Bringing Historical Data into Join

Learn the best practices for bringing your historical data into Join

Join Forecasting unlocks the potential to utilize the historical data you have in Join. But what if you have historical projects that are not in Join yet? This guide will provide some best practices for preparing and importing your company’s historical data into Join.

Analyzing and Preparing Historical Data

Before bringing historical data into Join, you should first take some time to make sure all of your data is prepared and ready to go. This may require some effort up front, but it will save you time in the long run and it will ensure that your data is organized and usable once it is in.

Analyze the Data

The first step is to analyze your data and determine which projects have useful data. Start by making a list of all potential past projects and ask yourself the following questions to determine if they are good candidates for bringing into Join.

  • How old is the data, and is it still relevant? Projects from 20 years ago are probably too old to be useful. How old is too old? There are a variety of factors like economic conditions, material costs, labor shortages, etc. that may affect your decision. Keep in mind that location and time escalation factors can be used in the Project Comparisons report to account for some of these.
  • Does your project estimate have enough cost detail to be useful for future projects? It’s recommended to import estimates with as much cost detail and breakdowns as possible to provide flexibility when using this data for future estimates.
  • What format is your data currently in? Join makes it easy to bring in estimates from several estimating platforms, spreadsheets, and even using copy-paste. This article will help you get started with preparing and importing your data into Join.
  • If you have several estimates for a single project, which one(s) will you need? It’s recommended to bring in the latest version of your project estimate, but you may find additional value in bringing in the full cost history of your project across multiple milestones.
  • What types of projects do you plan on pursuing in the future? It’s recommended that you have at least three historical projects for each project type (healthcare, K-12, multi-family, etc.).
  • What project metadata is important to bring in with your estimate? Consider any key metrics like location, GSF, number of units, number of floors, structure type, etc.

After thinking through these questions you should be able to narrow down your original list of projects to a list that has good-quality data.

Standardizing Work Breakdown Structure

The next step is to come up with a standardized work breakdown structure (WBS) across your organization. Standardizing your WBS is necessary if you want to be able to compare costs across all your projects consistently. Get ready, this is potentially the most time-consuming step. If your historical estimates were not coded to your standard WBS codes then you will have to go back and recode them so they are all in alignment.

Tip: Once you finalize your new WBS standards, create company standard Categorizations to ensure they are used across all new projects moving forward.

Preparing the File/Data

The next step is to gather all the files and make sure they are ready to go. This means you will need an estimate file or spreadsheet to import your cost data or you can simply copy-paste it into Join. This article has links to step-by-step instructions for exporting estimate files from supported estimating platforms and setting up a spreadsheet import template.

Bringing Historical Data into Join

Now that you completed all the preparation, it’s time to get the data into Join.

New Project Setup

To bring in your historical data you first need to create a new project. While creating the project it’s important to: 

  1. Enter a Project Name (consider a naming convention that identifies the project as a historical project)
  2. Set the Project Status as Completed
  3. Select a Project Type (for filtering your list or projects by type)
  4. Enter an accurate Location (for location escalation factors)
  5. Enter an Active Milestone Name

After you create the project you’ll be redirected to the Settings tab. While you’re here you should consider making the following changes:

  1. In the Description field, add as much information and project metadata as you can. This will help inform other people at your company about the project so they can determine if this is a comparable project.
  2. Turn on the Units of Measure that are relevant to your project.

Bringing the Data in

The final step is to bring the data into the project you just created. Start by navigating to the Milestones tab and opening the Milestone that you created with your project.

  1. On the Basics tab, enter a Milestone Start Date (for time escalation factors)
  2. On the Metrics tab, enter quantities for each Unit of Measure that you turned on from the Settings tab. These quantities will be used to calculate unit prices.
  3. On the Estimate tab, import or copy-paste your estimate data. Don’t forget to publish the Estimate when you are done.

Use the Data!

Congratulations🎉 on getting your valuable historical data into Join! Now it’s time to put it to good use. Create a Project Comparisons report to quickly create a new conceptual estimate from the historical data you just brought in.

Note: If your company doesn’t have access to the Project Comparisons report then please reach out to your account manager or send an email to If your company has access but you don’t see it, then reach out to your company administrator and ask them to change your company role to Manager or above.