Article #235 Using Project Management Information Systems to Embrace Business Continuity Through Remote Work in Capital Projects Delivery

With or without the Corona Virus, Covid-19, pandemic, the good practice of remote work will eventually become a common habit to be embraced across all businesses including the business of capital projects delivery. To achieve this, the many project management processes needed to manage, monitor, evaluate and report the delivery of capital projects need to be digitally transformed. This will enable individuals from the different entities involved in managing the delivery of capital projects, including project owner, design and supervision consultants, project management consultant, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers among others to perform those processes with lesser physical contacts, when it is not needed, to support remote work. This digital transformation will also support the adoption of other best practices such as paperless environment, lean management, collaboration, transparency, accountability, real-time single version of the truth reporting among others.

The digital transformation of everyday project management processes far exceeds what a document management system can provide when it comes to managing the capital project delivery. This digital transformation needs to have a project management information system (PMIS) like PMWeb that enables managing the many processes of communications, cost, procurement, contract, risk, schedule, quality, safety and other functions required for capital projects. In addition, it needs to have a project management information system (PMIS) like PMWeb that has workflows that enables emulating the different actions, and the sequence of those actions, in reviewing, sharing and approving the everyday project management processes including the incorporation of approval authority levels. Further, it needs to have a project management information system (PMIS) like PMWeb that allows creating the reports and dashboards, in any desired format, to enable real-time single version reporting of the different project management processes as well as project, program and projects’ portfolio key performance indicators and progress status.

Web-Enabled PMIS that Adheres to Organization’s Data Security Policy

One of the challenges that faces many organizations that want to have a PMIS is the data security policy requirements that need to comply with. Those organizations will never permit the use of a PMIS where the super administrator rights and privileges are managed by the software vendor rather than their own IT team. This makes the use of SaaS based PMIS applications not acceptable by most project owner organizations in particular public sector entities. Of course, there is also the requirement for having the PMIS database be stored in the same country of the project owner which again makes using SaaS based PMIS applications not possible as most software vendors would usually host their applications at their own home country.

This issue can be resolved by having the PMIS application like PMWeb hosted on premise at either the organization’s own secured data center or any third-party in-country data center that is approved by the organization. The organization can then decide on the extent of data access permissions to be provided to the different entities involved in delivering their capital projects’ portfolio. There are even cases where some organizations who have installed PMWeb, have selected to install PMWeb as an intranet application to enforce their own strict application access policy through their secured network infrastructure.

Of course, having the PMIS data on-premise provides the organization with the other advantages of enabling the integration of PMIS data with third party applications such Oracle EBS, SAP, MS Dynamics among others as well as third party business intelligence and data visualization applications like MS Power BI, Tableau, Qlik among others.

PMIS that Enables Managing all Needed Project Management Processes

PMWeb is specifically designed for managing capital projects delivery. It comes ready with most of the forms needed to manage the communication, cost, procurement, contract, risk, schedule, safety, quality and other processes. Those include RFI, Meeting Minutes, Safety Incident, Budget, Budget Adjustment, Committed Contracts, Proposed Change Orders, Change Orders, Progress Invoices, Risk Register, Timesheets, Online Bid, Bid Analysis among many others.

In addition, PMWeb custom form builder allows creating the forms for all other processes that could be specific for each organization such as work inspection requests, project charter, non-compliance reports, permits, audit checklists among many others. Those custom forms can be designed in the desired format as well as language including non-Latin languages like Arabic.

PMIS that Enables Uploading, Storing, Sharing and Archiving Project Documents

All capital projects require maintaining hard copies of all formal communications and contract documents to fulfil the contractual requirements of the executed contracts as well as to comply with the country laws should the project be subject to litigation. Most of those documents will be formally turned over to the project owner when the project is closed out. PMWeb Document Management Repository allows mapping the exact project filing structure to enable uploading soft copies’ versions of the same hard copies’ version physically stored in the project’s filing cabinets. Access rights to those folders will be restricted as per the project’s policy. In addition, automated notifications of newly uploaded and downloaded documents among others can be subscribed to. PMWeb document management repository allows creating attributes that are specific for each folder as well as it allows document version control.

PMIS that Enables Submitting, Reviewing and Approving Project Management Processes and Documents

PMWeb allows having a unique workflow process for every project management process including document management. The workflow uniqueness is a result of the fact that different project individuals could be involved in process review and approval steps, the sequence could differ, the time allotted for each workflow step could differ, the decisions for returning and rejecting workflow could differ and the authorities approval levels could differ depending on the values of each project management process. The workflows can be project or program specific or could be common to all projects managed by the organization.

PMIS that Enables Real-Time Single Version of the Truth Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting of Project Management Processes as well as Projects, Programs and Projects’ Portfolio Status and Performance

The information captured and gathered across the complete project’s life cycle phases for each project that the organization is executing, planning to execute or completed, will become available to be analyzed to predict and constructively influence the time, cost and other important objectives of the project. This information will also provide the project team and stakeholders with real-time single version of the truth of projects’ performance status that can be reported on in the desired form and format. The dynamic dashboards will be automatically updated with real-time data to provide a single version of the truth on the projects’ portfolio performance. The user can drilldown to the data source to investigate the reported information when needed.

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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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