Function 2: Schedule Update
Although the Activity Boards has the details of the actual progress achieved on the project, nevertheless one of the great challenges in construction projects is how to formalize the data used to update the schedule. This includes the actual progress data that includes the actual start and finish dates, percent complete, and resource hours consumed. This data needs to be made in a format that no one can argue does their validity for telling the truth of what happened on the project. This data is considered as the only approved update schedule data when a claim is made for disruptions, interferences, delayed approvals, lost productivity, constructive acceleration, etc.
One of the most important formal project communications that provide the best backup for reporting the project schedule update is the daily report. This daily report is vital for every construction project regardless of its type, size, value, or location. As a minimum, the daily report should detail the project’s weather status, work completed on-site and off-site, labor and equipment resources deployed on the project, any safety or other type of events that could have disrupted the work on-site, and pictures of progress achieved. Although the contractor must submit a single daily report, the content of this report is usually a compilation of the different daily reports submitted by the site engineers who are typically assigned different sections of the project. Usually, the daily report requirements, which are not listed in the general conditions, are added to the particular conditions of the contract agreement and must be filled in daily and signed by both the contractor and engineer.
Therefore, if the information captured in the daily reports becomes the basis for the updated project schedule, then all arguments that relate to what has happened on the project are avoidable. This also applies to the actual labor and equipment hours consumed on the project.
Using a PMIS solution such as PMWeb, the daily report module is one of the many digitalized project management processes. In addition, the PMWeb schedule module also ensures that the latest updated schedule is available to be associated with the reported progress. By default, the main page of the PMWeb daily report module captures the daily report date, project phase (mobilization, construction, testing, and commissioning, etc.), the WBS level it relates to, who is submitting it, and site weather conditions. In addition, the PMWeb daily report module allows capturing a brief of all safety and disruption events that have occurred on that date. The incident name, company involved, and description will be added for each incident. Further, PMWeb allows adding additional fields to capture other information that might be required, such as issues. The main page also displays progress and event pictures attached to the daily report.
For projects that are implementing the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) best practice, the daily reports have the Installation Work Package (IWP) data field. This captures the actual progress and resource hours of each IWP.
The daily report’s main page also allows capturing the details of all work-in-place progress on that date. It is highly recommended to have the project’s work locations be pre-defined to enable the PMWeb user to drag and drop the work location on the list of reported progress. Those locations should also be common to the punch list or snag list module.
PMWeb allows attaching progress or event pictures associated with the progress for each reported progress line item. It also enables adding trade work from a predefined list, and the company (contractor or subcontractor) that performed the work, the quantity of completed work in place, or material delivered, along with its unit of measure, cost account number, or CBS level to which it relates. Moreover, it allows adding a description of the works, notes, and project schedule activity associated with the reported work in place and others.
The daily report timesheet tab captures the details of labor and equipment resources deployed on the project. For labor resources, which have the same name as the project schedule resources, the PMWeb daily reports capture the resource name and the cost account number or CBS level to which it relates. These daily reports also capture project schedule activity associated with the reported resource hours, task percent complete, and resource classification.
The resource deployment start and finish hours, total hours, pay type for those hours (regular, overtime, weekend, holiday, etc.), notes, trade work, and WBS level the consumed resource hours relate to are captured. The only difference is for pay types for equipment resources: operation, standby, or idle. Of course, the organization can define the payment types for both labor and equipment resources.
The PMWeb daily report module allows including a checklist of all items the individual submitting the daily report needs to verify and confirm the validity of the reported daily progress. These checklists can vary depending on the nature of what is being reported. For example, there could be a different checklist for reporting off-site progress than on-site progress. The checklist can also confirm that what was reported is accurate and complete.
The notes tab of the daily report can capture details of different events that have occurred during the day, including feedback from the individuals who have prepared the daily report. A unlimited number of notes can be added to the daily report to ensure that it includes the full details of what happened on that particular day. The note tab captures notes as rich text formatting the text and embed pictures.
PMWeb allows attaching all progress, events pictures, and other types of documents to each daily report transaction. It is highly recommended to add details to each attached picture or document to better explain to the reader what is being attached and viewed. In addition, links to other relevant transactions or records of different business processes managed in PMWeb can be added.
It is highly recommended that all these supporting pictures and documents, regardless of their type or source, are uploaded and stored on the PMWeb document management repository. PMWeb can create folders and subfolders to match the physical filing structure used to keep hard copies of these documents. Permission rights can be set to those folders to restrict access to only those users who have access. In addition, PMWeb users can subscribe to each folder to be notified when new documents are uploaded or downloaded.
A workflow must map the submit, review and approve tasks, the role or roles assigned to each task, the task’s duration and type, and actions available to enforce transparency and accountability in submitting the daily report. The workflow tasks detail the sequence to follow in preparing and submitting the daily report. The site engineer or subcontractor could start if allowed to submit the daily report, followed by the planning engineer, then the construction manager, and finally the contractor’s project manager.
When a daily report transaction is initiated, the workflow tab available on the daily report template captures the planned review and approve workflow tasks for each transaction and the actual history of those review and approval tasks. The captured workflow data includes the actual action data and time, done by who, the action taken, comments made, and whether team input was requested.
The final approved daily report submitted by the different site engineers is compiled into a single daily report template to submit to the project owner. The output template automatically queries and extracts the data from the daily reports submitted on each specific date to generate the daily report to be formally communicated to the project owner either in hard or soft copy. The soft copy version automatically creates links to the attached pictures. There is, of course, also the option to display these on the output daily report form.
For projects that are adopting AWP, there is the option to use the PMWeb timesheet module to capture the actual hours spent by each resource against each activity. Similar to the timesheet in the PMWeb daily report module, there is the option to designate if the consumed resources were consumed as regular pay, overtime pay, weekend pay, or any other type of pay. A workflow can be assigned to the timesheet template to formalize its review and approval.
The baseline and updated schedule data become the basis for generating the schedule progress reports. One of those specific reports is the “Work Package Progress Report”. This report captures the details of the planned and current activities as well as the planned and actual weighted progress. In addition, the report details the variances between what was planned and what was executed. The report can be designed to include other data fields that the update schedule needs to report on.
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 at anytime, anywhere using any device.