4 steps to better trace project information across your firm
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You might be wondering what we mean when we talk about data traceability. In short, it refers to how well your firm can use project data to trace the history of any project's activities, where they took place, and how they were applied.
If you get it right, it leads to more project visibility and control and reduced risk of project overrun and failed audits. But get it wrong, and the results could be devastating to your projects – and your firm.
Even in organizations with the most robust project plans in place, disruptions, rework and project delays can still happen. And when they do, contract claims follow in their wake.
When contract claims happen, your firm is quickly funneled down one of two paths:
- With the right level of data traceability, your firm can analyze changes to the project plan, assess the impact and accountability, and easily report precisely where and when evidence of problems existed. In short, you can deal with claims faster, and with less risk of further action.
- Without any data traceability, you can miss crucial information on your projects that could shorten the time it takes to settle a contract claim – leading to extra disruption and costs to your firm.
Unfortunately, once on one path, you can't easily switch to another. This isn't decided once a claim is filed either; the claims of tomorrow will be influenced by the solutions you deploy today to help managers tag and trace project data.
That's why we recently ran a webinar on this topic. In 'Cutting Through the Chaos: Contracts Claims Analysis with Acumen', we explore how firms like yours can use Deltek Acumen alongside their existing Deltek solutions to manage risk across the entire project portfolio.
The 30-minute, on-demand webinar dives deep into the topic, but if you're looking to get an introduction to project data traceability and how Deltek Acumen can help, this blog will talk you through your first four steps.
Cutting Through the Chaos
Contracts Claims Analysis with Acumen
4 steps to kickstart your data traceability
While it might not seem too difficult to trace your project data, many hurdles can stand in the way of true data traceability. These four steps can help you overcome the challenges, and enjoy smoother projects, simpler claims processes and reduced risk.
1. Plan project structures with your ideal output in mind
When it comes to your project costing structure, spending a little time upfront can save you a lot of time further down the line. By carefully defining your cost structure around the end product your firm wants to see, you can ensure projects use coding and work breakdown structures that help you rapidly collect the information you need.
2. Define and track project management processes
As a high-performance firm, you already have robust project management processes and principles in place. But it's crucial you don't take a "one size fits all" approach to your diverse projects – and the teams that drive them. Thankfully, there are many tools out there that can help automate your monthly business rhythm and guide teams through your processes with confidence
3. Ensure data integrity
Great data starts with data integrity. And data integrity is only possible when your teams follow process every single time. Even the occasional break from due process can disrupt the accuracy and reliability of your data, leading to invalid KPIs, leaders making the wrong decisions, and, ultimately, higher costs for your firm – and your customers.
4. Perform regular data quality checks
Make sure your project management tools can help you assess the quality of your project data. Only by regularly checking data quality in your project management platform can you make sure you're ready to self-audit, understand and defend any anomalies in your data, and get the metrics you need before sending your data off to auditing bodies.
Can't do these four things with your current tools? It might be time for a change.
These four steps can set you on the path to success for project data traceability and contract claims management. But unless your project management platform supports you in planning project structures, defining and executing processes, ensuring data integrity and checking data quality, you may still have a some challenges ahead of you.
If your project management tools don't give you what you need to ensure data traceability, it might be time to assess what other tools are available for your firm.
In our webinar, 'Cutting Through the Chaos: Contracts Claims Analysis with Acumen', we explore how firms can use Deltek Acumen to analyze changes to project plans strategically, assess the impact and accountability, and easily report where and when evidence of problems occurred.
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