Article #747 Setting the Project Control System (PCS) Narrative Management

The project control system (PCS for a construction project, regardless of whether it was managed by the Project Owner or Contractor, must have a narrative module to detail the reported progress. Although most of the measures and visuals that are part of the periodical report will be automatically calculated by the business intelligence (BI) reporting that is either part of the PCS applications or dedicated tools like MS Power BI, the progress reports readers to need to have an explanation if the reported progress in a language that will make sense for any layman.

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The PMWeb custom form builder will be used to create the narrative report template. It is highly recommended that the narrative report template is structured in a format that is aligned with the progress report or dashboard. It will have data fields that are predefined with the list of values that are used in reporting the project’s performance and the colors used for the key performance indicators. The template will be assigned a workflow to capture the details of the submission, review, and approval tasks that are done for each month.

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Similar to other processes managed in PMWeb, all supporting documents associated with the reported progress will be attached to the template. In addition, links to other records for processes managed in PMWeb as well as imported MS Outlook emails will be linked to the progress narrative template.

For projects that might have the requirement for the performance dashboards to be in both English and Arabic, great care should be taken with the text narrative data that usually details the current project’s performance status. Using language translation applications might not convey the right message as captured in the English version. Therefore, a proper translation of this text narrative must be done by one of the Arabic-speaking project team members who can select the right words to convey the right message.

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To enforce accountability in carrying out this task, a template will be created using the PMWeb visual custom form builder to capture the two versions of the progress narrative. A workflow can be assigned to the template to formalize its submission and approval. The content of this translation template will become the basis for the English and Arabic versions of the project’s performance dashboard.

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The Arabic version, or the other non-English version dashboard, will be configured to enable the reader to drill down to more detailed information for the reported progress. The difference would be that those reports will be displayed in the selected non-English language. Of course, the non-English content needs to be added by the Project Control System (PCS) team or other project team members who are assigned the responsibility for managing those processes.

For example, the Arabic version of the project risk register will detail the captured risks’ name, risk description, their pre-mitigation and post-mitigation likelihood, impact, and score, selected risk response action, details of the risk mitigation plan, the project team member responsible for the risk, action due date and status.

To achieve this, the PMWeb template used to identify, capture, analyze, assess and respond to the project risks needs to include text fields to capture the values that need to be in English as well as Arabic. Great effort should be made to have the translated values of common text fields as pre-defined lists to enable the project team member to select values.

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