Whether we accept it or not, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a growing role in supporting the decision-making processes on capital construction projects. ML and AI will help decision-makers to better interpret data to provide them with better insight for making sounder and faster decisions. One of those key decisions that ML and AI will have a positive impact on is selecting the right resources needed to build the A-Team required to deliver a capital construction project.
The Project Manager Competency Development (PMCD) Framework by the Project Management Institute (PMI) guides what knowledge, skills, and competencies that project team members must possess. The PMCD Framework is based on the premise that competencies have a direct effect on project team members’ performance. Those competencies are project management knowledge (what they know about project management), project management performance (what they can do or accomplish while applying their project management knowledge), and personal competency (how individuals behave when performing the project or activity, their attitudes, and core personality traits). Having such a documented standard that can be further detailed to meet each entity’s requirements is crucial for having an ML and AI framework to support the selection of resources that can be members of the Project A-Team.
Video interviewing is an example of how AI can be used today to sense a candidate’s body language, facial expressions, how he/she speak or make eye contact to assess the candidate-project fit. AI is also used to verify education degrees, professional certifications, and provided references.
Nevertheless, having an AI that can help in selecting the project A-Team members requires much more data. One of those possible data sources can be from having comprehensive, transparent, and unbiased interview questionnaires that are designed specifically for each project role. Another data source could be from having detailed periodical performance appraisals for resources that are already being employed on the entity’s managed projects. In addition, other useful data can be also from how the resources deployed on the entity project perform the project’s tasks assigned to them, quality of actions taken by them, attitude toward formal and ad-hoc collaboration, etc.
To enable capturing this additional data, entities need to digitally transform the management of their capital construction projects. Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, interview and appraisal templates can be created. In addition, the automation of business processes, formal and ad-hoc meetings, and performance reporting will be digitized to generate data in a trustworthy format that can be used for ML and AI.
PMWeb visual custom form builder is the tool that will be used to capture all types of data that can help in better selecting the project A-Team members. In addition to the role-based interview questionnaire shown above, PMWeb form builder will be used to create the job description for each role listing needed knowledge, skills, responsibilities, and authorities. In addition, it will be used to create a detailed appraisal template for the project management team. It is highly recommended that those appraisals are done every quarter with the option of capturing the feedback from the project team member for whom the appraisal was done.
All supportive documents for the completed interviews, job descriptions, and performance appraisals need to attach to their relevant templates. Those could include videos of the job interview or appraisal which are becoming very common nowadays, especially with the growing requirements for social distancing. In addition, attachments could include education and professional certifications, practice registration certificates, samples of completed work that relate to each specific role, reference letters, etc.
The growing restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic for having in-person meetings needed for ad-hoc collaboration on construction sites have created the demand to use digital activity boards to bring all those meetings into a web-enabled platform. This has created the opportunity to capture the data exchanged during those discussions which used to go undocumented in the past. PMWeb activity boards allow project team members to create as many as needed activity boards for every type of ad-hoc meeting and invite project team members to report on the tasks assigned to them as well as share comments when needed.
Of course, for formal meetings, the PMWeb meeting minutes module will be used to capture the details of what was discussed in those meetings which are nowadays usually conducted using Zoom, Webex, or MS Meetings. The business items that are part of every meeting held will be assigned to their relevant project team member with the due date. Information that relates to when those assigned actions were completed and quality of made response will be captured in PMWeb thus will become available for ML and AI platforms.
Finally, the automation of the business processes required to manage a capital construction project creates a massive wealth of valuable data that relates to how each project team member have acted on the review and approval tasks assigned to him/her or when they were asked to provide their input on a task that was not assigned to them. The captured data includes the actual time it took each individual to perform the task assigned to him/her compared to what was originally planned and the details of the taken action. This data, when analyzed can provide a better understanding of the review and approval trend for each project team member. This can be further analyzed by the type of business process where the action was taken, the project assigned to, and others.
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 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 500 articles on project management and information systems 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.