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  • 1.  Project management reports

    Posted 04-03-2017 03:00 PM

    In my career in program management, I have struggled with the types of reports I need to be able to proactively manage projects and programs.  I have cost reports galore that give me a history of expenses, but not much on project performance or how to proactively manage issues and expenditure trends.  Other than earned value (EV) and forecast-at-completion (FAC), what other metrics and reports have helped you to proactively manage large programs?

    Douglas Sereno P.E., D.PE, ENV SP, F.ASCE
    Anaheim CA

  • 2.  RE: Project management reports

    Posted 04-05-2017 03:46 PM
    You are correct, EV will provide future metrics based on past performance! It can provide calculated performance of EAC' and FAC's for the project or any measured leg of the WBS.

    I personally put strength in monthly status meetings with the IPT Leads to update "live" the work completed in the current month against actual costs and schedule progress. But, equally important during that meeting is to obtain updated ETC for man hours and non-labor purchases. This will yield their inputs on the latest developments. I also would have someone there from the procurement group present to validate the non-labor procurement times. When you sink all this info together, it should provide a better picture. You can also use your intuition on input from problematic Leads.

    We use a fairly simple report, updated monthly, that has the total costs ( historic and future ), reconciled to the contract value on excel Tab 1. Tab 2 has the labor hours (where head count realities are evident), and Tab 3devoted to non-labor costs at prime $$ (easily recognized by IPTs and the procurement group to properly track these efforts. This one excel sheet works wonders at keeping the team in the know and protects the profit position.

    Hope this helps!
    Craig Repp, PE, PMP

    Sent from my iPad

  • 3.  RE: Project management reports

    Posted 04-06-2017 10:14 AM
    Douglas Sereno:

    In my first management job as Director of Design & Construction for a hospital operations company, I found the same problem. Reports designed by accountants with cost history galore. Within the first 100 days I did 2 things: convinced the CFO to allow me to hire a cost accountant who would do "commitment accounting" primarily to aid project management. In a moving project where contracts are being let and changes, proposed changes, unforeseen events, and all other things happening that have money and time consequences, we had to know where we were and where we were going financially as soon as possible. This is necessary because there are also discretionary desires which might be accommodated if we know the mandatory costs.

    Second item was to design a report that was primarily an exception report, and secondarily required one to step back and gather all that has happened since the last report into a reference document, and just as importantly, things that were on the horizon or likely to happen. It read like a technical paper with a one page summary that the CEO or President would read, but with detailed attachments that told the whole story for others to delve into. On that "Executive Summary" page I made sure it was clear if I was in need of decisions needed from upper management, as well as the "Open Items" and who was the go to person for that item. The report became a sought after document in the board room. It was organized and bound like a legal brief. Larger projects would include a table of contents and index tabs. Smaller projects, or those just getting started would be shorter. But the cover was very identifiable and the Executive Summary format was always the same. The Construction In Progress (CIP) report showed project detail and summarized to the full corporate budget and clearly showed anticipated costs as best as could be projected each month. This was the beginning of the end of major surprises.

    As the project managers began to use the report it became an ongoing document that by the end of the month was virtually in place. As time went on we had the architect, engineers and general contractor include their own page - with part formatted and part free to say what they wanted about the project and their concerns. This became a tremendous tool because they all knew that all eyes could see what was happening and what was not happening and that we all had a stake in the project's success. In the beginning everyone hated it - nothing but extra work. But eventually it became routine. It made my job incredibly easier.

    Hope this helps.

    Michael Gruby, PE, M.ASCE
    San DiegoCA