Ramblings of a construction nerd... Woodpecker holes in our ship.

Miree Le Roy - Thursday, November 17, 2016

We all have woodpecker's who mean well but can work against us at any time... leaving holes everywhere and creating risk. The little devils can show up in our thinking, in our relationships, in our business and especially in the world of construction project information management (or lack of information management)

During my construction career where I learned out of desperation how to apply technology I found a trail of those feathered beaky hardhats' workmanship in many places. Hell, I created some myself (having to learn the hard way how to manage them).

To understand this issue (code for knowing what you don't know) you have to understand the true definition of "Project Management" from an information management definition which means everything project related... all document management, all budgeting, all contractual management, change management, communications, scheduling, costing ... it is all related to managing the risk of any project and should be housed OR accessed through a central library. NOT some of it... ALL of it! Without all of it in one central source... woodpeckers show up.

The History of the Construction Woodpecker Species:

"Giantopolis Woodpeckermost" - ...From the days of Moses and the time of the estimating on a Big Chief pad of rock or new-fangled text spreadsheet islands. It was nirvana... sort of, well, no it sucked. That woodpecker was so heavy and slow the job was done before anyone saw the data... but we could manage the holes! Oh, then you gotta redo the data after someone points out your lousy typing skills (Before Google Talk - BGT). The ship had holes and was taking on water! What's one or two holes?

Now your project mobilization and execution. We had MORE spreadsheets to track Requests for Information (RFIs), Requests for Quotes (RFQs), Submittal Items, on and on, all while attempting to keep up to date who had what where and when. The winged varmints were teaming up at the vendor level AND the owner level on that one, and getting more agile at holes!

"Schedulopolis Disappearious"Woodpecker - Scheduling... another island to itself with a special subgenus breed of woodpecker. During the night, they disappear and then re-appear later only to cause project delays and miscommunications leaving holes in the schedule (and they blame someone else). Order the water pumps from the rental company... now!

With ten fingers and toes holding the ship together now we had the rapid "Darwin" evolution of the drawings, their logs and multiple versions! That woodpecker had a Tim Allen chain saw for a beak and his hole was becoming a porthole and from the inside out!

"Blackimus Holiest" woodpecker of the subgenus "Outlookerus Endless Emailus" - The greatest species of woodpecker of all with the dreaded email hole and the millions of attachment holes (and, a hidden trial lawyer). Where do I put all this sawdust?

"Stealthius Accountmonthius" Woodpecker- And who gets all the technology priorities in the organization? Accounting, of course is across the aisle in their strange world of projections, forecasts, over and under somethings, costs to complete or cost at completion (roll the monthly dice) and all isolated holes from operations. Some of us considered them a different form of woodpecker... no hardhats and they sneak up on you at the end of the month to ruin your day. Keep bailing water, check on the life vests, would ya?


Today they call all this stuff "in the cloud" and a... "point solution"... an island for each component and still no integration. Technology takes two steps backwards with each step forward because of inoperability and disparate islands... the spreadsheets have now flown to the cloud and are breeding little bitty new spreadsheets! It is back to the future!

Fear not my fellow woodpecker hole-plugging bird watchers... today there are woodpecker hole busters showing up for the enlightened who get it... project data and communications that can be integrated into a single central source to access all project data... even if there are multiple mission critical applications already in place. Yes, they really can share data (mostly)!

Pray tell, you ask, "How can that be?"

IPMus Integraticus Projectus HoleFixerus" - A new generation breed of bird tamer, IPM Global Project Management is one of those "woodpecker hole fixin'" solutions. It plugs all the gaps by putting documents, budgets, committed contracts, change management, and other stuff all in a central library of data... your create it , store it, query it there! Designed FOR Project Managers... not some bad component from the accounting system.

HAH, you say!... what about accounting? They ain't changing systems EVER from that digital abacus! IPM solved the mystery of the Rock of Ages accounting department by integrating seamlessly to most construction accounting systems on the market... seamlessly and bi-directional (that's a woodpecker hole plugged on both sides!). I can see the accounting's cost activity from within IPM in real-time, anytime, without having to keep two sets of records or going to two different applications... and all the while making accounting happy I'm not in their stuff anymore.

O.K. you say... what about the email wars? NO ONE can plug that hoover dam leak!

Oh contraire, my friend! IPM tamed the dreaded Outlookerus Endless Emailus bird in a humane way by auto tagging and filing emails for you from Outlook. In fact... you can run IPM project management from WITHIN Outlook if you want... or just any browser (yes you Apple lovers... Safari as well).

Oh... It even dynamically integrates scheduling where you can see or edit the schedule from within IPM while updating external programs like MS Project Scheduling or P6 Scheduling. Nah-Nah.

With one source of all project truth in IPM and full interoperability to your existing scheduling and accounting, the only woodpecker hole left is the one in your head saying this can't be! Check 'em out and get rid of that last hole...


Robin Harris, Woodpecker Tamer, rharris@IPMGlobal.net

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