2 Use of the guide Aim Use of the Guide This presentation is prepared to support and give a general overview of the ‘How to Manage e-Project Information’ Guide and should be read in conjunction with the publication.Use of the GuideThis guide sets out to provide a framework tool to assist e-Project information users.The object of the guide is not to prescribe but to offer a chronological checklist of issues to be addressed to help the users with the task of effectively managing project information through electronic tools.
3 Manage e-Project Information There are significant short-term and long-term project efficiencies to be achieved through effective management of e-Project information.Not only tangible benefits but also intangible such as improved project collaboration amongst team members and reduced conflict.However, the software tools required do not always guarantee success.Tools must be complemented by clear understanding of the Project information content, sources and processes, also attention to the people and systems managing the e-Project information.
4 Eight Stages to Managing e-Project Information Eight Stages are proposed split into two key development phases:
6 Stage 1. Identifying the Project What is the project?Before any project information is managed, the project itself needs to be defined.The project needs to be clearly written down and referred to for all project team members to avoid the project meaning different things for different team members.Project phasesThe phases need to be clearly defined in order to understand the user e-Project information requirements and the sources of such information.
7 Stage 1. Identifying the Project Project feasibility/outline designAs with all projects, it is important before starting out that the initiators of the e-Project have a clear idea at a high level as to:what is the broad scope of the e-Project?what are we trying to achieve?who is going to drive the project forward?what is it going to cost?is there a budget?what is the programme?what are the risks?how does this fit with the underlying project as represented by the construction contracts and associated service contracts?are there any statutory or legal issues, of which we need to be aware?do we have, as a company or organisation, any previous experiences upon which we can draw?are there standardised, COTS solutions available?
8 Stage 1. Identifying the Project Project ownershipA critical question at the beginning of the project is who owns the e-Project.This is a question of identifying which of the participants in the underlying construction, engineering and infrastructure project want to make the e-Project work.It is also useful to have an understanding of their commercial drivers.Project sponsorIt is critical that the Project Sponsor is identified as so often projects fail due to lack of clarity concerning the sponsor.Project information managerOnce a project sponsor has been clearly identified, it is as important to identify a champion for managing the e-Project information.
9 Stage 2. Capture e-Project Information Content Having identified the e-Project, including the Sponsor and the Project Information Manager, the next process is to determine the expected scale of information within the e-Project.e-Project informationFirst step is to capture all essential e-Project information then identify who are the sources or providers and who are the recipients or users of the information.Other issues need to be considered at this early stage such as:is the project going to use standard templates, formatting, version control, etc?how is the information to be searched?is it appropriate that certain information should be held in hard copy?If so, what information should be printed off?is it necessary that certain information will need to be archived at the end of the project? If so, how is this to be achieved?in terms of content of the documents, are there any legal issues which need to be considered? If so, what are they and is there some standard guidance available?
10 Stage 3. Identify sources of e-Project Information e-Project information sourcesThe project information sources can come from two areas:the information providersthe information usersIn some cases organisations will be both.e-Project information providersTypically, the e-Project information sources are approved persons or organisations that have a formal role as participants to provide information relative to the project.These are the project approved persons or organisations who have a formal role as participants within the project. The users list will typically include persons or organisations listed above as providers of information.
11 Stage 3. Identify sources of e-Project Information e-Project priority/riskInformation overload is a general problem in the industry.This assessment is to attempt to categorise and differentiate the importance of all information both provided and received.The following grading is suggested as a starting point:The project would categorically fail if this information is not provided or received by the intended parties in the appropriate or intended manner: HIGH RISKThe project would be exposed to the risk of a significant delay, inaccuracy and/or cost overrun if this information is not provided or received by the intended parties in the appropriate or anticipated manner: MEDIUM RISKThere would be little or no consequential effect to the progress of the project or project costs if this information is not provided or received by the intended parties in the appropriate or anticipated manner: LOW RISK
12 Stage 3. Identify sources of e-Project Information Communication capabilityNext, a communication capability assessment is required for all participants to ascertain the existing capabilities of these participants to both receive and deliver the project information without compromising the overall objectives of the project.This phase is key in assessing what issues have to be overcome within the project team members and their organisations in order for effective communication of project information to take place.Communication format & languageIt is important to assess the compatibility of software formats and languages for all the e-Project information.The objective is to determine as early as possible, whether there are divergences within the project team members and organisations in their use of computer base formats and the spoken languages .
13 Stage 3. Identify sources of e-Project Information Legal issuesStandard form construction contracts do not generally contemplate the use of electronic communications or wider electronic processes.The simplest and most effective way of achieving a sound contractual basis is probably to:Amend the construction contracts to allow for e-communication and where appropriate for notices to be permitted by .Allow for agreements between the customer and the technology provider.Allow for agreements between the project Participants governing their use of the applications.The important legal issues to address include:ConfidentialityDocument retention and archivingSecurityIntellectual property rights protectionStatus of soft information and its future admissibility as evidence should a dispute arise
14 Stage 3. Identify sources of e-Project Information Summary tableHaving captured the details concerning the e-Project information content, the information needs to be listed and the communication capability assessed.The guide suggests a tabular format that should highlight the priority of e-information content and sources, depending on its importance to the project, i.e. highlighting the risk of the e-Project.
15 Stage 4. Project information management tools Select software optionIn the absence of an existing relationship a cost benefit analysis should be carried out to identify a suitable software solution/ application that can support the needs and requirements of the e-Project.Determine e-Project efficienciesThe principal ‘raison d’être’ for the e-Project is its capacity to deliver project efficiencies.This is now the stage to try and evaluate this, both the tangible efficiencies and the intangible ones.The following areas where efficiencies could be evaluated are suggested:Cost savings in terms of time, quality and costExpenditures in terms of direct costs and indirect costs
16 Stage 4. Project information management tools Cost/benefit analysisBased on a tabulated list of the gross cost savings and the gross expenditures, the cost effectiveness of the e-Project can be determined.It is expected that this exercise will successfully validate the e-Project.It is recommended that the cost/ benefit analysis be used for benchmarking the success of the e-Project as it goes live in the future.Complete contract with software supplierMany vendors will carry either a standard licence or standard terms and conditions. Your ability to negotiate these terms will depend upon your bargaining power.The likely limitation liability relating to content from software suppliers needs to be transparent to all project participants.
18 Stage 5. Establish e-Project information processes A final preliminary stage is to determine the ‘rules of play’. Key standard processes to determine include the following:Which sources are providing which content?Who are the e-Project information sources addressed to?What are the codes for all the e-Project content? (e.g. drawing references)Who is responsible for managing the content and sources within companies and organisations?Who oversees and agrees changes to the approved e-Project sources and content?How will the content be transferred between sources? Will this be stored on a web-enabled software to agreed locations and files or will there be pre-determined locations on a project intranet?What are the control mechanisms in place to ensure the smooth operation of the e-Project?What are the e-Project performance strategic and operational benchmarks?A detailed understanding of the above processes will be necessary before identifying and selecting the software ‘host’ to facilitate the e-Project.
19 Stage 6. Set Up e-Project Infrastructure Setting up the necessary infrastructure for the e-Project is to be treated like a mini-project.The three key activities during Stage 6 are as follows:ACTIVITY 1: Select Software ‘host’ - it is important to ensure that the selected software company can effectively provide the required functionalities to the agreed e-Project scope benchmarks and support the improved information management processes described during Stage 4.ACTIVITY 2: Address infrastructure requirements for sources - The extent of any communication deficiencies have in theory been identified during the assessment made during Stage 3. This stage addresses the identified operational inadequacies for e-Project information management.ACTIVITY 3: Training - this stage is absolutely critical in ensuring that the user is both capable to use the software and familiar with the supporting infrastructure, but also that they understand the benefits and objectives from the e-Project.
20 Stage 7. Manage e-Project Information The real task of managing the e-Project information can effectively commence.Providing all the previous stages have been successfully completed, this task should essentially be self-running.All that is left is an appointed organisation to regulate the e-Project information management.The key responsibilities of the person/organisation would include:Monitor regularly the e-Project performance benchmarksReview regularly new requirements for information contentReview regularly new requirements for information sourcesReview regularly new requirements for changes to approved processesReview regularly performance of e-Project infrastructure including software toolAssess feedback on the performance of the e-Project information management systemThe key concept to remember is that the nature of the project is dynamic, with constant changes to not only the designs and ideas but also the surrounding environment.
21 Stage 8. e-Project Information Management Feedback It is important, particularly for serial clients to have a suggested feedback session on the performance of the e-Project information management system.The objective of such a session would be improving the performance of the e-Project information management for the next project.Areas to focus on could be:Were the benchmarks met?What worked well and what did not?How can the performance be improved?With information from this feedback session, future e-Project processes can be improved encouraging continual improvement in the performance and benefits to all project parties exchanging, managing and using e-Project information.