Article #134 Reversing the 80-20 rule in Monitoring, Evaluating, and Reporting Capital Projects’ Status and Performance

It is a must requirement for every capital project regardless of its size, type, or location to have a periodical progress report to monitor, evaluate and report the project’s status and performance. The progress report usually has the format of a dashboard which will include a summary of the project’s schedule, cost, quality, safety, risk, issues, procurement, progress narrative, progress photos, and other areas needed to provide insight into how project is performing. For many organizations, the sources of data used to create those reports are still manually captured and shared using MS Excel spreadsheets.

Although there are no real studies on the time spent by project control team members in capturing, cleaning, organizing, associating, blending, preparing, and aggregating the many spreadsheets used to capture the data from the hundred-plus project management processes, nevertheless it is assumed that it consumes as much as 80% of the effort needed to prepare those performance progress reports while the remaining 20% will be to assess, analyze, visualize, respond, share and present the outcomes of the captured data.

Using project management information systems (PMIS) like PMWeb, organizations can easily reverse this wasted effort and spend 80% of their effort on predicting the impact of what has happened on the project’s future objectives and taking action to respond to those threats. A PMIS will enable the automation of the different project management processes needed to promote the best practices of lean construction management, trust-worthy data capturing, collaboration, transparency, and accountability. This will provide the organization stakeholders with the data source needed for a real-time single version of the truth performance status and pending issues on their complete projects’ portfolio thus providing the information needed to have the knowledge and the insight to make better and faster-informed decisions.

To show how PMWeb can reverse the wasted effort in preparing the data for the project’s performance dashboard, the reported safety performance measures which are part of the project’s performance dashboard will be used as an example. Today, one would rarely find a construction project performance dashboard whether it is prepared for the project owner, project management consultant, engineering supervision consultant, or contractor that will not include the safety measures of Lost Time Injury (LTI), Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and the total manhours worked on-site which is needed to calculate those measures.

Similarly, you would never find a construction site that does not require having the contractors submit their daily reports or report safety incidents when they occur. PMWeb Daily Report and Safety Incident default modules will be used to provide the auditable real-time data needed to calculate those four measures. The PMWeb daily report will be used by each foreman or site engineer to capture the details of the weather condition, completed quantities of works by location, and the details of the man-hours as well as equipment hours spent in performing the works that he or she is responsible for along with the relevant project schedule activities that those resources were spent against. This will also include attaching progress photos and other supportive documents when needed.

At the end of each day, the data captured in those daily reports submitted by each foreman or site engineer will be aggregated and presented in the consolidated daily report output form that will be formally submitted to the project owner. The daily report output will be designed in the desired layout and format as required by the project management plan. The daily report will be the only data source used to calculate the total actual man-hours spent on site for the reporting period as well as for the total project duration. Daily reports will not replace time attendance systems that the contractor will usually deploy on the construction site.

Similarly, the safety incident module will be used by the safety officer to record the details of all safety incidents that could happen on the project. The form has fields to capture the details of the date, time, and location of the incident, work activity in progress at the time of the incident, description of the incident, people involved in the incident, causes, and witnesses among many others.

The safety incident form will be the basis for calculating the Lost Time Injury (LTI) which along with the total manhours calculated from the daily report module will be used to calculate the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) and Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR).

  • LTIFR = (Number of LTI in the reporting period x 1,000,000) / (Total hours worked in the reporting period)
  • TRIR = (Number of LTI x 200,000) / (Total number of hours worked in a year)

What is important in having those safety-related metrics calculated automatically from those two PMWeb forms is that the organization can now automatically have the safety performance trends for each project as well as benchmark the safety performance of each project with the reported safety performance of other current projects, past projects or targets set by the organization.

The amount of effort saved by reversing the wasted effort in capturing, cleaning, organizing, associating, blending, preparing, and aggregating the many spreadsheets which are used to capture the data for the project management processes needed for the project performance report is massive. Nevertheless, the benefits to the organization are not limited to the eliminated wasted effort but also extend to ensuring that the organization has trustworthy real-time data that is auditable and traceable across its complete projects’ portfolio. The benefits will further include improved transparency, accountability, and insight for better and faster-informed decisions. Benefits that would eventually lead to improved project governance and lean construction management.

About the Authorfounder

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, 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), an Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE), and a Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Master’s in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – from Kuwait University, Kuwait, and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


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