A massive volume of knowledge gets wasted every day in managing projects and in particular engineering and construction projects. Part of this waste is the knowledge associated with the review and approval actions made by project owners and their authorized representatives. These include the review and approval of design deliverables, technical submittals, site inspections, progress invoices, change orders, project schedule, cost estimate, budget, and safety audit among many others. For organizations who are seeking sustainable growth and to become their market leaders, this waste of valuable knowledge should be stopped.
Checklists are an excellent tool to end this costly waste by enabling the dissemination of the review and approval of knowledge into accountable actions. Checklists can be designed and used to capture the detailed list of items that need to be reviewed for approving each process. This will ensure that none of the items needed in reviewing and approving a process are inadvertently forgotten or otherwise overlooked.
Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb are used to create checklists for every possible review and approval process. Those could include thousands of checklists that will create a priceless organizational asset that will not only insure that the organization’s project delivery knowledge will become available to be used across all projects but will also enforce the best practices of knowledge transfer, standardization, continuous improvement, decisions quality, timely approvals, accountability, and transparency. In addition, it will create the big data content that is needed to take advantage of the latest technology trends in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
To build the organization’s repository of checklists, PMWeb modules for custom form builder, document management, and workflow will be used. The custom form module will be used to create all checklists, the document management repository will be used to store and attach all supportive documents and records to a checklist, and the workflow to automate the submission, review, and approval of those checklists. Access to checklists as well as the different tables within a checklist will be aligned with the access rights and workflow steps defined for the different project team members’ roles. The data captured in those checklists will become available to be reported in any desired form or format using PMWeb Business Intelligence (BI) reporting tools.
PMWeb Custom Form Builder
The key feature of the PMWeb custom form builder is the ability to create many tables within each form. This is a very important function as all checklists are based on tables where they will include a column to identify the item to be reviewed, possible actions of the review, and a comments field to provide additional information. Of course, additional columns can be provided. For the list of items to be reviewed, PMWeb provides the option to lock those values so the list will be always available. In addition, for the possible review actions, a predefined list of values will be created to standardize the response.
For example, the checklist for reviewing the project schedule submission has 13 tables covering topics that relate to contract compliance, general, submittals and procurement, activity durations, float, calendars, activity codes, logic, critical path, third party or owner work, completion activities, good practice schedule, and Oracle Primavera P6 considerations. For each one of those tables, there will be several topics that need to be checked and verified. All topics will be added to the checklist table and locked so they become readily available for the scheduled review checklist.
With the option of adding multiple tables to the checklist, it is recommended to have each table or group of tables specific to the project team member responsible for completing the checklist. This will enable PMWeb to set the permissions to edit or view each specific table by team member role.
Of course, the header of the checklist is also customizable and additional fields can be added to better explain the checklist. For example, in addition, to the project name, record ID, date, status, and revision, PMWeb allows adding the WBS level associated with a checklist, project schedule activity impacted or related to the checklist, and contract number linked to the checklist among others.
The customs form will now be ready to be used by the designated project team members. Since PMWeb is a zero-foot-print application and has responsive screens, this means the custom form layout will automatically adjust to the device screen where it is being accessed from. This feature is very important for site inspection checklists and other types of checklists that need to be reviewed at the construction site and where PMWeb needs to be accessed using a smart mobile device.
PMWeb Document Management Repository
Using PMWeb Document Management Repository, folders can be created for each checklist type. The folder will be used to upload all supportive documents that were used in reviewing and approving the checklist. Those could include a PDF version of the project schedule, and pictures from the inspected work on site among others. Those documents will become available for the team involved in the checklist review and approval process to attach those documents to the checklist. PMWeb also allows linking relevant records and emails to the checklist.
Using PMWeb visual workflow, the workflow steps for each checklist will be created. Those workflow steps will be aligned with the PMWeb custom form tables and will include the allotted duration to complete each review step and the actions available for the reviewer. The details of the comments made by each reviewer as well as the date where each step has started and completed will be captured. This information can be part of the checklist output form.
For those organizations who are interested in branding their checklists, the PMWeb custom form builder includes the option of an advanced visual designer. Through this option, tables can be manually created to include the needed content in the desired form and format. This will provide the checklist user with what you see is what you get. Unlike the default custom form tables, using the advanced visual designer would require additional effort in creating the checklists.
Accessing the Checklists
Each project team member can configure his/her project center screen to display the PMWeb modules and review checklists that he or she is involved in either submitting, reviewing, or approving. This will enable the project team to create and track the status of all those records and checklists that are specific to her project. The project center layout is customizable and organizations have the option to create their layout.
About the Author
Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value of over US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, and 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 on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 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 250 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 American Association of Cost Engineers (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.