The completion date of a capital project is of great importance to any capital project owner where the revenue and associated benefits of the completed facility will begin to be attained. To ensure that this completion target date is achievable, interim milestone dates are usually established to provide an early warning notification if achieving the target completion date could become at risk. The relevant milestone dates for each outsourced project scope of work, whether it is for the design or construction scope of work, will become part of the related awarded contract agreement. On many projects, the contract agreement will also set a liquidated damage amount for each milestone should it be delayed and the way they will be applied.
The project’s consultants and contractors must incorporate those milestone dates in their detailed project schedule. This will ensure that the consultants and contractors will provide the needed resources, methods, and means to ensure that the set dates for those milestones are achievable. When the project schedule is updated, the consultants and contractors must report on those dates advising the project owner if there are any delays to the milestone dates, the reason for those delays, and the actions that will be taken to recover or mitigate those delays.
To ensure that those milestone dates are managed, monitored, evaluated, and reported in a formal and comprehensive format, it is recommended to use a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb to manage this process. To start with, PMWeb will be used to import the project’s baseline schedule activities and WBS levels. This will ensure that both PMWeb and Oracle Primavera P6 or MS Project are using the same project schedule when it comes to reporting the status of the project’s milestone dates.
PMWeb custom form builder will be used to create the “Milestone Tracking Form” for which there will be a unique record for each milestone date. The form will capture the milestone title, WBS level, phase, relevant project schedule activity, and the total value of the milestone as per the contract’s bill of quantity or schedule of values (sometimes this could be replaced by the weight factor assigned to the milestone), milestone liquidated damage amount among other details that could be needed to manage this process. The form will also include a log for the schedule updates to detail the status of the milestone for each schedule update if there is a delay in completing the milestone date and the reason for this delay. Again, more information can be added to the log if needed.
It should be noted that the project owner has the option to update the milestone progress log on a weekly or monthly basis which will depend on the level of desired control. It could start with a monthly update and then become weekly as the project moves into the construction phase.
The form attachment tab will be used to attach a copy of the updated project schedule and updated milestone schedule report. The form will also have links to other PMWeb records and imported MS Outlook email communications that could be relevant to the milestone date and follow-on updates.
The Milestone Tracker Form can have a workflow to ensure that the monthly updates are formally reviewed and approved. In addition, this will allow assigning different project team members to update and submit the milestone tracking form depending on the assigned scope of work for each project team member. Having a workflow is also necessary if the project owner will be applying the liquidated damages associated with each milestone should there be a delay to the planned milestone date. This will ensure that the milestone tracking form is also reviewed by the commercial team.
The data captured in the Milestone Tracker Form will become the basis for creating the Project Milestone Tracking report to monitor, evaluate and report the status of the project milestone dates. The report will capture the updated history of each milestone date including delays and reasons for those delays. In addition, the report will include a visual for each milestone to display the delays, should any exist, associated with the milestone date. The report will include filters to select the project period or periods to be reviewed as well as the milestone dates to be viewed.
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 control 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.