There is always a misunderstanding on the differences between digitization and digitalization of project control system (PCS) functions on construction projects. For example, PCS functions digitization is when standard templates are created to capture the data associated with the different project management processes, such as potential variation/change orders, variation/change orders, interim progress invoices, etc.
Usually, those templates are created using applications like MS Excel, MS Word, or PDF templates. Formulas could be added to those templates to calculate some of the data fields in the template. For example, the total cost calculates by multiplying the unit price by the total quantity. In addition, it could include a data field to sum the total of all line items.
Some templates can even be programmed to include a pre-defined list of values for certain data fields to select from, restrict access to some fields as well as build macros. Access rights to those templates can also be added.
The digitization of contract management functions also includes the digitization of reports and dashboards associated with those functions. For example, MS Excel usually captures some of the critical information included in each contract management function template. Of course, this means that much of the other captured data which is also important is not reported on.
The output forms as well as reports are then either shared manually with other project team members or using email platforms like MS Outlook or dedicated project email platforms like for example Aconex. For applications like Aconex, there is also the option to create the contract management process template although the data filled in the template will not be captured in a centralized database with the data from other processes needed to manage the construction project delivery. Of course, email communications are to manage a single line of communication which is “From-To”. The “To” could be too many individuals who will all receive the communication at the same time.
On the other hand, the digitalization of contract management functions is when those templates are mapped into a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb where all contract management processes, as well as other project management processes, are managed using the same platform for the complete portfolio of projects and contracts that an entity has.
The PMWeb solution comes ready with all cost and contract management templates that can be appended with additional data fields to fulfill the contract management plan that the entity has. These include for example the templates for a cost estimate, budget, budget adjustment, commitments, potential change orders, change orders, interim progress invoices, miscellaneous invoices, accounts payable payments, forecast to complete, joint measurement report, revenue contracts, change orders, requisitions, accounts receivable collections, funding sources, funding requests and funding authorizations. Integrations between those templates are pre-defined to ensure records link and eliminate data input redundancy.
In addition, more templates can be created using the PMWeb Custom Form Builder. This allows the entity to create all additional forms, letters, and checklist templates needed for contract management and project management processes that are not readily available on PMWeb.
Further, PMWeb allows the uploading and storing of electronic or scanned documents associated with those contract and project management processes. Those documents then get attached to their relevant transactions of the different contract or project management processes.
The procedures associated with those templates can then be automated by adding workflows for submitting, reviewing, re-submitting, and approving or rejecting those processes by the established contract management procedures. The workflow should include authority approval levels to enforce the requirements set in the delegation of authority (DoA) matrix.
For transactions of contract management processes that need to be formally communicated to the other entities who are part of the project delivery team members or organizations, output templates need to be designed in a format aligned with the branding and communication requirements for each organization, program, project or even a contract for a project’s bid packages. These output templates will be designed to include all data fields that need to be communicated. They include the option of listing the status of the submit, review and approve workflow tasks and the documents attached to the transaction.
For each digitalized contract management process, reports can be designed to group, sort, summarize and filter the transactions of each process in the desired form and format. In addition, registers or logs of each business process transaction can be automatically generated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and shared with project stakeholders via email messages to provide them with a single real-time version of the truth of those transactions. These reports, similar to all other output communications, of course, can also be designed in a format that aligns with each project’s branding and communication requirements.
Sometimes, there is also the need to generate reports that require capturing data from transactions of different contract management processes to provide better insight into contract management. For example, when reporting the status of contracts for each specific project, there is a need to communicate the original awarded contract value, change orders issued to date, approved and pending change orders, interim payment certificates issued to date, amount of retainage held on those payments, and the balance amount remaining for each contract. Getting this report requires data from the contract, variation/change order, and progress invoice modules.
Those reports can be designed to allow the reader to drill down to each contract, interim payment certificate for each period, and each approved change order. The drill-down provides the option to drill down to the output form of those transactions or to drill down directly to the input template for the selected contract management process transaction.
Another example of required reports on construction projects would be a report that provides an overall cost-performance status of all projects the entity is managing. This requires having a report that groups projects by the program to which they relate.
For each project, a report is created to detail the original budget, budget adjustments, anticipated budget, awarded contracts, approved change orders, pending change orders, percent to complete, anticipated cost at completion, variance at completion, and actual cost invoiced to date. Then, using the templates for budget, budget adjustments, commitments, change orders, and progress invoices, the cost worksheet report is generated.
In addition, the data captured in each transaction of each contract management process can be aggregated and reported in a graphic format. In other words, different dashboards can be created for each of these areas to provide stakeholders with oversight of how each project contract management is performing.
Similarly, a project dashboard can be created to summarize the transaction data of contract management processes along with the data of other processes needed to manage the project. The captured data is modeled and reported on in a format that provides the employer and other stakeholders with the project’s performance information in the required format. The reader of the project dashboard can drill down to view other dashboards and reports that details what is being reported.
For those stakeholders who need an overview of the performance status of their complete project’s portfolio or a selection of their programs and projects, a dashboard can be designed to model and summarize the projects’ data in the desired format and layout. Usually, these portfolio dashboards include a map to detail the location of the projects being reported on.
The PMWeb solution not only automatically generates those reports and dashboards from the data captured in the different contract management functions but also enables sharing those reports and dashboards with other stakeholders whether they were authorized PMWeb users or not. PMWeb allows sending those reports and dashboards in PDF file format via emails as attachments. Those emails can be scheduled to be sent on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
The content of this article was extracted from the book titled “Let’s Transform: Enabling Digital Transformation of Capital Construction Projects Using the PMWeb Project Management Information System – 2nd Edition”. The book was written by the author of the posted article, Bassam Samman.
The book provides project owners with oversight on how technology available today can support their efforts to digitally transform the management of their projects’ portfolios. For each capital project life cycle stage, PMWeb is used to detail how the relevant project management business processes can be digitalized to enforce transparency and accountability in delivering projects. In addition, MS Power BI was used to show how the real-time, trustworthy data captured in PMWeb can be aggregated, modeled, monitored, evaluated, analyzed, and reported on anytime, anywhere using any device.