Article #384 Is the “Rubbish In – Rubbish Out” Terminology Continue to be Common on Your Capital Construction Project?

Manipulated information is the Rubbish In. Miss information can lead Senior management to make the wrong decision. This is the Rubbish Out.

Recently I have ready a nice article by Matthew Klinefelter titled “Rubbish In = Rubbish Out” where the above very true definition of Rubbish In-Rubbish Out was extracted from (

We have to admit that the construction industry in general and in the Middle East in particular still suffer from the outdated and ineffective practices in capturing the data from the hundred plus processes that are needed to manage a capital construction industry. MS Excel is a great tool that almost everyone has and knows how to use, at least when it comes to basic functions and features. Nevertheless, MS Excel cannot be the tool to manage business delivery specially when it is a high-risk business like the construction business. Actually, when you have a construction project to deliver, there are more chances to fail than succeed. Completing a project on time, within budget at the specified quality standard is considered by many as Mission Impossible.

Although the alternative to using MS Excel in managing the delivery of a capital construction project is readily available. Nevertheless, some are not willing to change even when they know that lacking trust-worthy real-time information will hinder them from having the insight to make better and faster informed decisions. Usually the excuse given is that “We are not ready to invest now” missing the that the high-cost associated with the threats of misinformed decisions and the opportunities lost from having informed decisions.

The solution is common to any other type of solution adopted on other industries and businesses. Each one of those solutions is built on the premise is that there are specific processes that are needed to manage a business. Each process would require an input form that the authorized users will use to capture the needed data as per the predefined fields. Those users might need to attach documents to support what they are recording. Then the completed form will be reviewed by other users so it can be either approved or rejected.

A Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb follows the same concept. PMWeb comes ready with most of the input forms that are common to the construction industry. Those are forms needed to manage communication, quality, health and safety, procurement, cost, contract and other processes. Additional fields can be added to default input forms so it can fulfill the needs of each project and entity involved in delivering the project.

In addition, PMWeb custom form builder allows defining the hundred other processes that could be unique to each construction project. The layout and field of those forms can be fully customized to meet each project requirements. Actually, some of PMWeb clients design those input forms in the exact layout they have in MS Word or MS Excel. This helps in easing the transformation from old tools to PMWeb. There is also the option to use languages other that the English language in creating those forms. Those languages could be Latin or non-Latin like the Arabic language.

For each form, whether was a PMWeb default form or form created using PMWeb custom form builder, the attachment tab will be used to attach the supportive documents, pictures and electronic files of each process. It is highly recommended that all supportive documents to be uploaded and stored on PMWeb document repository. In addition, links to other transactions for the different project management cab be added as well as links to imported MS Outlook emails.

Finally, a workflow will be assigned to each project management process to map the sequence for the review and approval tasks as well as assign the role or project team member to each task and the duration of the task. In addition, conditions can be added to each workflow to incorporate the approval authority levels associated with the workflow.

Similar to any other business solution, for many of the processes managed in PMWeb, there is a need to have an output form that could be similar to what the organization used to have before adopting PMWeb. Using the business intelligence report writer that comes along with PMWeb, the organization can create all of those forms as well as reports in any desired form or format.

Using PMWeb for capturing the project’s data in a trust-worthy and real-time format, the first risk of having “Rubbish-In” data is avoided. Of course, the risk of “Rubbish-Out” will be also eliminated. Decision makers will be able to consume this high-quality, comprehensive and integrated information to have the insight for better and faster informed decisions.

Using business intelligence and data visualization tools like MS Power BI, project stakeholders can query this information to analyze trends, identify correlation, and visualize the information in any desired form and format to support their decision-making process. Those project stakeholders can combine information from different processes, filter information using their own criteria, review past periods information and forecast of future results depending on current information.


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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