Business Center

Milestone data entry

Milestone data entry improved, saves $400,000 of time for Project Managers

Laura Zamora and Tawnya Nicholson, Division of Staff Services
Posted: July 29, 2013

milestone data

Milestone Data

What was improved, briefly

Entering pre-construction milestone data for CDOT transportation projects is an important task for managing these projects during the Pre-Construction phase. However, it has historically also been a time-intensive one. In the past, it used to take many hours for a Project Manager to input data -- as much as 8 full hours each month for a single project.  A recent improvement, powered by information technology (IT) and utilizing Lean principles, has slashed that to less than 30 minutes! Across CDOT, this will save about 10,125 hours of data input time -- the equivalent of approximately $400,000 annually of Project Manager effort.

Background

Here’s background regarding how CDOT and OIT partnered to do thisCDOT uses Critical Path Method (CPM) scheduling, an industry mainstay, for managing large construction projects. For CPM to be effective, the information must be updated on a regular basis and the entire schedule was maintained in a portion of CDOT’s SAP computer system, specifically into the “Project Builder” transaction. A product from this computer system is the Project Status Report, a crucial report that helps CDOT Project Managers report the schedule status and financial data.

Since CDOT Project Managers work closely with specialty units such as the Right-of-Way, Environmental, Hydraulics, and Traffic groups, it is also important to be able to share schedule and financial data. Consequently, Project Managers have also been required to use MS Project to plan their CPM schedules – double work for Project Managers. On a perfect day, it would take four to eight hours to maintain a schedule in both systems! And, if anything went wrong (which happened in 60% of cases), it would take much longer.

CDOT’s “Milestone Data Entry and Tracking Project” was established to do something about this. After identifying the value stream of Project Scheduling and the importance of recording key milestone dates, CDOT worked with the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) to completely redesign the templates in the Project Builder transaction.  We discovered several layers of networks and activities that are not being used in Project Builder, so we applied Lean principles to streamline the configuration of Project Builder’s templates to include only the major Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) cost collectors and milestones. This has resulted in a straightforward and simple layout that is easier for Project Managers to use and report project status for Projects created after July 31, 2013.

The Milestone Data Entry and Tracking Project developed an improved, standard SAP functionality to allow simple, direct entry of milestone dates from MS Project schedules into a table-like format in SAP’s Project Builder transaction.  This solution will reduce the amount of time required to record milestone dates to from many hours to less than 30 minutes. The standard milestone dates, as well as any additional dates entered, will automatically be displayed on the Project Status Report for use by Project Managers.

Across CDOT, this will save about 10,125 hours of data input time -- the equivalent of approximately $400,000 annually of Project Manager effort – which can now be applied to other efforts on transportation construction projects.