Project Controls are often perceived as a black art, revolving around advanced planning tools and ERP solutions. However, the basics are often ignored and should be an integral part of every commercial strategy. Fusion-Commercial look to simplify the process, structured around the basic building blocks that underpin effective project control, starting with:
An understanding that the key to project controls is to provide a logical link between how project data is organised, referenced and analysed. By project data we mean estimates, programmes, costs, progress measures and documents within systems as well as other data we would normally manage in schedules or trackers such as procurement plans, risk registers, change registers etc.
Simplifying Project Controls
It is true that Project Controls can provide a business, a programme or project with valuable performance management reports and dashboards at the push of a button however the fundamental basics of Project Controls are the same irrespective of whether the outputs are driven from an ERP (enterprise-wide) software solution, a series of integrated solutions, a BI (Business Intelligence tool) or a series of Excel Worksheets.
Rule #1 of project control is to define and agree the common WBS levels for your projects and programmes.
With common WBS levels in place, your projects and programmes can benefit from consistent coding and referencing through all disciplines enabling commonality of budgets, cost codes, programme analysis and even document filing.
Simple project controls can be put in place, bringing enormous, benefits by adopting this Rule on even the smallest most straightforward projects yet without these basics even the most sophisticated software solution could not deliver effective project controls.
Adopting Common Frameworks
Adopting common levels to reference elements of your Projects and Programmes.
Break your contract into bite-size elements reflecting how it will be delivered to control and monitor the following:
- The programme.
- The budget and what you have earned from it.
- The costs: commitments, accruals and actuals.
- The procurement schedules.
- The risk register.
- The change register.
- The document filing structure.
Our experience is that if you leave the definition of each of these to the individual team members responsible, they will each define it differently losing the benefits of consistency in how you manage and measure your performance.
Fusion-Commercial can assist you to ensure that a sensible level of common analysis is arrived at and agreed by key stakeholders. The structure must be thoroughly thought through and then stuck to. If the aim is to collect too much detail, particularly in the areas of cost capture or document filing, then the project controls initiative could be doomed to fail.
Each situation can be slightly different but there is always an optimum level for the common analysis between those that want deeper analysis for greater accuracy in the forecast and those that simply want some controls in place.
Simplicity is Key
Fusion-Commercial have implemented effective project controls solutions within a number of businesses across many sectors of the construction industry. Our experience is that simplicity is the key, defining the common WBS levels for analysis of budget, cost to date, work done to date and programme is the most important task you will carry out.
It is possible to implement effective project controls solutions within contracting organisations but it is not something that comes naturally, although IT systems may seem like the magic bullet they never are on their own and need experienced resources to guide your staff through defining sensible coding, documenting the processes and educating the staff.
We will take you through this stage and beyond depending on your appetite and the business case for developing and automating the project controls tools and solutions allowing you take the first steps towards providing your commercial and project management teams with adequate tools to track and compare cost and time without the need for constant re-analysis thereby allowing your teams to make informed decisions in a timely manner.
From here we can work with you towards additional sophistication if the need truly exists to establish if you do need a fully integrated IT solution or are you better putting your time and effort into a repeatable strategy that brings you the control you need?
Project Controls & Commercial Management
Project Controls is an emerging discipline within the UK construction industry, at Fusion-Commercial we believe that the core elements of Project Controls are the same as the core elements of Commercial Management and that the two professions and disciplines overlap.
Our philosophy is that commercial management provides the processes and project controls that define the systems and outputs in the form of reports and dashboards but that all of this can be managed within the commercial department of an organisation.
Benefits of using Fusion to drive your project controls
- Drive from leadership – we will gain trust and support from those at the top to reinforce the message cascade.
- Input from experienced members of staff – engagement with middle management to use their knowledge and experience within the business.
- Pragmatic approach to defining the common levels – there is an optimum level of detail v data capture & analysis, you just need to find it, Fusion-Commercial have experience of this.
- Link to existing processes where possible – there is no need to reinvent every wheel.
- Stakeholder buy in – managing expectations and communicating with staff is a strength within our consultancy.
- Use key owners of data to drive accuracy.
- Training & education within commercial teams in particular.
- People orientated approach to change management.
Working with Us
Fusion-Commercial can give you the edge with project controls by creating a framework to reference all your project data and information. We are the enabler who will turn this common weakness into a strength for your organisation by setting you up to succeed. Click on the link below to discuss how our agile resourcing solutions might work in mobilising your project more effectively.