Even the most organized and planned projects can have ad-hoc purchases that happen at the jobsite. In an ideal world, all vendor expenses would be controlled by issued purchase orders driven by a project budget. Vendor expenses should be recorded as an incurred cost against the original purchase order so that you know all of your budgeted costs upfront and you have full clarity around your accruals.
In reality, a project can have a substantial number of non-purchase order vendor expenses that need to be recorded and accounted for on a project. The right vendor management tools can provide you with full visibility into vendor accruals so that you have accurate project cost tracking.
Changes are inevitable on projects. No project manager in their right mind moves forward with a project not expecting changes to happen - fluctuations in scope, cost, schedule and activity can happen almost daily. In this article, I want to tackle a segment of change management that I often come across in conversations. Which is: the different types & states of Change Events that can be registered on a project; and some of the nuances of each. The three main project change events are:
“If you keep going at this speed, you’re going to be late!”
That’s my simplistic real-life analogy of earned value management. It’s a simple bit of math that we all do in our heads anytime we’re trying to get somewhere or finish something. If you gave yourself an hour to get there and after a half-hour you’re still less than half-way, you’re going to be late. It’s that simple. As simple as it is, it requires us to know quite a bit of information about the current situation in order to calculate late vs. on-time. Just like EVM, you need to know 3 key elements to make the calculation:
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As most any project manager will tell you, you can’t manage the past. You have to manage in the Now to have a chance at staying on top of your projects. "Managing the Now" means providing project managers with current, reliable information on what’s going on. The idea of “current” project data isn’t anything new of course, but it’s astonishing how many projects are managed using data from the construction site that’s days or even weeks old. Historical information is interesting – and it does serve a purpose in the final analysis – but it doesn’t help much on a day-to-day basis when snap decisions need to be made to keep things running smoothly.
If you can do anything to help your projects, your business and the mental health of your project management team, give them better information and good tools to report on that information. They’ll hug you and probably never stop.
One of the most challenging aspects of successful construction project management is the ability to collect a vast amount of project data into one place for easy reporting. If you’re like most organizations however, when you get asked for a status report, you can’t just click a button and a report pops up that’s nicely formatted, with current and accurate information, ready to send to your boss or your client. No way. If you’re like most organizations, when you get asked for a status report, you kick into “Report Gear” and start gathering information so you can build your report. You need to request the latest actual costs, you need the latest vendor invoices, you need to make sure you have all the current change orders up-to-date, you need your progress forecasts entered, and on and on. You need to start sending emails and making phone calls and trolling through spreadsheets – to pull together all the details you need to get that report ready.
EPCM organizations that are using just Timesheet & Billing software are finding themselves swamped in spreadsheets to cover the greater technology needs they face. It used to be that all an EPCM needed for enterprise software was a decent-enough timesheet tool to track their billable hours; and an integrated billing tool to invoice their customers. Things have evolved however, and EPCM’s are now seen as the go-to company for project management, procurement, document management, project controls, etc. These requirements obviously go well beyond what a timesheet tool can support. So, confronted with a lack of available tools, project managers & engineers have resorted to building cobbled-together solutions in spreadsheets to cover the gaps.
In the following video clip, Peter Timmins, VP Operations at Triumph EPCM, explains how their use of 4castplus has dramatically improved their business - and has led to winning this prestigious award for Project Management Excellence.