ClickCease
Lorem ipsum

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Looking to Up Your AWP Game in 2023?
Why It’s Time to Reassess Your Tech

Originally aired on 1/24/2023

63 Minute Watch Time

Request A Demo

TRANSCRIPT


Chris Carson: 

Welcome everybody to the AACE Webinar on Advanced Work Packaging. We have two experts in the business here, both software and project controls experts who are going to give this presentation and talk to you a little bit about their product. Nate St. John is product director for scheduling and risk management at InEight. Nate’s real-world experience and passion for scheduling risk can be seen in his thought leadership contributions to the field, as well as in his timely and practical industry updates on the latest technological advances in construction planning software.

Prior to InEight, Nate gained deep project knowledge working on programs for large capital projects ranging in size from $2 million to more than $6 billion. During his time at one of North America’s largest construction and engineering firms, he became a trusted internal advisor for all things planning and scheduling, conducting forensic analysis, facilitating risk workshops, and providing guidance during complex project claims. Nate is a PSP through AACE and active in the great [inaudible 00:01:06] section, and he’s presented at AACE national conferences, so if you’ve been there, you might’ve met him there or seen him there.

With him is Andre Paden, a project manager for InEight and the company’s Advanced Work Packaging subject-matter expert. He works with a team of engineers and product owners who develop solutions to help solve customers’ greatest project challenges while increasing their profitability and agility. Andre helps drive digital transformation in the industry by bringing together innovation, technology and data. Before InEight, Andre led the AWP implementation for Kellogg Brown & Root, KBR, and acted as the point person for adopting and implementing AWP solutions on new projects. He moved into this post after serving various roles ranging from project engineer, field engineer to project controls manager.

Andre used his experience in multiple positions and projects to lead KBR’s transition into digital construction delivery. Andre holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland. I’m Chris Carson, program and project controls director for Arcadis and active in AACE myself. So I’m going to turn this over now to Nate and let him take it off. Nate, please go forward.

 

Nate St. John:  

Well, thank you for the warm welcome, Chris. Hello everyone. Fantastic again to be here and partnering with AACE, an absolute wonderful institution, wealth of knowledge. I’m constantly referencing their recommended practices. Been a long-time member, so always great to partner with AACE. As Chris said, my name’s Nate St. John and I get the opportunity really to represent a bunch of fantastic people behind planning, scheduling, and risk here at InEight. I’m very excited to sit in with our resident AWP expert, Andre. I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two during the next hour.

For those not familiar with InEight, we are a global leader in capital project management software, providing our clients the bigger picture to better manage scope, costs and schedule. Our connected platform provides solutions across 16 core business processes with the one here today focusing on work planning and packaging. So with that, I’ll kick it over to our MC for the day. Mr. Andre Paden.

 

Andre Paden:  

Thank you. Really appreciate that, Nate. Appreciate the warm welcome and thank you again Chris for the intro. Thank you all for attending this webinar today. Nate alluded to we’re going to be talking about how Advanced Work Packaging, AWP and more specifically how those AWP concepts and those concepts link with technology to incrementally make improvements to our [inaudible 00:04:06]. It can lead to better outcomes for you and your projects. Thinking about all of the webinars, all the conferences, trade shows, all of the kind of industry events that we’ve attended over the years, right? There’s always been a consistent theme, right? It’s that our industry hasn’t seen those dramatic increases in productivity and efficiency, and we continue to overspend and experience longer than expected outcomes, and that’s some of the driving forces behind Advanced Work Packaging. How can we do things better in our industry, so we don’t have those kind of overspends and longer outcomes?

I want to make this a little bit interactive, so I want everyone to open up your chats. We’re going to play a little game, a little fill in the blank game just to kind of see some of these things across the industry. So fill in the blank. 80% of construction projects finish either over blank or over blank. What are those two words there? Just fill those in the chat. What is that traditional thing that we hear on all these? Yeah, I’m seeing it. Everyone’s alluding to it, right? Over budget and over schedule. Think about that. 80% of our projects either finish over budget or over schedule.

All right, the next one, the average capital project reaches completion 20 months blank of schedule, 20 months blank of schedule. Yep, we’re seeing them fill in, right? We’ve heard them all, late, behind. You got it, right? Average projects finish nearly two years late in our industry. How about this one? The industry hasn’t seen a substantial productivity gain in over blank years. How many years have we not seen that, right? Look at that. I’m seeing 10 to 80, right? It’s kind of like our parents when they tell us that story about how they walked uphill both ways to school and every year they tell you it started off a hundred feet and next thing you know it’s 12 miles each way to and from school. But think about that. Our industry, we haven’t seen that dramatic increase in productivity for, you know, pick a number, 20 plus years.

One more? A couple more for you. 30% of projects start construction blank to blank due to schedule pressures resulting in cost overruns and inefficient execution. I’ll say it again. I kind of gave up the answer though. 30% of construction projects start blank due to schedule pressures resulting in overruns and inefficient execution. Yep. We start too early, right? All these outside pressures from our organizations, from the owners, they’re saying “Get out to the field, get boots on the ground, let’s go, go, go.” But at what cost, right? And one more last one. This one’s a bit obscure, but this one, when you hear it, it shakes you to the core. Mega projects. When we talk about mega projects, we’re talking about projects that are a billion dollar plus, right? Mega projects blank more than twice as often as smaller counterparts. And this one is tricky, and I’ll give you a hand, it starts with a F. Four letter word.

You’ve guessed it, right? Fail. Fail. We’re seeing failures of mega projects $1 billion plus twice as often as our smaller counterparts. Some estimates say one in three mega projects fail. Think about that number, one in three. If I told you you had a one in three chance of failing the next exam you had or your kid had a one in three chance of failing the next exam they were going to take, what steps would you take to make sure that didn’t come to fruition? That’s where we find ourselves right here in this industry. We’ve known all these things. We’ve heard them enough. We all can talk that language. We know that our failures are constantly being talked about and being shown to us, but we’re still not making that transition. And what goes into that process? What are some of these things that are leading to these failures that we are continuing to see in our industry?

You think about subject-matter experts. Chris mentioned it. He has all these years in the project controls arena. Our industry has experienced a brain drain, so to speak. They’re folks that are aging out. They’re getting to that point where all these folks with substantial years of experience are getting to the point where they’re riding off into the sunset and we thank them for all their great service. How is all that knowledge being transferred? How is that knowledge being imparted into our future generations of this industry to make sure that all of the knowledge, expertise, all that learned experience is being transitioned back into our next generation, so that we can leverage that knowledge and can start to maximize on that knowledge sharing amongst our team members to make sure that we have those greater outcomes?

What about risk? Does risk play a part in that? How many times have we been on a project where our risk assessment methodology is kind of wait and see, let’s see what happens, believing that we’re agile enough, we’re swift enough that we’ll be able to throw any of these things that pop up on our jobs, right? Has that approach been successful? I think from the stats that we’ve seen today, probably not. So our ability to assess risk and not only assess risk but make plans to mitigate those risks is part of this process of us being better going forward.

Lessons learned, right? How many of us have been on the job, didn’t go so well and we sat there at the end of the job talking about all the things that we would never do again because of all the pain that we’ve experienced? Only for us to repeat those same mistakes on the next job because maybe we didn’t get there soon enough and the train was already going down the rails, right? Or maybe that information wasn’t relayed because we didn’t have a good method to capture all those lessons learned to share and impart on the next folks who are going to embark on the project. This one, running out of time to plan properly. How many times have those outside pressures forced us to get some half-baked plans out in the wild and say, “Let’s get active on it because hey, we don’t have enough time to do that?”

Or better yet, how many times have those outside forces, “Hey, let’s do something unnatural in our execution.” We kind of talked about that, right? 30% of projects start too early causing out of sequence work. How many times are we told, “Yeah, let’s go to the field. We’re going to rush some civil drawings out to the field, so the folks can get started.” And then now we’re going civil structure, we’re going our way up, but maybe we forgot about all the underground and piping, so now we’re kind of doing that hopscotch game of digging holes here, making different pathways so we can execute. We’re doing all this out-of-sequence work because somebody thought, hey, it’d be a good idea to get us out and get us into the field, where we could have waited maybe another month or two and kind of properly executed that project.

Lastly, technology. We’ve seen technology enhance everything we do in our personal lives. What about technology as a benefit for us in project execution? How many times that we’ve been burned by tools and systems that information isn’t shared in real time, information is hard coded, or information is redundantly joined to all these different tools and you just end up with a disjointed mess at the end? Where the scheduling team is passing off information that isn’t being reconciled with the execution, and then we’re kind of in that place where, hey, we’re kind of losing track of our sequence. I’m sure this sounds all too familiar and I probably can ask Nate, right? Nate, how much of this sounds familiar to you in your industry experience?

 

Nate St. John:   

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s a good list. I think it’s a lot of things that aren’t unique to this group. I always kind of go back to the notion of majority of projects fail from poor planning rather than poor execution. So I say this all the time, concrete trades people know how to pour concrete. They’re very skilled at it. However, it’s the responsibility of their team leads, of management to provide clear expectations to daily operations while also being prepared for when change occurs. And given the multi-dimensional nature of construction teams, there is a very real risk that if each discipline’s data source of truth, progress, reporting, et cetera isn’t connected, you’re going to be out of sync with reality. And so I like to highlight and yes, the first four are very valid, but something we can do in the future by leveraging technology is connecting some of these systems.

 

Andre Paden:

Right on, Nate. You hit it right on the head. All of those things are kind of what we at the industry do. We do it all the time but starting off with that effective plan in the beginning is going to set us up for a lot more success in the future if we can get that plan right. So with that, I know I’ve seen some of the guys in the chat commenting, we’re going to open up our poll for this webinar. What have you experienced in the industry? What have been the biggest impacts for you in effectively planning with you and your organization? And if you specify “other,” just drop your “other” in the chat so we can all see and learn from that experience.

What are you seeing as your biggest obstacles to effective planning? Give them a couple seconds, let everyone get their answers in. Close it out. Let’s look at these results and see what we get here. Look at that little bit of spread across the cross of it, a little bit of everything. Time constraints to fully develop a plan, right? That’s pressures that we’re exerting on ourselves, or our organizations are exerting on us from effective planning. Think about that, if we could just align ourselves internally and give us ourselves the time to properly plan how much farther we would be, right? Wow. Nate, any thoughts on the poll?

 

Nate St. John:  

No, it’s no surprise that it’s evenly scattered. The chats that came in were almost all, at least what I saw, communication-based and we could have an entire webinar on what proper communication can do to you, but from closing the gaps of disconnected natures and setting expectations properly. I mean, why do we plan? Why do we schedule? It’s to communicate the plan. It’s to track the plan, and then it’s to record the plan and those are all at its core material communication exercises. So yeah, no surprise with the nature of the feedback here, Andre.

 

Andre Paden:  

With that, we’re going to talk about what we can do in the industry to start to make that incremental change. We have five resolutions and it’s the top of the year, 2023, everybody’s kind of in the new year, new you kind of phase. We’re going to leave you all with five resolutions that you can take to your organizations to start to make that change. AWP and risk management, so we talk about Advanced Work Packaging. I think we all kind of have a grasp of it, grasp of basic concept. But AWP is a project execution methodology that’s intended to enhance your project planning, right? And I know a lot of industries kind of call it something different. You speak to folks old enough, they’ll tell you we’ve been doing this for years and I agree, we’ve all kind of done parts and pieces of this. But AWP focuses on that full completion of start project planning and execution process for defining, aligning, sequencing and pacing our execution for all stakeholders.

So that’s engineering, procurement, construction and so on and so forth. So it allows us to design and build more predictably. That’s what we want. We want to design and build with more predictable outcomes. We want to be able to look at our plans and have those plans aligned closely with reality. That’s the textbook definition. So a shorter version for you to take with you if you’re not familiar with AWP, it’s a detailed planning process that considers all inputs upfront to minimize changes in disruption to the project progress. So then you want to make sure that you’re taking all these varying inputs into your plans in going forward. In a similar vein, risk management, what is that about? It’s identifying and mitigating risk upfront so you can minimize threats and maximize opportunities again with the goal of improving predictability. If you considered all of your what-if scenarios and you made the appropriate plans based on your scoring, you kind of have a plan of action. So in the event that these things do occur, you have proper mitigation plan steps in place and you’re not totally derailing your project.

So you can see why these two philosophies work in tandem, right? They’re not new in the industry, they’re just, hey, let’s bring them together where they can build on one another. Our first resolution here, path of construction, a key deliverable to any AWP process is to deliver a fully vetted path to construction, right? Nate talked about it, right? Upfront planning. So when you say upfront planning, a fully vetted path of construction. It should ensure that all of our crew task assignments are properly phased so everybody’s inputs have been considered. Everyone’s looked at the plan. Everyone has agreed with it, so we have the input from the collective and we’ve pretty much well-baked our plan over time to say, “Hey, we think this is the best course of action.”

That plan should understand the risks associated with the overall strategy and allow for mitigation steps for all stakeholders, both upstream and downstream. What if this happens? We need to know what’s the impact both upstream and downstream. Where is that equipment that we anticipate getting is a long lead item now and it’s going to be a two-year strategy for that. How does that impact both upstream and downstream? Part of building that path to construction, one of the inputs is constructability and sometimes we often construe constructability for path of construction. Constructability looks to say, “Hey, how am I going to build these certain aspects of my project?” The path of construction focuses on the when and why, and that’s critical to making the effective plan. We get on these jobs all the time and we say, “Hey, we have these constructability reviews and there’s concerns over designs and these things won’t work.”

And that’s trust me, that’s critical to this process. Part of developing a fully vetted path of construction is having that constructability review. But the sequencing of work, if we don’t get that right, how much more trickle-down effect is that going to have on everyone? Think about even if your design does work, if you don’t have that properly sequenced, embedded across all of your stakeholders, how much more trouble are you going to be? So as industry leaders part of this resolution, we want to make sure that we are developing fully vetted path of constructions well in advance of all of our work starting. So we need to make sure that we’re doing that. As a stretch goal on that, we need to make sure that we’re performing those sanity checks on our path of construction as the design matures, and as the project progresses to validate our strategy. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Hey, our assumptions initially are wrong. We need to make a pivot.”

We all should be asking that as we go through the project. Making that change upfront is a lot easier than just chewing on it and letting it sit there and then eventually run into an issue and then saying, “Oh man, we should have made that change three months ago and now we’re impacted.” So as industry leaders, resolution one, be able to define and refine our path to construction, making sure that we are fully vetted on how we want to execute our construction projects. I’m not saying anything new. I’m just saying what we’ve done in the past is what we’re going to continue to do and push our entire organizations to do.

 

Nate St. John:

Andre, I always like to say the term when summing it up, it’s about getting the right stuff to the right people at the right time. It’s this coordinated dance between engineering, procurement, and construction. AWP can sit at that intersection, and you’ll see later on collaborative is going to be all over these slides and we’ll do our best to put kind of a practical application to that. But I always like to go with the easy statement, right stuff, right people, right time.

 

Andre Paden:

That’s it, Nate, and that’s all we want to do. We want to get the right stuff where it needs to be at the right time. Resolution two, tying back into this continual review, right? Our next resolution is to continually perform risk identification and management as our projects go along. I know I’ve been on jobs and I’m sure all of us have been on jobs. We start the job, it’s early, we’re doing our upfront planning, we have this grand risk workshop at the start of the job. We get all the relevant stakeholders, we bring them all in. We identify our risk; we do our scoring. Everyone’s really super excited about it. We have our plans in place and then we never look at that output ever again until something goes wrong. We don’t ever go through the process of saying, “Hey, some of these risks have morphed over time.”

Our design decisions change. Some of these things have moved over into a new plane. How many times have we just had their one risk workshop and we never see it again? Our ability to understand and plan for our risk early in the project cycle helps reduce our risk exposure throughout the project. And again, that’s a collective job. We should all be participating in that. We should enlist the help of all of our team members that help identify risk. That’s bringing in everybody, safety, quality, logistics, procurement, HR. All these folks are going to have different inputs and different insights on how the risk profile on the project can [inaudible 00:22:42].

You see that same kind of thread in the AWP process. Those same stakeholders are needed for that cross-team collaboration as Nate mentioned. How do we get all this stuff in the right spot at the right time? All of these folks are going to be critical to that insight. So having the right process in place to do this continual risk management is part of it. We need to make sure that our organizations are developing the right processes to allow us to do that continual risk management process. We also need to have the right tools in place. Thinking about that grand risk workshop, what was typically the output of that was an Excel file and maybe a PDF of all the kind of mitigation plans. How much of that information was relevant to you as you were continuing to make your decisions throughout the project?

As an industry, we need to make sure that our ability to collect, manage and produce those risk outputs to keep all of our stakeholders informed as we go throughout the project is something that we need to keep top of mind. Excel and PDFs, that’s fine, but how can we begin to utilize technology to supplement that, where if I am a scheduled planner, I understand the risk profile, that risk information is shared throughout my activity. So when I’m going to go through my schedule, I have that risk flag in my schedule.

Same thing with cost control. Is cost control consuming that risk on a daily basis where they can continue to be continuously informed? Stretch goal as an industry, right? Utilize the process of risk management, utilize the technology risk management to make sure that all of our stakeholders can collaborate that and utilize that information to leverage their daily decision-making process, right?

 

Nate St. John:  

Yeah. So moving to the next section. So practicing what I, you know, risk management. But I like to call it and reframe it as confidence management. So practice confidence management from knowledge-driven planning. Okay, what does that all mean? So resolution number three, leveraging experience to drive realistic plans. So the idea of benchmarking isn’t new. I think everyone on the call understands the importance of referencing history. Searching backwards and running past comparisons against a handful of projects, however, can be somewhat a manual experience. There’s this traditional approach of, okay, do the estimate and when it’s built, we’ll turn around and we’ll align it and vet it against a few as-builts.

In addition, I think I’d argue the cost side of the house maybe has an easier time comparing deltas to cost items, versus planners, schedulers in a more dynamic environment tasked with comparing past activities, sequence of work and ultimately trying to hone in on past decision-making. So in a newer approach in the new year with the right system, I think teams can benefit from what we’re calling knowledge-driven planning by unlike traditional planning and scheduling tools, leveraging real-time guidance while developing that new plan from scratch, or even when reviewing existing plans during these interactive iterative planning sessions. And so one way this can be achieved is to step into and adopt advanced technology. So with an “always on” kind of AI engine sitting behind the scenes scanning your company’s knowledge library, making suggestions based on historical data, teams can better plan earlier on. So by placing this on top of advanced tech, we don’t change fundamental ideas of benchmarking at all, rather we are reassessing and upgrading the technology to do so.

So I’ll also take resolution four for you, Andre, collaborative schedule critique. So whether that’s progress updates, schedule review sessions, resource management discussions, I immediately think at least of in-person meetings, paper printouts, disconnected PDF markups if you happen to be digital. I fully admit I’ve been guilty of operating kind of quote, offline myself in the past when it comes to gathering feedback from experts. One main challenge that kind of comes up from this traditional approach is collecting feedback often done in one large planning or scheduling update meeting. Maybe it’s a series of standing meetings and certainly there’s pros and cons to in-person work. But you are at the end of the day traditionally pulling people out of the field and asking them to sit through other sessions and expect them to provide meaningful, accurate responses to your questions under pressure. So what we’ve witnessed is the process to collect information hasn’t experienced significant advancements in a very long time.

One way to turn these pains into gains in a new approach is through not only have a process in place. That’s obvious. But to compliment that process with an ease-of-use system. The end goal here is to determine whether or not the plan is achievable. We aim for plan validation. So what was most likely built by a select few people can now be vetted by the group at large while building consensus and buy-in. So moving from analog data capture to a digital space where individuals could mark up a plan, have their input funnel into a consensus pool for a review. Allow these people to sit down on their own time when they can focus anywhere in the world to provide meaningful insights, while at the same time not being influenced just yet by stakeholders in the room. These are powerful mechanisms in determining I believe if a team is bought in or believes in the plan or not.

 

Andre Paden: 

Beautiful, Nate, and we think about collaboration and how do we push that through the tools. So any webinar, here’s our mandatory, here’s a new acronym for the industry CDP, right? So collaborative project delivery. Just a play on words, I’m sure you’re all quite familiar with integrated product delivery where we look to integrate people, systems, structures. At InEight, we focus on the collaborative part of that. So a heavy focus is the real-time collaboration between those people and systems. I think all too many times in our industry integration means that group A produces an Excel file that group B consumes, and they’re integrated, right?

Collaboration, shifting that integration to that collaboration where both groups are leveraging that single system and that single-system data set where we both can kind of work together and create something better. Group A understands the wants and needs of group B and we’re all using the same source of information, then we can all collectively work together for a greater benefit. So our fifth resolution, fifth and final resolution, collaborative intelligence, human and AI. And before you all start talking about Chat GP in the box, we’re not talking about open AI. We’re not feeding it prompts, right? But what we’re really talking about is how humans and machines can work together for that augmented intelligence.

The people in our jobs are our ultimate knowledge source in this industry. We think that these folks are going to be around forever. Think about it in my history when every time we started a job, we had a logistics [inaudible 00:30:54] guru, right? That every time you started a job, you give them all your plot plans and your heavy equipment. Two weeks later he’ll give you all your kind of heavy lift plans, your logistics plan, and that was what he did. No one kind of knew. It was just a black box, two weeks later you get an output, right? That’s great, right? That’s great for what we need to get accomplished, but when that gentleman wants to retire, what do we do then? You’ve all heard the stories. We rehire that person as a consultant and we pay him 10 times what he was getting paid to work for us as a consultant. He just pops in every two weeks to give us an output, right?

We’ve all been there. So our ability to create, share and apply that collective knowledge is going to be how we drive execution as we move forward, right? And every project as we go through those projects provide that valuable experience and those lessons learned that we could leverage for all those subsequent projects. All of our organizations, we think that’s important. We say, “Hey, we got to do that lessons-learned capture. We need to do that.” We all believed in that process, but what we struggle with is kind of capturing and applying those learnings to future projects.

Our success in building those plans upfront relies on our collective ability to create the best upfront plan, which relies on the best quality inputs. Whatever you’re feeding in is going to be a factor of what you get out of it. So how do we get this knowledge out of those experts and share with collective? That’s something that we all need to be thinking about. How do we do that effectively? What we start to realize is that we have to start looking at technology to help supplement that, and the platforms that leverage both that knowledge and the brain power within our organization and tie that into AI, again, AI, right? Humans and machines work together. We start to build that augmented intelligence where that people-centric knowledge is leveraged with the machine and then we’re turbocharging our decision-making process. Nate kind of alluded to it, but what he’s doing over in our scheduling solution, he’s leveraging all of that, right?

So he’s going through that process of having that connective collective knowledge capture. So he’s getting input from all the subject-matter experts. He’s saying, “Hey, what do you guys feel about this plan, this execution strategy?” He’s utilizing that. He’s also utilizing historical inputs. So he got all this information, task performance for all the projects, all the industry comps. He’s utilizing all that information. Then he’s layering AI on top of that, that says, “Hey, what would a realistic approach to this current project look like with all that input?”

So that’s where we start to say, “Hey, AI needs to influence our industry,” but we’re talking about that augmented intelligence, where we’re just feeding that machine additional data and sets of information where then we can use that to leverage that and use that to make better plans for ourselves. We want to get to this fanciful world where, hey, we type into the Chat GPT prompt, what’s our best execution path for this job? And you know it’s going to spit out all our AWP plans and work packages and we’re going to get those books already cut up for the folks in the field.

We’re going to get there eventually, but what are we going to do today to help us, right? We know that utilizing processes, people and technology is going to be the key for us to start to begin to improve our productivity and efficiency. It’s going to help us improve our collaboration. If I have tools that we all can easily get into and share that information, that’s going to improve how we operate on projects. And it’s going to prevent those repeated mistakes that we find all too often, right? Technology helps with the information shared and it’s not the answer. That’s what we need to leave this with. That resolution is say, technology is going to be a tool for us, another tool in our toolbox. It’s not meant to supplement everything that we have. It’s not going to be able to throw away your tool belt and say, “Hey, AI, do this for me,” or not yet.

Hopefully iRobot comes to life and we can have robots build our jobs, but until then, we have to utilize the technology for what we need. So five easy resolutions that we’ve covered here. None should be too groundbreaking or shocking. It’s all a little bit of incremental steps on things that we’re doing now to make us better for the future. Think what we’re going to kind of cover next is how technology, those disconnected systems, how we begin to use those to help with all these things that we’re trying to do. Go ahead.

 

Nate St. John: 

Well, yeah, so when you talk about, advance to the next slide for me, Andre. So yeah, let’s spend a moment here and just talk about connectivity. So point solutions are generally efficient at performing their primary purposes throughout the project. There’s no doubt. But over time, introducing new point solutions really can result in a medley of products from different vendors who may or may not be industry neutral. They may or may not be intended to be compatible with each other causing vital information, hard work to become difficult to share.

And what we’re seeing with our customers, the unanticipated results of not being connected are often measured in extra time and effort dedicated for things like redundant data entry, especially in multiple places, and then trying to just find workarounds in general for incompatibility. And this can all drastically compromise the planning process, which is critical to do early on in a realistic format as well as just the general accuracy and usefulness of the project data. So this is where a connected platform really shines and can provide input and collaboration necessary to be successful. So that’s been the message behind InEight from the beginning. But let’s have Andre walk us through how this is practically applied and within the AWP process itself.

 

Andre Paden:  

Yeah, appreciate that, Nate. So just looking at all of the various inputs that are kind of needed for that AWP. I think what we typically see in the industry is that we typically make these diagrams where we say, “Hey, our planning and scheduling tool talks to our cost management,” as an error, right? Input, output [inaudible 00:37:13]. But what is that input and output, really, right? How closely integrated is that tool, right? Are we realistically sharing a data set or are we again tossing files over to a different group to say, “Hey, this is my input from our schedule, consume that and do something with that,” right? Thinking about the narrow focus of our InEight connected platform in terms of AWP, right? Where does that start? For us, that starts with our 3D models, with our designers in engineering. How are we beginning to visualize our scope?

I saw in the chat one thing that we need to focus on in AWP is our ability to define our scopes and have those well-defined. So for folks in that model environment, being able to dissect your work, box it up and say, “Hey, this is what I anticipate is going to be in my scope number one.” Having that information that’s easily communicable via visually with the model, where you can say, “Hey, I want to execute this work early on part of the sequence.” Being able to share that across the stakeholders. The start step will allow us to tell that uniform story and think about planners and schedules getting together with designers, engineers and the construction team early on as we’re kind of going through that process, right? Our ability to start to stage things and sequence [inaudible 00:38:37] allows us to start to share those scheduled dates and kind of strategies and logic across those items.

And so we can start to say, “Hey, this is what the execution path starts to look like.” And as that kind of changes and matures and changes, we have those tools that are connected, so the information is fed back in real time. So we come in here and say, “Hey, based on the logic execution profile, maybe that needs to go sequence A, B, C. It was originally, now it’s going to be A, C, B,” right? Our ability to feed that information back to designers, engineers, back to procurement, back to construction is going to allow for us all to be connected on that singular digital thread. The same thing with our cost tools. Our ability to define that information and pass that back to our planning cost management tool, all of our strategy and how that changes over time. All those inputs to our resource requirements, our budgets, our productivity goals is then fed directly back into that.

So we’re starting to see that this digital thread, this thing, this actual component that I want to actually install, how that kind of makes its way throughout the entire life cycle of the project. And that obviously feeds our field execution. How do our engineer, field engineer, superintendent form and how the folks that actually want to consume this work at the end of the day, how do they get all that information and still be able to utilize that information to make the best decisions for them in the field?

So again, all of that information, schedule information, cost information, all that feeding back to the folks in the field so that they are making knowledgeable decisions as we go through the project. And we talked about it, other inputs, risk management, always being top of mind. So risk management still has to kind of play a key part in our AWP execution. How do we begin to leverage that in our decision-making process? Same thing with quality, safety. All these various inputs on the job need to be taken into account of, and again, having that information readily available is where the InEight connected platform excels at. Taking all these various data sets and bringing them together in one collective vision.

So I’ll give you a quick little summary of the connected platform, right? Best-in-class functionality. InEight’s project controls platform is intended to be that full life cycle solution. So we want to participate in the front-end engineering design, estimating, full design and engineering construction handover. We want to participate in all of that and ensure that all of the stakeholders in those various phases of the project have the right features to do their jobs. So these are tailored made for what we need in the industry. Data is shared in real time and lives in a singular project information data center, so everyone can live with that same information data set. So all relevant stakeholders can participate in the various workflows to help in their decision-making process. It’s cloud hosted so we talk again about integration versus collaboration. So we’re sharing this information across the teams. We’re cloud deployable.

So the thing that we get, we talk with customers and we talk about the repeatable nature of this, of repeatable collaboration, is our onboarding process is expedited when you land into that organized knowledge tank. Everyone as they kind of get onto our jobs, all the new hires, all the existing team members, they can quickly understand our jobs because they can quickly collaborate across teams. All of this data is kind of structured in a similar fashion. We’re beginning to create repeatable processes across our organizations. And lastly, proven success. We deploy our solutions to over a half-million users worldwide. I think the one takeaway there is that if you see one of our InEight commercials and Nate and myself are examples of this. We pride ourselves not on being technology folks, but actual folks from the industry helping to build the technology that we wish we would’ve had when we were there. That’s kind of our focus. That’s the end of my InEight sales pitch. It’s a platform. If you want more, please contact Nate and myself. We can give you more.

So I’ll leave you all with this. We’ve talked about the five resolutions. We started off this webinar about all the metrics that we know from the industry on how the industry is not performing up to expectations, right? Those five resolutions we anticipate, they will help start to aid in your transition of your organizations. Again, incrementally, this isn’t game-changing stuff. We’re all doing this. We just probably need to do it a little bit better. We can make these grand changes one step at a time. But I think we say it all the time when we get to the point where our expectations and when our plans start to converge on our outcomes, that’s where we start to see that our projects are, you know, we’re changing from where expectation [inaudible 00:43:23] outcomes, that’s when we get into that project certainty, so as Nate mentioned confidence management.

If we understand that our expectations are going to closely align with our outcomes, we’re not managing risk, we’re managing confidence, we’re pretty confident that everything that we did up upfront paid off at the end. As we get to that point, I want us all to go out there and rewrite some of those stats. I want us to rewrite those stats and say, “Hey, 80% of our construction projects finish on time and on budget.” I want to say 5% of our projects only start early. We want to start to shrink those numbers. We want to begin to transition that for our industry. I want to thank you all for coming. Appreciate your input, appreciate you participating with us and with that I’ll open it up to Chris and hopefully you have any question and answer for us that we would like to talk through.

 

Chris Carson: 

We do. That was great. Andre and Nate, thank you so much. We have a handful of questions. I’m going to give you the two first that kind of relate to InEight. So one of the questions was how does InEight solutions tie into existing systems? So I guess the question there is what are you going to use with that, and how does that work?

 

Nate St. John:   

So the systems outside of InEight, I’m assuming?

 

Chris Carson:  

Yeah, I’m guessing.

 

Nate St. John: 

Yep, so we’ve to date made over 350 integrations internally and externally. We have about 40 or 50 more left on our roadmap to be achieved. And many of those do exist outside of our ecosystem. We’re realist in knowing that there’s certain institutional applications that people are going to always rely on, so it’s our job as a vendor to integrate with those. We also have a custom development team that works with tying into those types of systems outside of the ecosystem. I will say though and caveat this, and I always use this example, the benefit of being in a platform, if you want to unlock your MacBook Pro with your watch, you need an Apple Watch. And so it might work with an Android, but there’s going to be some customization there. But yeah, we integrate and operate with a long list of external systems, certainly.

 

Chris Carson:

Okay, great. The other question specifically with InEight, was does InEight have a materials management system? A materials management system built into InEight? Are you on mute, Andre?

 

Andre Paden:

Am [inaudible 00:45:52] Mute.

 

Chris Carson: 

I hear you now.

 

Andre Paden:  

Okay, perfect. So again, back to some of the stuff that the previous question, right? Tying into other systems. So materials management, we have a smaller material management module within our plan and progress toolset. So we do offer some of that. But some of the full-scale material management tracking from PO issued all the way to material on site, we do have third party integrations there. So sometimes we need to consume information from third party sources. So yeah, we play nice with material management solutions as well for us to build onto that process.

 

Chris Carson: 

Okay, yeah, both those were from Mark Mata. Babatunde Osho asked, how long should they give themselves for the AWP maturity? In other words, how long to get to a pretty high level of maturity?

 

Andre Paden:

That’s a tough one, Babatunde. When I think about my experience on AWP in how we kind of rolled it out, it was very slow. It’s getting organizations to adopt these processes, these philosophies, these technologies is a long process. What I would say is take baby steps. I think we talk about it all the time with AWP, crawl, walk, and run. If you can say, “Hey, I’m going to focus on one discipline on a project and prove it out to myself,” because a lot of the upfront cost is going to be proving that out to folks within your organization. They’re going to say, “What’s this all really all about? Is the investment worth it? Should I really go through that process?” So it’s going to be on each organization, each kind of group as they go through that process and proving it to themselves and to their organization as a whole. So the timeframe for your organization, it depends a lot on who you have and how much buy-in you have from all of the stakeholders in your organization. But it’s a process. It’s a process.

 

Nate St. John:  

Yeah, it’s a hard one I think to gauge. It definitely obviously depends on your level of sophistication at an organization level. One thing that we can do as technology vendors though is to lower that learning curve, make the barrier of entry smaller to those that wholeheartedly want AWP. And so again, sitting all of these wishful thoughts and resolutions and when placed on top of the technology stack, we are already seeing massive benefits in multiple categories when it comes to using a connected system. And so I guess I’m not answering the question directly because I guess it depends. But just know that the future, that onboarding time, that maturity level is going to continue to shrink as technology advances.

 

Chris Carson:

Okay, great. So [inaudible 00:48:54] asked about how does Agile scrum way working help AWP or work with it? Have you been had an experience with Agile and AWP implementation?

 

Andre Paden:   

I haven’t. We’re doing the agile scrum sort of workflows in product development and it’s similar but not quite AWP. It’s fairly close. A lot of the processes and mindset is similar, but I haven’t necessarily implemented scrum. I’ll hand that one over to Nate.

 

Nate St. John: 

Yeah, I mean, that’s how traditionally software is built through some sort of agile or scrum process. I think what they have in common is that they’re very iterative in nature and so you push out ideas or concepts or some level of planning and the team not only has visibility and buy into it, but it cycles through so many rounds of iteration and it’ll go off a main branch of thought to be worked off of and then brought back into the main branch of thought. And so I think there’s a lot of similarities. Also, the same thing goes for building software as it does mega projects. The ability to compartmentalize and break down complex things really marries well with both scrum and AWP to make it more digestible throughout the entire effort.

 

Chris Carson:

Okay, good. [inaudible 00:50:24], and I’m sorry if I butchered that, but asked about, this is one that we’ve all talked about, it’s certainly near and dear to my heart. With respect to project control, do you think controls should be part of the project management team or independent? And I think that comes down to project controls has an auditing function as well as a support function. So maybe you could address how you guys feel about that, how that works.

 

Nate St. John: 

Well, so we are seeing a segregation of project controls, at least I haven’t seen yet, where a lot of these mega projects, primarily outside of North America, but some on the West Coast, are beginning to contract out project controls as its own responsibility for a large program. So there’s this momentum behind this expertise, but I think that we can elevate at least the knowledge by participation. So if you invite people into a big digital party and they at least can witness and consume project control specific information, they’re going to be more informed and better decision makers just generally.

So I like to think that, again, sitting on a technology stack will kind of prohibit the expert in something, knows more, or less and less and less about everything and more and more about one specific thing. I like to stay out of that. So I’ve seen it where it is separate, but the benefit from digesting the insights of a project controls department, you could stack that up with a decision-maker level at an executive management level. It can get there. And I think without going on too far of a tangent, I think the momentum behind a lot of the executive leaderships and construction companies coming more and more from an engineering background is very much similar to project controls experts are now elevated up to these executive leadership positions because of what they know.

 

Chris Carson: 

Yeah, and I think that’s an important issue. We have clients at Arcadis, sometimes project controls is run through finance and sometimes it’s run through project management and that is that sort of tension. For those that are interested, I did a webinar for Project Control Academy about the tension between the role as support versus the role as auditing. And if somebody wants to reach out to me on LinkedIn, I can get you a link to that because I think that’s an important issue. So [inaudible 00:53:17] asked about what percentage of clients have InEight shared or willing to share their historical data to feed your AI? That’s always a popular question, right?

 

Nate St. John:     

Yeah. So yeah, by design, at least as InEight stands today, by design we actually answer that question for our clients. There’s a strong belief, especially in how unique plans and schedules are for each different organization. There’s a belief that, and we stand by, we want to mine your own specific company data. Yes, you can take kind of a broad stroke and say I want to populate everything in the mining industry and assume that it’s the same.

But what we’ve seen is that the standardization is at a lower level than maybe the cost side of the house, account structure side of the house. And so by design today, we don’t take an anonymized data. We say, “Listen, this is an intimate experience and an intimate connection that’s tailored specifically to your organization. Let’s populate your as-builts and get closer results to reality.” Not to say we wouldn’t do it in the future. I know there’s a couple startups that are right now winning that battle or convincing people to do it, but our approach today, we steer away from it, but for that reason.

 

Chris Carson: 

Okay, great. Hatali [inaudible 00:54:53] asked … She’s deeply involved in change management and she asked how does AWP and or InEight help in change order management document control?

 

Andre Paden:

Yeah, so those two processes are part of that process, right? InEight has a change management solution as well as a document manage solution not highlighted in our presentation, but those two are part of those inputs and outputs is having that direct tie back to our change management solution. So as things are being defined, as things mature, as things change over time, that information’s fed directly into our change management solution. So you don’t lose that context. So when we talk about that single project information data set and that’s part of that, right? Change management has to be an essential part of that. And the same goes for document management. Our ability to produce documents, deliverables and the impact of those deliverables on our jobs is something that needs to be managed and monitored by all stakeholders as well. So again, having document control participate in our change management solution as well. So when we talk about that integration, it’s truly integration across our entire platform.

 

Chris Carson: 

And with respect to AWP, because we are packaging the scopes very carefully and doing it early and ensuring that engineering is part of that whole discussion, would you be comfortable saying, or would you say that AWP helps to reduce change orders in general?

 

Andre Paden:

AWP can reduce change orders. Again, part of that process is doing that initial vetting planning process. So a lot of the things that would be discovered as you go through that process, hopefully you’re defining early on and you’ll be able to make those changes well in advance for those kinds of changes to be real kind of change management events. Obviously, it’s construction, so things do happen, right? You know, may go out into the field and start digging in and there’s a 48-inch buried line that you didn’t know about. So there are parts of that we could still tie back to the AWP process. But the AWP process, if it’s as you reach that kind of AWP maturity should help alleviate and you should see some reduction in their overall change management or program that you have in the jobs.

 

Chris Carson: 

I can tell you, and I know you guys know about CII as [inaudible 00:57:11]-

 

Andre Paden: 

For sure.

 

Chris Carson: 

… as the place AWP started. And CII has a great document called Making the Case for Advanced Work Packaging as a Standard and Best Practice. And they break implementation up to three stages, as you remember, early stage, effectiveness stage, and then the business transformation. And I’m just pulling out of their document. When you look at costs, they say if you’re implemented at the first stage, generally what the benefit is, you keep the project on budget. If you make it to the effectiveness phase, you get total install costs generally 10% below estimates. And that continues into the business transformation.

But what does happen is rework starts to be reduced at the effectiveness stage and it’s significantly better in the business transformation. So fully implemented AWP makes a significant difference in rework and number of RFIs and questions and that type of thing. And productivities, their studies show move you from about a 10% increase at the early stage to a 25% increase in productivity at the full stage. So I think one of the nice things about CII, is they do a lot of studies statistically significant studies and so we get good data out of that. So I think that sort of supports everything you’ve been talking about.

 

Andre Paden: 

Yeah. Those are those positive stats we want in the future. We want to start to see those increase. We want to see that go from 10, 25 to 30, 40 increase, so that’s great feedback.

 

Chris Carson: 

Yeah, it’s good stuff. And it speaks to the path that you have to walk and increase, improve maturity. I think we have time for one more real quick. Muhammad Omar-Malik asks what the key difference in SAP and Oracle and InEight. So would you explain to him what’s the difference there? So SAP being usually an asset management tool or asset maybe productivity tool, and then Oracle of course scheduling. I think he didn’t catch how those software packages interact.

 

Nate St. John: 

That’s a big question.

 

Andre Paden:    

Yeah.

 

Nate St. John: 

So how do they compare? Is that the question?

 

Chris Carson: 

Yeah, he asked for the key difference, so if you could just walk him through that quickly.

 

Nate St. John:  

So there’s pockets of, I mentioned at the top of the session that we have 16 core business processes. So we also have products that support those business processes. So we have a field execution. We have change management. We have procurement. We have obviously cost management side, so there’s pockets of offerings. Some that we all offer, and then there’s maybe a few on the outside that are unique to one or the other. I do think that most of our tools were built in-house and on the InEight platform, and the acquisitions that did occur are InEight [inaudible 01:00:15] immediately.

And so our true integration of data and then how it looks and feels to the user as if it’s the same system but supported under the blanket by all these kind of different product stacks is what separates InEight from maybe some of the other companies that are more bolt on, traditionally one of those companies have gone the acquisition route. I think everyone’s going to the cloud. I know Oracle’s definitely with their Oracle Prime Cloud or Primavera cloud. Everyone understands that SaaS is the offering and so there’s commonalities there. I would say the user experience and connected nature of the platform, our coverage across the project lifecycle is almost in total.

 

Chris Carson:     

That’s good. And SaaS, for those that don’t know, software as a service, all these brilliant people in the industry forget everybody doesn’t know all these terms, maybe.

 

Nate St. John:

Yeah, sorry. Yes, that’s correct. Thanks, Chris.

 

Chris Carson:  

Joanna? Do we have time more or do you think that’s about it? I will say, I think all of us are on LinkedIn. Andre, Nate, you guys are out there.

 

Andre Paden:   

Yep.

 

Chris Carson:  

Everybody should feel free to reach out on LinkedIn. I know somebody asked about getting in touch with me. If you go to LinkedIn, look me up. I’m pretty good about answering there. Okay.

 

Nate St. John:  

Well, it was a pleasure, Chris, and thanks Andre for teaching me a couple things along the way too. Love partnering with AACE as always so appreciate you having us.

 

Chris Carson:  

Yeah, we’re so happy to have you.

 

Andre Paden: 

Yep. Same sentiments. Thank you, Chris for hosting this, and thank you Nate for joining me on this AWP discussion on both AWP and tech. We really appreciate AACE giving us the opportunity.

 

Chris Carson:  

Thanks, and thanks for bringing all your background and experience and moving into the software world for us because that’s a big help. It makes a big difference when the actual users are in there designing and updating the software, so we thank you very much for that. All right. AACE, Joanna or Christina, any final words? I think this presentation has been recorded, so there will be a link. I think probably they’ll post it on LinkedIn, if they don’t, I’ll try to get it and post it out there. When you registered though, you should be in contact, so hopefully people will be able to reach out and get that information to you. Any final words?

 

Andre Paden: 

Just if you have time, do the survey please. We’d like your feedback, lessons learned, right? We want to be better on the next one. So if you’re still here, please do the survey. Thank you.

 

Chris Carson: 

And come see us all at AACE. We’re going to drag Andre there this year, right?

 

Andre Paden: 

Yeah, I’ll be there. Yeah.

 

Chris Carson:

So come see us at AACE in Chicago, in June. Then we thank you very much and we’ll catch you on the next one.

 

REQUEST A DEMO

Thanks for contacting us. A member of our team will follow up with you shortly.