What is ‘common’ in common platforms? Let’s review a few familiar common platforms and discuss what’s needed to keep participants onside.
Your favorite sports team plays on a common platform: a court, a field, a pitch, a diamond, a pool, a course or even a tour.
Each of the depicted layouts is a ‘common platform’ on which teams or individuals engage with each other. They follow the rules of the sport. These rules developed over time, based on lessons learned, also over time. They ensure that the sport is safe for the contestants as well as the officials, that play flows freely, and that violations of the rules are addressed commensurate with the severity of the infraction.
For example, in soccer, a verbal warning is the lowest level of warning. A yellow card is issued for a more severe violation of the rules. A red card is issued for the most egregious misconduct. The cheering spectators that fill the stands around the ‘common platform’ are also an integral part of the event. The role of the Seattle Seahawks’s 12th man in ‘helping’ their team is now a part of football lore. But rules also apply to their conduct as they ‘consume’ the ‘product’ unfolding in front of them. Their exuberant and vociferous engagement often helps to affect the outcome of the game. Violators are subject to being censured and possibly excluded from attending future games.
An Uncommon Common Platform
The TeamWork Common Platform also has a virtual layout and a set of rules for those on the ‘field’ and off the ‘field’.
The work phase is the main ‘field’, where the work is done by the trades, crafts and skills doing Direct work. In this effort, they are supported by staff, from relevant departments and groups, that do the Indirect or ancillary work. This includes getting the work ready for the direct teams as well as gleaning lessons learned following the completion of work.
Regulatory and business rules govern the accumulation of data by ensuring that they follow standards defined in master data or dictionary tables. This is also known as data governance.
As work (play) proceeds through the stages, from left to right, the right teams (special teams) are engaged to ensure that they get the right work done at the right time.
Steering Committee – Refereeing the process
In support of the direct teams, steering committees act as referees or umpires to ensure that progress is not impeded and that work flow proceeds freely. These committees are composed of project, site and corporate staff to ensure communications are open to the right levels of the organization. One benefit from this approach is the ability to quickly obtain sign-off on a cost that exceeds the spending limit of the Project or Program Manager. The Common Platform provides the steering committee members with needed awareness of impending issues by using alerts as well as emails, depending on the preference of the members.
Contractors and Service Providers
Contractors and service providers often supplement direct teams and they need to be included in a company’s work planning. The Common Platform provides contractor staff with access to vital data, like asset, project and package artifacts, to do their work. Additionally, progress and cost reporting tools reduce the need for separate data management processes to be conducted in separate, isolated silos.
Vendors and Suppliers
Timely supply of materials and field equipment is critical to getting the work done. For this reason, including the vendors ‘on site’ is preferable – not unlike the hot dog vendors at your favorite ballpark. The Common Platform provides a portal that can be used by vendors to see and respond to RFQs (requests for quotations) thereby enabling a simple and quick evaluation of the next vendors for a particular need. Electronic purchase orders also reduce the need for either paper to be mailed, or pdf files to be attached in communications.
There is a group of people, called stakeholders, that truly do have a stake in the outcome of the event, project or program in particular, and in the successful operation of the site in general. These people, like your favorite team’s owner, tend to be hands-off. They prefer to allow the site managers to deal with day to day issues. But, they also like to be in the loop and to be aware of issues so that they can get in front of them before things spiral out of control. These include insurance companies, regulatory groups, like OSHA and corporate management. The TeamWork Common Platform provides stakeholders with the dashboards and analytics that they need to have their finger on the unvarnished facts, while not having to continually request updates from people on site.
Think of the end zones in the TeamWork Common Platform diagram as staging areas. The pre-work phase aligns with a Notification or work request in your ERP. In the Common Platform it is called an Opportunity. From here, the screener, or business rule, directs the work to the appropriate project, program or event in the Strategic stage.
At the other end of the field, following the Completion stage, the work is stored and becomes an asset that is available to be duplicated for a future repetition, and to be used in benchmarking analyses. The work no longer contributes to the status of a live project, program or event.
Few penalties are levied for entering bad data, as a silo-based system has limited ways to detect when things are going off the rails The Common Platform, however, instantly alerts users when unacceptable deviations of data are encountered. While the need to assess penalties is decreased the Common Platform includes other means for tracking deviations, such as delayed sign-offs on critical work, or missing details in estimates. As more data is accumulated, you can also engage machine learning (ML) and similar technology to build artificial intelligence (AI) rules to help users make better, and more timely choices.
Think of a corporate,site, or project team like a sports team: provide them with a Common Platform so they can play their best game. The reduced ambiguity and increased focus that this provides enables them to work on the right things at the right time. Gone is the anxiety that arises from unclear processes and isolated work in a cubicle. The Common Platform provides process channels that ensure that work flows freely and without obstruction towards a safe, quality, environmentally sound, timely and cost effective conclusion.
Like all teams, yours gets better with practice. Setting up a Common Platform provides a framework for building genuine team work and improves results over time.The TeamWork Common Platform can be configured to accept your processes and terminology. Your team can continue to use the ‘local talk’ so that your staff remains engaged with local culture and norms in the area of your site.
If you’re ready to make it to the work process endzone, we’re ready to help you get you started on the TeamWork Common Platform.
Get a hold of us now at: www.teamworkgroup.com
Or email us at: CustomerSupport@teamworkgroup.com