One of the proven methods for capturing, accumulating and sharing knowledge on capital construction projects is to encourage project team members to raise questions on any topic that they need clarification on. The answers for those questions will be given by a pool of qualified subject matter experts that an entity will assign to respond to those queries. Those subject matter experts could be employed by the entity, outsourced by third-party consultants or a combination of both.
Maximizing the value of this knowledge management method requires that all questions are captured regardless of the individual who raised the question and from which project. In addition, it requires formalizing the response to those questions to ensure that the answers are given by those who have the knowledge and experience to respond to each raised question. In addition, when a question is raised or when an answer is given, all referenced documents should be included. Further, questions and answers should be properly categorized to improve accessing to this captured knowledge.
To enable sharing this captured and accumulated knowledge, a report needs to be created that not only will share the questions and answers, but also the filters and visuals that will ease searching and locating knowledge that could benefit other project team members. This report should be in real-time reflecting the latest submitted questions and provided answers and can be accessed anytime, anywhere using any device. To avoid congested reports, it is recommended to have separate reports for schedule, cost, quality, health and safety, procurement, risk, contracts and other possible project management aspects.
Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, the business process to formalize questions and answers on capital construction projects can be implemented. Although there could be a single template to capture questions and answers for all project management aspects, nevertheless, it is highly recommended to have a separate template for each project management aspect.
Having said so, many of the data fields will be identical but also there will be unique data fields that are relevant to each project management aspect. For example, the common data fields will be the project name, question date, raised by who and answered by who, subject and status of the record. Excluding the subject, all those data fields will be available from a predefined list of values.
PMWeb visual custom form builder will be used to create the “Question and Answer” business process template. The template will include data fields that will be used to improve the learning that will be shared by all those who will have access to the Questions and Answers Repository Report. For example, for contract related questions, the form should include the data fields for clauses, contract agreement type, revision, category, etc.
Similar to all other business processes managed in PMWeb, supportive documents that are usually associated or required for each Question-and-Answer business process transaction must be attached to the template. It is highly recommended to add details to each attached document to better explain to the reader what is being attached and viewed. In addition, links to other relevant records of other business processes managed in PMWeb can be also linked to the reported progress.
It is highly recommended that all those supportive documents, regardless of their type or source, get uploaded and stored on PMWeb document management repository. PMWeb allows creating folders and subfolders to match the physical filing structure used to store hardcopies of those documents. Since this business process will be accessed across the completed projects portfolio, it is recommended that file folder be created as a shared folder and not project specific.
To ensure that the submit, review and approve dates of each Question-and-Answer business process transaction submission are captured, a workflow will be assigned to each business process. The assigned workflow will map the submit, review and approve tasks, role or roles assigned to each task, task duration, task type and actions available for task. In addition, the workflow could be designed to include conditions to enforce the approval authority levels as defined in the Delegation of Authority (DoA) matrix.
When a Question-and-Answer business process transaction is initiated, the workflow tab available on the relevant 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. The captured workflow data will include 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 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 550 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.