Early warning system

The project system signal early warnings

The contractor annual runs projects amounting to several Billion SEK. In one of its subsidiaries a few projects were really large with hundreds of employees on each. Daily production was run by sub PMs handing out workorder cards each morning, all pre-coded with different activities. The team leader for the bluecollar team registered the amount of work and by whom throughout the day. At the end of the day the cards were handed over to a payroll administrator who registered all hours for all activities into the ERP. This frequent data capture allowed the PM team in these large projects to monitor production vs plan on a weekly basis which was especially beneficial for recurring activities such as building a series of bridge pillars. They were in those instances able to see trends in productivity and whether it was going in the right direction, and if not put in place mitigating measures quickly.

In the role as the clients PM for developing common ways-of-working across the group and implementing a shared ERP we identified this best-practice way of working as a key project goal for the entire implementation project. However, the solution did not scale so as part of the project we built a scalable solution which we integrated seamlessly with the ERP.

The outcome of the implemented solution was that the PMs got their entire report package supplied by the tool which gave them control over project progress. Management made it their routine to ask for this report in the project review meetings held monthly. This made it important for PMs to learn to use the tool.

The most important and difficult challenge was to convince middle management and project managers in the subsidiaries where a tradition of strong project controls was lacking. This made it hard to have them support the daily data collection needed. In certain cases management had to command the implementation and also use financial incentives.

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