Sunday, January 8, 2012

Solutions and Apps for Managing Work

Introduction: What is Work Management?

We all spend some part of our day doing work. The work might depend on walk-in customers, so you can’t predict the number you’ll have in a day. You work as required. A park ranger, for example, measures the work by the traffic through the park, and requirements that may arise if one of the visitors needs help. So, work, and work volume, that is not cleanly defined or planned, is what project controls people refer to as "indirect work."

Supervisory and routine tasks, such as management and security duties, are also examples of indirect work. This work is very necessary—it is not as quantifiable as direct work, i.e. work that is planned. For example, people, who are members of a project, a construction or a maintenance crew, have their work planned in advance. The term "direct work" effectively describes planned (estimated and scheduled) work, as this type of work is defined prior to being done. Consumable materials and equipment that are required for direct work have to be procured in advance so that the crew can execute and complete it efficiently.

This distinction between direct and indirect work helps us to focus on how we manage the work as we move through the work management process. The major aspects of work management help us to focus on the tools that are needed to perform the tasks that need to be done.

Work Management tools are designed to enable people to do the following work-related tasks easily:

  • Define the scope of the work to be done to a new or existing asset
  • Estimate and budget the costs of the labor, equipment, and materials required to complete the work
  • Plan and schedule the work
  • Execute the work per the plan and schedule
  • Report progress of the plan
  • Track changes that affect the budget and the plan
  • Commission or start-up the completed asset
  • Review actual performance of project versus planned performance and record lessons learned

While performing each of these tasks, other elements help ensure that the work being done is compliant with regulatory standards such as health, environmental, and safety requirements. Financial regulations associated with spending controls, risk assessment, and mitigation are factored in. Lessons learned are recorded to enable the development of best practices for the the execution of future projects.

How does TeamWork Group manage different types of work environments?

Work environments define the type of work we do, and, therefore, the type of work that is to be managed. Examples of different work environments include construction sites, fabrication shops, software development teams, Project Management Offices (PMOs), shutdowns, turnarounds or outages (STO), movie sets, maintenance shop floors, process plants, college and school campuses, hotels and building management, website development, etc. Each environment requires a focused and consistent methodology to manage the type of work that predominates in that environment. Additionally, the organization responsible for doing the work is often a contractor, vendor, or other service provider company; we’ll call them a CSV company. In order to manage all the project or maintenance work, the CSV company has to have a set of tools similar to those of the owner of the assets—the company that benefits from the completed project.

How TeamWork Group’s solutions address the needs of different work environments

TeamWork Group configures a solution that fits each work environment. Typically, this is done in consultation and in conjunction with the Owner’s or CSV’s Project or Maintenance team. To speed this process along, TeamWork Group has predefined solutions for a few environments that are made available in the Evergreen Company Demo available on the website. Please contact TeamWork Group via the business website at www.teamworkgroup.com in order to register your interest in reviewing, exploring, and test-driving these solutions. Let us know if you want to work on a solution not listed.

Solutions that support specific work environments and management modes are included in the table:
Work EnvironmentWork Manager: OwnerWork Manager: Contractor, Service Provider or Vendor (CSV)
Capital Projects and Portfolios (PMO)TeamWork Solutions  for PMOTeamWork Solutions for CSV
Shutdown /Turnaround /Outage Projects (STO)TeamWork Solutions for STOTeamWork Solutions for CSV
Routine and Preventive Maintenance Programs (RPM)TeamWork Solutions for RPMTeamWork Solutions for CSV

Each solution may be combined with components from other solutions to meet the needs of a specific work environment. For example, a city or county has a portfolio of capital projects involving streets, water and treatment facilities, etc. Additionally, they need to maintain city or county buildings or utility plants. TeamWork Solutions for City Project and Maintenance Management (City PMM) is a solution that would combine project, portfolio, and program management to manage all of these classes of work.

Note that all of TeamWork Group’s solutions have been designed with the awareness that they will not operate solely in a 'TeamWork' bubble—they include the data hooks and flanges required to easily import data from and export data to current and future external systems such as Financials, Condition Monitoring (CM) systems, Real-time Process Control systems, etc.

What is in a TeamWork Solution?

A TeamWork Solution is an assembly of TeamWork apps. A TeamWork app is a functional (job-focused) set of processes and procedures that ensures the person using the app automatically adheres to all of the company business rules—without the need to be intimately familiar with those business rules. Each app is designed to be simple and effective and have a minimal training curve. All apps are available on secure web pages via the cloud-enabled internet.

Here is a matrix of apps included with each of four selected solutions. The apps you have for your solution are determined by your business rules for your work place.
Sample of apps available and the solutions to which they are applicableSTOPMORPMCity PMM
myProjects app: used to manage projects, programs and portfolios through each project stage and phase; develope scope, manage team, deliverables, RACI assignments, compliance, approvals management, report distributionYesYesYesYes
Estimate: used to estimate labor, equipment, materials and sub-contracted services for each scope to a Class 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 level of detail, WBS-based, basis for casting into a budgetYesYesYesYes
WorkMan: used to manage the work request to work order process for tracking reactive maintenance workYesYesYes
AIM: Asset information system holds historical asset data including all work, reliability KPIs are derived from this dataYesYesYes
Budget: WBS-based budget for direct and indirect costs, change management, budget baseline managementYesYesYesYes
Contract: contract-specific cost and deliverable-based breakdown and reporting, change managementYesYesYesYes
Plan: Plan activities allow for spread of budget costs over time and leveling of limited resources, use of schedule constraints, milestones and phases, schedule baseline management, change managementYesYesYesYes
Procure: Use estimated materials to drive materials requisition (MR), Request for Quote (RFQ), Quote comparison and review, purchase order (PO) processes, include delivery dates in the plan and schedule, auto-update the schedule from the expediting processYesYesYesYes
Execution: Create daily work lists for fine control of critical project execution phase, obtain accurate incurred costs and progressYesYesYes
Cost:  app tracks WBS-based commitments and expended costs internally or import from external sources, track variances between budgeted, planned, committed, incurred, expended costsYesYesYesYes
Contractor:  app provides contractors with a system that complies with owner’s system maintenance, delivers one-time data entry, maintains contractor resources and ratesYesYesYesYes
Incur: app provides a single location for reviewing and collecting timesheet data for labor, equipment and consumable materials and associated costs, ensures accurate collection of costs against approved work items onlyYesYesYesYes

Note that a solution evolves to contain only the apps that your company needs to support your project and work management model. The combinations shown serve to illustrate the possibilities of mixing and matching TeamWork Solutions' apps. We can also easily create a special app for a job function that is specific to your work management environment.

How do we get started using TeamWork Solutions?

Establish contact with the TeamWork Group via www.teamworkgroup.com. Let us know your work management concerns. We find it is best to review your company’s situation starting at the point of greatest current concern. It’s easier to focus on the most serious symptoms of the problem first. As we progress, we review the underlying causes of  problems in the process, which may lead to analysis and development of more useful process for your company or department. As TeamWork Solutions is an end-to-end system that covers all aspects of the project and work management space, be assured that it remains easily molded to your needs as they evolve in the spirit of continuous improvement.

How long will it take to start using the system?

Depending on the urgency, you can get started in less than a week. The broad steps are as follows:

  • TeamWork Group sets up your data instance on the web on the TeamWork Solutions host.
  • You get your login credentials and security.
  • You have a short orientation (1 hour or so) to understand the navigation of the system.
  • You enter data and run reports as needed.
  • Contact us if you need help. We are also available on a consulting basis to help direct and review your proposed actions.

The more you put into the system, the more it helps you and your company manage your work in an efficient, collaborative, non-redundant, cost-effective, and holistic way.

We look forward to working with you and your team to improve your work experience.

What can a company lose by using these apps?

The biggest thing that you will likely lose is the need to manage hundreds of spreadsheets with different iterations on each team member’s system!

TeamWork Solutions' built-in, object-oriented, document management will help you also lose the need for directory-based storage of related documents. This ensures faster recovery of related documents without the penalty of knowing where to file (and later look for) them.

You will certainly lose the tension that currently accompanies the production of weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports, because all of your data is readily available in one place and not ferreted away in innumerable ‘shadow’ systems.

You will lose the need to justify huge start-up costs that are typically associated with the deployment of enterprise systems. This system grows with you—at your pace—and accommodates all of the disparate work classes and teams that exist in your organization.

Good luck in your adventure!

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