InEight Innovations: See What’s New for Fall 2021
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Welcome everybody, to our webinar for today. We’ve got a great session planned for you today. InEight innovations, we’re going to take a look at what’s new, coming from InEight id fall of 2021. I’m so excited to show you what we’re up to and show you some of the great things that our product teams here at InEight have been doing. Plus, it’s just my favorite time of the year here in Omaha, Nebraska. Fall is just awesome here.
Hope everybody is enjoying wherever you are today. And we’ve got a packed agenda for you. I’m going to be one of your hosts. Before we jump into our content, let’s just drill into a little bit of introductions. So again, I’m Brad Barth, Chief Product officer for InEight. A little bit of background on myself. So been in this space for about 30 years now. Sounds crazy every time I say that out loud, but working on this vision that we call InEight for multiple decades now. And making great progress every year and every release.
And like I said, our product teams here at InEight, we spend a lot of time, energy, effort, investment into R&D. That’s one of the things we’re particularly proud of. And a great team, folks really all over the world that are in our offices and locations around the world, that are working on new innovations that we’re bringing out all the time here. So excited to show you what we’re up to. I’m going to be joined here today by Nate St. John. So Nate, you want to tell the folks a little bit about yourself?
Nate St. John:
Yeah. Thanks, Brad. Great to see you, too. I’m coming to you from Ann Arbor, Michigan. So fall is just as beautiful up here. Like Brad said, my name is Nate St. John. And I represent the entire team behind the build of what is InEight Schedule. We’re going to touch on a particular section of InEight Schedule today, called SIP. Excited to show that. I’ve been in construction about 15 years.
Started off as a general labor, worked my way up to construction manager. But really, it’s been the last decade where I’ve had this heavy focus and interest around planning and scheduling and what we can do at InEight to make it better. I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity to improve CPM scheduling, to improve the process, to get smarter. And that’s one of our missions here at InEight. So, excited to jump in and showcase some of the latest innovations.
Awesome. Thanks for being here today, Nate. And yeah, Nate and I are going to tag team this. So I’m going to take the first half, and then Nate will jump back in. So Nate, if you want to do some stretching and stay hydrated, and we’ll pull you back in here in just a little bit. So a little bit of housekeeping before we jump into our content. We are going to do some live demos.
So we’re going to show some slides, as well as live running through of the software, some of the new features and enhancements that we’re doing. So you’ll get to see that stuff live in action. Give us questions. So we want this to be interactive. If you can, put your questions into the question box. You should see that on the right side of your screen. Put your questions in there and then we’ll make sure we leave time at the end to go through those questions and get any of them answered that you have.
So with that, before we jump in to what we’re releasing here in this fall release from InEight, let’s just back up a little bit and reset that vision that I mentioned that InEight is working towards and building on. And that vision hasn’t changed. Like I said from the beginning, we’ve been focused on … The essence of it is really, how do we tie together scope, cost, and schedule? So the fundamentals of project controls, obviously.
From our own experience, a lot of folks at InEight come from the construction industry, obviously working with our customers and observations. A lot of folks that are running after these big, complex projects, capital projects, large maintenance projects, are using 10, 20, 30, 40 different systems to cover these things, scope, cost, schedule. And that creates a whole set of challenges. So InEight’s vision is, how do we tie that stuff together?
Not only the data that flows into each one of those areas, but also workflow that cuts across those three areas? How do we connect the roles, folks in your organizations that are working in these different areas? And one of the things that’s really important is that we cover both the expectation side of each one of those three buckets, but also all the way through to the outcomes. So if we think about costs, expectations for costs would be things like estimates and budgets and forecasts.
For schedule expectations, it might be CPM schedules. It might be Short-Interval Plans. It might be work plans. So scope could be models, documents, drawings, all the structured and unstructured type of data, plan, specs. All that kind of stuff that defines, what is it that we’re building in the project itself? But it’s important to us that we track. So all those things that set expectations become the as planned versions of those things.
But we all know that all those things I mentioned have as built versions of those things as well. So being able to cover both sides of that equation, so that you guys can understand what was the delta? How did reality differ from what we expected? How do we learn from that and get better next time and reality-adjust those expectations on the next project and the next one? That’s the essence of the InEight’s vision.
Let’s drill into a little bit more detail on, how do we bring that vision to you guys that are out in the industry? Whether you’re on the owner side, engineer side, construction manager side, contractor side, all of that is covered in the tool here. And so you can see at a little more detailed level, the capabilities or the business process areas that the InEight solution covers. So in each one of these areas, we are really focused on adding best in class functionality in every one of these areas.
So if you look at that screen, you look at those bullet points, hopefully, depending on your role, you see yourself or the things that you do are represented by some of those bullets. And again, bringing all this stuff together under one roof, common navigation, connected data, information moves from role to role, really just drives that efficiency, drives that productivity, scalability, you name it.
So as we focus on adding functionality in each one of those areas, we’re also focused on creating opportunities for efficiency gains. So as you go from roll to roll, to roll, estimators to schedulers, to project managers, to work planners, to document controllers. All the different types of roles that come into play on these projects, we want to make sure there’s a nice handoff and a nice common way for people to interact and share information.
Ultimately, that solves one of the biggest problems that we hear constantly out there in the industry is, how do we take all this data, which, like I said, might be in 30, 40 different systems, how do we get that all connected? Same context, same time context, same granularity, or at least in some sort of hierarchy in that granularity, so that we can report on all of that information.
Whether that’s KPIs, whether that’s dashboards that we’re using internally, or maybe that our customers or other stakeholders want to be able to see, we want to drive that self-service reporting. Allow people to get their own answers without dumping information out to Excel, sending emails around, trying to get the answers that they need.
So I just wanted to cover that real quick, just to level set on what is InEight and what are we building here, before we jump into the things that really make up our fall release here. So I’m going to hit the highlights on these. These are the things that we’re really excited about for the fall release. Many more things, we can’t focus on all of them, but we’ve narrowed it down to these five.
And like said, what we’ll do is Nate’s going to jump in here a little bit, and we’ll go deep into this Short-Interval Planning. This is, I think, a pretty revolutionary step here in terms of bringing a Short-Interval Planning capability into this full solution. So you’ll hear more about that and why that’s unique as we bring Nate back in.
But then subcontractor management, we’ve got a brand new document, mobile app. Got lots of enhancements around change order management, particularly around pricing of change orders, which is always a fun part of that. And then some other platform enhancements. So we’ll touch, like I said, the highlights on those and then we’ll deep dive into Short-Interval Planning. And Short-Interval Planning, just to tee that up and whet your appetite a little bit.
So as you’re waiting for Nate, if that’s what you’re looking for here today, these are what we’re talking about. How do we create a digital version of that? We’re all familiar with hanging on the job site trailer, the whiteboard, the grease board, moving stickies around, how we’re coordinating crews, subcontractors, making sure that we know what we’re doing tomorrow, the next day, the day after.
And the unique thing about the Short-Interval Planning is that it’s in the context of our master CPM schedule. So it’s not off on the side without that ability to be informed by the CPM schedule. So you’ll see a lot more about that as we get back to Nate. And we’ll run that live for you. Subcontractor management. So this is a big area in the InEight solution.
And whether you’re a GC, general contractor managing a bunch of subcontractors, whether you’re an owner managing a number of contractors, anybody that’s managing subcontractors, third parties, and needs to understand how their work is progressing, needs to understand how their work is getting paid, are we hitting our milestones, so some of the new things we’ve done here recently in the area of subcontractor management is we’ve added a schedule of value.
So in addition to the line items, the line items that define the scope of that contract, we’ve also created the schedule of values where you can define, “Hey, how are we going to get paid, or how is the subcontractor going to get paid?” So it might be milestone based or unit price based, line item based. You can have quantities, prices on each one of those schedule of value items.
But the really new thing and unique thing that we’ve done is those schedule of value line items can then be pushed into our field execution capabilities, including our mobile application, so that the subcontractor, or you on the GC side, whichever side of that coin you’re on, you can progress that work. So as the work is going on through the mobile app, directly by the subcontractor or by third party observations, you can progress that work, which contributes to the overall percent complete on the project, overall earned values, but also drives that validation for payment.
So when that subcontractor is ready to get paid, pay request comes in, we’ve been progressing that work all along, so we know exactly where we’re at on those schedule of value items. We can validate that pay request a lot faster, eliminate disputes, and everybody gets paid faster. Everybody is happy. But the one thing that I really wanted to point out here is this area of subcontractor management is a perfect example of the benefit of bringing all this stuff together under one roof. Let me show you why.
So here’s a view. This is in our budget and forecasting capability here. You can see our cost breakdown structure hierarchy over on the left. This is a fairly detailed structure. If you’re on the owner side, or even more of a GC as opposed to a self-performed contract, you might not have that much detail in here. This goes down three levels deep. But regardless to what granularity you’re managing your project budget at, we can manage the work actually at any level of detail.
So you could manage progress at a level three, level four, level five, while managing your cost maybe at level one, level two. But in any case, here, I’ve just highlighted, we’ve got a couple areas, a couple of line items in here that we’re going to subcontract. And so following the InEight solution all the way through this process, if we know we’re going to subcontract that, maybe we don’t do earthwork, we’re going to do that through a subcontractor, during the estimating stage with InEight estimate, you can do a comparison.
You can get those quotes coming in from subcontractors, do your comparison and come up with a preliminary selection of who you think you’re going to use. That contract hasn’t been awarded yet. If you look at that number of contracts, there are some other contracts being awarded down below. But not this yet. So the estimate gives us a starting point for the budget. That’s what that CB is, current budget. That’s our budget. But then as we move along, we go through the buyout process. This is where InEight’s contract management comes in.
So all the way from, “Hey, let’s pick up where estimating left off.” Let’s go through our buyout process, negotiations, all that stuff that we do to get to that final contract. Create the contract. And that drives a forecast now for us. So if we look at that forecast column, now we’ve got a forecast number in there, which is different, very often different than what we had in the budget. In this case, fortunately, it’s lower.
But we’ve got a contract now, it’s executed. So we can drive that forecast using a commitment approach. And so right now, we’re expecting to gain 20,000 plus 5,000. So compared to what was in that original budget. And then as we progress on, like I said, that work can be managed out through our field execution capabilities, either directly by the subcontractor progressing the work in the tool, or by the GC through observations, putting in quantities completed, physical percent complete.
As that’s coming in, that can even go through rules of credit. And that’s ultimately calculating our percent complete, where it’s right there with all of our other work, and calculating those earned values for us as well, based on the budget. So work’s going on, we’re tracking that, percent complete is just going up and then maybe an issue kicks off. This is another integrated part of the solution, change management inside of InEight’s change management capabilities.
Maybe we realize there’s some additional scope or some changes there that have to happen to that sub contract. So the contract management system allows us to manage that whole process. But maybe while we’re waiting for that to go through approval, we’re just going to manually change our forecast. So this is a great example of the system. It’s connected, the data just flows. But it also reflects the real world.
“Hey, we want to change our forecast, even though that contract change hasn’t been approved yet.” So we’re just going to do a manual forecast change. All along, as the work is happening, those pay requests might be coming in every two weeks, once a month, whatever it is. And as those pay requests get approved, those are hitting our actual costs. So this is project level, field level detail being managed here.
This information can integrate with your ERP system, of course, but we’re talking about field engineers, superintendents, foremen that are looking after this kind of detail. Throughout the process, all the documents that get created along the way, the contract itself, drawings, specs, everything else that’s related to that subcontract can be stored inside of InEight’s document management capabilities.
So at any point, I could jump into that contract, see the contract itself, see those schedule of values, click on any documents and correspondence and other things that are related to that contract. All under one roof, just a couple clicks away. That’s a view into our subcontract management, some of the new capabilities there, like I said, particularly around those schedule of values. And really getting to the point where you can progress that subcontractor work on a real time, as near real time as you want basis, in order to drive those pay request validations.
Next thing I want to talk about is our new document mobile app. So this is an all new mobile app that we’ve created, really taking the user experience that can be enabled now on a modern mobile device, really taking that to a whole new level. So not just accessing the documents. Obviously, that’s a big part of it. I can be out with my tablet, in this case, out walking around the job site, pull up the relevant documentation, drawings, models, specs, whatever it is, pull that information up.
But also be able to participate in workflows. So a big part of InEight document is being able to route documents around for review, to handle RFIs, submittals. In order to be able to participate in those workflows, you can do that right from your tablet, right from your mobile device, and do things again on the fly rather than making notes when you get back to the office. Doing it, just do it as you go. Carry your tablet with you.
We need to annotate or markup a drawing, we pull that up, make some notes, pass it on to the next person that needs to look at it. Even take photos. So as the work is happening, we can be using that mobile device to take as built photos, link those back to locations in the drawings. And that way, the next person in the chain can click on that drawing and see, “Oh, what does that look like on an as built basis?”
So really, a nice capability, again, of taking all that functionality that we’ve got, that you can get through the web browser for InEight document. You can get to that here in our new mobile app. And the user experience team has just done a great job with that user experience. Very efficient, and just a really enjoyable experience to jump out into that tablet. Next one we’ll talk about here is change management.
So a big, new functionality that we’ve added here in this fall release relative to change management is the pricing bit. So if you think about a change order and the process that goes through it, it might start as an issue out in the field, maybe that was raised by a foreman. Maybe it was raised by a subcontractor. Maybe it was raised by the owner. But regardless of how it started, we can manage that whole workflow.
And what we’ve added now is, when it’s time to submit that change order proposal, as opposed to just putting in, “Hey, there’s the price,” we can provide, you can think of it as estimating light. You can build up an estimate that supports that change order price. And again, provides that kind of justification, that validation, so that when that change order gets presented to the owner, or from a subcontractor to the GC, that approval can be based on a full package of, “Hey, how did you come up with that price?”
What are the issues that drove us to that change order? Notes, relevant documents can be associated, all that kind of stuff. Here’s a view of that. So we’re into InEight’s change management capability here. We’ve got a particular issue that started with just a note. The owner wants us to add some fencing. Maybe that wasn’t in the original scope. We’re going through and figuring out what that’s going to be. We can go through and whether it’s labor, equipment, materials, we can use templates, we can use resources.
If there’s existing line items in the budget already, or the estimate even that came over to the budget, those line items, maybe we had some fencing already. We just need to do more of it. So we can pull that line item in, indicate how much quantity we need of that thing. If I go into my cost item here, now we can see for that fencing, how many feet of that do we need? Maybe we need some of our own resources as well. So we’re going to pull 40 hours of our own staff time into that. All that comes together to give us that total, including markup.
We can put margin on that stuff, or set markup. It’ll calculate your margin for you, as deducs. All that kind of stuff can be included in here, as we’re going back and forth even with the owner, keep track of that. Where are we at? What’s the status of that? Has it been approved yet? That entire process can be handled within the walls of the InEight solution. All the way down to how did we price this? As well as, like I said, supporting documents that backup and make our case for, “Hey, why are we doing this?” What is the justification for this change?
And then I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that, “Hey, when that change order gets approved, $27,556, when that change order gets approved, we can take that right over into update our forecast.” If there’s budget contract changes as a result of these issues turning into approved change orders, it’s not a separate step going off into a separate system to go update the budget and forecast. It just happens automatically.
Last thing I’ll show you here, and I’ll jump into a little bit of live to show you this, because this is a lot of user experience type enhancements that we’ve made. I mentioned our new mobile application for document management, document control. I’ll show you a little bit on the website here. Let’s go ahead and jump over to that. But some neat enhancements that we’ve done to really customize your views. So here’s InEight, what we call our landing page, running live here.
And the beauty of this is you can have … So as you log in, as you jump into the system through your web browser, in this case, you can create different views. If you’re maybe doing certain projects for one owner, or another group of projects for another owner, you can have two different versions of this landing page. Or if you are on the owner side, you might have one view of this for program X with those projects, and another view with program Y with those projects.
Each one of these views, you can decide what projects do you want to look across? You can see right now, I’m looking across 50 projects. That’s where all this data is coming from. So this view is completely customizable. So you can go in, you can see some of the other widgets I’ve got on here. Like, across those 50 projects, what does our costs look like over time, and our expected cost versus actual?
Maybe I’m in a procurement role or vendor management role. So I want to look at, “Hey, what vendors do we have on these 50 projects? And do we have issues going on with any of them?” If I scroll down a little bit, things like workflow, are there things that are waiting for me to approve? How many new issues are popping up on our projects, and do we see a spike in those? Tasks that are waiting for me, dashboards that we can jump right into. My favorite reports.
So really, it gives you a way to curate this landing page. It’s almost like your Twitter feed or your LinkedIn feed, where you’ve already got it set up to see the stuff you care about. This is your project feed. You can set it up. But if I go in here and edit, I can go in, choose from widgets, either from InEight or from partners. I’ll talk about partner widgets here in just a minute, but you can go in. Maybe I don’t want this my links widget anymore, I don’t need that one. Move this one.
Or maybe I want this to be a little bit wider here for my map view. This is a live map, by the way, so we can drill right into, or see where our projects are located. All the way down and drill in and see what the traffic looks like around those projects. So again, great way to just set up a quick way to see the information that you care about, that’s important, right when you log in without having to go find it all.
And it’s also a way where we’re leveraging information coming in from partners. So you can see here this is EarthCam, that’s one of our partners. So if you guys use anybody out there that uses EarthCam, a whole bunch and probably most of you has EarthCam webcams out at your job sites. You can see this is live video, somebody is walking around there. So this is a view of EarthCam’s headquarters. But you could have your webcams coming in from each of your project locations tied into those maps.
So a quick way to see what’s going on at the project site and get that context. What’s it look like at that project site today? That underscores that fact that that’s a third party application that’s feeding into our solution here. It really underscores the platform nature of what InEight offers. It’s an open platform. It’s extensible. Third parties can create connections into this platform, just like InEight adds our own stuff. So pretty cool ability and opportunity to do that.
So with that, let’s jump over to the star of today’s show, which is, as I promised, we were going to jump into more detail on Short-Interval Planning. We’re really excited about this capability and the gap that it fills in the industry. And so Nate’s going to jump back in here and take us for a spin on Short-Interval Planning, tell you why we built it, and show you what it looks like. So Nate, over to you.
Nate St. John:
Exactly, Brad. So let’s kick it right off. Short-Interval Planning or what we’re calling at InEight SIP here, you may have heard it called things like look ahead scheduling, last planner, weekly schedule plan. But really, regardless of the title, SIP was originally developed as a planning tactic used to handle the dynamic nature of executing work.
And so what traditionally occurs is a dedicated, weekly schedule meeting is held to review upcoming work and to answer really some critical questions. So if you think of some of the things covered in these meetings, just to recap what work needs to start this week or next week? What crews are required to perform that work? Are those crews even available?
When can we start the work? Is there preceding work to be completed first? Am I constrained by something? And of course, if we do fall behind, what are our options to re plan and to mitigate? So these meetings are usually done on site in the trailer. Crews will huddle around a whiteboard or pull up Excel as the preferred tool of choice.
You can see here on the right, the familiar whiteboard with the stickies and a custom Excel sheet. This is essentially what we see in the market today. And really, what it is, it’s separate, disconnected processes that are responsible for managing a lot of work. So if you go to the next slide here, Brad, why did we build SIP?
So one of the most common pain points that we hear from our clients, and just through our experience is that there’s a disconnect between what we call the CPM, the critical path method schedule, or the master schedule, and these Short-Interval Plans. So nine times out of 10, teams are running both of these schedule types, and really for good reason.
If you think of what CPM is, it’s absolutely brilliant at establishing activity, durations, dependencies, and the overall project delivery goals and objectives. And then on the flip side, SIP has been widely accepted and proven in the global market as an efficient means to manage this fluid nature and dynamic nature of actually executing work in the field. And the challenge lies in connecting the two together. And that’s precisely why we developed InEight SIP.
So I guess if we break this down further, Brad, it could be argued, really at any given time, there are two primary groups that could be managing the same plan at any given time on a project. And so what I mean by that is on the left of the slide here, there’s going to be a project controls group. And if you think of project management, planners, schedulers, project engineers, they are primarily focused on the CPM schedule, that contract document.
They are preparing it for communication to the client, to stakeholders, and to partners. And then on the other hand, you have this field execution team. So think of superintendents, foremen, the people that are actually building the work. Those roles benefit greatly from this more granular nature of planning in SIP. So take for example, just rearranging some steps. Whether steps move or split, that fluid nature is very difficult to maintain in the CPM, and require a more free environment to thrive.
So as long as these lower level details stay within the activity boundaries of the CPM, all is good. If we think of a simple example, let’s take form, pour, strip, which is a very common activity in a CPM schedule. The project controls group can easily understand by looking at that, that a foundation is actively being worked on during a period of time. However, a more detailed step by step approach is required for execution of that activity.
So I don’t know, preps upgrade, install shoring, place rebar. And not to mention the coordination of the required equipment needed to be on site and accessible to perform this work. So you can see we’re not favoring one method over the other, but rather, we built SIP at the intersection of both of these very well-vetted out methodologies. So if you go the next slide for me, Brad, please. So let’s talk solutions and benefits.
So first and foremost, a project team obviously enters an agreement to a planned sequence of work with an expected finish date. That’s the promise of an executed contract. So planning within CPM is a must. And SIP allows that visibility into the activity boundaries, which drives a real time look into the latest version of the project schedule.
So on the right here, there’s just this little graphic. If you visually need to try to context this, above this dashed line is the CPM. And then below the line is SIP. SIP additionally allows the ability to break down functional silos and expose these hidden constraints and opportunity. And that’s ultimately increasing efficiency. And that’s what people see in the market today, when they use these traditional SIP approaches.
So we’ve taken really, this well-vetted analog version of weekly look ahead scheduling, and we’ve placed it into a single digital environment. And then that allows SIP to benefit from everything cloud based computing has to offer. And finally, we have an opportunity to drive communication across both strategies. And so we look to provide clear visibility, for example, of project milestones, regardless of what level of schedule you’re operating off of.
So at this point, let me ask my friend, Tony, in the backend here, if he could switch maybe my screen over. I’ll go ahead. And I think we’re good here. Right, Brad?
Yes. Yeah, we see schedule up. Yeah. And Nate, one question before you jump into the live demo.
Nate St. John:
I know you’ve lived and breathed this stuff. But that crew level planning, like you were showing on that graphic, crew A, crew B, if I’ve got P6 or a Microsoft product, why wouldn’t I do that level of scheduling just inside the CPM? Why do people not do that in the CPM schedule?
Nate St. John:
Well, some people certainly try. And those folks are the ones that are constantly communicating that the schedule is difficult to maintain, and they need more staff. It doesn’t necessarily matter at the SIP level if you run crew A, B, C, or C, B, A. But sequence is more scrutinized and agreed to in a CPM schedule. So there are obviously written into contracts, there’s a reason why we have explicit language on what it takes to get an approved change of schedule.
If you think of TIAs or potential change orders, there’s a process to that. And the reality is that the field X team cannot wait for that to be approved. Essentially, there is a risk that you may not be granted a schedule change. And now, if you just go ahead and not wait for that, now you’ve disconnected two different approaches. And it’s just absolutely so common.
So providing a space where we have essentially an activity that is acting as a boundary or a guide way, and plays under it, anything you want to do in terms of sequence, just know that the promise was to do it between a start and finish date. And in addition, if steps, and I’ll show this in the demo, if steps extend beyond that planned activity, we can elevate that communication.
We can flag users and warnings to say, “Hey, there needs to be a critical conversation to come with a solution on one of two things.” Do we push back on the field and try to rearrange within the boundaries? Or perhaps the activity in this example has some flow where therefore, we have the ability to extend out a duration?
That’s perfect. I think the thing that I see all the time that I think this addresses that I’m most excited about is that, if you think about trying to do that lowest level detail schedule inside of a CPM, if you think of it as just the lowest level in the hierarchy, it breaks down. Because that crew planning, that level of detail on a daily basis that you got to go to, needs a different set of functionality, needs a different user experience.
It’s a different approach than CPM scheduling. We’re not worried about start to finish connections and constraints. And as much as we are, just, “Hey, we need that fluidity, that ease of use to just swiftly react, to move things around, react to what’s happening at the job site.” That combination of CPM and SIP, I think is really unique. And yeah, you guys have done a great job on this. Let’s see what you got.
Nate St. John:
Okay. Yeah. No, great points. Everything is very valid. So let’s spend just the next 10 minutes or so walking through just some sneak peeks of what this looks like. So what we have here is InEight Schedule. It’s a web application. And we’re in what we call schedule plan view. So you can see on the screen right now, what we have is a multiuse commercial building. It’s essentially a schedule with a WBS hierarchy.
You can see we have pre construction, procurement, construction, closeout, et cetera. So this view right here, it best suits again, this project management, project controls personnel. This is an environment where they can manage the critical path. They can read schedule health metrics. They can benchmark against historical data, assign risks, progress the plan, et cetera.
Under the delegation tab here on the right, we can assign members of the team as what we call Short-Interval Planning contributors. And it’s important to note that anyone can be assigned at any level the schedule. In this example, I’m on the root node when I assign these members, so everyone has full access. So to get into Short-Interval Planning, just click on it. It pulls up a different view in InEight Schedule.
And the first thing you see is that we’ve brought over the CPM WBS. So again, multiuse commercial, pre con, procurement, construction, et cetera. Standard timeline, we have some weather coming from the location. I’m in Ann Arbor, so clear skies right now. 70 degrees, no complaints. And you can see that at this point, we can go ahead and drill down now through the WBS and locate activities that then can have Short-Interval or SIP steps placed under it.
So for example, we’re looking at mobilization right now. This is activity A3370 in the CPM. And we have four SIP steps already created. So temp parking, minor equipment, major equipment, and facilities. You can see that we have start and end dates associated to each step. We have durations. We have the ability to assign a particular planner, and we have SIP resources. So this is five days, so we have five sticky notes.
If we wanted to drill down into excavation, maybe see something further, you notice that there’s not a whole lot of real estate. So we just simply come up here, scroll out in a zoom level. And now, we have a little bit more real estate to visually see the interactions of SIP steps. So in this example, these solid bars represent the activity. And the SIP steps will inherit the activity calendar. So mobilization is very friendly. It’s not working on Saturdays and Sundays.
Therefore, by default, when we assign SIP steps, it will inherit those rules. These activities are also red, means that they’re critical, happen to be critical in this example, in the overall schedule. So, what do we do to add a step? Let’s come up to fencing. Just hover over to click add step. Let’s just call it creatively new stuff. We can set a start finish date. We can do so by just a calendar picker, or just say, “You know what? It’s going to be eight days.”
I can assign myself as the planner. And eight sticky notes appear up underneath the activity. If we wanted to add more manually, we just come in here and click and simply add, or we could delete, et cetera. And we’ve quickly established one step. Now, let’s decorate this step with a few more bits of information. So let’s hover over add step. Resource. So if we click on that, we’ve got a modal that pops up. It says add SIP step resource, the title of the step, start and end.
And then this is the CPM activity associated to that. We now can click in and add a resource. A resource has as full rein of whatever you want. It’s a one to one relationship. It can be crew hours, man hours, pieces of equipment, Brad’s pickup truck. Whatever is needed, okay? In this instance, I’m going to create a new crew. And I’m just going to say Nate’s … Let’s just say Nate’s crew.
You can also see a list of the existing ones that popped up. So those were crews that were already assigned within this plan. The crew hours are going to be the unit of measure. Excuse me, I’m just going to say there’s a crew working 10 hours. I’ll assign myself this blue color. And what happens here is you get an automatic spread of resource histogram.
So it’s a 10-day activity. We put 10 units, 10 widgets on it. So it spreads it automatically by default, one day per unit, or one unit per day. We have the flexibility however, to come in and manually load our own resources in whatever type of spread we want. If we want a front end, back end load, et cetera. We’ll get a warning, of course, as we manually distribute our own allocation.
It’ll say, “Hey, you now are totaling up to 20 units. You’re 10 units off.” Well, we can just go ahead and click update units, and we go to 20. If I had wanted to, of course, come back, say we go and redistribute again and I said, “You know what, I goofed something up,” we’ll just go ahead and reset units. So we go ahead and we hit save.
And what we’ve done is we’ve assigned a step. We’ve assigned a planner in context of the CPM, and provided a resource. We have some additional functionality around comment, talking. We’ll save it and you can have a conversational record keeping in terms of that step activity. So at this point, let’s talk quickly about some annotations that we’ve added.
So what we’ve done is we’ve provided the ability to display units across the SIP days. And so if you recall down here, we have a crew assigned. It’s general labor man hours. It’s 150 units. It’s 30 units a day. We want to be able to visually see that. And to go above and beyond that, we also want the ability to provide some color coding.
So now, as the eye scans across this familiar whiteboard esque design, you can easily determine based on the colors, oh, that’s this screw, that’s this crew, that’s this crew. So a lot of really, quite frankly, user friendly interactions. The intent was to design this around the very familiar, very popular whiteboard. But then to place it in again, this digital environment to maximize its benefits.
The last thing I want to just chat on real quick, Brad, before we recap this, we’ve provided the ability to group by planner. And this is a very, very popular option for our clients right now. Obviously, there’s going to be whether it’s a superintendent in charge, or if it’s an actual lead planner, whomever, you can assign responsibility to any step within the system.
So what we have here is a unique situation. We have three different planners. We have Brad, Chris, and Jordan. And these planners are all working on the same activity. So they’re all working on activity 3560, electrical roughing. Okay. But they share a responsibility across this activity. So if I’m Brad and I’m operating just in my world, and I’m filtered down just to my responsibility, I may look here and say, “Hey, I’m positioned to do work towards the back end of this activity.”
“I finished up early, I’m looking for a place for my crew to go. How about I just drag this over and drop it, and now we can start early?” Well, the problem with that, if I slide us back, is that there’s a lighter shade here. And what this indicates is that there’s some other activity during that timeframe going on.
So if you click on it, you can then focus in on A. It’s assigned to Chris Cam. I click on that and it takes me down to this activity. Now, this step, pull wire in Brad’s view, he can visually say, “Oh, I can’t start early because Chris is pulling wire on the same activity.” And the exact same thing happens with Chris.
If he were to want to start early, he clicks on this, it takes him down to prep studs, which is Jordan’s responsibility. And you can see that we have begun to identify cross dependent, break down the silos through these functional disciplines, and visualize and call out this dependency interconnection. And I would argue that this is probably the more dangerous situation.
Let’s collapse these two. If I’m Jordan, I’m prepping studs. And if we hadn’t built this functionality into it, Jordan is thinking, “Oh, shoot, I’ve got a ton of float. Let’s just scoot this out.” But what in reality is happening is he’s realizing that there’s something going on in terms of this activity. What is it? Let’s click on it. Chris Cam. It opens it up, and it takes us there.
So this cross crew collaboration is really going to close the gaps of communication, and prevent screw ups like rework and equipment shortages, et cetera. So with that, I think I’ll probably ask my friend Tony again, to switch us back over to the final slide, just to recap this. There’s three primary objectives that we established at InEight before we went and built this SIP.
We wanted to first align SIP with the CPM, and really for seamless stakeholder communication. So no matter what level of a schedule, a stakeholder is viewing, or asking for information, it’s all relevant. It’s all real time. It’s all connected. The second thing here is we didn’t want to reinvent something that does in fact, by itself work well.
So SIP’s digital whiteboard experience is a familiar interaction to people that may not be that comfortable with technology. And that interaction and everything this provides can drive the conversation during field execution planning. And then finally, having the ability to identify breaches. When you extend beyond an activity, you can essentially have a checks and balance system from the AI produced CPM versus the field execution planning in SIP.
So again, this latest innovation, this early introduction to the market, we couldn’t be more excited about it. I think back to my time in the field working on mega jobs, the time spent customizing, conditional formatting in Excel, people asking, “Hey, where are we at with this,” and me having to respond, “Hang on, let me update it,” really, it’s inexcusable quite frankly. This is what the market needs today and we’re just hoping that people want to come in and enjoy it.
Great stuff, Nate. You guys nailed this. This is really exciting. Hopefully, everybody can see. Anybody that’s been through those meetings at the job site, sitting in front of the grease board, watching and participating in those coordination events that look ahead in planning, it’s a little easier now because you got your phone.
You can at least take a picture of the grease board. So six hours later when you’re trying to remember what was on that grease board, you can at least look at your phone. But what this does is it makes it collaborative, so you can be looking at this stuff from anywhere, anytime, updating. If you’re one of those planners, you can be putting in what you think you need or when you’re going to do your work.
And then when you get the group together, you’re remotely or at the trailer. These days, sometimes that might be remote. You’ve got it all right in front of you. You can see exactly what’s going on. And then the beauty of this too is we should probably point out that CPM schedule, Nate, that you were showing the provides the overall context. So, the timing.
That schedule can be … you can read and write in Primavera P6 format. So if your CPM schedules are P6, we read that right in, then you can do this step level planning. Or you can do that CPM schedule right inside of InEight’s solution. So another great example of how that open platform works. You can do all this functionality inside of InEight, or in conjunction with P6, for example.
That collaboration, which is really one of the hallmarks of a digitalized approach, it’s like a grease board on steroids. But you’ve kept that nice ease of use. Easy to just drag things, move them around. Nice job. Kudos to your team for that.
Nate St. John:
Thank you, Brad. Appreciate it.
So with that, I’ll bring up our final slide here, just to point you to other sources of information. If you’re looking for more information about InEight, certainly InEight.com is your place to go get that. The webinar will be recorded and available out at InEight.com. Always check out our blogs.
Like I said, we’ve got a lot of folks over working inside of R&D at InEight. Not just R&D, services and other areas as well that come from the construction industry. A lot of those folks are creating articles and content blogs, good stuff. Just industry focused stuff. Take a look at that when you get a chance.
I’ve been monitoring the questions, Nate. I think we’ve got a few questions for you. So yeah, let’s throw these out here. So the first one we had, the question is, is SIP, is Short-Interval Planning part of the InEight Schedule application?
Nate St. John:
Oh, yes. Absolutely. Within the umbrella of InEight Schedule, and really, it covers planning, scheduling, and risk. So the short answer is yes, SIP is part of the offering. But it’s important to know that you can do pre planning exercises within InEight Schedule.
You can then make that into a baseline and manage the CPM in InEight Schedule. You can then take it down to the Short Term Interval Planning section. And then you can also do full Monte Carlo simulations for risk assessment management, all within this umbrella.
Perfect. Okay. We got another one for you. Can multiple people be in SIP at the same time?
Nate St. John:
Yes. And that’s probably something I should have covered in the demo. But absolutely. There’s an indicator at the top of the screen that tells you how many users are in that session. And in fact, we also will alert the user when there’s been a real life change.
And so if Brad and I are sitting in different cities and we’re both collaborating on a SIP schedule, and I make a change, you’ll get a button that starts to flash that says, “Refresh SIP data.”
So he hits that and then we take him to and visually highlight the changes that have been made. And we’ve served up real time data. So yeah, absolutely. The more people, the better. We’ve designed it to be as seamless as possible.
It’s that collaborative nature that you’ve brought to the process. Very cool. Here’s one. And I think I asked you this early on, on this too. Does SIP automatically update the CPM schedule?
Nate St. John:
Yeah, that’s a good question. So, no. And by design, we have lead planners and schedulers for a reason. And if we opened the doors and removed that checks and balance to allow field execution to rearrange and automatically change the CPM, there’s going to be some unhappy people on the project controls team.
So we’ve intentionally built this hold point, this checkpoint, to really challenge and validate both levels of schedule. And I think that everyone on the call here that has that experience will echo that. So it’s a very good question.
I think we’ve got time for one or two more here. So another one that’s coming in. What is the difference? Is there a difference I suppose, between SIP and say, a three-week look ahead schedule?
Nate St. John:
There’s not. So, it’s the same philosophy. And that’s what we were trying to mimic into SIP. So if you think of a three-week look ahead schedule, you’re usually coming in on let’s call it today. And you’re planning out the next three weeks, and you’re most likely looking back at the prior week to establish what was done. And that’s precisely what this tool is made for.
So what we’ve done is to take that three-week look ahead process, call it SIP, establish it as its own thing, but then integrate it with the CPM. So essentially, what we’re saying is to replace your current analog side system for three-week look ahead and common to the environment where you can do all sorts of planning scheduling in one tool, and share that data across everything.
Makes perfect sense. All right. I think we got time for one more. I think you touched on this in the demo a little bit, but can you see breaches in the CPM?
Nate St. John:
Yeah, and I probably should have shown that one as well. There’s so much to cover in this. But absolutely. So we included it in that annotation dropdown. So just like we can turn on, show me the widgets per day and show me my color coding, we also can show breaches. And breaches are highlighted in big yellow, bold lines.
And in addition to that, you can also group, sort, filter by breaches. So at the end of a SIP session, you can quickly do an audit of, “All right, where have we been disconnected?” In the future, and again, this is phase one tip of the iceberg, but in the future, the plan is to automatically notify the lead planner of any breach.
And then that lead planner can determine, do I want to accept or reject this proposition of changing duration budget? And that’s just absolutely fascinating. It’s going to string together so many people that are working over time in different areas to, again, connect the entire data stream up to decision making, and then carry on with a unified forecast.
Perfect. Yep. Yeah, that’s one of those. That’s a perfect example of, it makes sense to be aware of that and having that context that we’re breaching the CPM. And then that prompts a discussion. We’re not just going to automatically update the CPM, which is typically a contractual mechanism.
But if we leave it that way and we’ve got to breach the CPM, now there’s a discussion. We got to understand, what impact does that have? So again, perfect example why it makes sense to do this SIP in the context of the CPM.
All right. Well, I think we better wrap it up here. We’re coming up on our hour. Great questions from our attendees today. So I appreciate that. Again, take a look at these sources, if you need more information about InEight or about what we’ve covered here today.
I want to again, thank our product teams, all the folks in our product organization, engineering, product operations, everything that goes into creating these great innovations, which all start from ideas that we get from customers, from the market as we talk to people, and from our own experience out in the industry.
So looking forward to getting this stuff out in your all’s hands. And we will see you probably in another quarter. So as we start to look at what’s coming up in the next quarter, again, just a huge list of things that we’re working on that are innovative in solving real world problems.
And so we’ll be excited to show you that stuff here in another quarter. So thanks for joining us. And everybody, have a great rest of your day. Appreciate it. Thank you.