Interface management benefits

We have over 30 years experience in developing software systems, and our staff has extensive experience in working with Interface Management on simple and complex projects. Interface management is a systematic methodology enlisted when working with multiple contractors, subcontractors, and clients.

Implementing an interface management process on a project streamlines communication, identifies critical interfaces, and monitors ongoing work progress while mitigating risks. Interfaces are connection points between parties or elements. Within the context of Interface Management, all entities are working towards a common, agreed-upon goal, which is completion of the Project.

As more individuals and contractors work together, there is an increasing chance for miscommunication, lack of communication, or the inability to stay within scope, budget and schedule.

This introduces the need for Interface Management. An interface is defined as a point of connect between entities working on a common project. These interfaces have the potential to negatively impact the cost and schedule of the project.

Interface Management is the method of managing interfaces and mitigating these risks. As the number of different entities and scope of a project increases, so does the risk associated with interfaces. A properly implemented interface management process utilizing an interface management system helps ensure the proper communication and transparency between multiple interfacing sub-systems.

Failure to properly manage interfaces contributes to the failure of large development projects. Improper interfacing can cause significant delays in commissioning and lead to excessive re-work. Interface Management is an important process that should be enforced to ensure that a project meets safety requirements, is on time, and is on budget.

Using an Interface Management System can drastically improve your process.

What is Interface Management?

Find out more about using a web-based interface management system. Project team members are responsible for ensuring that their teams, or parties, are meeting all working deadlines set forth through the interface management system. Certain automated interface management tools may be required of project team members.

But their primary roles include ensuring the work gets done, as well as progress reports as they pertain to the scope of operations, and last but not least, developing good working relationships with contractors. Project team members should have review and approval processes firmly in place at contract outset, and should be ready to produce work outcomes to clients or interface managers as requested.

First and foremost, an Interface Manager must have a strong grip on how to communicate, when to communicate, what to communicate, and who to communicate to. They can be the primary point of contact for the client s and contractors alike. An Interface Manager is largely responsible for monitoring operational progress, noting any timeline deviations and proactively helping to reconcile them in a timely fashion.

Most Interface Managers attend regular interface meetings to discuss and analyze the progress of all interfaces toward work goals while producing monthly reports for clients, who expect exact and precise project deliveries and outcomes.Article Organizational Project Management June Morris has worked extensively in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, South America and North America in the management of a wide variety of projects in the areas of steel, telecommunications, utilities, petrochemicals, and city government planning.

He received his Ph. Morris presented papers at both the and PMI conferences. The following are all example of interface management principles:. These interface management principles clearly use a jargon — a special language — a language more or less intelligible to most project managers, depending on their exposure to systems and organization thinking. This paper reviews the relevance of modern systems and organization theory to project management, and then discusses these principles in detail.

Organization theory explains why organizations take on the structures and characteristics they do. It helps explain why project organizations have certain similar characteristics. Systems theory is an approach to bringing order to complex, poorly structured situations 4 8. It does so by emphasizing certain core concepts, applied in a strict sequence, as outlined in figure 1.

Using the systems approach, it is possible to clarify the design of a system 9thereby permitting its overall objective to be more easily achieved. Project breakdown structures, organization and responsibility charts, information systems, and project specifications are all examples of project work that have been affected by the systems approach. His task consists largely of monitoring the interrelationships between functional groups to achieve the overall project scope, cost, and schedule goals.

Such monitoring is both technical boundary monitoring and managerial maintenance and development. Boundary management is especially important in the now prevalent Contingency School of Organization. The major impact of the systems approach on organization theory has been the realization that organization structures vary depending on their environment The primary tenets of the school are:.

In the contingency view, attention to organizational behavior at the boundary is very important. For organizations as for people, the prime goal is the most important factor influencing structure and behavior. Work in corporate strategy has explored how an organization can better adapt to achieve its primary goals and objectives 2 3.

A flexible, organic type of structure is required in conditions of fast rate of change and high uncertainty, whereas a more rigid one is appropriate in steadier environments. Research by the author has confirmed the critical importance of project rate of change to the amount of coordination required in project organizations The more rigid the production technology, the more rigid the organization; and vice versa In addition to the actual characteristics of the technology itself, the rate of change and uncertainty associated with technological forces are also important 7.

Thus it is not just the type of work to be done 36 design compared with production, for examplebut the amount of management control needed that affects organization structure Evidently, environment and technology are closely interwoven. Indeed a dominant school of organization theorists — the socio-technic school — holds that organization structure is a product of both environment and technology, together with the attitudes of the people in the organization 11 figure 2 again.Definition: Interface management includes the activities of defining, controlling, and communicating the information needed to enable unrelated objects including systems, services, equipment, software, and data to co-function.

Most new systems or services require external interfaces with other systems or services. All of these interfaces must be defined and controlled in a way that enables efficient use and change management of these systems or services. Therefore, the practice of interface management begins at design and continues through operations and maintenance.

interface management benefits

They are expected to identify the most efficient and effective processes and methods for implementing them and to understand the complexities that result in an increasingly interoperable world. Interfaces are the functional and physical connections at the boundaries of ICT systems that are designed to interoperate with other systems.

There are many types of interfaces, including communications interfaces, signaling interfaces, service interfaces, data interfaces, hardware interfaces, software interfaces, and application program interfaces. Interfaces are critical elements supporting the complex nature of today's systems, which are becoming more geographically distributed and interconnected with other independently developed systems.

Strong dependencies on external interfaces require that special attention be given to how they are designed, managed, and publicized beyond what programs typically control within a traditional configuration management process.

Interface Management

The practice of Interface Management IxM is related to requirements and configuration management, but it is applied more specifically to the management of interfaces as a subcomponent of ICT systems. IxM is a technical systems engineering activity focused on the architecture, design, and implementation of the interface.

As such, the lead or chief systems engineer typically has primary responsibility for this life-cycle management process [1]. The major inputs and outputs might include:. Interoperability requires a minimum of two items, each with its own interfaces configured in a way that enables effective joining. A plug and an outlet is an example of that interface. In ICT, interfaces need to be characterized along multiple dimensions, including function, performance, behavioral process, and data.

It is necessary to understand how the interface will behave and function, how it can transmit or consume data, and what sequences are required for the exchange of data. Interface management addresses this complexity through the use of an engineering management process that is well defined in various engineering bodies of knowledge, such as Software Engineering Body of Knowledge [6], Software Engineering Institute [7], International Council on Systems Engineering [8], and the Defense Acquisition Guidebook [9].

In a service-oriented environment, the key to successful system or service usage lies in the ability to effectively publicize the requirements to users in a way they understand and need. In addition, users will want some level of assurance or understanding of how that service provider plans to mature and evolve the interface so that users have some level of configuration control over their side of the interface.

From a provider's perspective, it may become difficult to understand who is using the service, and the provider may not recognize the scale of the larger set of users who will be affected by any interface changes. The following rules of practice can be used for both internal and external interfaces, as part of the interface management process. Don't underestimate the need for governance.

Interfaces play a crucial role in all systems, which, by definition, consist of multiple components that must interact to deliver a collective capability.

Complex systems consist of numerous interfaces of various types; loosely coupled architectures entail higher degrees of abstraction than tightly coupled architectures. In the absence of proper governance, interface sprawl and variation can quickly devolve into degraded system performance, maintainability, and sustainability. Therefore, IxM, which is always important, is considerably more challenging in systems characterized by loosely coupled architectures.

The need for comprehensive governance throughout the interface life cycle is essential, and early, deliberate planning is necessary.

The major IxM activities needing governance include build-time and run-time contexts. Requirements management, architecture and design standards, technical reviews, and testing are some of the major build-time governance areas, and they tend to come from a system development life-cycle perspective.Learn the many benefits interface management provides projects as well as how to plan for and implement the process on your project.

Over the past decade, major capital projects have become substantially bigger and increasingly complicated, requiring numerous work packages distributed across multiple contractors. Experienced project managers and interface managers are looking for better ways to identify, record, monitor, and track all project interfaces — everything from flange connections between pipelines to complex tie-ins to existing facilities.

interface management benefits

As such, projects are being pushed to effectively manage dependencies between contractors from early planning and Front End Engineering and Design FEED through construction, commissioning, and handover to operations in order to mitigate risks and deliver business value.

What is Interface Management? A Project Discipline to Support Contractor Alignment Learn the many benefits interface management provides projects as well as how to plan for and implement the process on your project. Planning Your Interface Management Program What you will need for IM implementation, compliance, and governance Creating the Master Interface Management Plan Identifying stakeholder ownership How to track the right interface-related information How to ensure information gets to the right people Alerts and escalation notifications 3.

Implementing Your IM Program Implementing an Interface Register to record, monitor, and track interfaces and status updates Early identification of Interface Points Ensuring ongoing success — importance of regular interface management meetings Importance of dashboards and reports How project schedule integration allows effective interface management Orderly closeout of interface agreements including a complete history.Choosing the right system can significantly improve your Interface Management Process.

WIMS allows for seamless, controlled communications among multiple organizations. We are ready for rapid deployment and can flex to meet your project's budget and schedule. On a large project, interface requests will always exist in the form of emails, verbal discussions and phone calls.

If you leave these items to get closed out naturally, many items may that could have been resolved early on, may go unnoticed until much further down the line. Answering a simple question during design may cost far less than having to deal with the same item during construction.

Therefore, you want to capture as many interface issues, and ensure they are resolved and closed out.

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The most basic form of interface management software would be a controlled register in the form of an spreadsheet. This is a good first step since you can now maintain due dates, responsible parties, and statuses. Your spreadsheet may looks something like this:. However, a spreadsheet interface register can suffer from some common problems when the project scope increases.

Common problems include: Allowing multiple users to raise and respond to their requests within the register does not work well. Generating new corporate credentials to have access to a shared file may be involved.

Simultaneous editing is out of the question. Spreadsheets usually will show you the a single snapshot of information. Cells are constantly overridden, eliminating historical data.

Spreadsheets do not notify users of new requests, updates, or overdue items. Keeping everyone up to date is a manual process. Using a dedicated interface management system can solve all of these problems, in addition to adding a large number of benefits that greatly simplify managing interfaces.

Our system allows any project team member to input and edit their own requests in a simple form:. This form captures the same info, with the added benefits of allowing document uploads, tracking history, triggering email notifications, and entering the request into a controlled workflow. Let's say this workflow follows this path:. In this case, the new request sends an email notification to the requesting party's Interface Coordinator for approval.

Once approved, the request goes to the responsible party for a response. The response goes back to the requester. When accepted, the item is closed and archived. With our system, WIMS, this process is configurable to fit your project.

The data inputs, labels, and approval loop can be modified.Tags: Article Interface Management. The premise is that if all your resources e. In the investment world, the scenario would be akin to putting all your money in the hands of one company or person. As projects grow into multi-billions of dollars, many owners are revisiting how they manage increasingly complex projects.

Recently, there has been a significant shift from the one basket approach to the many basket approach. Instead of relying on a single EPC, owners are moving to a contractual approach that sees many specialized contractors responsible for specific scope packages, effectively breaking a big project into a collection of smaller projects. Under these contractual scenarios, many specialty contractors construct the project, while the project delivery team is responsible for developing the design and managing the procurement and construction process on behalf of the owner.

The project delivery team must ensure that work is performed to the quality required, to a schedule that is compatible with the overall project schedule, and in accordance with the planned cost. This team manages the many baskets made up of multiple scope packages and multiple contractors. Interface management is no longer an internal project delivery issue only. Interface management instead becomes a combination of internal interfaces, as well as handling interfaces outside the project battery limit.

This significantly complicates the role of the typical interface manager, and requires a robust interface management process and toolset. Strong interface management expertise is vital to the successful delivery of large scale projects with many stakeholders.

Interface management is all about making sure that communication between those stakeholders is handled in a manner that minimizes risk and provides appropriate visibility to help deal quickly with problems when they do arise.

Mismanaged, interfaces can have hugely negative impacts on the cost and schedule of the project, and be financially embarrassing for the owner and contractors involved in the project delivery team. To successfully manage multiple parties, interface management must be a part of the overall project management plan. The purpose of interface management is to mitigate interface-related risk by recording and tracking interfaces early in the project, and to open lines of communication between project participants.

Documenting interfaces and providing strong communication helps align contracting parties and establish clear lines of responsibility between parties; this leads to improved project performance and a reduction in the likelihood of poor outcomes.

Workflow and Interface Management System (WIMS)

While the varied contractors have contractual commitments to the owner, they have no direct contractual commitment for interfaces between their respective scope packages. To handle this gap in contractual relationships, more and more project delivery teams are applying interface management practices.

interface management benefits

These benefits include:. Owners are looking for Contractors who can:. When not managed effectively, project interfaces can lead to major problems, delays and cost overruns.

Interface management can help project delivery teams be successful in the coordination of the design and construction elements of the project as they deal with many specialized contractors. For contractors bidding to operate on project delivery teams, strong interface management expertise is vital to the successful delivery of complex projects.

Managing interfaces well is a significant competitive differentiator. Copyright Coreworx Inc. Investment in a strong interface management program minimizes a significant source of manageable risk in a capital project. Being a competitive differentiator.

An interface management program demonstrates credibility and commitment to project governance that will best serve the owner in effectively controlling project costs and risk. Owners are looking for Contractors who can: Successfully manage FEED and ensure that clear, well-defined scope packages are developed and include well-defined interfaces.

Provide the knowledge and tools required to manage multiple contractors during design and construction and the conflicts that can arise from interface-related issues.

Interface Management

Deliver project reporting that includes visibility into interface management activities. Subscriber Email. Thanks for submission!!Or see our complete list of local country numbers. Build, deploy, monitor, analyze, and manage your application interfaces from a single, centralized location with the SAP Application Interface Framework tool.

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