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Extend Of Project Control Tools Utilised In Malaysia

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Othman Mohamed
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I am opening an Pandora box here. Can we discuss the extent of these Project Control Tools (software etc) with Malaysian flavour attached to it? No flames, please.. --- Main preception to some layman I have come across over my early years in Projects: Project Control just a mere bars on paper, easily done using spreadsheet. Touch-up with some colours (manually or the like) and submit it for approval. Easy and no hassle. Once done, leave it or just adequately update for reporting purposes.

Replies

Nickie,

I couldn’t agree more with your statement "...knowledge of software without skills pretty much takes you nowhere..." as I am a huge advocate of producing quality planning engineers and not just ’computer jockeys’.

I think Zanudin’s statement is absolutely correct of participating in the various project disciplines to gain the experience as experience cannot be bought or learnt from training or reading. These only provide a foundation for the practitioner to build upon and your juniors will only grow through their exposure to project management together with your guidance.

Zanudin Ahmad
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Dear Nickie,
Reading will give you the Awareness.
Active participation in the discipline activities (let’s say Procurement and the other areas of Project Management) will make you Appreciate and Understand the work processes which will help you plan the activities later on.
Applying the planning skills on the job will go a long way in making you a Practitioner in your ABC skills.
Ability to apply the different skills to suit different requirements, different situations, coupled with your ability to hold the hands of the young planners will make you a respectable Expert in your field.
.... and so and so on, up and up you’ll move......
Nickie Lau
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Thanks Phil for the advice... I’ll try to talk to my bosses about the training... Actually my junior planners have undergone the 102 course, in fact we are already in the midst of registering them for the 106 as well, just that I guess knowledge of software without skills pretty much takes you nowhere...


Best Regards
Nickie,

Reading is great source of information but why not place your new planners on a planning & scheduling (P&S) course. We run a 1-2 day course that I call a ’chalk & talk’ as there is no software used as it just looks at the methodology of P&S from WBS and activity definition through to EVM.

As for P6 I would also recommend you undertake the basic 102 course which we also run. A lot of P3 planners make the mistake of thinking P3 & P6 are the same but the GUI is totally different and there is a lot of additional functions that you need to know about.

Phil
Nickie Lau
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Hi All,

Been sometime since I come back and check this thread! I forgot about it’s existence (Sorry, I know I shouldn’t) until today, my bad... you guys have some nice discussions going on here...

Dear Zanudin,

I especially like your 1-2-3 of Project Management and your A-B-C of Project Control. Any reading material available.

I have just started serving a new company after my previous company decide to relocate it’s office to China, and I have now 3 very young and very fresh planners reporting to me, I am not a teacher material, I was just thinking if you have good reading material, it might benefit everyone...

I have also started using P6 which is another hair pulling exercise... any advise on how to make the software work for me without me losing more hair?

Best Regards...

Zanudin Ahmad
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Hi Lot!
Before we look at the ABC of Project Controls tools & methodologies, let’s look at the 123 of Project Management know-how, bear with me, will you?

The know-how that will help you are :-
PM01 - Integration
PM02 - Scope Management
PM03 - Time Management (this is all yours to conquer)
PM04 - Cost Management (usually yours too!)
PM05 - Quality Management
PM06 - Resource Management
PM07 - Communication Management
PM08 - Risk Management
PM09 - Procurement Management
Get to know and appreciate all of the above.

At the same time, here are your ABCs til H, i/m/h/o ....
A. WBS (see PM02 above)
B. Basis Setting, Scheduling, Baselining & Analysis
C. Critical Path
D. CTR, Resource Loading & Quantity Analysis
E. Progress Measurement Basis, Method Verification & Variance Analysis
F. Earned Value Management
G. Quantitative Risk Analysis
H. Reporting
These are your tools that make you stand out.

If I were to screen for Planners, I’ll look for those skills & qualities.

PM me if you can last the distance, please.
Hi Lot,

What would you like to know about project controls? If you would like you can contact me directly and discuss your requirements at support@pcss.com.my

Phil
lot villaflor
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HELLO GUYS!!


I usually handle project planning here in Malaysia Using P3 and MS Project 2000 (sad but true).

But i wish to know the ABC of Project Control

I really appreciate your help.

Thanks in advance.



Zanudin Ahmad
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Osman, saya di Jubail
Othman Mohamed
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Yes, P3 can do subproject.. Unfortunately, most of my master or baselines are already with subprojects. To drop to one level further too cumbersome.
Nickie Lau
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Yes, you are absolutely correct. The lookahead schedules are being monitored using spreadsheet, simply because it’s easier to use.

I have requested for the same level to be put into the schedule so that whatever calculation can be done automatically and not manually, but usually these are the sub-schedules, not directly linked to the overall schedule, but rather a separate schedule for different workshop. These schedules are updated on a weekly basis, and once a month, the master schedule is being updated.

I do believe in Primavera the sub-schedules can be directly linked to the master schedule, but in MSProject, to do the links in between separate project files is very troublesome.
Othman Mohamed
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Question again:

How do you control your look ahead schedule? Using the same Primavera or MS Project? Normally, the baseline only stopped at Level 3 and the detailed construction goes to Level 4 or 5 (most of the 5 on spreadsheets).

My last project, the scheduler/trackers were using MS Excel for 3 weeks lookahead reporting. These detailed schedule (even though they looked simple) too time consuming. Co-relation with P3 would be nice if the schedule dropped to the same level for reporting purposes. However, the more activities you have on the schedule will take more time to be updated. Mind you, the PC allocated did not help at all. Too slow..

The lookahead schedule is the bread and butter for the operation / construction guys. So, it need to be as detailed as possible but once you try to load-up, it’s a time consuming task for the schedulers.

Nickie Lau
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Dear Zanudin,

Do you have an e-book of the documents that you mentioned? I’ll be interested to spend some time reading and understanding the list of things that I am supposed to do.

Dear Othman,

Already bald, no need for the shaver anymore, lol...


Best Regards.
Othman Mohamed
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Better give the shaver as well.. hahahaha
Zanudin Ahmad
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Dear Nickie,
Just to make you pull off some hair from their roots, here are some more list of things to do for you (taken from Table 1 of BS 6079-1-2002).

p/s no need to thanks nor any token of appreciation

General
1 Foreword
2 Contents, distribution and amendment record
3 Introduction
3.1 Project diary
3.2 Project history

The Why
4 Project aims and objectives
4.1 Business case

The What
5 General description
5.1 Scope
5.2 Project requirement
5.3 Project security and privacy
5.4 Project management philosophy
5.5 Management reporting system

The When
6 Programme management
6.1 Programme method
6.2 Program software
6.3 Project life cycle
6.4 Key dates
6.5 Milestones and milestone slip chart
6.6 Bar chart and network if available

The Who
7 Project organization
8 Project resource management
9 Project team organization
9.1 Project staff directory
9.2 Organizational chart
9.3 Terms of reference (TOR)
(a) for staff
(b) for the project manager
(c) for the committees and working group

The Where
10 Delivery requirements
10.1 Site requirements and conditions
10.2 Shipping requirements
10.3 Major restrictions

The How
11 Project approvals required and authorization limits
12 Project harmonization
13 Project implementation strategy
13.1 Implementation plans
13.2 System integration
13.3 Completed project work
14 Acceptance procedure
15 Procurement strategy
15.1 Cultural and environmental restraints
15.2 Political restraints
16 Contract management
17 Communications management
18 Configuration management
18.1 Configuration control requirements
18.2 Configuration management system
19 Financial management
20 Risk management
20.1 Major perceived risks
21 Technical management
22 Tests and evaluations
22.1 Warranties and guarantees
23 Reliability management (see also BS 5760: Part 1)
23.1 Availability, reliability and maintainability (ARM)
23.2 Quality management
24 Health and safety management
25 Environmental issues
26 Integrated logistic support (ILS) management
27 Close-out procedure
Othman Mohamed
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Since there’s not support available for P3 users using MS Excel 2007 (import/export etc), what other methods being utilised to overcome this?

Like me, I am using Lotus SmartSuite (e.g. Lotus 123) - a bit rusty since I’ve left it behind for awhile. But heck, it’s like riding a bicycle.. once you’ve done it, you can do it again... "Malaysia Boleh!"...

Othman Mohamed
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Hahahaha.. unluckily you to have bald boss/es. Fortunately, "man" will strive under serious pressure, short comings etc. Maybe just our culture, wanting more without spending anything..

Nickie Lau
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the bosses don’t have to care, i was the one pulling off my hair, remember? the bosses are already bald anyway. lol
Othman Mohamed
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That’s the normal problem.. they only look at the one off cost.. but not the running cost which may be more that the one off cost by miles..

Maybe the "BOSSES" need to learn the correct way of doing management accounting.. hahahahaha..

Nickie Lau
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ah, i give up trying to convince my bosses which software to use...
Othman Mohamed
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Your Company should try and adopt Suretrack at least.. not sure if it’s still being supported in Malaysia.. sorry, last time I used it in 1998.. hehehehehe. Occassionally, I do use it but not as much..

Nickie Lau
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currently, i do not use P3 at all. my present company said it’s too expensive...

i am using msproject 2007 which is not compatible with the excel that i have. i only have the license to use excel 2002 (i know it’s pathetic) but because so some company policy, i have to bear with it.

i have both msproject 2003 and 2007 installed so that when i need to run some excel reports, i use 2003 to do it. :P

tough life eh?
Othman Mohamed
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On the issue of transportability between P3 and spreadsheet programmes, do you cope with the non-operation of Excel 2007 with P3. Like some of my friends here, they simply install both version of MS Office .. 2003 then install 2007 without uninstalling 2003.

Nickie Lau
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oh, that has been turned off due to some spams problems earlier.
Othman Mohamed
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trying to go through Planning Planet and check if the member can e-mail or message to their contacts. Still trying to find the option.. hehehehe

It seems to be OFF right now.. hopefully, it will be fixed soon..
Nickie Lau
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ok, gimme ur addy, then i can mail it to you
Othman Mohamed
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A. Scheduling

7. Primavera P3 v2 (almost forgot this one,
with Dos & Windows modes)
8. Artemis
9. Timeline

Used this programme for KLIA projects (Artemis) before and while in Australia for Qld State Govt (Artemis and Timeline).

Anothers include

10. Harvard Total Project Manager (HTPM) and
11. Open Plan

I think you can still find Open Plan in other forums.

Yes, definitely about the Excel spreadsheet.. maybe we can even upgrade to ease the usage.
Nickie Lau
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nah, this is like the usual software i used, i have however come up with an excel sheet that plots the lines for you if you input the dates. i can send it for you guys to comment, maybe improvise, if you want.
Othman Mohamed
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Any one of you using other than these tools shown below?

A. For scheduling:

1. Primavera P3 v3.1
2. Primavera P3e
3. Primavera P3 v4, v5, v6
4. Suretrack
5. MS Project
6. Spreadsheet .. see below (this is bad but it works)

B. For spreadsheet works:

1. MS Excel
2. Lotus 123

C. Reporting

1. MS Word

D. Others

1. Adobe Acrobat

Othman Mohamed
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Sorry, I was LOL, can’t think about my sentence. It should have been.. "at least it allows you the chance to try on any other wig that you wished you never want to try before.."

that’s sounds a mouthful.. but better..
Othman Mohamed
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hahaha.. hey, look it from another view point. At least it allows you to try any other wigs that you wish you can never want to try before..

Nickie Lau
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too late... lol, furthermore, bald is just not the style for a lady :)
Othman Mohamed
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Maybe you need to think about shaving your hair before starting the project then.. hahahaha
Nickie Lau
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thanks guys for all the great advises. i will bear in mind and see if i do any better for this upcoming project that is making me pull off almost all my hair.
Zanudin Ahmad
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Dear Nickie, cannot help noticing your statement that
"At the start of every project (my 4th with this company) we struggle to get things into place. This happen everywhere, when you have a set of guidelines it’s often easier, but when you don’t it could take months to get a running operable system up"

It cannot be further from the truth that "this happen everywhere" as you’ve said.
And just like everything else, getting things to start is the hardest thing to do.
As a Project Controller (Schedulers, Planners too), it’s your role to make the ’Project Start’ chain of activities as smooth as possible.
You can do this by drawing from your previous experience to compile a checklist (the most primitive form) or rather (as a professional planner) a template schedule to represent the typical ’Project Start’ work/deliverables listing, duration estimating, resourcing and sequencing.
Attaching company templates to this programme will surely help.

You shall bear in mind that nowadays, you may as well turn out to be the most familiar with the company’s project set-up than any other members.

Typically, your list of deliverables when working for an Owner organisation would be
1. to plan for a Project Charter statement to record the Project Team’s project objectives whereby the mission of every team members shall be aligned with.
2. Work Scope review, definitions and clarification
3. Project Risks assessments to be conducted involving all memebers
4. Sharing of Lessons Learnt from previous projects.
5. Project Costing i.e. Owner’s Cost items (derived from cost elements such as Contracts values, mobilisation, overhead costs, contingencies) and Owner’s Budget (fitting your Accountant’s requirements).
6. A set of simplified flowchart, procedures essential to start up a Project e.g. Communications & Reporting procedure, Document Controls system, filing system etc.
7. A mobilisation plan suitable for the project scope, work location and budget.

You can achieve #1, #2, #3, #4 swiftly by conducting a Team Building.
You can achieve #5, #6, #7 quickly if you have developed a Reliable, Replicable templates from your previous projects.

Good Luck.
Othman Mohamed
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Opps, GREEN = 2 x LIVE ... hahahahaha
Othman Mohamed
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well, you need to use intelligent guestimate..

In basic principles, it works but sometimes due to geographic locality, work culture etc, some factors need to be applied. Once, you’re comfortable with a factor (fine tuning it as time goes by), the basic values to be applied with this factor in mind.

Some guestimate I used if you have noticed it before in my earlier posts:

LIVE PLANT = 2 times of GREEN PLANT

May not be correct, but heck.. that’s a good one to try first..

E.g. my steel structures erection (piperack) can do around 40MT in green area with the inside "LIVE" area on can around 20MT.



Nickie Lau
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"guestimate" is a good work. i do that like very often, especially when my project is in a totally new location. for instance, i have a project coming up in india right now, and what do i do? i guess it. i am most of the time wrong.
Othman Mohamed
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I’m doing some post-contract works myself. Keeping the production rates update for my own use. Since the production rate section still being updated in PlanningPlanet, we cannot share some info with other PlanningPlanet members.

Like us, some of the work rates normally used in Oil & Gas or Petrochemical industry not yet listed. Sometimes, like me .. need to "guestimate" between green and live plant work rates. The easiest is the double up approach.
Nickie Lau
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I do agree with you completely...

Currently I am attached to a company, functioning as the client of the project. At the start of every project (my 4th with this company) we struggle to get things into place. This happen everywhere, when you have a set of guidelines it’s often easier, but when you don’t it could take months to get a running operable system up.

Any suggestions how to make things better? Maybe come up with a "reference" book?

Given your experience, I am sure you can come up with something that benefit us all.
Othman Mohamed
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Mine combination of P3 v3.1 and spreadsheet. The problem is as I told my former boss, no post-mortems are done for completed projects. No effort made to create and define database (P3) made.

If you go through a lot of projects, one after another, you will struggle the same all over again. I would say it, "Here we go again". Correct, some projects demand specific needs but, reck it’s about the same if you really look as a whole.

So, our junior planners will suffer inconsistency and slower output during initial stage of their projects. Since most of the projects are typically monitored by manhours, it should be easily to load the resource and completed the scheduling requirements.

To tell you some real facts, some Projects are without approved detailed construction schedules even after nearly one year of their life span.. Strange but true.

A lot of companies are neglecting the post-contract or close stage of contract.. That’s a real shame.
Nickie Lau
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My office is using MSProject.

Worksheet.

Normally costwise.

But this is not a common practice, and it’s adapted depending on what type of information is made available to me for different projects.
Othman Mohamed
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First of all which software?

Second, how do you do your weigh measurement / progressing? Eg,using P3 or the like or spreadsheet type..

Thirdly, how you weigh your activities? manhours, costwise, existing factors etc?

so, on so on so on..

1st one is an important question to know..
Izam Zakaria
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what is your main concern?
Izam Zakaria
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Which company are u now? Client? Fabricator? Deepwater?