Data Driven Decision Making in Project Management

Xergy Group
Centralised data Data-driven Project Management Digital Transformation Improving Margins Managing Teams Resource Management Work Management
data driven project management

How Proteus Helps Business Leaders Unleash the Power of Data

What is data driven decision making?

Data driven decision making in project management is fundamental to achieving successful outcomes. For companies prioritising digital transformation, data is key to improving operations, communication, and business growth. Unfortunately, for projects involving multiple teams, work packages and contractors, it can be extremely difficult to manage this critical data. Proteus was developed by project experts with real experience running complex projects with tight margins. We, therefore, understand what it takes to enable success by leveraging the right data at the right time.

In this blog we consider why data driven decision making in project management is of interest to companies. We look at some of the problems project teams have with accessing and analyzing data when planning and executing complex projects such as those found in the infrastructure, energy, construction, and large capital investment industries. And we show how Proteus can help business leaders unleash the power of data in project management, no matter how complex the project.

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How data helps better decisions

What data are we talking about when we talk about data-driven decision-making in project management? For a project team to make timely decisions when projects are in
danger, there are really three areas of data that need to be monitored: the baseline schedule (or project plan) that becomes the point of reference, schedule risk analysis, and project controls which monitor the project performance when it is in progress.

Making better decisions means unifying this data in a secure and well-governed way. Business leaders need to break down data silos, making all data securely available for analysis, regardless of where it lives in the organization.

To make the most of data, organizations also need tools that empower individuals across the organization to interpret and analyze data, converting information into clear, actionable insights.

Why data-driven decision-making in project management is not always easy

The core of every business leader’s toolkit is accurate, up-to-date, and relevant data-driven insights, accessible at any time, which can be relied on for better decision-making. Why do many businesses struggle to access this critical data in project management?

Often the problem with accessing data is the fact it is produced and managed by many different departments and team members.

This creates data silos with different teams or even different contractors using different tools, data formats, and controls. A business leader, wanting to get an instant view of project progress needs to be able to access and combine these disparate sets of data. Usually, a few emails, even a meeting or two to unlock governance controls and audit trails are needed to get an accurate overview of the key factors that impact profitability and business success. The resulting lack of insights can lead to delays and errors and ultimately eroded margins.

Project management tools are often seen as the golden bullet. This is not always the case: If there is low-utilisation of project management tools, with different disciplines using the existing systems in different ways, this can lead to the information being less accessible. Teams end up sharing data that doesn’t match. This can lead to inaccurate data and missed opportunities. When this happens, business leaders and teams cannot make the most of the project data to drive project success and profit.

To solve this, businesses wanting to meet the needs demanded by complex projects, global teams, and ambitious targets need to unify their data and the tools they use. This enables them to produce, organise and analyze data to support data-driven decision-making in project management. Breaking down the silos, all data needs to be visible to provide project management teams and business leaders alike.

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The key challenges project teams face when using project data

  • Overcoming data silos: It is typical for businesses to store data in silos. A single location—no matter where it originates in your organisation—where you can securely access, combine, and analyse all types of data is needed to make decisions. This doesn’t mean organisations need to start from scratch and remove all their existing (and often expensive) tools and systems. Counter-intuitively, choosing one tool for all your data, such as an enterprise ERP is often not a great idea. Rather an integrated platform, allowing all project data to be pulled into an easily viewable dashboard from multiple data sources overcomes these data silo issues. In this way, there is always a single source of truth, powering meaningful insights. With digital transformation high on the agenda for many companies, bringing in tools that are powered by these integrations through APIs is now the norm.
  • Governance considerations: Access to audit trails, concern with data security, privacy, and compliance regulations are often a barrier to data management. More than ever, it is critical for data to be carefully monitored and controlled by an organisation to maintain its quality, consistency, accessibility, and security. In particular, data source governance can vary between projects and clients and may be challenging to maintain accuracy when data is collected from multiple sources. It is critical to ensure data quality to ensure a successful analytics programme as well as meet the stringent requirements dictated by compliance with standards such as ISO.
  • Cost, time and usage: Businesses typically look for a tool that runs analytics efficiently and inexpensively. The right solution saves time on administrative tasks without sacrificing performance, saving time and money. However, finding a tool that is cost-effective, fit for purpose and easy for all team members to use, regardless of their grade, is often difficult. It is important to consider all key stakeholders when choosing a solution. It needs to be sustainable in the long term, agile to meet business growth and able to integrate with existing systems. Most importantly, all team members need adequate training and support during onboarding to ensure the tool is used consistently to ensure high quality data and business insights.
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What does data-driven decision-making in project management look like in practice?

We spoke to one of our clients early on in the Proteus onboarding process about how their existing systems and tools interact. This is a team that runs large infrastructure projects for government customers with operations dependent on units, equipment, and other assets.

“We manage all our charge out rates for different job functions, grades and equipment on a couple of formula-driven spreadsheets that are shared across the team: we do it like this because we find there is often a lot of change throughout of the process of planning and executing the project so we need it to be nimble. We can manually paste in data from the inventory management system as well as our HR timesheeting tool and then use the spreadsheet to work out how we are progressing. Our team leader then pulls that all into a powerpoint slide or two for the project update meetings. Separately, we have our document control software we use to monitor deliverables.”

The problem of course is that the manual process of cutting and pasting data into formula-managed cells is notoriously error-prone. The data isn’t ‘real-time’ at the point at which it is reviewed and as it is not cohesively measured against a baseline, it is very hard for the data to be analysed and turned into actionable insights.

This is a great example of how a tool like Proteus can be used to pull all existing systems together. Having data spread across departments and locked in spreadsheets was preventing this company from seeing the big picture and taking strategic business actions. Instead of being restricted by disconnected data, Proteus allowed them to move away from these silos, eliminate risks associated with manual processes and get everything in one place.

About Proteus Project Software

Xergy Group’s Proteus project management software is designed to work with your existing systems and to scale and evolve as your business grows. Created by project management leaders, for the diversified engineering consultancy sector, Proteus delivers an end-to-end work management software platform with detailed workflows from the early opportunity stage through to project delivery.

Proteus’ end-to-end project management software is a cloud-based system designed for businesses of all sizes to handle projects of unlimited complexity and is compliant with common project management frameworks and ISO standards. Each feature is aimed at making bottom-line improvements by improving utilisation, streamlining workflows, providing quick and efficient access to resources, and reducing overheads. Check out some of our client case studies to learn more about how Proteus makes a tangible difference.

How to get Proteus

We recommend getting setup on a free trial. Proteus operates under a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. We offer Enterprise packages and flexible pricing solutions: contact our team to learn more.

We designed Proteus to be simple, and that means you can get up and running on Proteus without an IT team or support from a programmer. You will want to spend a bit of time configuring the admin console so that you have everything set up to suit your company structure, but it’s very intuitive and you don’t need a PhD in IT. However, we want you to get the best out of what is a brilliantly powerful tool, so don’t hesitate to ask for our support. We have a team of product experts who are ready to help you with the configuration process, so get in touch today by filling out the form below:

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