There are lots of reasons why projects are not predictable.The Construction Industry Institute a few years ago commissioned a study to understand why projects overrun. Surprisingly the number one finding was human behavior is the biggest factor.
This came as a big shock.
Everybody thought it would be planning, scope development, or project management issues that were causing these predictability problems. It turned out that really, it’s a lack of accountability, optimism bias — you see poor productivity but we don’t really accept that it’s a problem. And so we don’t change the forecast early enough. It becomes a problem too late, too late to take any corrective action, and of course that’s why the overruns are so persistent in the industry.
So how do you change it? Well, the only way you change anything is to start measuring.
We decided at EcoSys that there is significant value in promoting the research. The outcome from that was a series of metrics that combined the outcome with the timeliness of the forecast reports.
No industry software vendor has incorporated those metrics into their platform until now. Now you can chart the forecast growth over time and effectively create a metric that shows you which projects and organizations are more timely and providing those reports.
The metric is normalized in a way that you can compare any two projects across any number of dimensions — business lines, regions, departments, project managers — to see institutionally where the causes of poor predictability are coming from. That can then have a significant impact on human behavior, especially if they tie those metrics into incentives.
We feel that out as our customers in the industry adopt these metrics, it will start to positively change the total costs, not only of one project but all projects in the industry should start to come down. You see a dramatic shift which allows us to do more projects.
The construction industry has been a technology laggard. It’s not to say that there isn’t investment there, it’s just incredibly fragmented. There are many small companies delivering point solutions and owners, and EPCs, and contractors have to work out how to glue all that together.
Instead of having one platform, well maybe two platform — Your back office ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning system) and your front office it’s called a EPP (Enterprise Projects Performance system) — Instead of having those two systems seamlessly talking to each other, they have one ERP and 25 project systems. But they have to work out how they should interact. An incredibly complex environment.
With EcoSys, we want to move as many of those point solutions, process areas, and capabilities into one platform. One platform, one database, one login. All in a browser, Enterprise scalable, globally.
Our big vision to enable predictability and other big data opportunities with EcoSys, is to use them and incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence to really predict the outcome of the project in flight as early as possible. All projects are being executed using the same methodology, the same practices, the same platform, the same outputs. Now the predictability metrics really start to kick in because every project is being measured on the same dimensions.
Apply big data analytics and predictive analytics and you see that supercharge to the next level.