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Portfolio, Program & Project Management Construction Software

Analyzing a Projects’ Financial Data Using Business Intelligence and Data Visualization Tools

Analyzing a Projects’ Financial Data Using Business Intelligence and Data Visualization Tools

Written by Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM

One of the key reporting requirements by executive stakeholders is to visualize the source of reported financial information on capital construction projects. Whether this information was related to the project budget and its planned spending, awarded contracts, earned payments, actual cost, estimate to complete remaining scope of work, estimate at completion, and variance at completion. Usually, those executive stakeholders have access to single-version-of-the-truth, consolidated financial reports that combine and summarize this information at the contract, project, program, and enterprise level. Those reports provide the option for a stakeholder to drill down to the data source that was the basis for the reported information. Nevertheless, what those executive stakeholders are looking for is a single-page report that enables them to find the data source for the reported information without the need to search for this information through the drill-down process.

This single page can be easily generated using the decomposition tree. This report will detail the data source for each reported cost information which could include project budget, planned budget spending, earned payments, actual cost, estimate to complete remaining scope of work, estimate at completion, variance at completion among others. The executive stakeholder can easily trace and analyze the reported cost information to the desired level of control. The decomposition tree will usually start with the total value at the enterprise level for the selected cost category. This will be detailed into the different capital construction programs that the organization has which could include for example commercial, residential, retail, education among others. The next level will be the projects that are part of each program followed by the bid packages or contracts awarded to outsource the delivery of the project’s scope of work. The next levels will be the levels used to decompose the project’s scope of work which are usually aligned with the Construction Specification Institute (CSI) MasterFormat, UniFormat, or a combination of both.

Whether the requirement is to have the consolidated single-version of the truth consolidated financial report or the decomposition tree report, there should be a cost breakdown structure (CBS) that is configured in alignment with the required control levels and for which the financial data included in the different project cost management processes are aligned with. Those processes include project budget, budget changes, budget transfers, awarded commitments, potential change orders, change orders, interim progress payments, miscellaneous invoices, actual payments made, revenue contracts, requisitions, actual payments received, funding among others.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb all those project cost management processes are available out-of-the-box and ready to be used. In addition, PMWeb custom form builder can be used to create additional cost management processes that could be unique for an organization. Those could include for example claim notices, value engineering savings among others. For each one of those processes, PMWeb will be used to enforce a formal process for capturing all needed cost management information that is fully documented, traceable, and audited. This will be achieved by having Input forms, either available by default or created using the PMWeb form builder, attached and linked supportive documents, records, and MS Outlook emails and a workflow to formalize the submit, review and approve tasks for each cost management process.

PMWeb cost account module will be used to create the cost breakdown structure (CBS) that will become the standard to be used across the complete projects’ portfolio that the organization has. PMWeb allows creating a cost breakdown structure (CBS) that could have up to 16 levels. Those should include as a minimum the Program, Project and Bid Package levels. In addition, it should include the breakdown down levels that are aligned with Construction Specification Institute (CSI) MasterFormat, UniFormat or a combination of both.

Each PMWeb cost management process will automatically have the cost breakdown structure (CBS) field available in the detailed section of each form where the relevant cost data will be captured. Similarly, the cost breakdown structure (CBS) field will be added to all newly created custom forms that will be used to capture cost information. Those PMWeb cost management forms will include project budget, budget changes, budget transfers, awarded commitments, potential change orders, change orders, interim progress payments, miscellaneous invoices, actual payments made, revenue contracts, requisitions, actual payments received, funding among others.

The captured cost data at the selected control level for each cost management process will become the basis for the real-time single version of the truth consolidated financial reports that combine and summarize this information at the contract, project, program, and enterprise-level or the decomposition tree report. The projects’ executive stakeholders can select the desired report to monitor, evaluate, analyze, and trace the reported projects’ financial performance information.

Four of the World's Top 10 Universities use PMWeb, including Princeton (#1) and Harvard (#2). Learn why PMWeb is the #1 CapEx Planning & Project Portfolio Management Software.

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