One of the common requirements on all capital construction projects is that most project related communications, require attaching different types of documents and records that the communication is referring to. Those could include shop drawings, as built drawings, pictures, videos, specifications, insurance documents, shipping documents, no objection certificates, permits, warranties, method statements, material and equipment catalogues, records of other project management business processes, email communications among others. For projects where project communications are still not digitalized, there is always the requirement to make and share copies of those attachments to all those individuals that the communication was issued to.
Nevertheless, with the growing demand for adopting paperless strategy, this practice of attaching hard-copy documents to project communications becomes completely unacceptable. Further, the massive volume of documents generated by this practice is an example of the many non-environment friendly practices that must be stopped.
On the other hand, if a project is using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) solution like PMWeb to manage and communicate project information, then there is a more effective and waste-free process that can be implemented. For each business process managed in PMWeb, there is a tab called Attachments. The attachments tab provides the issuer of the transaction with different options to attach the needed supportive documents and records. Those attached documents and linked records will automatically become available to all those PMWeb users who are involved in the review and approve workflow tasks assigned to each business process.
The first option for attaching documents is to upload and attach documents that could be located on any device the that user has access to. PMWeb allows uploading documents in bulk or one at a time. Although PMWeb allows attaching documents that has a file size of up to 1.9 GB per file, nevertheless, a recommended practice is to limit each file size to 250 MB or 150 MB which continues to be large compared to most other type of communications platforms. In addition, PMWeb allows defining the type of files that can be uploaded to PMWeb which usually will not allow executable files for data security requirements.
The second option is to attach documents that had been previously uploaded and stored on PMWeb document management repository. The user needs to select the folder or subfolder where the document was stored at and attach it to the transaction.
The third option is to link records or transactions from the different business processes that are already being managed in PMWeb. The user can simply select one or many records from each business process to link to the current business process transaction.
Another available option is to link email communications that we were imported to PMWeb. This requires setting the email mail server in PMWeb so it can import those emails as well as includes the creation of an email address to each project. This project email address will be used in the Carbon Copy (CC) field of each project email to ensure that a copy of this email along with its attachments will be imported to PMWeb and stored in the Email Inbox module.
Should there be a requirement to link a document that is on the website of another entity or just simply to make a link to another entity website, then there is option available to create the link to the website by providing the URL address for that website.
The last option is to link documents that are stored on third party document management system like for example MS SharePoint. This requires adding the URL address of those documents that need to be linked to PMWeb business process transaction. For this option to be active, PMWeb document integration module needs to be used and proper setup is created. There is also the option for creating customized integration for other document management systems solutions provider.
All those attached documents and records will be available on the attachment of the PMWeb business process transaction. Additional data fields can be added to each one of those attached or linked records to enable filtering and reporting on those attachments. It is also highly recommended to add comments to each attached document to provide better understanding of what was the document for.
If there is a requirement to include the list of those attached documents and linked records and emails when there this a need to formally communicate a transaction, then the output form of the business process can be designed to include this list of attached documents and linked records. The attachment table which will be part of the form can be designed to display the required information for each attached document or linked record, email or website.
Further, if there was a requirement to email those attachments to other PMWeb and even non-PMWeb users, then this can be done using PMWeb notification option. Through this function which is available for all PMWeb business processes, an email can be created for which the user can select what attachments to be emailed. The log of all those sent emails will be recorded on the notification tab.
About the Author
Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 200 projects with a total value in excess of US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality and shopping malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.
Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 500 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).
Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.