Article #518 How to Overcome the Issue of Data Availability Lag Time for Decision Makers on Capital Construction Projects?

One of the key issues that affect the quality, validity and effectiveness of decisions made in any industry including the capital construction industry is the data availability lag time. This is defined as the time difference between when the raw data associated with project events, actions or communications were first became known and the time when this data becomes available in an organized format for decision makers to provide them with the insight to make better and faster informed decisions. Of course, it goes without saying that this shared data should be correct and originating from trust-worthy data sources that can be traced, tracked, verified and audited when there a requirement to do so.

To overcome this challenge there are many requirements that need to be addressed and resolved. The first of those requirements is to shorten the duration between the time when the data is first captured and the time when this data becomes part of a report or dashboard that can be visually communicated to the stakeholders to facilitate the decision-making process. There is also the requirement that the captured data should be accurate, valid and relevant. Since it is very common for capital construction projects to involve many individuals from multiple entities to deliver the project, therefore there is a requirement to enforce accountability for all provided data.

In addition, there is the requirement to ensure that there are no data silos to avoid spending time to extract, transfer load and associate data before they can be queried, prepared and presented to decision makers. There is also the requirement to enable decision makers to review the details of the visually communicated information to better understand data behind what was presented as well as have the option to trace the source of this data. They need to be able to visualize this information anywhere, anytime using any device. Another requirement is to maintain the history of captured data to enable identifying trends as well as comparing past periods performance with current periods performance. Finally, there is the requirement to benchmark current shared data of a project with other projects that are managed by the organization.

Those requirements are similar to almost all industries including the capital construction project industry. Many of those industries were only able to successfully address those requirements when they adopted the right technology platforms to eliminate manual, uncontrolled, redundant, untraceable and loose data capturing. This also helped to eliminate the practice of using MS Excel data silos as the data warehouse and ensure that all information shared with decision makers are directly modeled from within their data source. For capital construction projects, Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) platforms like PMWeb is the solution used to address all of those requirements in an agile and proven format that does not require organizations to reinvent the wheel.

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Having all business processes required to manage the delivery of capital construction projects’ portfolio that an organization could have on PMWeb 100% web-enabled platform will immediately address all of the listed requirements. For example, using PMWeb to provide the input templates needed for all business processes means that the captured real-time data will become immediately available to be reported on and thus data availability lag time is eliminated.

In addition, having input templates with predefined data field types for which some could also have predefined list of values to select from addresses the requirement of having accurate, valid and relevant data. Examples of those input templates are the templates that comes readily available in PMWeb. Those include Request for Information (RFI), Safety Incidents, Transmittals, Meeting Meetings, Punch Lists, Daily Reports, Change Orders, Interim Payment Certificates among others.

For the many other business processes templates that are not readily available in PMWeb, PMWeb custom form builder will be used to create those templates in any desired form, format or even language. Examples of those custom-built templates include Non-Conformance Reports (NCR), Confirmation of Verbal Instructions (CVI), Site Work Instruction (SWI), Work Inspection Required (WIR), Material Inspection Report (MIR), Permits to Work, Gate Passes, Safety Violations list a few.

Whether PMWeb default input templates or PMWeb custom form-built templates were used to capture the data from the managed business processes, PMWeb allows attaching all supportive documents that are relevant to each created transaction. PMWeb allows attaching all types of documents that are needed or associated with each type of project management business process. It is also highly recommended to add comments to each attached document to provide better understanding of what was the document for. The attachment tab also allows the user to link other records for business processes that are implemented in PMWeb as well as associate URL hyperlinks with websites or documents that are not stored in PMWeb document management repository.

For the requirement for enforcing accountability in the captured data, PMWeb workflow option will be used to add a workflow to formalize the review and approval tasks of each business process. The workflow will map the sequence of the review and approval tasks along with the role or user assigned to the task, duration allotted for the tasks, rules for returning or resubmitting a document and available for each task. In addition, the workflow could be designed to include conditions to enable automatic distribution of the uploaded document depending on the document category or type values defined when the documents were uploaded.

For each business process transaction, the workflow tab of the relevant input template will capture the planned review and approve workflow tasks for each transaction as well as the actual history of those review and approval tasks. PMWeb will capture the actual action data and time, done by who, action taken, comments made and whether team input was requested.

PMWeb business intelligence and reporting tool will be used to create the reports and dashboards to facilitate the communication of the captured in tabular and visual charts. Those reports and dashboards can be designed in any desired form and format that decision makers want to visualize and analyze the information. There is no limit on the type and number of reports and dashboards that can be created. Being a 100% web-enabled zero-foot-print platform, decisions makers can access those reports anywhere, anytime using any device.

Since all of those reports and dashboards are based on the data captured and stored in PMWeb, the decision maker can drilldown to have more details on any of the reported measures or indicators. This address the requirement for enabling decision makers to review the details of the visually communicated information to better understand data behind what was presented as well as have the option to trace the source of this data.

PMWeb also allows creating tabular and visual reports to display the captured data during the project duration. Those Line Curves, Histograms and Area Charts will be used to address the requirement for maintaining the history of captured data to enable identifying trends as well as comparing past periods performance with current periods performance.

PMWeb is a PMIS platform that allows organizations to manage their portfolio of projects and programs. This will address the requirement to benchmark current shared data with other capital construction projects that are managed by the organization. Those projects’ portfolio reports and dashboards will usually include selection filters to limit the projects being reported. In addition, they will usually include maps to visualize the location of projects being managed 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 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 500 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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