Project Information Management: The New Paradigm

Posted by Angie Amburgey on April 8, 2019

writing on post it board

Modern business is moving at a record speed. To keep up, firms need to work smarter and more efficiently to maximize employee productivity and reduce risk. Project profitability is the foundation of every successful project-based business with employees and clients as the key players. At the heart of it all is your company’s project information. When project information is unstructured, unorganized and difficult to find, businesses become chaotic, scrambling to find the information they need. This affects employee productivity and ultimately project profitability.

Has your firm considered the business impact and potential billable hours lost due to unorganized and disparate documents, drawings and emails? With six out of 10 Architecture and Engineering firms still using network folders as their document management system, it’s no surprise that employees face the risk of accidental deletion and misplaced files due to drag-and-drop displacement as well as inconsistent filing nomenclatures. In addition, employees may not have access to the most current set of documents because they are buried in a project manager’s inbox.

The new paradigm – one solution for managing project information

Wouldn’t life be easier if your project information was searchable and available 24/7 from any location? Just as businesses moved away from stationary desktop computers to laptops and smart devices, we are seeing the same trend with information management technology. The new paradigm is moving away from disparate folders and files and to a firm-wide information management system that makes it easy to find and manage project emails, documents, drawings and more. This system includes features like built-in auto detection of the most current version of each document, simplifying the complexity of document and drawing management.

Employees thrive when they are able to access the information they need to be effective with just a few clicks. With a Project Information Management system, all information is accessible firm-wide in one place including emails, drawings, forms and all other critical project information. Learn more about the basics of Project Information Management in this free eBook, Project Information Management for Dummies. You’ll find tips on how to get organized, track design deliverables, and create a system that’s mobile and convenient.

 

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Moving to streamlined project information management

As a business leader, where do you start to move your firm into this new paradigm of streamlined project information management? It isn’t as simple as implementing a software package and you’re done. And if you’re stuck in quadrant one of The Eisenhower Decision Matrix (urgent and important) you may never get there without setting the intention that this is where you want to go. As a business leader it’s about looking at the business from a higher perspective – from the hawk’s vantage point and then moving in with a strategy that will build a solid foundation that supports the growth of the business, the employees, and overall profitability and productivity.

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Start by breaking it down into these three steps:

Step 1: Evaluation

Determine What is Working Well and Areas for Improvement

Set aside time to evaluate your current systems and processes, determining what is working well and which areas of your project information management could benefit from process improvement. Identify how and why projects have gone over budget. Debrief with project teams to find out what is going well and where there is opportunity for improvement. By including the larger team, you’ll garner insight on areas for improvement and discover new opportunities you may not have considered.

Step 2: Strategy & Solution Selection

Create Your New Paradigm

Create a vision for your project information management strategy and document the strategy. For example, do you want your entire team to access the most current set of drawings? Or maybe you’d like to reduce risk by making sure employees can only access the most current version of a drawing. Determine which system components are critical for helping your team and company thrive. What will have the greatest impact on employee productivity? How can you increase productivity by focusing employees on billable work rather than searching for files? These considerations will help increase utilization rates.

Determine the type of solution that will benefit your firm and which features are most important to the success of your firm and future growth. Do you want the solution to be cloud-based? Is it important that employees have mobile access to files when they are at project sites? Do you need email management that integrates with Microsoft Outlook and your ERP system? Think about where your business is now and where you’d like to be in five to 10 years. Set the framework for infrastructure that supports this growth.

Step 3: Implementation & Training

Share Your Vision

Once you’ve selected the solution and strategy, it’s time for implementation! This will take some time to get everything set up and in place. Once the new system is implemented, it’s imperative to establish standards for the team and offer training. Knowing that change is not always easy, you’ll want to share the overall vision and benefits of this new system with your team. Explain that while it may take some initial ramp-up time, it will save time in the long run while also reducing risk and improving efficiencies.

It is often helpful to break up training, and sometimes even implementation, into sections to give the team time to gradually learn the new systems for each of the core areas of the business. For example, you could start with email management and then gradually add in training on other systems or functionality. Learn how you can implement Deltek PIM Email Management Quick Start first in this webcast.

Start your journey towards the new paradigm of Project Information Management

A structured project information management strategy organizes company information into an easy-to-use efficient system, empowers employees, and ultimately boosts project profitability. Watch this webcast to learn how CDG Engineers & Associates moved from document management chaos to integrated project information management, bringing seven offices with disconnected information systems into one interconnected solution.

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About the Author

Angie Amburgey is committed to helping businesses succeed through innovative solutions that power project success. Her career includes 15 years in the AEC and technology sectors. As Marketing Manager at Deltek, Angie helps AEC firms move to the next level of organized efficiency and project profitability. Connect with Angie on LinkedIn.