For executive stakeholders of entities that are involved in delivering linear capital construction projects, they are always keen to have a single-page report that gives them an easy-to-read and understand single version of the truth of how a project is performing. Linear projects include highways, roads, railways, metros, gas, oil, water, wastewater pipelines, services tunnels, culverts, and transmission lines. Usually, those projects include multiple segments or sections for which the activities to be performed at each segment or section are identical. The number of those activities, which depends on each linear project type could vary between 10 to 20 activities.
For example, a pipeline project could consist of twelve sections or segments for which the start and endpoints of each section are defined by their geospatial coordinates of latitude and longitude values. The length of each section will vary and will usually depend on whether there is a need to build a structure like a pump room or others. For a pipeline project, the common activities for each section could include Clear & Grub, Grade, Haul & String, Bend, Weld, Coating, Lower-In, Trench, Tie Ins, Backfill, Machine Cleanup, and Final Cleanup.
Using Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb as the trusted platform to provide a real-time single version of the truth projects performance information coupled with an interactive business intelligence and data visualization tool like MS Power BI this challenge can be easily addressed. With the many types of visuals that can be used in MS Power BI to visualize and analyze the projects’ performance data captured in PMWeb, there will be also a requirement to use a map visual like the one available from “Icon Map”. The reason for selecting this map visually is that allows showing the start and endpoints of each section in a linear project using the geospatial coordinates of latitude and longitude values.
The content of the performance dashboard can be designed to read all progress details from the different business processes managed in PMWeb as well as the project’s schedule data which could be done using tools like Primavera P6 or linear scheduling tools like Tilos. Nevertheless, the main objective of this performance report is to provide senior executives with an overall performance status of the project and not replace the other reports that detail the performance status of the different business processes managed on the project to which they have access.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that the content of this report be based on performance details provided by the project owner’s own project management team. The content of the performance report should be completed in no more than one hour without sacrificing the quality and validity of the reported performance.
To achieve this, a custom form will be created in PMWeb to capture the progress details for each one of the standard tasks for a linear project. The form will have all sections of the linear project predefined for which the planned progress percent complete for the current period and actual earned percent complete for the same period needs to be provided for each section by the assigned individual.
The other performance details that relate to the Request for Information (RFI), Non-Compliance Reports (NCR), Work Inspection Requests (WIR), Accidents and any other business process that need to be reported on, those performance values will be extracted from their relevant business processes managed in PMWeb.
The template for each one of those business processes will include two user-defined fields to ensure that they are aligned with the reported performance for each linear project section and task. Accordingly, the first field is for the project section or segment it relates to while the second field will be for the standard linear project task that the transaction is associated with.
All transactions of all business processes managed in PMWeb including those of the progress report for each linear project task need to be attached with their supporting documents. Those documents could include pictures, drawings, specifications, police reports, hospital statements among many others. PMWeb attachment tab in those templates will be used to attach those supportive documents. It is also highly recommended to add comments to each attached document to provide a better understanding of what was the document for. The attachment tab also allows the user to link other records for business processes implemented in PMWeb as well as associate URL hyperlinks with websites or documents that are not stored in the PMWeb document management repository.
All those supportive documents need also to be uploaded into the PMWeb document management repository so they can be stored and used. Those documents could be uploaded into folders or subfolders so they are better organized and secured. PMWeb allows setting access rights to each folder to identify the users who have access rights to view documents stored in a folder. In addition, PMWeb allows setting notifications for individuals to receive emails when new documents are uploaded or existing documents were downloaded or deleted.
To enforce accountability for each submitted transaction of each business process, the PMWeb workflow module will be used to create 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 availability for each task.
In addition, the workflow could be designed to include conditions to enforce the authority approval levels as defined in the Delegation of Authority (DoA) matrix. This will be usually required for all business processes that involve financial data.
When a transaction or record for any business process is initiated, the workflow tab available on the 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.
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 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.