Picture of Ricardo Pessoa Using document audit data to reduce friction among project stakeholders
26 September 2015 by Ricardo Pessoa


80% of all megaprojects fail to fulfil their time/cost/quality requirements, causing stress, tense negotiations and witch hunts in all project stakeholders. Could you be better prepared to reduce these frictions?

The larger the project, smaller the chance that it will be delivered on time and on budget. Failure to meet project goals is so common that even a “iron law of megaprojects” was coined: Over budget, over time, over and over again (Flyvbjerg,2011).

If you are involved in a big construction project, chances are that you’ll be devoting a large chunk of your time producing data to clarify scope changes and backing negotiations to split the bill among stakeholders.

Why is it so difficult to clarify these changes? Part comes from the lack of reliable tracking information on project decisions and scope changes.

In construction projects, contract scope is usually translated into a list of engineering documents. As project advances, stakeholders decisions promote changes on initial scope, originating sucessive revisions of the affected engineering documents. Following the trail of changes in engineering documents through their successive versions, relating revision comments, markups and approvals alongside with meetings notes and communications among stakeholders, one may trace back all relevant project decisions.

However tracking down engineering documents revision history is something between very hard and almost impossible. When you are dealing with hundreds of documents, with hundreds of people issuing thousands of revisions, this is no simple task. It’s even worse if you’ve given up paper documents and use e-mail, file transfers or shared folders to collaborate. You will face time consuming searches on e-mails, attachments and file directories to locate specific file versions and related change information.

eikondocs provides an easier path. All document interactions from all users are automatically recorded, forming a complete audit trail to all document changes.

Besides, eikondocs document class model flexibility allows us to include project management documents in the workspace. So all comments, markups, approvals, meetings minutes and communications among stakeholders may be stored, and affected engineering documents may be linked to all documents relevant to a change decision.

In a document’s revision history you can easily find and retrieve data on downloads, uploads, comments, approvals or markups made by any stakeholder.

Look at this example. Clicking the tab History Summary on the document page, we can easily find out which state transitions the document has gone through and when, and who was responsible for each one.

Document revision history summary page

Clicking on the button More Info, we can see that this document has been sent in three tasks, and also that another version exists in the system. You just have to click to retrieve them.

Document revision history more info menu

You can even retrieve all file versions that were uploaded while work was in progress, even before a new revision was issued. Just select Complete history and retrieve the specific file version that was sent, uploaded or downloaded when and by whom.

Revision history – Complete History

Audit data can also be exported in Excel spreadsheets, allowing further analysis and cross-checking with other data sources.

Revision history spreadsheet - attributes

Revision history spreadsheet - History

Better data, easily shared by simple Workspace configuration, providing a common view to project evolution among project stakeholders, thus helping to reduce misunderstandings and facilitating analysis.