Why Power Plant Projects Need Real-Time Status Updates| PMAlliance Project Management Blog

Glen Canyon Dam Power Turbines Page, Arizona

Information is one of the core pillars underpinning every successful project. With the evolution of technology and more compute power available than ever before, there’s little reason centers of excellence should continue to rely on data that may be days or even weeks old when it comes to identifying potential issues, forecasting activity schedules, making strategic decisions, and pouncing on opportunities in the marketplace.

A robust project management methodology enables the team to access the kind of real-time status updates that are critical to success. If your Project Team hasn’t yet prioritized the use of real-time data, consider how it could improve the landscape for team members, executives, and the other stakeholders involved in the effort.

Real-time data holds tangible benefits for project teams

Team members have important data as soon as it’s available. Conventional thinking has often prompted Project Team leaders to provide updates to the executives first, with lower-ranking staff receiving information only after it has gone through a high-level review. Unfortunately, that could result in delays for critical activities. With real-time data in hand, everyone tasked with moving the project forward will have the information they need exactly when they need it.

Data will finally be consistent across the entire project team. Too often team members have varying generations of information in their files, some of it potentially incomplete or no longer accurate. This is not only a recipe for confusion, it can also create serious problems if activities or budgets are being managed by multiple people, each using different information to oversee their areas. Access to real-time data ensures that updates are disseminated to everyone on the team so they can all use and reference the same information.

Project controls function more effectively. A strong project control methodology relies on strong data, and if that information isn’t up to date, then any number of potential red flags could sail by before anyone notices, creating new problems downstream and putting the project’s success in jeopardy. By feeding real-time updates into the control process, conflicts and other issues can be more quickly identified and resolved.

Access to real-time information is also good for executives

Executives and high-level stakeholders are able to make better decisions when they have access to the most current information about the project, its challenges, risks, and opportunities. Because the majority of project data originates in the center of excellence, the lack of real-time updates could leave the executive team out of the loop for a period of time while information filters up the chain of command. Many strategic decisions present themselves with little notice, meaning the availability of real-time data could make the difference between pursuing a lucrative market position or missing an opportunity. Critical-level choices should always be made with the best data available so that the best results can be achieved across every business unit.

Not only will the leadership team have the information they need to select the best course of action, they’ll be able to come to those decisions faster when they don’t need to wait for the next data refresh cycle. With real-time updates at hand, the business will be able to jump on favorable conditions as soon as they appear. Conversely, the organization can use real-time information to choose a course that avoids potential risks.

There’s another plus to employing real-time status updates, one that benefits everyone involved in the project. When all parties have access to the same current and complete status information, transparency improves and trust among team members, stakeholders, and executives increases. This maintains commitment and engagement, and helps to drive the project to a successful completion.