Using Rules of Credit for Percent Complete in 4castplus
How do you figure out percent complete on a project? How is it you go about objectively assigning a reasonable and accurate measurement of how far along you are on an item of work? How many times have you asked, “Hey, where did that number come from?”
Most any manager, VP or director who has to oversee the work of his or her team of project managers has a big worry about this very thing. They know the temptation that exists for a project manager to leverage a little creative license with the numbers to make the project look a little more rosy than it is in reality. Customers on the receiving side of a progress draw are equally aware of the tendency to big-up the progress numbers in order to fatten the invoice.
The 4castplus Rules of Credit system is an ideal remedy for managing the subjective nature of applying percent complete on project activities and workpackages. Here’s a quick explanation of how it works:
For any activity in the work breakdown structure, a project manager can define any number of milestone events that define the incremental progress of that activity . An example milestone could be, “Drawings Completed”. Another milestone could be “Pre-construction Completed”.
Connected with that, a percent complete value is associated with each milestone. All milestones in the activity will tally up to 100%. As work is completed, these milestones can be checked-off as completed and the associated percent will be auto-applied to the activity. The whole project is then calculated to roll-up EVM numbers to every level of the WBS. Documents can be uploaded and attached to each rule-of-credit milestone both when they’re created and as they’re completed. The purpose of the documents is so that project managers can supply documented proof of each completed rules milestone. They can also enter remarks for each milestone.
Rules of Credit come in two flavors: milestone-based (described above) and schedule-based rules – which I’ll describe here. Schedule-based Rules of Credit defined by EVM standards are rules such as the 20/80 rule or 50/50 rule. In these cases, there are no milestones to complete – the system simply auto-sets the percent complete based on the scheduled start & end dates of the activity. For example, in the 20/80 rule, the system will auto-set the task as 20% complete at the start date, and then set it to 100% complete at the scheduled end date. These types of rules are preferred for shorter-duration tasks or projects (like 2 months or less). Especially those that don’t have a lot of complexity and chance for variance.
Using Physical Units of Progress
Setting percent complete on an activity can also be calculated by tallying up the physical completion of a variety of granular items. For example, to complete a workpackage may require multiple sub-activities that can be progressed as specific units of measure. Such as 17 of 30 Socket Welds completed, plus 9 of 41 Flanges Bolted, etc. 4castplus also provides a simple solution for progressing at this granular level. It’s a sub-workpackage WBS item called a Deliverable. Deliverables are designed to make it easy for construction managers to enter these units of physical progress – and the Percent Complete of the Workpackage will be a calculated rollup value based on the accumulated completed Deliverables.
For the milestone rules of credit, 4castplus enables users to create standardized templates that can be reused and applied at their discretion. This not only saves valuable time, but also enables companies to establish norms for earning rules.
If you click on the screenshot to the right, you’ll see columns that represent calculated EVM numbers that are derived from baseline estimate, actual cost and percent complete. Some of these percent complete values were set using the rules of credit system and some were manually entered by a project manager. You’ll also see columns representing quantities and rates like #Drawings or Cubic Yards. These columns are not connected with the rules of credit system, but are a further method that 4castplus provides to measure progress.
Additionally, users have to be granted specific permissions to both create and complete rules of credit. This means that you can be very specific about who is allowed to do the following:
- Create Rules of Credit Templates
- Apply rules milestones to tasks
- Mark rules milestones as completed.
This provides full control and audit of who did what, and where the numbers came from.
Of course, the use of Rules of Credit is a configurable option in 4castplus, so entering percent complete can still be done manually if that’s a preferred practice in your business. You can also choose which tasks are progressed using earning rules, and which are manual. The flexibility is there to manage this with total controlled oversight, or with loosely controlled discretionary management; and everything in-between.
Finally, detailed reports are available that break-down project progress that include completed milestone. This provides the tools for project managers to justify their progress numbers. It can also provide substantiating invoice backup for a progress draw.