DC RUG Series: Process Improvement

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Author: Sergio Aranda

In this blog, we continue our DC RUG series with the next topic: Process Improvement.

Let’s begin our discussion by defining what we mean by ‘process’—this is simply a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. An example of process could be: 

Essentially, anything that requires multiple stakeholders to supply information that must then be reviewed and approved.

e-Builder RUG

At e-Builder, RUG stand for regional user group. RUGs are engaging opportunities for e-Builder customers to learn from each other face to face by sharing business challenges and solutions.

Continuous Process Improvement

e-Builder customers are focused on managing processes within the system for many reasons, but a big goal is improving efficiency and productivity. This could mean reducing the time to complete a review cycle, i.e., a faster turnaround. Or less time wasted compiling information using outdated methods (email, a PDF, or worse - paper).

The DC meeting provided a great forum for customers to highlight their experience on building new processes, and key concepts to ensure their successful rollout and adoption.

e-Builder DC RUG

We were treated to an impressive presentation by the team from George Mason University. The presentation showcased the framework GMU has established to support stakeholders involved in various aspects of capital project delivery. This framework relies on an ‘open door policy’. Anyone involved in project delivery at GMU can reach out to the team of administrators who manage e-Builder to determine 'can e-Builder help me improve a process'.

This means if I’m a PM and I identify an inefficient process, I can submit a request to determine if e-Builder can make this problem go away or improve the process in a measurable way.

You’re probably saying ‘what a simple concept’. And while simple, it requires vision, commitment and energy.

GMU have invested in developing their e-Builder administrators so they understand the 'ins and outs' of the system. This allows them to diagnose every request that comes in the door and determine, can we really make this better? In doing so they can set expectations for the e-Builder process. At the same time, they are gaining ‘fans’ who then become advocates of the system.

This approach also allows the GMU administrators the opportunity to receive feedback. Internal end users don't usually express frustration, so it’s important to speak with them about areas for improvement, especially when it comes to processes.

A Process for Every Workflow

It was no surprise that when we got to the slide of the presentation where GMU ‘showed off’ all the processes they’ve built in e-Builder, they almost ran out of space. I lost count, but I believe there were 50+ processes! The list sparked a lot of conversation around the specific processes that were developed and customers gave comparisons against what they had (or didn’t have).

There are so many capabilities when it comes to our workflow engine, that sometimes customers get caught in developing overly-complex processes. GMU emphasized the fact that if your end users don’t understand what you’re asking them to do, then perhaps the process is too complicated.

Initiating a process, reviewing a form that is asking you to enter specific information, and then clicking a button to move the process along are not difficult concepts. One customer managing an ongoing healthcare program used to joke, ‘if a consultant cannot figure out how to enter information in a form, do you really want them working on your project’?

The DC meeting provided a great forum for customers to highlight their experience on building new processes, and key concepts to ensure their successful rollout and adoption.

Another key takeaway was the energy with which the GMU presented their approach. If this energy was something we could package, then we could practically guarantee success for every customer!

These are the soft skills that we hear so much about and one reason why these in-person RUGs are so important. They allow our customers the opportunity to learn so much from each others successes and failures, and it reminds us at e-Builder, why we do what we do.

Because we are helping customers make a positive difference in the way they deliver projects.

Construction Processes

Read the All-in-One Owner’s Guide to Workflow Management Throughout the Construction Lifecycle

The construction industry is known for being one of the most historically wasteful, inefficient, and budget-bursting industries within the global economy. However, with over $10 trillion spent on goods and services every year, efficiency improvements by those who pursue them will yield major profit returns.