Review of the Project Resourcing and Schedule Management (PRSM) System used by Caltrans
Research Team: Iris Tommelein (lead) and Nigel Blampied
UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley
Problem Statement: The California Budget Act of 2016 included a provision to “complete a post-implementation review of the Project Resourcing and Schedule Management (PRSM) information technology system upgrade completed by the Department of Transportation”. The PRSM system referenced is Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software deployed at Caltrans in 2014 and intended to enable Caltrans to effectively plan State employee and consultant time spent on activities related to projects in its Capital Outlay Support (COS) program. A team of researchers in the Engineering Project Management Program at UC Berkeley was selected to conduct the review of PRSM.
Project Description: This final report summarizes the findings of the UC Berkeley team chosen to evaluate PRSM. Looking inside Caltrans at how the agency is using PRSM, Section I reports on the researchers’ review of Caltrans documents and the interviews they conducted with sample groups of Caltrans staff. The study shows that PRSM has become a well-established system: it is now used agency-wide by approximately 3,000 Caltrans users with read/write access and many others with read-only access. Caltrans staff are using PRSM for project resourcing, especially for annual budgeting, but are not using all its scheduling functions to their potential. Looking outward for practices different from those of Caltrans that may reveal opportunities to improve Caltrans’ project management practices with PRSM support, Section II reports on findings from the researchers’ scan of comparable software, survey of state departments of transportation, interviews with private engineering firms, and review of recent developments and best practices in project management. The study shows that PRSM is but one of several possible- but still among the most highly-rated software system choices. Study recommendations include: continuing with ongoing PRSM training for District personnel to ensure consistency in use across the State, engaging more directly with the system vendor to voice Caltrans’ needs for future software enhancements, changing the current Caltrans workflow to include systematic project baselining, and developing task management practices using the Last Planner® System to enhance work flow reliability and thereby improve efficiency and project performance. This Report ends with a summary of all findings and lays the foundation for scope to be pursued in subsequent, applied research with Caltrans, aiming to further leverage the support that PRSM use can provide in its project management practices.