Written by Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM
This is the final article in a three-part series on improving project design delivery.
Getting Paid for Delivered Work
At the end of each progress period, the engineering firm typically submits a progress invoice for completed deliverables. The payment requisition should reflect the payment terms in the contract. For example, these terms might deal with the retention and recovery of advance payment. PMWeb’s Requisition module captures the details for each progress period. What’s more, the module also captures the details of the actual payment received compared to the submitted requisition.
Capturing the Project’s Actual Cost
The project’s actual cost is usually captured from two different sources. The first source is the cost for work contained in each outsourced contract, including the contracts the engineering firm made with its own team. Progress invoices are submitted on a monthly basis to capture the percent of work completed for each deliverable. PMWeb’s Progress Invoice module captures these details, along with the details of the review and approval process. Additionally, the module captures the details of the actual payment received compared to the submitted requisition.
The second source for capturing the actual cost is any miscellaneous invoices that were issued during the project’s life cycle stages. PMWeb captures these miscellaneous invoices as well.
Predicting the Cost at Completion
The earned value method provides a proven way to assess the project’s budget performance as well as predict the project’s cost at completion, including any budget overruns. PMWeb’s Forecast module provides this assessment at the end of each progress period. The project’s budget, planned value spending for the period, anticipated cost for the period, actual cost for the period, and earned value for the period are all calculated by PMWeb.
The project manager needs to provide the forecast to project completion or provide the cost to complete the remaining scope for each line item. This forecast can be based on either project stages or deliverables. The estimated cost can be provided as a single figure or broken down by the different items that contributed to the total cost.
With those values provided, PMWeb automatically calculates the earned value metrics, including the schedule variance (SV), cost variance (CV), schedule performance index (SPI), cost performance index (CPI), and variance at completion (VAC).
Reporting Project Loss and Profit
All of the project’s costs and financial transactions are automatically captured in PMWeb’s Cost Ledger. This data can then be put into PMWeb’s Cost Worksheet module. Within the Cost Worksheet module, the user can select which columns to display as well as what calculations need to be added between these columns and the other cost data.
Capturing Project Communications
There are many different types of communications issued during a project’s life cycle, and engineering firms often do a poor job of formally capturing and managing these communications. This leads to a massive volume of valuable project data being lost, which can have negative consequences when it comes to dispute negotiation and resolution. Failing to properly capture and manage project communications also leads to poor transparency and accountability.
Wed-based project management solutions like PMWeb provide predefined templates for capturing and managing the most important types of communications. In addition to the contract and cost-management communications discussed earlier in this series, PMWeb also provides templates for RFIs, meeting minutes, transmittals, action items, daily reports, submittals, correspondence, etc. All of these forms can be enhanced by adding user-defined fields, attaching supportive documents, linking to WBS levels, and adding workflows.
Moreover, PMWeb’s custom form builder can be used to create numerous other types of communications, such as permits, LEED certifications, design review comments, and value engineering savings. Like other PMWeb forms, these templates can be created in any language, with the workflow added and supportive documents attached.
PMWeb can generate tabular and graphic reports to track the status of communications, and create dashboards to report on the documents’ performance trends and determine whether or not they are in compliance with the targeted performance trends.
Reviewing, Sharing, and Commenting on Project Deliverables
The design team and other stakeholders are often required to review project communications related to deliverables like drawings, technical specifications, bill of quantities, etc. PMWeb allows such reviews to be done using either the team’s own redlining tools or more advanced third-party applications.
Since Building Information Modeling (BIM) is often used during the project’s design stages, an effective PMIS needs to allow the BIM to be viewed regardless of its level of detail. The platform should also allow BIM objects to be selected and attached to the relevant project communications. PMWeb’s BIM Model Viewer provides for each of these capabilities.
Project Portfolio Performance Reporting
With each project’s performance data stored within a single database, project stakeholders will have access to a real-time single version of the truth for reporting on the performance of a portfolio of projects. This provides stakeholders with the data they need to make much faster and more informed decisions. Indeed, it’s estimated that organizations that rely on Microsoft Excel to report on project performance spend more than 60 percent of their time capturing, combining, analyzing, verifying, and presenting this data. Moreover, using Excel causes and average delay of five working days between the time data is captured and the time it’s presented.
With PMWeb, performance reporting is always real-time, unless an organization chooses to use a more specific cut-off date. This business intelligence function aggregates the captured data, applies the necessary calculations and formulas, and presents the report in whatever format the user desires. Users can also can drill down and trace the source of the data used to create the dashboard.
In summary, PMWeb provides engineering firms with the technology they need to improve the delivery of design projects and incorporate project management’s best practices. Such technology will not only help reduce inefficiencies in project delivery, but also help prevent a massive amount of project data from being lost.