5 applications of construction tech to help you pass the APMP

June 26, 2020
Learn how to pass the APMP and improve your project management skills

The Association of Project Manager’s Practitioner exam (APMP now known as Project Management Qualification, PMQ) is a challenge that some of our team and many of our clients know well.  Examples are essential in demonstrating understanding and remembering relationships between theoretical models and real life applications.

We’ve seen first-hand how SaaS platforms deliver tangible benefits across the whole project life cycle.  Here’s 5 applications of construction tech which may help you recall relevant knowledge for the PMQ and demonstrate a practical understating –

1 – Addressing conflict using the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI)

Demonstrated by this 5 box model the TKI measures cooperativeness vs assertiveness.

Conflict may be addressed by some form of cooperation and in our experience one of the most effective ways of creating the conditions for cooperation are equitable access to data.  Using cloud based data capture systems rather than paper, spreadsheets or bespoke unshared processes results in transparency, consistency and timeliness of information management.  Accommodating, compromising or ultimately collaborating to avoid conflict are paths best followed with all the information available.  In many instances having access to the same data, at the same time eliminates elements of uncooperative behaviour and competition.

Construction tech app, Source: iNeostyle

2 – Data analysis for earned value management calculations

Earned value management has historically been well served in the planning phase of a project with various software platforms delivering high quality, complex, cost and resource loaded schedules.  The practical challenge is measuring progress and value performance against this baseline.  Typically done reactively, retrospectively and at the end of the month amongst every other month end reporting task.

Tools such as Raildiary now allow capture and analysis of earned value data in real time.  Data sources are configured to a bill of quantities, activity schedule or method of measurement allowing dashboarding tools to automatically calculate cost and schedule performance.

Integrations with tools such as Oracle Primavera P6, nPlan and ARES Prism mean that both planned and actuals can be tracked and reported on whilst being accessible to the whole project team.

3 – Resource levelling and resource smoothing

Resource levelling simply answers the question “with the resources available, when will the work be finished?” Resource smoothing is used to try and avoid peaks and troughs in resource demand.

In order to level or smooth resource plans, reliable productivity data is required.  Often this is anecdotal, based on individual experience, extrapolated from projects either different in context and/or duration and generally unscientific.  Construction technology delivers the data to learn from and better plan future works.  Capturing site progress is key to measuring productivity and setting benchmarks for future resource requirements.

The critical benefit of technology to capture this data is the ability to structure it to link to resources and using naming conventions for those resources.  Simple things like drop down data sources rather than free text are essential and often lacking in tools used to capture progress data.

4 – Supporting different methods of supplier reimbursement

The PMQ requires an understanding of multiple methods of supplier reimbursement including fixed price, cost plus fee, per unit quantity, and target cost.  Contract management tools such as thinkproject’s CEMAR provide a platform for administering changes to the contract and providing digital payment applications.  For fixed price and target cost contracts administering change to the total value of these contracts is critical and contract management software gives a single version of the contractual truth.

Often the missing element is digital substantiation to change or applications for payment with spreadsheets, .pdf reports and scanned paper records appended to communications in CEMAR or document management systems.  Data capture apps, such as Raildiary, not only capture the information needed for all these different supplier reimbursement methods they can also provide secure links directly to the data sources embedded in third party applications.

5 – Issue management

An issue is an event which has happened and is having an impact on your project.  It is different from a risk which is something which has the potential to occur or to go wrong.

The UK construction industry has mature risk management techniques, processes and experienced consultants however it’s clear that projects still run into unforeseen issues that must be quickly and effectively managed.  A fundamental issue on many large scale projects is that issues aren’t spotted until they have caused significant impacts.

How do we get better at identifying issues, tracking them and taking action?

Technology is coming to the rescue by spotting trends in data, learning from historical information and automatically flagging discrepancies as they occur.  The biggest hurdle to benefiting from this existing and proven tech is how we capture data; it’s inconsistent, unstructured and in multiple formats.  Mobile data capture apps eliminate these obstacles and will prove to be a key tool in mitigating risk, managing live issues and increasing productivity whilst mitigating health and safety risks.

If you want to automate the capture and analysis of site data and see the application of construction technology in action, then find out more about Raildiary here:  Raildiary Walkthrough.

5 applications of construction tech to help you pass the APMP

Nick Woodrow

Operations Director

A positive and outcome focused chartered civil engineer with over 20 years spent in a broad range of businesses successfully delivering complex projects & leading teams at C-level.

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