensure that the project team member use the predefined values. The user also needs to attach the supportive documents that are referenced in the project communication. Depending on the project’s requirements the project team members might need to have 3 or 4 sets of those documents when the communication record is submitted.

Using PMWeb PMIS, most of the input forms needed in project communication comes ready out of the box. Those include RFI, Meeting Minutes, Safety Incidents, Daily Reports, Transmittals, Submittal, Potential Change Order, Change Order, Progress Invoice among many others. Those forms have fields that are designed to pick data form predefined lists including WBS, Activity ID, Phase, Specification Category among others that can be made common to all other forms used in PMWeb across all projects managed using PMWeb.

Of course, input forms are not limited to what comes ready out of the box, but they could include any other forms in any other language to capture the additional information needed on the project. For example, organizations can develop extensive site inspection forms that are specific for each building system like structural, mechanical, fire protection, electrical among others. The PMWeb form builder provides a unique What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) capability to create the form that is identical to what the organization is used to have.

The output communication form that will be formally submitted to the communication recipient can be designed in form and format to be aligned with the organization’ color branding, logo as well as the specific project requirements. In other words, although there will be a single input form, but the output form could vary to meet the specific project’s communication requirements.

As stated earlier, some if not most of the project communications require supportive documents to be attached to that communication. For example, the transmittal form would require the drawings, manuals, schedules and other type of documents to be attached to the communication. Using PMWeb, those documents are usually uploaded into the document management repository to ensure that no project related documented is not accounted for.

Distributing and Sharing Project Communication Records

After creating the project communication, the next step is to send this communication to the intended recipient as per the project responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) which will detail for each project communication who will issue, who review will review, who could be consulted, who needs to be kept informed and who is authorized to approve. The authorization to approve could be linked to specific attribute of the communication such as if the communication could result in additional cost or extension of time among many others.

The RAM is usually detailed into a workflow to capture the sequence for submitting, reviewing and approving the communication where multiple reviewers and approvers could be involved. The workflow also help to detail the workflow branches that are linked to reviewer and approval authorities’ levels. Those workflows can prove to be of great challenge if the project team member wants to manually decide on who should be next on workflow step and ensure that branch conditions are fully respected.

Using PMWeb PMIS, workflows can be created for each communication form taking into consideration the sequence for the submit, review and approval steps. The workflows can include all the conditions that could affect the workflow branches. In addition, PMWeb allows to delegate and replace users already assigned to a workflow if there are not available.

For each step in the workflow, we can assign the time allotted for the step, what actions the step owner can perform, what will happen if the document was approved or rejected along with details on the objective of the step. PMWeb also allows to use to identify if multiple reviewers assigned to a step need all to approved the document or anyone can approve the document.

The savings of the effort needed to submit and share project communication that PMWeb would bring would bring by automating the workflow steps is massive even if we exclude the savings of rectifying the mistakes of sending project communications into the wrong the channels.

Tracking Project Communication Records

Many organizations continue to use MS Excel as the method to track the different project communications. The effort needed to maintain those records in a near-real time status can prove of great challenge as unless the communication record is available then those logs cannot be updated. In addition, with the wide variety and volume of project communications, the effort needed to extract the content and update those records not only needs a lot of effort to add the data but also to review and verify that the data is complete and correct. RFI, Meeting Minutes, Submittals, Correspondence, Safety, Daily Reports and Inspection are examples of the many forms that each organization must maintain a log of.

When PMWeb PMIS Forms are used to capture the information associated with those communication forms and workflows are used to circulate the form and attachments among those who are involved in submitting, reviewing and approving those forms, having real-time logs of all those transactions is a default option. The organization can design the output form in any desired format. The report could define the way the data will be sorted and grouped, what data fields to display and if there is need to add filters to limit the data to be displayed. It is possible for the same type of project communication, say RFIs, to different tabular and graphical reports to display the information.

Reporting Project Communication Performance

One of the requirements of managing any construction project is for the project team to have clarity on the performance and status of project communications. Again, the trend is that those organizations will extract this data from the MS Excel log files and apply formulas to measure and report on their selected Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The issue is that the log file created in MS Excel is usually designed to display the current data and therefore creating trend charts is not possible due to the absence of historical data. The other challenge is that usually there are different files for each log that could be managed by different project team member. Consolidating those tables and KPIs in a single table can prove to be of high risk due to file size and the ensuring that all logs are received at the same time to produce the near-time dashboard.

For PMWeb users, this is not an issue as the project communication dashboard will provide real-time status of the selected project communication. The measures, metrics and KPIs are defined once and they will be calculated automatically when the project communication records get created or progressed. Historical and past periods data are automatically stored in the database to enable creating trend and growth charts. The dashboard can be designed in a format that will be aligned with the organization branding and reporting requirement.

The dashboard is usually designed to be a drilldown dashboard which means that a user can drilldown from this dashboard to the log of a specific communication record, say Meeting Minutes Log. For the Meeting Minutes log, the user can drill to the Meeting Minute output form for a specific Meeting Minutes record. The user can then drilldown to Meeting Minute form itself and review the documents attached to that form as well as other PMWeb records that had been linked to the same meeting minute. This traceability is impossible of MS Excel was the application used to manage the project communication.

Using PMWeb PMIS, the same approach will be followed for other project processes like those that relate to cost, schedule, quality, risk, procurement among others. Following the same drilldown approach, Senior Management who have access to projects portfolio dashboard can drilldown to a specific project. Then they can drilldown to desired management aspect whether it is project communication, cost, schedule, risk, procurement, quality among others.

Now even if an organization ignores the benefits of enforcing the best practices of governance, transparency and accountability when it comes to implementing professional project management processes, the benefits from improving the efficiency in capturing, communicating, tracking and real-time reporting the status and performance of those processes could be something worth looking at. It is estimated that almost 60% of the effort of senior project management team is wasted on capturing, reviewing, analyzing and sharing information that is crucial for them to have the insight to make informed decisions. Using an integrated project management information system (PMIS) like PMWeb could drastically reduce this wasted effort and create massive benefits by reviewing, analyzing and learning from this massive BIG DATA that an organization can capture across their portfolio of projects.