Construction projects produce massive amounts of data during front end planning and throughout the course of project execution. As an example, the following was compiled by Maged Abdelsayed of Tardiff, Murray & Associates for a typical $10 million dollar project (Chuck Eastman, 2011 ):[list type=”check”]
- Number of participants (companies): 420 (including all suppliers and sub-sub-contractors)
- Number of participants (individuals): 850
- Number of different types of documents generated: 50
- Number of pages of documents: 56,000
That’s a lot of data and a lot of complexity.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could use that data to spot trends, set benchmarks for future projects, and find leading indicators that could be converted into actionable insights so you can make better business decisions?
What if you could take that historical project Big Data and turn it into useful information?
When I talk to my friends in math and computer science, they refer to this as Machine Learning. Others might refer to it as Big Data, or data analytics. Whatever you might call it, we have found that given the complexity of construction capital projects, significant value can be gained when mathematics is applied to front end planning data combined with overall project performance. Basically, using statistical tools you “feed machines (past) data so that they can learn patterns in that data and hopefully make accurate predictions based on similar patterns.” (Sebastian Maurice, 2014)
When a company rigorously analyzes their front end planning data along with project performance information a great deal of insight can be gained. If you can provide leading indicators to a project manager you can substantially improve the level of understanding on a project and greatly improve the likelihood of project success.
As the saying goes, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” Essentially it is about providing decision makers with decision support.
Your project managers are smart people but they aren’t psychic and they aren’t soothsayers. What if you can provide project teams the tools and information necessary to anticipate what might occur by using Big Data analytics?
Our Big Data Research
What if you could optimize your historical data to find leading indicators and apply the knowledge gained from that analysis into your existing Front End Planning?
The good news is, you can!
Over the past year we have had the opportunity to do just this through a research project with NSERC, The University of Waterloo and a Valency client who provided data from 59 projects. The results have been pretty dramatic and we look forward to publishing them early in 2015.
Make Better Project Decisions
The power of analytics can and will empower your project decision makers and lead to better decisions. Leading indicators can be identified based on historical results and project areas like risk mitigation and contingency planning can be more accurate and better focused with fewer wasted resources.
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