Nov 19 2013

CONJECT launches cloud-based EVM at Project Controls Expo

Project Controls ExpoHaving done our little bit (post) to get some delegates along to the 2013 Project Controls Expo conference and exhibition at Twickenham last week, it was gratifying to find the event wasn’t dominated by oil and gas or defence industry representatives, and there was a good number of people from civil engineering and building construction too.

When I attended the event a couple of years ago, it was a pale imitation of its current self. This year’s event was bigger and busier, reflecting a growing interest in specialist knowledge and tools for project management. As well as the participation of accepted industry giants such as Oracle’s Primavera, Project Controls Expo also now attracts a good number of niche suppliers – some targeting IT solutions or consulting services at particular industries, others targeting niche specialisms across multiple industries.

The Expo helps to improve people’s practical and theoretical knowledge of project control processes, tools and techniques, and it was good to hear speaker David Birch, head of project controls at National Grid plc, send a clear message that applying robust and consistent change control is a fundamental baseline issue:

“The establishment of a baseline should be a fundamental building block to the successful delivery of a project and is a best practice within our industry. … The baseline – together with disciplined and rigorous change control – will enable status, progress and forecasting to be reported accurately and effectively. This should form the basis for informed management decisions allowing delivery strategies to be adjusted, where necessary, to ensure that the objectives that drive a project are met.”

Earned Value Management functionality now available

Earned value completion schedule graphAs well as our CONJECT Project Control application, we talked about our new cloud-based Earned Value Management (EVM) functionality (released this month), showing how the key issues of quality, time and cost, can be measured and deliver accurate forecasts of project performance at multiple levels: across programmes, projects and individual work packages.

From talking to delegates at the show, it seems lack of consistency in control procedures is a major challenge for many people engaged in project/programme management. Perhaps civil engineering and construction people gravitated towards us, for the users we spoke to tended to be NEC3 contract users, and they were often reliant on conventional spreadsheet approaches to project management and EVM rather than using specialist applications (see also previous post).

Over the past 12 months CONJECT has worked closely with several customers to develop and implement EVM capabilities as an integrated component of our Software-as-a-Service Project Control platform. Our EVM system is now being used by customers in the UK and USA. Gleeds USA uses it to support the management of major pipeline programmes for Atlanta Gas Corporation, and Gleeds’ head of project controls Will Burton said:

“Using the Earned Value Management module we have increased our accuracy, and significantly reduced the time taken to produce our Earned Value data. This allows us then to accurately forecast our Earned Value and our project cost to completion.”

About the author

Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper is Managing Director of Conject Ltd. He has spent over 25 years within the construction and engineering software markets, successfully running sales and marketing teams. He spent a number of years at SAP within their E&C practice, set up and managed a distribution channel in Asia Pacific for a division of Misys and ran a sales and marketing team within CSB COINS. In 2000 he gained an MBA from Henley Management College.

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