The USAGE OF Project Definition Rating Index Business Essay

I work as an expense estimator and a major problem I face in my own work is that of imperfect or poor range explanation to do the estimations. I am not alone in this dilema; my co-workers in the planning and scheduling team also face similar problem. It is in fact named an industry wide problem. Corresponding to Gibson, G. Jr. , and Wang, Y. , 2001, Undesirable scope explanation is acknowledged by industry practitioners among the leading causes of project failure, adversely affecting projects in the region of cost, routine and functional characteristics.

The impact of poor range definition on tasks is enormous. There was therefore a need to build up a job management tool to aid with project opportunity definition. The Engineering Industry Institute (CII) championed this work which gave labor and birth to the Project Definition Ranking Index (PDRI), a range meaning tool, in 1996. The tool is still in use as evidenced by examples of current consumption.

This newspaper will establish key scope definition concepts, discuss the reason why for poor scope definition, the impact of poor scope definition on tasks and exactly how scope description can be better using the Project Definition Ranking Index.

The paper also examines the effectiveness of PDRI in an Integrated Task Delivery (IPD) approach as well as in a Building Information Modeling (BIM) environment.

The paper concluded that PDRI improves opportunity definition by discovering poorly identified elements, focusing attention in it and upgrading their description to an acceptable level and that the tool is most useful in a normal engineering environment but has limited utilization in a BIM environment. It advised wide publicity of the tool and the updating of the tool so as to be highly relevant to modern job delivery methods such as IPD and BIM.

Keywords: Scope definition, Preproject planning, Work breakdown Structure, Project Classification Score Index, Integrated Job Delivery, Building Information Modeling.

TCMF Procedures: 3. 2 - Advantage Planning; 4. 1 - Job Execution; 7. 1 - Project opportunity and execution strategy development; 7. 6 - Risk Management; 11. 5 - Value Management and Value Improving Practices


Inadequate or poor range definition, which adversely correlates to the job performance, has long been recognized as among the most problems impacting a construction task. Because of poor scope description, final job costs should be expected to be higher because of the inevitable changes which interrupt project tempo, cause rework, increase project time, and lower the efficiency as well as the morale of the task force. Sadly many owner and company organizations execute a poor job of effectively determining a project's scope leading to a poor design basis. Range definition activities take place at the pre-project planning stage.

2. 1 Pre-project planning

Pre-project planning is the task stage encompassing all the responsibilities between job initiation to precise design. Development of the job scope definition package deal is a major subprocess in this stage. The Construction Industry Institute (CII) identifies preproject planning as the process of producing sufficient proper information with which owners can treat risk and decide to commit resources to increase the chance for an effective project. The opportunity definition bundle when properly done, gives information to investigate and address task risk as well as form a basis for estimates and schedules which would enable management take decision to commit resources to the job. "Research has shown the value of preproject planning on capital projects and its own influence on project success. Findings of an Structure Industry Institute (CII) analysis carried out in 1994 turned out that higher degrees of preproject planning work results significant cost and plan savings. Specifically, the research study classified 53 capital service projects into three different intensities of preproject planning effort and likened total potential cost and schedule performance differences the following:

A 20% cost savings with a higher level of preproject planning effort

A 39% routine savings with a higher level of preproject planning effort

Because of the significant personal savings associated with superior project predictability, the study concluded that a whole scope definition prior to job execution is vital to task success".

2. 2 Job Scope Definition-What could it be?

The project range defines what the work is (i. e. , the work that must be performed to deliver something, service, or final result with the specified features and functions ). Task scope definition is the procedure by which tasks are described and well prepared for execution and It is at this important stage where dangers from the project are examined and the precise project execution methodology is described.

It comes after from above meanings that if the work to be achieved in a project is not yet determined or not properly defined, the execution of such job will come across problems. One of such problems is cost overruns. "Poor scope definition and lack of control of the project scope rank as the utmost recurrent contributing factors to cost overruns".

2. 3 Work Malfunction Structure (WBS) and WBS Dictionary

A scope is way better understood when divided into smaller manageable bits or components and the WBS helps to do this. The WBS is a tree structure of successively further breakdowns of work range into component parts for planning, assigning responsibility, managing, controlling, and confirming project progress. The top of the tree signify the whole and following levels stand for divisions of the whole on an even by level basis before smallest factor desired is described. The actual WBS contains are opportunity deliverables rather than the actions and task to accomplish the deliverables. These process and activities are protected in the project agenda. However a routine draws from the lowest level of the WBS which is the work package.

The WBS is further defined as "an effective display technique for defining and managing project work. For the dog owner, the WBS symbolizes what is being bought while for the contractor, it includes all work being performed on the task". The WBS comes from the Advantage Owner's scope declaration.

The WBS does not stand alone, as a dictionary of actual scope must go with the WBS composition. The WBS dictionary details the specifics and exact opportunity of every deliverable.

While the WBS can be an attempt to properly define opportunity its success has however been limited. The primary reason is the fact its elements and explanations are not standardized even within the same corporation. Some organizations and task professionals are even baffled about the correct use of the WBS. Humphreys, G, 2002, alluded to the distress when he asked the question, "If this organized approach to arranging the scope of work (discussing WBS) is commonly used, how come there distress?". Humphreys' answer is the fact some folks use the WBS to reflect the business that is accomplishing the work as opposed to the work itself. Other misconceptions are equating the WBS with a timetable or list of activities to deliver the works. The end result of these misconceptions and lack of criteria is poor range definition.

2. 4 Low of the Scope Classification and Known reasons for it.

Poor scope description refers to scope whose classification is incomplete, limited, inaccurate or hazy. As earlier mentioned poor scope explanation is the root cause of many project failures. You can want to ask, what exactly are the reason why for poor range definition? I point out below a few of the reasons:

Absence or non use of a scope description tool

Absence of standardized WBS

The haste to get budget approval

Poor user interface between Anatomist (Design) and task team

Customers/Consumer not creating their minds on time.

Incompetence of design team

Misinterpretation of clients requirements

For 1st time asset owners; non appreciation of the finish product right from the start.

Owner not happy to commit resources for full scope definition


The need to boost project scope description comes from the impact poor opportunity definition is wearing projects. Where opportunity description is poor a job is impacted in several ways. A few of these impacts are summarized here below:


Impact on cost quotes: Poor scope definition contributes to delay in the delivery of estimates, over or under estimation, higher level of contingency allowance and ongoing revision of the quotes as omitted items are added or inaccurate items are corrected. Furthermore last cost will be greater than budgeted. Matching to O'Connor and Vickroy 1986, last project costs can be expected to be higher due to inescapable changes which interrupt project tempo, cause rework, increase project time, and lower the production as well as the morale of the work force.

Impact on plan: Poor scope definition causes schedule slippage and consequently past due delivery of the project. An average example is the addition of necessary work items that were omitted from the range the routine was predicated on. These will require additional time to plan and implement. There would also be delays caused by the integration of the new works into the existing works as the task rhythm will be disrupted plus some items reworked. Poor opportunity definition contributes to an unrealistic program and this will give false information during improvement measurement. Which means that a builder could be overpaid or underpaid when earned value measurement is situated simply on the schedule. Another impact is that resources will be wrongly assigned to activities as their exact scope is unidentified.

Impact on risk diagnosis: Among the risk occurrences that projects appeal to is lack of, or poor range classification. This risk is mitigated through contingency, monetary in case there is cost estimates and extra resources or longer durations in terms of agenda. Contingency is an amount added to an estimation or schedule to allow for changes that experience shows will likely be required. These are usually known as "Known Unknowns". Experience has shown that once a contingency is provided, it is often consumed. Furthermore the price of the changes included in contingency for items which are not similar to existing works are higher because of time difference and lack of competition during the execution phase, thus the advantage owner gives more than he should have paid if the scope was completely described before execution phase.

Claims and many change orders: Poor opportunity definition leads to schedule slippage which brings about contractual promises for extension of the time as well as expanded project management, head office overhead and site indirect cost. Aside from time extension cases, there would also be claims for lack of earnings, underutilization of planned resources, standby time necessitated by many scope changes and spectacular work scope definitions and clarifications.

Where you can find program slippage, the task owner may order acceleration steps to drive out the slippage. The cost because of this acceleration is recoverable by the company if the cause of schedule slippage is due to poor scope definition. The task owner eventually ends up paying more than he must have paid if opportunity was well identified.

Project Abandonment: In case the impacts talked about above are in depth, the job may be forgotten as the owner might not have the necessary funds to continue with the works. Normally, this is the case numerous government projects. Furthermore the profits on return (ROI) may no more be attractive forcing the dog owner to abandon or suspend the project.

If we must avoid or minimize the above effects, much more work have to be done at determining the project scope. Following this dependence on improved project range definition, the Structure Industry Institute (CII) funded a study which resulted to the development of a project classification tool, called the Job Definition Ranking Index (PDRI), Industrial version in 1996. The Building version implemented in 1999.

The next section of this newspaper will discuss the Task Definition Ranking Index and exactly how it is utilized to improve task scope definition



The Project Explanation Ranking Index (PDRI) is a project management tool designed to increase the odds of job success by improving project scope definition, specifically by identifying deficiencies in range definition early during the front-end planning process. Cho C. S and Edward Gibson Jr detailed it (PDRI-Industrial) as a range classification tool that is greatly used by organizers in the professional tasks sector. Edward Gibson Jr (2004) detailed it as a risk management tool as it recognizes and measures risks related to project scope description.

There are two variants of the tool, the PDRI Industrial projects and PDRI Building assignments. PDRI Industrial originated in 1996 for Industrial tasks such as refineries, chemical substance plants, power plant life and heavy making while the building version originated from the Industrial version in 1999. It covers various building types such as office buildings, schools, apartment properties, hotels etc.

The composition of the PDRI is as follows:

Table 1: PDRI Structure





PDRI Industrial




PDRI Buildings




Please see Appendix 1 for explanation of the sections, categories and elements (PDRI Buildings)

The elements are critical opportunity definition elements divided into categories and sections as shown in desk 1 above. The elements are assemble in a weighted report sheet format and reinforced by 38 (34 for PDRI Industrial) webpages of detailed information and checklist. The elements includes all scope areas expected in an average project. The weighted report bed sheets show the section, the category, elements with the weights and the range definition levels and a column for element score. The scope explanation levels are 6 in amount which range from 0, which means not applicable, to at least one 1, indicating complete explanation, 2 - modest deficiencies, 3 - some deficiencies, 4- major deficiencies and 5- incomplete or poor explanation. The weights were identified via workshops taking into consideration the relative importance of each factor to the other person and its own potential effect on the job. Each element has a unique weight under each of the explanation levels (levels 1 - 5), level 0, being an element that's not relevant to the task under consideration. If all level 5 (imperfect scope meaning) designated weights are added along for the 70 elements of PDRI Industrial ( 64 for PDRI Building) we would have a complete weighted score of 1000 things which is the worst case. Likewise if all elements are completely defined i. e at level 1 description, the addition of the assigned weighted results for the 70 elements (or 64 PDRI Complexes) under this definition would give a total of 70 points, which is a good case. In an average project analysis using PDRI, the job score would be between 70 and 1000 details. It uses that the lower the project report the better defined the project is terms of scope.

"A credit score of 200 things or below by using tool was shown to statistically increase the predictability of task outcome. An example of 40 jobs using the industrial version of the PDRI mentioned that those assignments scoring below 200 versus those scoring above 200 acquired:

Average cost benefits of 19% versus estimated for design and construction

Schedule decrease by 13% versus estimated for design and construction

Fewer job changes

Increased predictability of operational performance".

Table 2 below is an extract of the weighted PDRI report sheet for Buildings.

Definition levels

0 = Not Applicable 2 = Minor Deficiencies 4 = Major Deficiencies

1 = Complete Meaning 3 = Some Deficiencies 5 = Incomplete or Low of the Definition

Table 2. Extract of PDRI weighted report sheet (Structures)

A task team employing this tool reviews each of the 70 or 64 elements (industrial or building) along with its detail explanation and compares those to the scope meaning package of the job under consideration and scores the completeness of the aspect definitions. The rating for each factor is noted in the credit score column and added to supply the category rating and the category scores are put into supply the section report, section ratings are put into give the task PDRI score. The lower the PDRI report the better the scope definition. How actual scoring is performed will be talked about later in this paper.

Benefits of the PDRI

The PDRI has many benefits or uses. Relating to Cho, C. S and Gibson, G. Jr, 2001, "it can be used as:

A checklist that a project team may use for determining the steps needed to follow in determining the job scope

A listing of standardized scope meaning terminology

An Industry standard for ranking the completeness of the task scope definition package deal through the planning process in order to measure progress, evaluate risk, and re-direct future work.

A means for project team participants to reconcile variations using a common basis for task evaluation

A tool that supports communication and alignment between owners and design companies by highlighting improperly described areas in a opportunity definition package

A training tool for organizations and individuals

A benchmarking tool for organizations to use in analyzing completion of range meaning versus the performance of previous projects, to be able to predict the probability of success on future jobs. "

Using the PDRI to evaluate projects degree of definition

This section deals with the actual credit scoring of a project to ascertain its level of definition.

A project team meets at any point during the pre-project planning stage to execute the examination. Amongst them can be an independent facilitator who is preferably not area of the project team but has good understanding of the task. The task team and facilitator are provided with the scope definition program of the task (scope statement, WBS, studies, design sketches/drawings, features etc) an un-weighted PDRI credit score sheet, detailed PDRI elements description and a weighted score sheet ideally for only the facilitator. It is not advisable to provide the weighted credit score sheet to team members at the credit scoring session as they might be tempted to focus on a particular report. An un-weighted report sheet for Properties is shown in Appendix B.

Each element and its information are read from the PDRI and this is compared to what is provided in the scope definition deal of the task being assessed. See extract of element explanation in Appendix C. The task team by consensus selects a level of meaning (0 to 5) that fits the element in mind and checks the box under this is level that match the factor. The facilitator picks the weighted credit score that corresponds with the checked definition box (in un-weighted score sheet) and exchanges it to the score column of the weighted credit score sheet which becomes the report for the factor. This process is repeated for all your PDRI elements. The elements score so produced are added along to give the category score and the categories rating added together give the sections credit score and sections report added gives the PDRI credit score for the project. "The low the total PDRI score, the better the job scope classification. Higher weights indicate that certain elements within the range package lack satisfactory definition and really should be re-examined prior to building documents development. "

Improvement of range meaning using PDRI

The PDRI 70 or 64 elements (Industrial or Building) are extensive descriptions of most range issues to be encountered in a job. They are conditions that need to be resolved in pre-project planning. If Project owners and design groups use the PDRI elements, they are not likely to have omissions of vital elements in the project scope. It provides as their checklist in defining the project scope.

With the precise explanation of the PDRI elements a service owner is made aware of the excess information he must provide to ensure task success. When these are provided scope definition is improved.

One of the ways to boost project scope classification is the utilization of standardized work breakdown structure (WBS). A satisfactory standardized WBS has been an illusion both in the Building and Industrial Sector. The hierarchy of PDRI parts, categories and elements can form the basis of a work breakdown structure (WBS) for proper opportunity planning. This can be adopted as a typical at the mercy of some amendments reviewed later in this paper.

The PDRI rating process throws up items that are poorly identified and thus require further action. So alternatively that pick incomplete scope in to the next gate or execution period, a better definition is desired and achieved before proceeding.

When doing a PDRI analysis ambiguous claims or explanations are determined and clarified from relevant stakeholders, thus bettering on the range definition.

Some Types of Current Request of PDRI

The US Army Corps of Designers in its' Executive and Development Bulletin No. 2010-17 dated 29th July 2010 issued a guide for the execution of Project Explanation Score Index. It declares " Beginning with the FY11 USACE managed MILCON Program, implementation of PDRI is a need. "

The US Department of Energy also released helpful information for the use of PDRI because of its Traditional Nuclear and Non- Nuclear Engineering Projects, dated 22nd July 2010. It stated, "This Guide facilitates individuals and groups involved in performing assessments of project description (i. e. how well has forward end planning been conducted to determine the project scope) by using a numerical project management tool produced by the Structure Industry Institute (CII) that is designed for DOE use. The tool is called the Project Description Ranking Index (PDRI)"


The PDRI has generally been applied to traditional construction tasks that follow the design, bid and create approach. In this process the look team finishes their work and handover to the engineering team. The building team first software is usually following the completion or incomplete completion of the in depth designs. At this time the execution is preparing to start, and time and budget are already firmed up. Any discrepancies seen between various drawings and omissions and or additions at this time onward translate to request for change orders. The effect of poor range definition commences to manifest.

Construction today is moving from the traditional approach identified above to Integrated Task Delivery plan. Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a project delivery methodology that integrates people, systems, business constructions and techniques into an activity that collaboratively harnesses the skills and insights of most participants to lessen waste and enhance efficiency through all phases of

design, fabrication and development. In an integrated process risk and benefits are jointly shared.

Key requirements in the IPD process are collaboration and early participation of various stakeholders. The dog owner, architect, engineers, contractor, subcontractors are assembled at the inception of the task plus they jointly sort out the clients quick or statement of opportunity, making contributions off their various disciplines. This collaborative strategy is prolonged through the many stages of the task before works are completed and handed over to the owner.

Scope definition in this process is a joint work making room for numerous and comprehensive ideas; items that would have induced discrepancies on site are tossed up and settled. Those who usually asked for information clarifications at execution stage are all part of the team expanding the scope and are thus able to explain those areas that are usually imperfect in scope explanation using the traditional construction strategy. In this process the PDRI in its current form can be used as a benchmark for the completeness of the info that the comprehensive design would be based on.


BIM can be an Integrated Project Delivery Approach with online models and data bases. "A building information model (BIM) is an electronic representation of physical and useful characteristics of your facility.

As such it assists as a shared knowledge learning resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle from inception onward". The basic model is 3D however when sequence of construction is added, it becomes a 4D model. When linked with estimating software it becomes a 5D model. The usage of 3D model in BIM enhances visualization and provides clarity especially for persons with little skills in reading development drawings. As an IPD process the task stakeholders are assembled early in the planning process and working collaboratively are able to generate a lot of diverse and complete scope information within a short time. Based on the made information, the Architect, Engineers, and fabrication companies/subs develop their electronic models that are distributed to the team members. By this approach areas of issue are discovered and set while still in the design development level. In the traditional construction procedure these conflicts are not identified before execution phase plus they generally lead to improve orders and therefore cost overruns. BIM is dependant on information and data which must be arranged, stored, retrieved, and transmitted through out the life span cycle of a project. One of the envisioned tools for arranging information in BIM is the Omniclass Engineering Classification System (OminClass or OCCS). Based on the US Country wide Institute of creating Sciences, OmniClass is applicable for organizing a variety of types of information important to the NBIM Standard, both electric and hard duplicate. OmniClass has 15 tables for classification of construction information. For instance engineering information can be labeled by elements (desk 21), products (desk 23), disciplines (stand 33) etc. Entries in the OmniClass tables can be explicitly described in the IFDLibrary once and reused repeatedly, permitting reliable automated communications between applications - a primary goal of NBIMS. IFD Collection is a kind of dictionary of development industry terms that must be used regularly in multiple languages to achieve consistent results.

The PDRI can find expression in BIM if its 64 elements are aligned with the OmniClass elements stand. But herein also sits the limitation as the info in BIM can be arranged with several other tables. Where this is the case the PDRI will not be useful.


The PDRI is a scope definition tool you can use on any task with huge benefits as prior highlighted. Its' use minimizes the effects of poor opportunity definition over a project. However the usage is still limited by America and some parts of European countries. Considering its contribution to project success I would recommend that the tool be widely publicized for use by a greater audience.

Many people already use one form of WBS or the other for scope definition, the problem however is the non standardization of the WBS and its' dictionary. OmniClass is showing to be always a dominating classification system whose elements may be used to form the building blocks of a standard WBS alongside the IFD Catalogue. It is strongly recommended that the PDRI elements be kept up to date and aligned with the OmniClasss elements to ensure its continued usefulness in an easy changing structure Industry. The PDRI is best suited for traditional structure approaches. With modern task delivery methods such as IPD and BIM, the need for the advised alignment of PDRI elements with OmniClass can't be over emphasized. The PDRI in its current form has limited program in IPD and BIM environment.

The Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) is a task management tool designed to increase the likelihood of task success by enhancing project scope meaning, specifically by identifying deficiencies in range definition early through the front-end planning process. Analyses of results from a project analysis using the PDRI isolates improperly defined components of scope for which further action can be taken. When this further action is considered it leads to improvement in the entire classification of the task opportunity. I therefore recommend this tool for anyone who wants to improve project range explanation and ensure success in his project.

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