Almost each one of us will need during his or her as a project management team member to make decisions, of various importance, that could impact the project objectives. Also, almost all of us would agree that lacking the access to trust worthy real-time data will limit our ability to have the insight to make better and faster informed decisions. In a nutshell, if we are given nonsense data, or garbage data, then most likely we will make many nonsense decisions, or garbage decisions.
Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb will help project team members in eliminating this Garbage In, Garbage Out syndrome by implementing common sense practices to the current practices that created this syndrome. Practices that address the following four important points: Capturing data, sharing and distributing data, and storing and accessing data.
Capturing Everyday Projects Data
PMIS solutions like PMWeb comes ready with pre-defined input forms that are specific for capturing projects’ everyday data. Those could include meeting minutes, request for information, daily reports, submittals, transmittals, snag lists among others. Those forms include the different fields needed to for each type of project communication as well as fields that are common to all such as WBS, Activity ID among others. Some of the common fields come ready with dropdown lists of pre-defined values to ensure consistency in captured data. In addition, additional user defined fields can be added to the default forms to make them more specific to each organization’s best practices and requirements.
Those default forms are not limited to everyday project communications but also include cost forms like budget, budget adjustments, commitments, potential change orders, change orders, progress invoices, funding requests, funding authorizations, cost estimates, online bids, bid analysis, timesheets among others. Similarly, additional user defined fields can be added to the default forms to make them more specific to each organization’s best practices and requirements.
Knowing that no PMIS solution can meet or fulfill all types of project communications, solutions like PMWeb provides a form builder that will enable the project team to create additional new forms. Those could include risk identification, issue management, non-compliance reports, request for inspections among many others. Those forms can be designed in any form or layout as well as they can be in any language, Latin or non-Latin.
Since it is very common for project communications to have supportive documents attached to it, PMWeb allows the project team members to upload project documents into a specific folder or sub-folder in the document management repository. Those could drawings, pictures, videos, brochures, catalogues, certificates among others.
Similarly, a project communication could be lined to another project communication including email communications. PMWeb allows importing project’s emails into the email inbox repository. Those emails and similar to all other project communications created within PMWeb can be linked to any other PMWeb project communication.
For all those forms, whether available by default or created by the project team, access rights can be assigned to limit user access to each type of project communication as well as limit access to specific fields within each form. Those are usually set by the system administrator.
Sharing and Distributing Projects Data
PMIS solutions like PMWeb would usually allows the project team members to create workflow to formalize the steps for submitting, reviewing, approving or rejecting the submitted project’s data. PMWeb role-based workflow allows defining the sequence of those steps and whether a step will involve a single role or multiple roles in reviewing the data.
The PMWeb workflow allows creating branches and conditions to enforce the approval authorities’ levels set for each project. Those could include conditions that are based on financial value, for example value of change order, amount of approved progress invoice, budget adjustment amount among others. Those conditions could be specific to an action, for example if the submittal is a material sample or shop drawing, mechanical or electrical, RFI has cost/schedule impact or none, among others.
The created workflow will then become an integral part of the project communication form, where it will show the history of the communication. This will comments made, date reviewed among others. The form will also display a graphical presentation of the workflow and its current status.
For some forms, like Action Forms, the project team member might require what is known as ad-hoc workflow or collaboration. In this case, the different project team members that need to be involved in sharing and distributing the data captured in the form will be invited to the form. Those project team members can then add their comments and input on this specific project communication.
Storing and Accessing Data
The everyday project communications data captured in PMWeb will become available for the authorized project team members to provide the real-time information to give them the insight to make better and faster decisions. Tabular and graphical reports are usually produced in the form and format that the project team members need to enable them to make the needed actions and decisions.
In addition, the growing use of interactive business intelligence and data visualization applications like MS Power BI, Qlik, Tableau, iDashboards among many others is providing project team members is extending the ability of the project team members to make better use of the everyday captured data. Those applications enable the project team members to analyze trends, data growth, correlations and sensitivity of the captured data to run what-if scenarios as well as dice and slice the information in any desired format.
Of course, the everyday data will also become to other project’s executives and stakeholders who are keen to monitor and evaluate the project’s or even a projects’ portfolio performance. The executives and stakeholders might need to drilldown to more performance details on certain aspects of the project when needed. The dashboard could also include hyperlinks to construction cameras that are used to provide real-video streaming of project’s activities or pre-recorded performance videos by drones.
Regardless what business an organization is in, whether it is project related or not, the Garbage In, Garbage Out syndrome will always have a high likelihood to occur when there is no transparent and accountable process to govern the capturing, sharing, storing and accessing everyday data. Technology such as PMWeb Project Management Information System provides a proven solution to capture the right data, in the right format, by the right individual at the right time. Having this real-time trust-worthy data available for the project team members to review and analyze, will for sure provide them with the insight to make better and faster informed decisions.