Article #225 Providing Executive Stakeholders with Access to Real-Time Single Version of the Truth Reporting of their Capital Projects’ Cost Performance

One has to admit that for most executive stakeholders, projects’ cost performance tends to have higher interest compared to other projects’ objectives of on-time completion, meeting quality requirements among others. For those senior executives, they are interested to know what is the current project budget, revised value of awarded contracts, projected value of awarded contracts, what has been invoiced and paid for approved work in place.

Those executives could be interested to have those cost reports across the organization’s complete projects’ portfolio regardless where projects are located, projects within a region, projects within a country, projects within a state, emirate, municipality, governate or county as well as the cost performance of a specific project. For those executives, the cost performance for a project should not be a single row displaying the needed information. Only when they reach the single project level, those executives might need to visualize the cost performance information at level one of their cost breakdown structure.

It is also a fact that not all executives are engineers or have the knowledge of experienced project managers, cost managers or other experienced project team members. Therefore, those cost reports should be standardized regardless of the reporting level of detail to ease reading those reports. In addition, they need to be coupled with visuals that helps in understanding what projects those cost performance reports cover or related to.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, executive stakeholders can be assured of a real-time single version of the truth accountable cost reporting. PMWeb comes ready with the budget, budget adjustment, commitments, potential change orders, change orders, progress invoices, actual payment and many other processes needed to capture all cost management processes needed to deliver capital projects. In addition, PMWeb cost worksheet module allows designing the cost reports to be shared with those executives. The information included in the cost worksheet, and all other created cost worksheets, will be automatically updated as the different cost management processes are executed across the organization’s complete projects’ portfolio.

Since each project in PMWeb can be assigned with GIS coordinates and location, using an interactive business intelligence reporting application like MS Power BI allows extracting the captured cost information in PMWeb and associate the projects with interactive maps like those provided by Mapbox visual. The report cost information will be automatically adjusted depending on the regions or countries selected.

For those executives who need to visualize the same cost information at a specific country level or state, emirate, municipality, governate or county within a specific country, the executive can drilldown to the selected country dashboard. The cost information in the cost report will be automatically adjusted to reflect the new selection. The cost data can be further filtered when selecting the state, emirate, municipality, governate or county displayed on the country map.

If the executive has the additional need to have the cost information for each specific project within each state, emirate, municipality, governate or county, the executive can drilldown to a more detailed report that shows the selected projects at their given geographical location. The cost information in the cost report will be automatically adjusted to reflect the new selection.

Those executives could also filter the cost report to display the cost information for projects depending on the phase they are at being design or construction, type of project being commercial, residential and other type of project’s type, contractors, consultants, project sponsors or beneficiaries among others. Those filters will be achieved by adding the selection fields on the report.

For organizations who are involved in delivering programs of projects such as new communities, university campus, medical city, military city, highways, infrastructure, railway, metro and other programs, they might have the need to have cost report that is program specific. The Mapbox visual allows the organization to create a Geojson file that will be generated from ESRI GIS to show the geospatial polygon visualizations of the different projects that are part of a program. Those boundaries will be defined by the latitude and longitude points that define the shape of the property relevant for each project in the program. The defined boundaries will become the objects that will be associated with the project’s cost information.

The last level of detail will be the specific project report. Again, the executive stakeholder can drilldown to the project report for which the cost information displayed in the cost worksheet will be summarized at level one of the cost breakdown structure (CBS). Unlike the other cost reports which were associated with maps, the project cost report will include an IFC BIM model of the project where the cost breakdown structure levels will be associated with the related BIM objects to enable those executives to immediately visualize the building components associated with that cost center. The selected BIM objects will be automatically shaded in “Green” to provide the executive with a visualization of those BIM objects associated with the cost center.

Of course, there could be the option to drilldown to lower cost breakdown structure (CBS) levels nevertheless that could be more than what those executives want to have. The point is that the cost information on cost worksheets are aggregated and consolidated from a single data source for the complete projects’ portfolio managed by the organization. Nevertheless, if this a requirement, then it is recommended to have an additional report where it will display the project’s cost worksheet showing all cost breakdown structure (CBS) levels. The report could also include visuals to summarize and report on the detailed project’s cost information. It should be noted that regardless or the report being selected or filters applied within a report, the cost worksheet which is capturing the cost information will be totaled to provide the summary values for the filtered projects.

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 in excess of 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 in 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.


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