Project closeouts are the final submittal of project data – a closeout acts as proof of project completion and, in many projects, justifies an invoice. A project closeout should be a simple by-product of a job well done.
Yet, in most organizations, closeout packages become a project of their own; adding labor dollars and schedule to the end of the project, where it hurts the most.
Simplicity is the soul of efficiency. – Austin Freeman
How Much Work is Your Closeout Process?
Manual closeout processes are highly error-prone, extremely time-consuming, and often delay final project payment by weeks or even months. Yet, they are also the most common.
A closeout package provides a receipt of work by supplying evidence in the form of photographs, completed checklists, and even test results. Clients require the submittal of this information before issuing payment, which means that the longer it takes to gather the necessary inputs, the longer it takes to get paid.
A manual closeout process means that sign-offs, photographs, inspection reports, test results, and certifications are all stored in different locations. Data captured in the field may be found on the phone of any one of the many workers at the site while sign-offs and reports could be attached to a clipboard in the site leader's truck.
Requiring teams to upload this information to a centralized Dropbox or Google Drive does not count as an "automated" or even "digital" closeout. Too much of the process is manual – which means that there are too many opportunities for errors and lost data.
In a manual closeout process, internal or external approvers receive inconsistent notifications – some team members may send an email, others a text, while many others may wait until the end of the day or the workweek to submit several pieces of data for approval at once. Your reviewers never know when or how they will receive data.
Finally, your administrative team must hunt down information, check that it was reviewed and approved, and organize it for submittal.
The ad hoc nature of a manual closeout process costs real dollars in many ways:
- Replacing lost data: fieldworkers return to the site to re-take pictures or complete a checklist
- Uploading data: workers spend time at the end of the day gathering, organizing, labeling, and uploading data
- Review cycle: manual review notification leads to missed reviews and means that workers must return to the site if the evidence is rejected
- Preparing closeout package: requires additional administrative resources and delays invoicing and payment
You will either step forward into growth, or you will step back into safety. – Abraham Maslow
Make the Closeout Process Work for You
An ideal closeout package process is ingrained into your project cycle. Every aspect of the process flows as a natural part of the project and in the end, results in a ready-to-submit package of data that supports quick payment.
In an automated closeout process, the worker completing the task captures data in the field. He or she knows when to complete a checklist, which pictures to take, and which project aspects to highlight because of an automatic task-driven prompt.
Captured data is automatically associated with the project and requires no manual organization. This enables reviewers to receive instant, push notification of pending data reviews. As a result, feedback is supplied to the field before the team leaves the site. Need another picture? See something in the checklist that was missed? Your team is still at the site and can quickly resolve the issue without a return trip.
When the project is complete, the closeout package is automatically generated and ready for client review at the push of a button. No more gathering and organizing data or spending hours correcting formatting errors – your professional, accurate, and comprehensive closeout package is ready to go.
Automated closeout packages:
- Eliminate lost data
- Save time and money in the field and the office
- Reduce review and rework cycles
- Support faster invoicing and payment
Active Oversight has changed the way closeout packages are developed and submitted. Capturing data and communicating in real-time is saving our clients both money and schedule on every project. Active Oversight's process-driven approach to data gathering, organization, review, and submittal can be applied to any process to streamline information collection and assembly and provide a path for real-time communication between all team members while creating a centralized data record.