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Use of Collaborative Project Management Software in the University Classroom


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Title: Use of Collaborative Project Management Software in the University Classroom

Use of Collaborative Project Management Software
in the University Classroom
  • G. Edward Gibson, Jr., PhD, PE
  • John Walewski
  • Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental
  • University of Texas at Austin

  1. Background
  2. Constructware
  3. Application of Innovation
  4. Results and Lessons learned
  5. Conclusions

  1. Background
  2. Constructware
  3. Application of Innovation
  4. Results and Lessons learned
  5. Conclusions

Course Abstract CE/ARE395S.4, Project Management
  • Overall aspects of project management from
    inception to successful operation establishing
    product objectives, feasibility analyses, scope
    definition, contracting methods, project control
    systems, and project execution planning.
  • Graduate-level survey class of PM applications.
    Uses both individual and group projects.

What is project management?
  • a process that helps project teams coordinate
    their efforts so they may create the right
    product (or service, process, or plan, at the
    right time, for the right customer, within the
    resource limits established by the organization.
  • The art and science of coordinating people,
    equipment, materials, money, and schedules to
    complete a specified project on time and within
    approved cost.

How long has project management been practiced?
Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMI 2001)
Project Management
Project Time Management
Project Integration Management
Project Scope Management
Project Human Resource Management
Project Cost Management
Project Quality Management
Project Procurement Management
Project Communications Management
Project Risk Management
e-Business and the Construction Industry
  • e-Commerce effect in construction industry
  • Hottest issue is e-engineering (or
  • ENR survey, Oct. 2004, 18 contractors using

(No Transcript)
What is e-Collaboration?
  • Facility plans, time schedules, calculations,
    technical specifications and other project data
    are shared between the parties involved in a
    project (architects, engineers, contractors,
    sub-contractors etc.) electronically on an
    unified platform

What Drives e-Collaboration?
  • Enables cooperation in a distributed mode
  • Decentralization of engineering and construction
  • Accelerated document processing
  • Globalization of markets and competition (24 hour
  • Virtual project team concept

Project Management virtual collaboration
  • Automobile and Aerospace industries pioneered
  • Originated in both the design and construction
  • Need for increased collaboration
  • Most solutions integrate data from the design
    process through facility management

Example Collaboration Platforms
Microsoft Project EDS TeamCenter Project eProject Enterprise Marin Research Project Gateway
Constructware PacificEdge Software Project Office
EPIWare Epiware Metier Worklenz Project Desk Project Manager
Clear Reason F luid Enterprise Bizwall
Acme Interactive Our Project YZ Project YZ Project Manager Teamplicity Online Workplace
Systemcorp PM Office EPM InventX ePM Suite
Eroom e-room Inc. vProject
Lotus QuickPlace Planisware OPX2
onProject Enterprise Platform Computer Associates AllFusion Project
PowerSteering Software WORKSERVER Business Engine Software BEN
NexPrise ipTeam PlanView PlanView
Welcom Open Plan SME Corporation Project InVison
Company 39 ProjectSolve Artemis International ViewPoint
SiteScape Enterprise Forum Rational Concepts Proj-Net
  1. Background
  2. Constructware
  3. Application of Innovation
  4. Results and Lessons learned
  5. Conclusions

  • Application service provider (ASP) for
    communication and collaboration in project
  • Originated from the construction management
  • 20,000 users
  • 30 percent of market
  • Clients include
  • private sector owners,
  • government entities,
  • architects,
  • engineers,
  • contractors,
  • construction management firms

Constructware (contd)
  • Application and data stored at the hosted
    site--incompatibilities are eliminated
  • Helps clients centralize and formalize
    communication among the project parties
  • Sophisticated, field-proven online drawing and
    document management capabilities
  • Constructware claims that online its system
  • increases productivity,
  • improves risk management,
  • and reduces costs

Constructware - background
  • Rated as being easier to understand and use
  • Automates several processes, speeding up
  • Project and company information stored in same
    database--ability to mine data enterprise-wide
  • Real-time document review and conferencing for
    enhanced design collaboration red-lining

Constructware - background
  • System tracks and stores complex construction
    processes/documents such as
  • RFIs,
  • transmittals,
  • submittals,
  • meeting minutes,
  • change orders,
  • and reports
  • Documents can be saved once and sent to multiple
  • Flexible, XML-based data exchange model, allows
    each client to customize business rules and data
  • Constructware maintains an in-house team of
    consultants, analysts, and trainers to help users

Constructware - use
  • Site administrator loads the preliminary data
    about the company and the project (or projects)
  • Administrator provides access to all the members
    of the project team, assigning different levels
    of permission
  • For instance, one member may only be able to view
    a document, while another may also be able to
    edit it
  • Project participants upload various documents
    into the system for common access

Constructware - use
  • Documents automatically time-stamped, showing
    when they are uploaded, accessed, or modified
  • System automates other tasks that speed up
    communication, such as
  • notifying interested parties when a document has
    been uploaded, modified, or marked up,
  • adding scheduled meetings to individual members'
    task lists
  • Completed project data archived on CD, which
    includes an applet for viewing the data in HTML

  1. Background
  2. Constructware
  3. Application of Innovation
  4. Results and Lessons learned
  5. Conclusions

Constructware use in ARE/CE 395S.4
  • Signed site-license agreement with Constructware
  • License good for one year and one hundred
    seats/access points
  • TA was designated as site administrator
  • Constructware area representative gave
  • Onsite training to Professor and TA
  • 1.5 hour presentation to the class on
  • Company background
  • Applications of software
  • Limitations
  • High-level overview on major features and how to
    use it

Constructware use in ARE/CE 395S.4 (Contd)
  • Pre-loaded project information for academic
  • Site administrator (TA) entered preliminary data
    on example company and project into the system
  • Administrator provided access for all the
    students on designated teams and assigned levels
    of permission to different modules, based on
  • Course assignments created requiring students to
    use Constructware on semester-long project

Class breakdown by degree level (N22)
Experience with Web-based collaborative software
Team Assignments
  • Four project teams created with 5-6 students per
  • Each used on-going or existing capital project as
    basis of their work
  • Constructware used throughout the semester as
    primary method to
  • Organize the project,
  • Facilitate collaboration,
  • Review work
  • Disseminate information
  • Students completed 5 team assignments (each had a
    Constructware component)
  • Estimating
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Construction management
  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Risk management

Team Assignments (contd)
  • Teams were required to seek-out an industry
    professional associated with their project
  • Industry professionals were asked to create
    request for information (RFI) to their project
    team after reviewing documents via Constructware
  • Gave team feedback on their work product
  • Review by an outside expert would help them
    understand how RFIs are developed and used
  • Provided the outside reviewers with introduction
    into the workings of an internet-base
    collaborative software package

  1. Background
  2. Constructware
  3. Application of Innovation
  4. Results and Lessons learned
  5. Conclusions

Overall Course Results
  • Teams successful with obtaining industry
    professionals for review
  • TA provided outside reviewers with minimal level
    of instruction
  • Students used Constructware to complete group
    assignment tasks
  • In many case went beyond the assignment
  • Each team had high level of participation

Overall Course Results (contd)
  • Students exposed to theory and practice of using
    a Web-based collaborative tool
  • Use of Constructware exposed students to a
    marketable skill
  • Students sought some assistance from TA, but most
    needed minimal help
  • Team assignments were successfully completed

Student participant survey results
  • Overall the students found Constructware
  • Use on real projects gave students better
    understanding of project management theory and
  • Most used the tool and became proficient with its
    various functions
  • Had higher opinion of the value of Constructware
    and other collaboration applications after using
  • Most became proficient enough to list it as a
    skill on their resume

Learning Constructware was a valuable part of
this class (N22)
Use of Constructware helped facilitate this
semester-long project (N22)
Background Information on Industry Reviewers (N5)
  • Five reviewers from four companies
  • 1 design engineer
  • 3 project managers
  • 1 vice president of project management
  • Three of five had collaboration software
  • Average project management experience 10 years
  • Minimum 2 years experience
  • Maximum 24 years
  • Median 6.5 years

Industry participant survey results
  • Overall, outside reviewers had positive
    experience and expressed interest in future
  • e-Collaboration allowed for industry experts to
    make real-time input to teams
  • Two of the five outside reviewers used
    participation to assess Constructware as
    potential application for their company

I would participate in future applications of
Constructware involving industry and academic
interactions (N5)
Comments from industry participants
  • Our organization is already using a web based
    construction management software, PrimeContract.
    However it is always useful to see a different
  • Currently we use an intranet based pm software
    specially designed for our firm. The program is
    a lot like File Maker Pro but designed for
    construction. We have been making it better for
    the past couple of years so the likelihood of
    changing to something like Constructware is not
    likely. It was a good experience and I would be
    more than happy to help in the future.

Comments from industry participants -contd
  • I do not know if I see the benefit of the
    software. Most of the information can be
    distributed simply through emails and
    attachments. I would be curious to see how this
    application would work in a real situation. We
    are using web-based reporting more and more
    frequently with our clients, so there could be a
    fit for this software, but I just dont see it in
    its present format.
  • Our company will be using Constructware during
    construction of improvements to Bell County
    Wastewater Treatment Plant 1 in Killeen, Texas.
    This project is expected to begin this spring and
    will take 540 calendar days to complete. RFIs
    will be submitted through Constructware.

The process
  • Select provider and sign usage/licensing
  • Select a good, computer-literate TA
  • Get training from provider earlyfaculty and TA
  • Have provider give training to class (or have TA
    give training)
  • Give assignments and guidance to students
  • Make them exercise the system (selective modules)
  • An early assignment can give them incentive to
    explore the system
  • Use collaboration software to review student work
  • Was able to review work while in Europe

  1. Background
  2. Constructware
  3. Application of Innovation
  4. Results and Lessons learned
  5. Conclusions

Conclusions - benefits
  • Collaborative software can get industry input
    into the classroom
  • Fairly easy to get going
  • Enhances collaboration
  • Helps students understand implications of

Conclusions - limitations
  • Requires a lot of overheadyou will have to have
    a TA
  • Takes a lot of time the first semester
  • Must rethink assignments to exercise software

Conclusions - lessons
  • Be more involved in getting outside reviewers
  • Reduce expectations of what it can do
  • Reduce number of features that are available to

Usage in the classroomwhere?
  • Undergraduate senior design projects
  • Industry collaboration and interaction
  • Good mechanism for communication
  • Graduate classes with projects