The Next Breakthrough in Construction: Real-Time Project Management
Can intelligent algorithms and Instant communication help us solve the age-old problem of cost and schedule overruns in construction projects?
Construction projects are dynamic. Even the most well laid out plans go awry soon after they are created. Real Time Project Management uses intelligent algorithms and instant communication to keep plans relevant and help you execute construction projects faster and efficiently. Here’s how:
- Intelligent Zooming – project plans that fit in your pocket but still have all the details you need for daily execution
- Field Updates – project plans are automatically updated as people on the frontline check off their to-do’s
- Real Time Executive Reports – Executives don’t have to wait for the month-end to find out how the project is going, and which issues, tasks or resources are slowing the project down
- Intelligent Scheduling Adjustment – as reality changes, task schedules are intelligently adjusted to keep everyone synchronized and working on the right tasks
Let’s take a real-life case study of a power plant construction project, one of the largest and most complex project types. It has more than 10,000 designs, 5000 purchase orders for equipment, materials and services, and a massive execution effort that includes concreting, fabrication, erection, cabling, piping and commissioning. It takes about four years from beginning to end.
The original project plan had over 100,000 tasks which meant preparing, executing and monitoring 2000-3000 tasks on any given day. Once execution began, delays and changes in scope and dependencies rendered the information derived from the plan obsolete and, therefore, unreliable.
Unwieldy and obsolete plans were used only in the ivory towers of project monitoring and control (PMC), and largely ignored by engineers and supervisors. The PMC fought a monthly battle to get updates and then to massage the plan to reflect the status that made sense. Executives would often go to the frontline to assess project progress, only to be surprised by delays that formal project management reports had not reflected. More importantly, lacking a viable integrated plan, various teams prioritized their work locally and were de-synchronized as a result.
Realization Technologies introduced a multi-tier task model through its patented Real Time Project Management software, Concerto. The critical path network now contains only 1600 tasks instead of the original 100,000. Zooming out, only 30 tasks pack the entire project ‘in a nutshell’ for executives. Zooming in, execution details and procedures are captured as subtasks and checklists below the 1600 tasks.
The 1600-task critical path network allows the project to be managed with relative simplicity and stability. Subtasks and checklists can be modified on the fly by the frontline without affecting the critical path. The 30-task executive summary highlights critical packages for executives, from where they can drill down as needed.
Concerto not only takes updates directly from the frontline but also from existing systems and practices such as Daily Progress Reports and SAP entries to keep the plan always relevant.
Real Time Executive Reports
As engineering submits drawings, purchasing places orders and execution teams fill Daily Progress Reports, Concerto not only updates the project plan but also provides forward-looking status to executives and project managers. Last minute surprises for executives are fewer, and everyone proactively takes care of the issues that are slowing the project down.
Intelligent Schedule Adjustment
Best of all, Concerto automatically adjusts task schedules based on critical path status, ensuring everyone is synchronized instead of working to local lists. The number of meetings have been reduced: everyday, execution teams just login to their lists daily and simply follow them.
In summary, projects are dynamic and project teams need real-time and actionable visibility to keep time and cost under control. Intelligent algorithms and instant communication capabilities finally put project teams in the driver’s seat instead of feeling helpless.