Article #454 Using the Kanban Technique and Checklists to Transform the Accumulated Knowledge into Accountable Actions on Capital Construction Projects

Many organizations that are involved in delivering capital construction projects use predefined checklists to share the massive volume of knowledge that they have accumulated over their years of experience. Those organizations understand that knowledge is one of their most valuable organizational assets that makes them unique when compared with others who simply have the habit of wasting knowledge.

Those organizations use checklists to enable transforming the accumulated knowledge into accountable actions to be used by their project team members when needed. Checklists also enable those organizations to enforce the use of best practices of standardization, continuous improvement, decisions quality, timely approvals, accountability, and transparency. In addition, checklists help them in gathering the big data needed to take advantage of the latest technology trends of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb has proved to be the right solution that can be used to share the captured knowledge by creating different types of checklists. There are at least seven types of checklists that could be used on capital construction projects. Each checklist type is intended to fulfill specific requirements of sharing knowledge needed when it comes to managing the project delivery.

The first type of those checklists is the checklists used to ensure that all tasks needed to produce a project deliverable are carried out successfully by the individual assigned to carry out the task. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Checklist is a perfect example. PMWeb module for Kanban Activity Boards is the one best suited for such checklists.

For each checklist, a unique activity board will be created in PMWeb. The board will be populated with the tasks needed for the deliverable. This activity will become the default checklist template that will be used across the organization’s complete portfolio of projects. Each activity board will have five columns or groups to organize the tasks by their status. Those will be tasks “To Do”, tasks “Being Done”, tasks that were “Done”, done tasks but “Reviewed and Approved” and tasks that are “Not Required” to be done on the current project.

Similar to all other checklists and business processes managed in PMWeb, being a 100% web-enabled zero-foot-print solution, PMWeb allows individuals involved in carrying out the tasks needed for each checklist, to access those checklists anytime, anywhere using any device. This is crucial to overcome the constraints forced by the Covid-19 pandemic such as the work-from-home, social distancing, and travel restrictions. In addition, it helps to improve collaboration by eliminating the need for individuals to meet in person while performing those tasks.

The added value of having the Kanban Activity Boards as an integral function of PMWeb is that the checklist tasks assigned to each group or column can be enriched with all of their supportive documents which could include drawings, agreements, pictures, videos among others. Those documents which will be attached to their relevant task can be either located on the user’s personal computer or stored on their relevant PMWeb document management repository folder or sub-folder.

In addition, links to records of the different business processes managed in PMWeb can be added. Further, links to third-party websites that have related information can be also added. Those could be the websites that relate to permitting authorities’ compliance and regulation requirements.

Individuals who are assigned to tasks can further detail their tasks into sub-tasks if needed to better manage the task where they can assign individuals to be responsible for those sub-tasks. A sub-task can be further detailed into sub-tasks should this be needed. Each sub-task has the same functionality as the main task which includes assigning an individual, due date, attaching documents, and linking PMWeb business processes records.

To improve the management and visualization of the checklist tasks, PMWeb allows assigning color flags to each one of those tasks. For example, those color flags could be Purple for tasks that are “Not Assigned” yet to an individual, Light Blue for “No Issues In Performing Tasks”, Orange for “Possible Delays in Completing the Task”, Red for “Serious Issues in Completing the Task”, Dark Blue for “Task Done”, Green for “Reviewed and Approved” and Brown for “Not Required”.

The individual who has initiated the checklist for the “Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)” can select the individuals who he/she wants to invite to take part in carrying out the tasks that need to be performed. PMWeb will be used to create an invitation email that will be sent to those individuals. Those individuals who might be invited must be PMWeb users whose setting allows them to be part of activity boards.

The PMWeb email invitation has a few settings that the Activity Board manager can define when it is sent. These include, for example, Give Users Edit Right, Subscribe Users so they can be Alerted when Activities or Tasks happen on the Activity Board, Send the Email Notification with or without a hyperlink to the Activity Board.

They invited individuals who have been invited to an activity board will be assigned to the tasks and sub-tasks of the checklist, In addition, those individuals will be able to add comments to each task reflecting progress achieved in performing the task and issues encountered. Comments made can be liked by the individuals with the latest comment always appearing on top of the list. The comments added by the individuals are in rich text to allow formatting the text as bold, italic, and underline.

For the other types of checklists needed on a capital construction project, those will be created using PMWeb visual custom builder. For example, the second type of checklists used on capital construction projects is the checklists used to verify that the complete work or work in place was carried out by what has been specified in the project’s contract documents or has been recommended by the equipment vendor. The work inspection requests (WIR), inspection notification requests (INR), static and dynamic equipment inspection checklists are a few examples of those checklists that will be created in PMWeb.

The third type of checklists is the checklists usually used to identify the reason for a reported non-compliance, violation, or issue. Such checklists can help in reducing the conflicting arguments that could occur on a project and thus protect the relationship between the project’s entities. An example of such checklists is the checklists embedded in quality and HSE non-compliance reports (NCR) to identify the reason for non-compliance to enable rectifying it without delays.

The fourth type of checklists is the checklists used to ensure that the project management processes needed to deliver a capital construction project like contract management, baseline integrated project schedule submission, updated project schedule submission, project closeout, and other business processes had been carried out by the set policies and procedures. Those policies and procedures will be usually detailed in the project management plan (PMP) also known as the project execution plan (PEP). Those checklists are sometimes used to audit the performance of selected project management processes.

The fifth type of checklists are those checklists used to verify that actions taken on the project are by the regulations of permitting authorities such as those of civil defense, health, and safety, water and electricity, municipality among others. A very common example of those checklists is the health, safety, and environment (HSE) checklists which are carried out to ensure the project’s compliance with regulations and there are no safety violations. Those could include Fire Prevention Checklists, Tower Crane Inspection Checklists, Hazardous Materials Checklists, and others.

The sixth type of checklists created using PMWeb custom form builder is the checklists used by the project team to prompt them to possible actions that need to undertake to ensure their safety as well as the safety of others on the project. Also, those checklists can be designed to prompt the project team of possible risks that might impact the project. One of the popular examples of those checklists is the Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) Self-Assessment checklist.

Another type of checklists that are available by default in PMWeb is the checklists used to make important “Go/No Go” decisions for selected project management business processes. Examples of those are the checklists used for qualifying vendors, assessing technical proposals of submitted bids, project life cycle stage-gate exit, and others.

Those checklists would usually require a detailed response for each item included in the list. For example, it might require adding value, date, attaching a document, etc. This will enable the project team to score the checklist items based on the given response. In addition, a weight factor will be given to each item in the checklist as what matters most is the total weighted score of the checklist.

Similar to the checklists created using the Kanban Activity Boards, PMWeb allows attaching all supportive documents to each checklist type. Those could include drawings, specifications, invoices, shipping documents, insurance policies, guarantees, factory tests, delivery notes, pictures among others. In addition, links to PMWeb records for all types of business processes managed in PMWeb can be also added.

It is highly recommended that all supportive documents, regardless of their type or source, get uploaded and stored on the PMWeb document management repository. PMWeb allows creating folders and subfolders to match the physical filing structure used to store hard copies of those documents.

Unlike the checklists created using the Kanban Activity Boards which have the purpose to allow individuals to have ad-hoc collaboration to complete the deliverable associated with each checklist, for the other types of checklists detailed above, they usually require having planned collaboration to formalize the submission, review and approval tasks.

Therefore, most of those checklists will have a workflow assigned to them to map the submit, review and approve tasks, roles or roles assigned to each task, task duration, task type, and actions available for the task. In addition, PMWeb allows the setting condition to the workflow tasks to enforce the approval authority levels set by the organization.

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 systems to over 200 projects with a total value over the 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 on 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 Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (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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