‘where is this months cost report..... is it updated as of today and who's providing the programme report, what did we report last month?’.
It still staggering how we report and accept Project reporting within construction, we still see site teams running around at the end of the month pulling reports together by the core team members. Frightening still is when you hear ‘don’t report that, we’ll catch up next month or no need to show that variation we’ll deal with it at final account’.
What’s the problem – it works….
Does it really work though?
Chasing individuals at the end of the month for their input often does not provide the time for the Project Manager and his team to fully analysis and understand the report content and put plans in place to take advantage of gains or deal with risks.
By the time Senior Management or Client’s see the report days or weeks may have passed and opportunities to make positive decisions may have passed or worse still leave little time react to negative issues.
Is the content meaningful – is it produced because ‘the boss wants a report, or it’s the clients report’?
We’re seeing now the Financial Reporting Authority digging deeper into the Project reporting of Carillion and whether financial reports were correct and correctly translated into their financial statements. There is potential here of the impact of inaccurate reporting – it will be interesting to see how this unravels.
We still see the ‘claims’ coming at the end of the contact – often a result of getting well through the Project and then realising there is a BIG problem in terms of cost, programme or quality. More often driven by the fact such events hadn’t been raised in the project reporting and clients and contractors come to locker heads on the issue(s).
Solution – we can do away with the traditional ‘reporting’
Change is never easy but with the advances in technology we’re at the stage now where we need to change our mindset, methods and move away from the traditional month end report. In 2018 we trialled a number of platforms to test how live reporting can work. Of course, we experienced challenges and teething problems but the results and the opportunity to improve further means we’ll never go back to traditional ways!
With site teams using platforms and software to log daily information the technology can pick out key information or the required KPI’s. We can now simply log into the platform and see project status as a live or real time report.
Its efficient in terms of no running around to produce reports, real time reporting allows site teams to review, understand and act on decisions with more time.
It breads transparency; allowing early recognition of project status improves performance, decision making, accountability and ownership.
What’s key is the whole team (including the client) change the mindset – you will see positive items being reported and no doubt some negative at some stage of the project cycle. Don’t criticise the bad, by all means dig deeper into issues and ask for more detail to ensure it’s investigated and managed correctly as a team.
Promoting team work; at the end of the day projects are delivered successfully by creating a great team. Providing transparent live project reports we naturally encourage working together to spot opportunities or risks and move away from the ‘let’s ignore that it’s someone else’s problem’. Most platforms are not purely ‘reporting’ platforms and allow workflow and communication to all interface and link in one place.
Data capture; utilising such reports and tools we capture data in a way that it’s so much more meaningful, not just to manage the project on a daily basis but to really understand trends, risk, quality, cost profiles etc which provides greater detail to use at pre-construction stage enabling us to build robust information for future projects.
So when it comes to Project reporting let’s change, embrace technology for the better, promote transparency and take another step at improving our Construction Industry.
The great thing is most platforms allow you to track any specific KPI’s and then drill down into more detail when required, most can be set up and presented in a range of formats such as examples below;
If you like to discuss further our thoughts and approach to reporting please get in touch; firstname.lastname@example.org