Construction is a highly repetitive process but from the perspective of a project is perceived as a custom one off endeavor where no two projects are the same. This is a puzzling dichotomy given that many of the materials and construction techniques to produce a finished work have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Materials and methods may be very similar across projects but the specific requirements i.e. constraints are what make the project unique. It is the special finish or unique test that is required for the project that without prior experience may be overlooked and cause a failure in project execution. Our current management systems are not capable of institutionalizing this type of information. It is only available in the individuals who performed the work in the past and are available to offer their experience for the work at hand. People with a unique understanding and experience within a given constructed entity function are still the fundamental way a general contractor approaches a project.
A productive project manager working in the high end corporate interiors market sector has many of the same skills of a project manager working in health care. What makes them different is there domain knowledge, their personal understanding of the procedures unique to the type of work they perform. The ability to perform work within a specific market sector is solely dependent on having the people on staff with the domain specific experience. This is a risk to the general contractor.
CEM is a way of capturing the domain knowledge acquired by management during the execution of the work. Identifying a projects unique constraints by dimension allows for the retention of project type specific processes and procedures and a way to reference it forsimilarly scoped future work. This does not necessarily replace the need to have people with domain specific experience, but it would broaden the pool of experienced project managers and superintendents that could perform across project types. They would be able to rely upon the prior learned corporate experience as a starting point when approaching a new project.
There are two possible sources of corporate knowledge in CEM. The first is from past project experience. The actual work items, constraints and dependencies would all be available to inform new work. Using the concept of dimension, prior work experience would be correlated to a new project scope based on dimension matching. Comparisons would not have to be an exact match dimension to dimension, but CEM could provide possible matches prioritized by the best match for the given set of dimensions. This gives project management a range of possible constraints and work items that would be applicable to his scope of work that could be used to fill in detail or ensure a key constraint is not overlooked.
The second source would be from a catalog of corporate knowledge specifically created and maintained as a set of best practices for any given dimension. As the company performs work there are always lessons learned. CEM provides the framework for this knowledge to be recorded and made available for future work. This would be in the form of dimensional specific scope documents for subcontract agreements, per-installation meeting agenda, safety hazard analysis check lists and other quality control best practice procedures.
CEM is the means to the goal of building smarter by leveraging the general contractors collective institutional experience.