Article #216 Using Common Sense to Attain the Great Value of Single Version of the Truth When it Comes to Reporting the Cost Status of Capital Projects Delivery

One of the key requirements for project owners when it comes to delivering capital projects is to have a single version of the truth when it comes to reporting the project cost status. The project cost status will aggregate and consolidate the information captured in the budget, budget requests, awarded commitments, potential change orders, change orders, progress invoices, payments made, miscellaneous invoices, timesheets, income or revenue contracts, contract changes, requisitions and payments received. Performing those processes would usually involve the different entities that the project owner has contracted with.

To ensure that there is a single version of the truth when it comes to reporting the project cost, there will be a need to have a single platform, similar to what PMWeb Project Management Information System (PMIS) offers to capture the information associated with those processes in a real-time format and without any manual intervention. As detailed earlier, PMWeb Project Management Information System provides the transparency needed to report on the project’s cost information as well as enforce the accountability required to ensure that this information is reviewed and approved promptly.

Reporting a real-time single version of the truth project’s cost status would usually be in the format of a spreadsheet where for each cost breakdown structure (CBS) level, the cost data to be reported on will be consolidated. The cost data could be for the original budget, budget requests, revised budget, awarded commitments, change orders, revised commitments. Potential change orders, projected commitments, invoiced to date, paid to date among others. Of course, there could be more than one cost report showing different cost information but all from the same captured cost data.

All those reports will be generated from the PMWeb Cost Worksheet module where the user can access the different cost worksheets that have been made available for the project. The reported cost is grouped by the different cost breakdown structure (CBS) levels as well as filters can be applied to limit the reported cost information to specific financial periods when needed. Of course, there is always the option to drill down to the data source of reported cost information.

Unlike other PMIS applications where usually they would have the restriction to only have a single cost worksheet layout for a project, PMWeb allows the user to have as many cost worksheet layouts as needed. This is a critical requirement to enable the project team to better understand and visualize the captured cost information in the desired format. PMWeb Define Worksheet module allows adding the needed PMWeb cost fields as columns as well as adds alias columns with formulas to calculate their values from other PMWeb cost processes. For each field, the user designing the layout can detail if the field is showing a currency value or a percentage, width of the field, field header, field tooltip, and notes.

What makes the cost worksheet different than regular reports where queries need to be written to extract the needed information from the different project cost management processes, is that all the cost fields that the cost worksheet will report on are automatically captured in the PMWeb Cost Ledger module. Each row in the cost ledger contains a copy of the data from a subset of fields in the original transaction line as well as additional metadata such as the time and date of posting and a hyperlink to the transaction. This will ensure that all reported cost information is captured automatically from its related process to ensure a real-time single version of the truth project cost reporting.

Using business intelligence and data visualization tools like MS Power BI, the organization can further analyze and visualize the cost worksheet information to identify variances and trends as well as provide senior management with an executive view of the project’s cost performance status. In addition, MS Power BI allows associating cost data from other financial systems with the cost worksheet data from PMWeb for extended financial reporting.

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 over the 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 information systems 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.


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