Article # 600 The Benefits of Associating ArcGIS Maps with Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) Solutions to Provide the Insight for Better and Faster Comprehensive and Informed Decisions on Capital Construction Projects

ArcGIS is a geographical information system (GIS) software that allows handling and analyzing geographic information by visualizing geographical statistics through layer building maps like population, average household income, age, gender-mix, transportation lines, places of interest, streams, and lakes, terrain, roads, political boundaries, parcels, building footprints, and utility lines, etc. ArcGIS works by creating map layers each with different data categories that can be created by organizations who use ArcGIS. Each layer is registered spatially so that they can be overlaid one on top of another. ArcGIS gives the option of having the base map as streets, topographic, light gray, imagery, terrain and lands, navigation, etc.

The information that will be captured in the ArcGIS layers will provide capital project owners with critical information that will impact many of their strategic decisions on capital construction projects. Using business intelligence tools like MS Power BI enables those project owners to associate the data captured in ArcGIS with the data captured in a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb.

Similar to the concept of data layers created in ArcGIS, the data captured in PMWeb can be modeled in what is known as Views. Those views which could be considered as data layers will include the information from the different project management business processes managed in PMWeb and that needs to be associated with the ArcGIS map. The latitude and longitude values of each project are the basis to spatially associate those views or PMWeb data layers with ArcGIS’s other data layers. This will enable correlating the PMWeb data with at least one of ArcGIS spatial layers to enable having the insight for better and faster comprehensive and informed decisions.

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For example, one of the areas that the association of the data layers captured in ArcGIS maps with the data captured in a PMIS solution is the analysis, selection, and setting priorities for capital construction project investments. PMWeb has the modules that address those requirements in addition to the modules needed to manage the execution of the selected projects as well as the modules for managing the maintenance and operation stage when those projects are handed over for operations.

To start with, the PMWeb initiative request module will be used to capture all those requests for which when approved, an initiative will be generated. Although the PMWeb initiative request module comes with basic data fields for such requests, nevertheless, the option of adding unlimited groups of new data fields will be used to improve the extent of data shared in those initiative requests received from the different stakeholders.

Similar to all other PMWeb business process templates, supportive documents can be attached to the initiative request as well as a workflow will be assigned to filter those project requests. For those approved requests, an initiative record will be generated.

For each generated initiative from an approved request, PMWeb allows capturing the estimated benefits, estimated cost, milestone schedule, and all other details needed to better describe the initiative. PMWeb’s additional information option which is available for all PMWeb business processes provides the organization with an unlimited number of user-defined fields that are grouped into categories to better define what is being managed.

Each initiative’s estimated benefits and cost can also be captured to the desired level of detail with the option of using different currencies for each item. In addition, each initiative will be assigned the location it relates to for which the geospatial coordinates for latitude and longitude are defined.

All supportive documents that are associated with an initiative need to be attached to the initiative template. Those could include the feasibility study, land deed, land layout, concept design ideas, among others. Notes and comments can be added to each attached document to better explain the content of the document. Those documents will be uploaded and stored in the PMWeb document management repository. This will allow uploading and maintaining the revision history of those documents.

When it comes to evaluating and shortlisting which capital investment opportunities an organization needs to consider selecting and investing in them as capital projects are the profit investment ratio (PIR) or value investment ratio (VIR) which is a capital budgeting measure that gauges the potential profitability of a capital project investment. The evaluation and shortlisting of initiatives that could be possibly considered for selection and execution will also take into account the risk or threats exposure associated with each opportunity.

The profit investment ratio (PIR) is calculated by dividing the net present value of future benefits by the initial investment cost of the project opportunity. The initial investment cost includes site acquisition costs, professional services cost, construction cost, marketing, legal and other types of costs needed to build the project. The net present value of future benefits includes all sources of revenue that the project will generate which will be adjusted by the costs of refurbishment and renewal, operation, maintenance, and end of life or assets disposition.

The profit investment ratio (PIR) equals the Present Value of Future Benefits divided by the Initial Investment needed to build the project. A profit investment ratio (PIR) of 1.0 indicates breaking even, which is an indifferent result for the investor. If the result is less than 1.0, then this investment should be avoided whereas, If the result is greater than 1.0, then this investment should be considered and be further analyzed to support the decision on whether the investment should be selected as a project or not.

As for the opportunity risk or threats exposure, it will be based on the weighted risk exposure assessment for all risks or threats identified for the opportunity. The risk exposure will be based on a score of 25 which is the multiplication of a risk that is almost to occur which will be 5 points and a has catastrophic impact if it occurs which will also be 5 points. A risk exposure below 9 points is considered low, between 9 and 17 is moderate, and above 17 is high. Of course, the common sense would be the highest risk exposure will provide the highest profit investment ratio.

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The cost estimate information and the investment life cycle schedule which is associated with the cost and revenue estimates needed to calculate the net present value of future benefits were captured in the PMWeb initiative module. For the risk exposure analysis, it is recommended to use PMWeb custom form builder to create a simplified risk checklist template that will have all risk categories and items pre-defined along with the weight for each. Of course, there is also the option to use PMWeb’s own Risk Analysis module if needed.

The Profit Investment Ratio (PIR) and Risk Exposure report will include filters to enable stakeholders to select only those initiatives that have a PIR value that is more than 1.00 as well as a risk or threats exposure below 19 or those with low or moderate exposure. The selected filter will automatically adjust all visuals and reports included in the report to only display the information relevant to the selected initiatives.

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Nevertheless, what is important for each initiative is the scoring that an initiative will be subject to so a decision can be made if it will become a project or not. This scoring helps in having an unbiased assessment and evaluation of each initiative to determine its attractiveness and priority. PMWeb enables creating meaningful and comprehensive scoring templates, by allowing to have different types for the scoring questions for each scoring template. Those include Text, List of Values, Selection Radio Buttons, Documents to be Provided and Attached, Contract or any Document Clauses or Subclauses, an Integer Number, a Double Number (two decimal points), a Date and Time, a Quantity Value, a Currency Amount or a “Yes/No” or other selections Checkbox.

For each one of those scoring types, a self-explanatory question needs to be added. Depending on the Question type, options to select scoring values can be also added. In addition, a weight value can be assigned to each scoring item. Further, PMWeb allows having stakeholders to provide a subjective rating on a scale of 5 for each initiative. For selected ratings, PMWeb will automatically calculate the average of those ratings.

The approval of an initiative will be per the workflow assigned to the initiative’s business process. When the status of an initiative becomes approved, a project record can be generated from the initiative.

The ability to associate the initiative’s data captured in PMWeb and the data available in ESRI ArcGIS will provide the decision-makers with a better insight into the many other factors that are not project execution related that will make this project a success or not. The data layers captured in ArcGIS are usually the data that is needed when carrying out a business case for requested initiatives and opportunities. This association will provide those decision-makers with trustworthy data on the market conditions and demands as well as the data captured for those initiatives.

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Similar to all other business processes managed in PMWeb, the project team can attach all supportive documents to each project request and initiative template. It is highly recommended to add details to each attached document to better explain what is being attached and viewed to the reader. In addition, links to other relevant transactions or records of other business processes managed in PMWeb can be also added.

It is also highly recommended that all those supportive documents, regardless of their type or source, get uploaded and stored on the PMWeb document management repository. PMWeb allows creating folders and subfolders to match the physical filing structure used to store hard copies of those documents. Permission rights can be set to those folders to restrict access to only those users who have access to do so. In addition, PMWeb users can subscribe to each folder so they can be notified when new documents are uploaded or downloaded.

To enforce transparency and accountability in managing project requests and initiatives, a workflow needs to be added to the template to map the submit, review and approve tasks, role or roles assigned to each task, task duration, task type, and actions available for the task. The workflow can be configured to include the approval authority levels as set in the Delegation of Authority (DoA) document.

When a transaction of any of those business processes is submitted for review and approval, 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. 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 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 systems to over 400 projects with a total value over US$ 400 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 400 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 600 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He was 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 American Association of Cost Engineers (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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