Article #290 Why Covid-19 Pandemic Could Help in Achieving the Very Much Needed Strategic Objective of Spending Rationalization in the Public Sector?

No one can deny that the Work-From-Home (WFH) practice that emerged as one of the requirements to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is here to stay and will become a standard business operation practice in the public and private sector. For example, in many countries, mothers with kids are now given the option to work from home for extended periods. Other entities, will have 30% of their staff if not more to permanently work from home. In addition, the Social Distancing practice would mean that many of the processes that used to require physical presence will now become online. This will drastically reduce the number of visitors to those public sector entities including the need for car parks for both, organization’s employees and visitors. Of course, those practices and their impact will also be applicable for private sector entities who have similar scenarios.

Those measures will bring opportunities to improve the spending realization which is one of key strategic objectives for public sector entities. In general, the two common spending streams in the public sector are employees’ salaries including their professional development and welfare programs and the cost of leasing or owning buildings and facilities. The opportunities addressed in this article are limited to the opportunities associated with the reduction of leased government and public sector buildings and evacuating buildings and facilities that are not needed anymore. Those opportunities will result in reduction in paid rent, reduction in utilities spending, reduction in maintenance and operations cost, reduction in facilities insurance cost, reduction of safety and security expenses among other spending types that government and public sector entities are incurring today.

To start with, each government and public sector entities need to capture the details of their current inventory of buildings and facilities that are in operation today. This requires identifying all locations which could be spread across the country, the buildings within each location, the floors within each building and the spaces which are mainly the offices, meeting rooms and work areas. In addition, there is a need to capture the details of employees that are present at those offices and work areas. For each employee, the date for moving out from the office or work area needs also to be provided. Further for buildings, floors and spaces that are leased, the detail of the current lease agreements needs to be captured. Those will include the fee and expiry date of all current lease agreements.

This information current inventory of buildings and facilities will provide the insight for the government entity to come with better informed decisions on what buildings and spaces that need to be evacuated and when. This will also help in determining the needed actions to terminate or not renew the current lease agreements.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) that has the asset management functionalities like PMWeb, capital project owners as well as entities who invest in capital projects can have a single web-enabled platform to manage, monitor, evaluate and report on all of their locations, buildings and spaces used by their employees. In addition, PMWeb lease module will enable capturing the details of all lease agreements that are currently in place. In addition, PMWeb companies’ module will be used to capture the details of all employees for each public sector entity who are using the current building facilities.

PMWeb asset location module will be used to identify the details of all current locations that are in use by each public sector entity. For each location, details such as type, spatial latitude, longitude and elevation values among many others will be captured. For each location, PMWeb allows to capture the details of all buildings, floors within each building and spaces (offices, work areas, meeting rooms, information technology data centers, lobby, shop, kitchen, storage areas, etc.) at each floor level.

In addition, the specification or user defined option in PMWeb allows the entity to create all additional fields that could be needed for the assessment of the existing assets. Those user defined fields can be configured to capture text, currency, numbers, dates, Boolean and data from predefined list of values.

Similar to all other PMWeb project management processes, pictures, drawings, videos and other documents that are associated with each location, building, floor level and space can be uploaded and attached directly to those records or uploaded and stored in PMWeb document management repository and then attached to their relevant records. In addition, links to relevant PMWeb records and imported MS Outlook emails can be added to each process transaction.

In addition, the details of all employees for each department that are located at each space need also to be captured. This is needed to enable identifying the planned as well as the actual move out dates. PMWeb companies’ module will be used to capture the details of those employees. For each employee, the employee name, contact details, position among others will be captured. PMWeb allows adding to ten additional user defined fields to provide better details on each employee, if needed. Those could be for gender, nationality, whether she/he can work from home among others.

Similarly, for all moveable equipment assets that can be used at other locations for the public sector entity or needs to be moved to a central inventory location, can be also managed in PMWeb. PMWeb will be used to capture the details of all equipment, furniture and other types of assets that are not permanent components of the building structure. Those could include for example copiers, printers, AC units, generators, computers, office furniture among many others. Those equipment assets could be located for a specific building, floor or space location.

PMWeb Move Plan module allows defining the relocation plans for all those occupants and equipment assets from their current location to the new location. For each move plan, the name of the plan, scheduled date, actual date, reason for the move, move type and estimated cost of the move will be added.

For equipment assets, this can be achieved by either selecting the equipment to be moved by simply dragging the dropping the asset from current location, building, floor or space to the new location, building, floor or space. For employees, the option companies will be selected where there will be the option to select the company which is the public sector entity, the department for which the list of employees working at the selected department will be displayed. Those employees that will be moved out will be selected and their new location to be selected. It is recommended to have a location called “Work from Home” be created so those employees who will be subject for this option will be easily identified.

The next step is to capture the details of all lease agreements that the public sector entity has with landlords and other real estate investment entities. The leases will be assigned to each identified location with the option to identify which building, floor and space assets covered or linked to the lease agreement. There could be more than a single lease agreement per location and for that purpose, the details of which assets covered in the agreement needs to be identified.

Similar to all other PMWeb project management processes, actual lease agreements, pictures, drawings and other documents that are associated with the lease agreements at each location will be uploaded and attached directly to those records or uploaded and stored in PMWeb document management repository and then attached to their relevant records. In addition, links to relevant PMWeb records and imported MS Outlook emails can be added to each process transaction.

The granular and trust-worthy data captured for all assets currently in use by each public sector entity including details of all employees currently located at those facilities and who might be subject to relocation to comply with work from home, the details of all non-permanent equipment assets and the lease agreements at all locations, will enable decision makers at those entities as well as the government as an overall to have the insight to make objective, better and faster spending rationalization decisions. The data captured in PMWeb, will enable those decision makers to can consume this information to provide the needed analysis, justification and quantification for their decision-making process. They can use this information to run different scenarios of all possible spending rationalization options.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 200 projects with a total value in excess of US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality 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 40 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 300 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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