Main issues linked with processes and procedures
In engineering and construction projects, it cannot be denied that formal processes whether they are IT or not have several advantages. They allow frame exchanges as well as putting in place and following critical procedures. With hindsight, they encourage companies to formalise their business processes management. Thus it generally makes them more efficient and willing to share their good management practises.
Nonetheless, key users such as project managers or technical managers sometimes need to modify procedures and adapt some processes. To do so they do not want to go through a complex operation that would require developments within the software. Consequently, for a simple action, we want to prevent authorised persons form losing time, trigger issues and requirements to an integrator. Indeed, this would mean extra budget!
An overview of two complementary approaches to manage processes in AEC projects
On the one hand, we must not forbid any procedures’ adaptation for the sake of formalism. On the other hand, we cannot allow anybody to modify any processes merely for the sake of flexibility.
In our EDMS software dedicated to engineering, we use have two methods. The first one is a “classical” workflow engine. The second one is an action management module. The latter enables all key users (in other words, all authorised users having the required business knowledge) to define and order a group of tasks as well as reminders linked to projects, products and documents (contract, report, etc) and to easily follow its evolution. From models or by creating each actions separately, key users can define and manage actions sequencing. To do so, they do not need the intervention of the webmaster. From a simple “to-do-list” to the creation of complex procedures, this approach generalises process realisation.