Web-Based Project Management Solutions Revolutionize Enterprise Project Management: Managing Communications Part 2
Written by Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM
This article continues our discussion of the ways in which web-based project management solutions can enhance communications management.
A Transmittal is a document template that’s used as the cover page for the different types of documents a project team wants to share with others. The most important aspect of a transmittal is that it details the reason why the document is being transmitted: for approval, for records, for information, etc. PMWeb’s Transmittal template is used to automate the transmittal submission, review, sharing, and approval process.
Regardless of the project size or type, many different forms of correspondence and communication need to be sent between the different parties in the contract. However, in many organizations, the project managers are not usually the most qualified in drafting such communications, especially if those communications have contractual implications. That said, these communications can be easily prepared in PMWeb, which facilitates the creation of the documents by offering users the ability to add the needed attributes, adjust formatting, attach supportive materials, along with many other useful functions.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of using PMWeb is having a library stocked with a massive number of ready-to-use project letter templates that are aligned with the different contract clauses. This enables the project manager to quickly select the correct template, fill in the needed information, and transmit the correspondence.
Progress Reports not only capture the actual progress of the project, but also serve as an excellent way to document a project’s history. The reports can help resolve issues that arise by offering easy access to critical information related to the project’s historical development. Of course, they also provide a running overview of the project’s ongoing progress, which keeps stakeholders constantly updated. Progress reports can be issued daily or weekly, although daily reports are highly recommended.
PMWeb’s Daily Report document template captures a project’s progress details, including such items as weather conditions, activities completed, resources used, progress photos, etc.
In addition to the daily or weekly progress report, a project manager often prepares an executive progress report that provides more in-depth details about the project’s overall performance, such as schedule compliance, budget spending, risk exposure, pending issues, etc. The recipients of this progress report are primarily executives who are not part of the project delivery team, but need to stay regularly apprised of the project’s performance over its duration.
The executive progress report is created using PMWeb’s custom form builder, as the content and style of these reports vary widely depending on the organization. For example, executive progress reports may need to be created in a different language than the project’s contractual communications.
Search and Locate Project Communication
When there is a claim—or even the possibility of a claim—the project management team often needs to search for and collect all project communications and documents that might be relevant to the claim, which can be a tedious, time-consuming process. If all project communications and documents are already uploaded into PMWeb, however, the team can simply use the program to automatically locate these documents using a keyword search. Users can search a single project or multiple projects, as well as search specific types of project communications or all project communications.
Once located, the relevant project communication(s) can be saved into a unique claim issue file or be appended to an existing one. The claim issue creator can then open this file and drill down through each of the records and their attachments.
Sometimes, a team needs to review only the documents that were uploaded to the document management repository. For this type of search to work, it can’t be limited to file names or assigned attributes. Instead, the search should cover the actual text content of those documents. To perform this type of search, the user selects the PMWeb Document Management Repository, lists their keyword(s), and selects “Search for Content.”
Analyzing Project Communications
The EPMO can also use web-based project management solutions to analyze trends and other developments related to project communications. For example, PMWeb can monitor trends in document volume, determine how much time team members are spending on different types of project communications, find the average turnaround time for project communications, uncover how much time is wasted in resubmitting documents for approval, determine the volume of documents pending approval, etc.
What’s more, Business Intelligence and Data Visualization applications can be used to further analyze and report on multiple performance trends. The dashboard below is an example of a report that displays the frequency of project communications and the type of those communications. This data can be extracted from a single project, a program of projects, a portfolio of projects, or all projects. Finally, the data can be organized in whatever format a user needs in order to provide the most insight for well-informed decisions.