AEC Project Management and Infrastructure Projects


"Project Insight makes things more efficient in terms of project control, status, and resource allocation, which saves DIRAC time and money."

Main Challenges

DIRAC works with a large portfolio of clients, most often on infrastructure projects throughout Mexico. Over the past ten years, infrastructure projects that were traditionally performed only by government agencies have opened up to private companies. Large construction companies are now granted concessions to execute the design, construction, and operation of these infrastructure projects. For this reason DIRAC is often contracted to perform technical studies and onsite revision of quality control materials.

  • Needed a way to provide clients with simple, secure access to project status
  • Other software used had a difficult user interface
  • No ability to review resource allocation across multiple projects and timelines.

The Chief Excecutive Officer (CEO) is ultimately responsible for the overall success of DIRAC's projects, whether large ones such as infrastructure projects, or smaller ones involving commercial buildings and resort hotels. At any given time, DIRAC performs between 20-40 simultaneous projects.

With so many projects in motion, efficiency is of the utmost importance. DIRAC's project managers used Microsoft Project desktop, and were required occasionally to use Primavera as part of contractual obligations. During the course of a project, managers needed a way to give clients appropriate access to project information, such as basic status and progress reports. However, the required software was not simple for clients to learn, and access controls were not as sophisticated as they would have liked. As a result, clients were forced to wait for weekly or monthly project reports in order to receive updates about the status of work.

In addition, the project managers found it difficult, with Microsoft Project desktop, to perform accurate resource allocation across all of their projects. With efficient use of resources a major contributing factor to profitability, DIRAC recognized the need to have accurate, cross-project resource tracking.

Why Project Insight

DIRAC launched a search for a portfolio project management solution that would:

  • Offer a user friendly, web-based interface
  • Give clients secure information on project progress at any time of their choice
  • Enable up-to-the-minute resource allocation reports across all projects.

After a period of evaluation, DIRAC chose Project Insight. The CEO said, "We did look at different solutions, and out of all of those we looked at, we found that for our needs, the more cost effective and most versatile solution was Project Insight. One thing that was very helpful to us was the technical support that we received from Metafuse from the beginning. We had a conference and a presentation, explained what our needs were, what areas of improvement we were looking for, and the problems we were facing. In general, all of the answers were given right away and everything we needed was already in the system."

The Results

What they liked about Project Insight:

  • Easy to use and browser-based
  • Simple, yet secure access for customers
  • Up-do-date status and on demand progress reports
  • Cross project resource allocation reports in real time.

DIRAC signed up with Project Insight and began using the software immediately. They found the ease of adaptation quite helpful as Microsoft Project desktop and Primavera team members started coming on board. The company began gleaning benefits from its use of Project Insight right away.

"We had a very large project with our customer ICA on the design of a highway between Queretaro and Irapuato. This project was entirely managed by Project Insight, which was very good for us. [It] was a sixty-mile highway with a lot of bridges [that required] interfaces with the client in terms of the right of way and all of the peripheral works. He was able to see what the status of the design was at any time, and we were able to communicate with [him] more efficiently, not only in terms of the progress, but also the flow of the information, documents, drawings, meeting minutes, and things like that."

The CEO continued, "For the first time our client was able to view the project progress at any time. It wasn't like he had to wait for a weekly or a monthly report in order to see where things stood. He could go to the web and see what the project status was and also review the minutes of the meetings. The management was more involved through having access to the information. That was a benefit because, in general, all project management systems show project progress, but in this case the aid to communication through posted discussions and minutes was beneficial as well."

Currently in Mexico, engineers are in short supply as many infrastructure projects are in progress. "Some of the projects we're invited to participate in we've declined because of the lack of resources." The CEO said, "We have a very good reputation for fulfilling our commitments in terms of time and quality, and we don't want to lose that. Since resources are scarce now, the ability to manage resources and see project progress and find out when people will be available to undertake different responsibilities has been very helpful to us."

In summary, the CEO said, "Project Insight makes things more efficient in terms of project control, progress, and resource allocation, which saves time and money. The ability we now have to be up-to-date with technology, and to consume less paper is very, very good. Finally, the ability to schedule and manage different projects concurrently helps us because, before, each project had a specific tool or schedule, whereas in Project Insight, we have the ability to control all the projects at once."