(I have found issues related to progress reporting during project execution . This may eventually , even result in damaging the Client-Contractor relations. A similar situation is portrayed in the story below. The story tells us, how the project manager tackled the situation with the help of his mentor and achieved project success and ultimately brought back goodwill and appreciation from the client.)
Ram Raj , popularly known as "Ram Saab" among construction workers and as "Ram" among his colleagues , is an energetic person working for Sky Constructions Ltd (Sky) as project manager. He is the youngest Project manager working for Sky , generally known for his active presence in the site and good rapport with his co-workers & clients. He is a very pleasant person who joined the company as a graduate engineer trainee and soon climbed to the position of Project Manager.
Ram posses good domain knowledge , management ability and reporting skills. He was the one in Sky who initiated the extensive usage of S-curves and progress trackers when the planning department was only concentrating on schedule development and updates.
Mohan, Head of Projects was very much happy with his boy Ram.Mohan was keen on helping Ram when ever he was stuck up with issues. Ram has also taken advantage of Mohan's wide knowledge on Project Management and organisational development.
The hospital project for 'iCare Ltd' was running behind schedule and Ram was trying his best to recover. Scarcity of cement resulted in unexpected delays and Ram was coordinating with purchase department to source and stock sufficient quantity of cement.
Even in this tight schedule he managed to send the weekly progress reports to the client and his superiors.
iCare's MD's visit to the site resulted in a lot of fire and fumes. He was extremely unhappy with the delay and to add more to his anger, Ram was failed to produce forecast schedule when asked. MD left the site giving instruction to the iCare managers that , a daily report should be collected from Sky Constructions and he may audit it any time.
Submitting a daily progress report was almost impossible for Ram , since he has to manage numerous technical and managerial issues at the end of the day. But the instruction to produce a daily report was given to the iCare managers by their MD was in presence of Ram only. So he was well aware of the importance of the instruction.
Following days were sleepless for Ram. He spent extended hours to complete the daily reports and submitted the same to iCare management the very next day. He was not able to concentrate on other major issued pertaining to site due to this documentation activity.
This has virtually made him a 'Report writer' those days ,rather than a project manager!
This cumbersome process started showing its side effects with in a few days. Site engineers and supervisors were extremely unhappy because they were followed up for progress details every day. Ram was also losing his patience. His health also dropped because of all these.
Mohan was surprised to see Ram shouting at one of his supervisors during the late hours of the day , when he made a surprise visit to the site. He has never seen Ram shouting at any one before.
Mohan excused for interfering and asked Ram to give a brief of the issue. He understood that daily progress follow up is the root cause of all these issues.
Mohan asked Ram to wind up the days work and asked him to accompany him in the car.
He took Ram to a garden hotel in the suburb , which was their favorite week end spot.
"It will take atleast 30 minutes for them to bring the dinner. So lets have a chat on certain things which you may find useful at work" Mohan broke the ice.
"Have you heard of Project Communication Management?" Mohan asked
"No sir, I never heard of that" Ram replied politely.
"Well, communication is one of the most critical elements of Project Management.
Communication turns ideas into reality.But it should be balanced.
Communication plan for each project should be freezed during the planning stage of the project. The reporting process should be adequate to control the project progress, cost & quality. Both over reporting and under reporting are harmful. Hence the project manager and the stake holders should arrive at a 'Mutually agreed' communication plan in the planning stage itself. Any deviation in this plan should be well thought and mutually agreed."
"An Integrated Change Control (ICC) should be established at the start of the project, which will record variations in communication plan along with all other project related variations. This will give us a chance to claim additional expenses due to variation , as well."
Mohan agreed to meet iCare MD to resolve the reporting related issues. He also asked Ram to arrange a meeting with the client to formulate and finalise a communication plan and establish a change control system.
"I know its late, but better be late than never!" - Mohan added.
Following this Ram arranged a meeting with the iCare management and chalked out a project communication plan. Daily reporting was made as recommended internal practice for Sky and client reporting was reverted to weekly.Weekly project review meeting with client incorporated into the communication plan.
Ram spent some additional time on refining his progress tracker and weekly report format.
Later, among all the improvements done on the communication plan, the weekly project review meetings turned out to be highly effective.There was visible improvements in the progress rate and they found the actual S-curve is slowly converging to the planned one.
Ram recovered his cheerful mood and Mohan was quite happy on that. Mohan asked Ram to record all the lessons learned during the execution and present in the close out meeting.
On the project closure day , iCare management appeared quite happy and every one in the meeting room was celebrating and congratulating Ram on team's success.