Article #546 Getting Senior Executive Stakeholders to Become More Engaged in Real Estate Development Projects

No one can deny that getting the support of senior executive stakeholders for a real estate development project has a direct impact on the project success or failure if this support did exist. Those senior executive stakeholders usually have the power to influence the project and the parties involved in some way, whether financially, legally or by some other form of pressure. That is why “Stakeholder Engagement Plan” is one of the critical deliverables for any project including real estate development projects.

Engaging those senior executive stakeholders requires communicating real-time, trust-worthy and single-version-of-the-truth information to address their needs to enable them to effectively predicting how the project will affect them and how they can affect the project. The information shared with those stakeholders should not be crowded and should be specific to what they only need. This requires having reports of similar form and formats but with different information content that are generated from the same single data source.

Another requirement for sharing project’s information with senior executive stakeholders is that their interest is in the complete projects’ portfolio so they can monitor, evaluate, compare and benchmark projects’ performance and how this could impact their strategic goals and objectives. Therefore, those reports should be structured at projects or assets level in a format that those stakeholders can easily relate to.

The successful engagement of those stakeholders requires enabling them to access those reports anytime, anywhere, using any device. In addition, engaging stakeholders requires gaining their trust by giving them the ability to query the information shared with them by enabling them to drilldown for more details on their own and without asking for the project management team help.

Achieving this desired stakeholder engagement requires using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb to enable having a single data source to capture the data from all business processes required to manage the real estate development projects. The digitizing of those business processes will enforce the required transparency, accountability and granularity of captured data. In addition, an interactive business intelligence and data visualization tool like MS Power BI should be used to provide the required interactive reports that can be accessed anytime, anywhere using any device. The combination of those two solutions, will enable the project team to design the reports that will address the requirements for those stakeholders to visualize, analyze, monitor, evaluate, compare and benchmark their projects’ portfolio performance.

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The first rule for successful stakeholder engagement is building trust in the information being shared with them. This can be only attained if the business processes used to provide this information has been digitized. To achieve this, PMWeb will be used to create the template needed to manage every business process. Many of those templates are available out of the box in PMWeb. Those include Budget, Budget Adjustment, Commitments, Potential Change Orders, Change Orders, Interim Progress Invoices, Miscellaneous Invoices, Payments Made, Funding Sources, Funding Authorizations, Request for Information (WIR), Meeting Minutes, Punch Lists, Submittals and others.

In addition, PMWeb custom form builder provides to create the template for any other business process for which a template is not readily available in PMWeb. Whether those templates were readily available or custom created, PMWeb allows setting access rights to each template as well as the fields within each template to ensure only those who have been authorized to do so can provide the data. Many of the fields could have values to be selected from predefined lists to ensure standardization across the complete projects’ portfolio.

To provide complete transparency on every transaction of every business process, all supportive documents need to be attached to the purchase order. Those documents could include copies of the original issued purchase order, test certificates, pictures among many others. PMWeb attachment tab in those templates will be used to attach all those supportive documents. 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 implemented in PMWeb as well as associate URL hyperlinks with websites or documents that are not stored in PMWeb document management repository.

All those supportive documents need also to be uploaded into 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 the transactions of each business process, PMWeb workflow module will be used to create a workflow to formalize the review and approval tasks of those business processes. 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 enforce the authority approval levels as defined in the Delegation of Authority (DoA) matrix. It should be noted that those will who be involved in those workflows could include other members of the organization that are not part of the project management team.

When a transaction is initiated for any of those business processes, the workflow tab available on each 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.

The data captured from the business processes managed by PMWeb and for which it will be needed for the stakeholders’ performance reports will be extracted, transferred and loaded from PMWeb to MS Power BI. Queries will be used to extract the required data fields for PMWeb database to create the required datasets. MS Power BI will automatically link those datasets with each other depending on the common data fields. This will become the basis for creating the data models for the shared performance information.

In addition, there might be a need to create calculated measures using the extracted PMWeb data fields. MS Power BI also setting the option on how the extracted data will be refreshed. There is the option of real-time data as well as the option to refresh the data on selected time intervals during the day.

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The data extracted from PMWeb will include the data needed to present the boundaries of each project to be reported on. The polygon points of those projects’ boundaries will be defined in PMWeb project module for which a user defined field will be added to record this information. This will also require using a map visual from “Icon Map” which is a custom visual that allows showing the boundaries of all project types including those of linear projects. This will enable having interactive reports for which stakeholders can select the projects to be reviewed.

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Since the data source for all reported financial, quality, health and safety, procurement, risk, schedule and other project management information are all captured in PMWeb from their relevant transactions for each business process, the stakeholder can drilldown from each project to review more details on each project. All those reports can be fully customized to meet each organization own reporting and branding requirements.

For example, the “Commitment Log by Project” is one of PMWeb 150 plus forms, reports and dashboards for which it will report on the status of each commitment within each project showing the original commitment value, approved changes, revised commitment amount, invoiced to date and retained to date. In addition, it will show the list of all change and progress invoices issued on each contract.

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The stakeholder can further drilldown to each change order or progress invoice transaction to review and additional details that might be required. Each business process output form can be designed to include list of documents attached to the transaction with hyperlink to each attachment. In addition, the business process output form can be designed to display the planned review and approval workflow tasks and the actual date and time and comments made against each workflow task. All those forms can be fully customized to meet each organization own reporting and branding requirements.

By enabling each stakeholder to drilldown to each transaction that had contributed to the reported information will build the very much needed trust in communicated information. Similar to the shown financial business processes, those could have been any of the other hundred plus business processes that a real estate development project requires.

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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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