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Transitioning to Remote Project Management

Transitioning to Remote Project Management, Clarice Kinsella

As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, remote management of projects is essential. Communities depend on safe and reliable infrastructure, so utilities have a commitment to continue moving critical projects forward — even when key personnel are unable to be in the office or field.

Utilizing online collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Zoom is the first step, but remote project monitoring requires more sophisticated software. With the right applications in place, utilities can continue operating, managing projects, and communicating efficiently and effectively with their teams, clients and vendors.

These five project management applications — accessed using a web browser — can help utilities stay abreast of project progress and continue moving projects forward:

  • Project and construction management. In the current environment, a web-based platform for managing project and construction data is crucial. Procore management tools provide a variety of project-related functions and allow clients to access timely information in a central repository. Procore supports cost management and includes features that enhance communication among the project team, external contractors and vendors. These features include requests for information modules, change control, submittal management and invoicing.
  • Document management. Successful remote project monitoring depends on efficient information sharing. This requires all project team members to be engaged on one platform that supports all file types without file size limits. Oracle Aconex is a leading cloud collaboration platform for the global architecture, engineering and construction industry. It provides projectwide visibility and control among the many different entities collaborating on a project. Internal and external team members alike can access project data regardless of whether they are in the construction trailer or their living room.
  • Portfolio management. Proper front-end project development increases the chances of project success during execution. A portfolio management tool facilitates this process by tracking projects and advancing them through stage gates as they meet requirements. Capital program scenario planning can be especially powerful when projects may need to be shuffled around to accommodate a dynamic environment. Using a tool like Oracle Primavera Portfolio Management, teams can advance the business process and projects through online stage gate approval, add or remove items from the budget and authorize project execution digitally.
  • Dashboard reporting. A business analytics tool that provides configurable, role-based dashboard reporting is also important. Microsoft Power BI provides dependable data with decreased report assembly time and minimal human errors. Regardless of which backbone project management platform you use, Power BI can be configured to aggregate data from various databases, tables and spreadsheets through integration or data staging.
  • Schedule management. Remote project scheduling keeps projects moving regardless of where you are. Oracle Primavera P6 Enterprise hosts live project schedules, cash flow-related data and performance measurement baselines. Activities are grouped by work breakdown structures or contracts so the groups responsible for the work can provide updates remotely and reliably. P6 can also provide schedule and project status reporting. It also has the ability to migrate your desktop schedules to a cloud-based P6 platform.

These latest technologies can help you stay connected with colleagues, clients and vendors. The implementation and integration of these applications with an enterprise system allows you to scale up or down to meet your unique project needs, facilitating a  seamless transition to remote project monitoring.

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Clarice Kinsella
Written by Clarice Kinsella
Clarice is a senior project manager and PMO business unit manager for Burns & McDonnell with almost 20 years of experience in the power industry. She leads development and execution of large-scale fossil fuel and renewable energy projects and consults with clients on capital projects management and delivery.

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