‘Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion’, W. Edwards Deming
The capacity to collect, process and draw relevant conclusions from different sources data is vital for project managers to have the insight for making better and faster informed decisions on capital construction projects. Whether those decisions are complex or simple, good decision making requires good data and good data analysis. Unlike other type of projects which tend to be internal to the same organization, decisions on capital construction projects usually involve multiple entities who have a role in delivering a project. Those decisions are not mere opinions. Project managers will be held accountable for decisions they make. Decisions need to respect the entitlements and obligations of contract agreements between those entities. Otherwise, they could result with claims and disputes for additional time and cost as well as criminal accusations for frauds and corruptions.
To enable data collection and analysis, capital construction projects should deploy a platform to manage all types of communications generated from the hundred plus processes needed to manage the delivery of those projects. A platform that can capture the data as well as the documents that are generated from the thousands of formal communications between all entities involved in delivering a capital construction project. In addition, all oral or verbal communications should be formally documented as soon as they occur. The platform should be 100% web-enabled to allow communications between individuals who are not co-located at the same place. Nevertheless, being web-enabled should not violate compliance with data security requirements that projects should adhere to. This requires having the option of self-hosting the platform if this is a requirement.
Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) that can comply with all those requirements like PMWeb will become the platform that entities delivering a capital construction project will use for all types of communications. Those include communications for site work, procurement, commercial, quality, health and safety, testing and commissiong, risk and issues among others. PMWeb comes ready with the input templates needed to capture the data for most of the processes required to manage capital construction projects. In addition, PMWeb form builder allows creating the input forms for all other processes also needed to manage the delivery of those projects including the form for “Confirmation of Verbal Instruction” or CVI. To ensure that CVIs are captured as soon as they occur, it is highly recommended to design the input form to be accessed from a smart mobile device.
In addition, all project communications that make reference to documents such as drawings, specifications, contract agreements among others or pictures or videos, those documents need to be attached to the communication. In addition, if a project communication is associated with another project communication including email communications, those also need to be linked to the communication. PMWeb allows uploading and storing those documents as well as directly upload documents and attach to the project communication. The same applies for linking other PMWeb communications as well as imported MS Outlook emails.
Although many of the project management processes that need to be executed during the project delivery might not involve the project manager when it comes to reviewing and approving those processes, nevertheless, the project manager might need to be made aware of those tasks. PMWeb workflow is used to define the workflow tasks for each project management process for which it will detail the responsibilities for performing those tasks, duration allotted to perform each task, available actions to be taken, to which task a process should be returned to if there is a need to resubmit, sequence for performing those tasks and all conditions required for enforcing approval authority levels which are usually detailed in the project management plan. The project manager might select the option to be carbon copied (CC) on any of the workflow tasks so he or she can receive an email notification when the workflow task is due for action.
In addition, project managers might elect to receive reports of the different project management processes to present the needed information from the captured data. Reports can include visuals to analyze the data captured in those processes to provide the project manager with the insight to make faster and better-informed decisions.
For decisions that require data captured from different but related project management processes, reports can be also created to present this information. Those reports will usually include scorecards and visuals that combine the data from the different processes to provide the insight to make faster and better-informed decisions. For example, a report can be created to provide information on project’s financial status for which it would need data from budget, adjustments and transfers, awarded contracts, approved and pending change orders, progress invoices, etc.
About the Author
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 400 projects with a total value in excess of US$ 400 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 400 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 400 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He was 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.