Organizations that have projects spread across different geographical locations within the same country or even across multiple countries and continents have the interest to report their projects’ performance using a map to easily visualize the location of a project or portfolio or projects. This actually more of a need for executives and other stakeholders who are not deeply involved in the management of the project. Therefore, they are not interested to have the need to access the organization’s project management information system (PMIS) to get this information. Nevertheless, they are keen to have the trust-worthy performance information that the PMIS is used to enforce.
PMWeb PMIS is one of those applications that is widely used by projects centric organizations to manage their projects portfolio from inception to operation including the phases of planning, design, tender, construction and handover. PMWeb allows those organizations to manage the complete project management processes including but limited to scope, schedule, cost, quality, safety, human resources, communications, risks and issues, contracts procurement and administration, claims, environment, sustainability, benefits realization among others.
Building the Projects Inventory
PMWeb allows the organization to capture all of their projects regardless if they were being executed, planned, completed, cancelled or on-hold. For each project, PMWeb allows the organization all needed details to better describe the project along with the latitude and longitude values needed by GIS solutions for map reporting. In addition, it allows attaching all documents that could be related to the project.
Capturing and Reporting Project Progress Details
Although PMWeb allows capturing all processes needed to manage a project, nevertheless, we will assume that the organization is mainly interested in the monthly progress report that will be provided by the project manager. The progress report is designed using PMWeb custom form builder to capture the progress details that matter to the organization. The form will have the fields and pre-defined list of values that all project managers must use regardless which project being reported. This will not only ensure transparency but enforces standardization in performance reporting.
The importance of capturing progress report data and any other project management data using a PMIS like PMWeb is that will help the organization not only in maintaining the historical data of past performance across their complete projects portfolio but enforcing governance in capturing and reporting this performance data. The monthly progress form along with all supporting attachment will be submitted through a pre-defined work to be reviewed and approved thus enforcing governance, transparency, accountability and have real-time trust worthy data to report on.
The data captured in the on-line progress report will become the basis for producing the progress report which can be designed in any desired format including the display of progress photos which were captured, uploaded and stored on PMWeb document management repository and then attached to the progress report. The progress report could also be linked to other documents in PMWeb. The report can be saved as PDF or printed.
Those progress reports can be designed to become linked to PMWeb enterprise dashboard where it shows a Google Map with projects displayed on the map. When the organization selects a project from the scorecard which part of the enterprise dashboard, the project dashboard will appear as the drilldown is a standard function in PMWeb.
Map Centric Projects Performance Reporting Dashboard
Nevertheless, what the organization wants is a map centric projects dashboard solution that can be accessed directly without the need to login to the PMWeb PMIS. This can be achieved by using Business Intelligence and Data Visualization solution like MS Power BI. Those applications allow extracting, transferring and loading data from multiple applications including MS SQL Database which what PMWeb uses. Those applications could be from ERP applications like MS Dynamics, Oracle EBS, SAP as well as other applications.
If the data from the different data tables and applications share common field names like for example Project ID, WBS level among others, those application will automatically associate those multiple data tables to each other. Thus, eliminate the needed effort that usually the organization has to invest in to integrate those multiple data sources.
Now the data for developing the desired map centric dashboard layout becomes available. For example, MS Power BI comes readily available with the ESRI map. Using the latitude and longitude values for each project along with other projects progress and performance data from the other extracted databases, the organization can design interactive maps showing the needed projects performance details. Filters can be added to the dashboard to enable the organization to select the data to be displayed. Of course, the organization can create more than a single map dashboard to enable them to display additional projects’ performance data.
Tool tips can be designed to reflect the data needed for each project. In addition, hyperlinks can be added to allow the dashboard viewer to display the progress report which was created in PMWeb as shown above. Again, usually it will be a PDF version. Having said so, a hyperlink can be also created to allow those users with valid PMWeb access to open the project directly in PMWeb and view additional details.
The presentation of the extracted data is not limited to maps but can also include the other types of data visualization like bar charts, histograms, curves, pie charts, donuts among many others. Applicatins like MS Power BI also have third party solution providers that design additional types of data visualizations and analysis that MS Power does not have. The layout and format of those data visualizations can be designed by the organization to provide the needed insight to better understand how the organizations portfolio of projects is performing.
MS Power BI and other data visualization applications allows creating public websites for the developed reports as well as design dashboards that can be best viewed on regular computer screens or mobile devices.