Rethinking Traditional Construction Project Management—Part 1 of 5
5 Minute Read
May 17, 2018
Effectively managing today’s construction projects can be a complex, exhaustive process—just ask any project manager. But it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and having the modern technologies in place to streamline workflows, contractors can achieve the very best construction project management. It’s all about working smarter—not harder.
Here are five key approaches to elevating your projects to the next level, and how an integrated, cloud-based construction software solution can help you every step of the way:
Before any project begins, it should have a solid foundation and the needs of all stakeholders should be clearly identified. Knowing all the details is how you lay the groundwork for a successful project, so ensure that the project scope is distinctly identified, including the roles and responsibilities of the various project team members. And make sure goals are clearly defined and closely aligned.
The best way to foresee the lifecycle of the project and create a clear plan of operation is to follow the five traditional phases of project management: initiation, planning, launch, performance, and closure. Build incremental deliverables and benchmarks based on these stages of the project. Establish measurable and trackable success criteria, including budget and schedule targets, product quality and functionality checks and tasks to ensure government and/or industry regulations are consistently met.
A solid plan to refer to will help you clearly define your mission and goals. Moreover, performing an evaluation at the end of each phase can help maintain a controlled evolution of the project.
Knowing all the details is how you lay the groundwork for a successful project. By assessing this you can predict and plan for any risks that may lie ahead and mitigate those issues before they become a problem.
Start by establishing measurable successes and milestones that you can track along the project’s timeline, like accomplishing tasks on schedule and on budget or achieving client satisfaction. Also ensure your crew is up to date on building codes, materials, and any new products being used. And lastly, know lead times for all materials before you start the job.
The best way to stick to your plan—even when setbacks and unforeseen problems pop up—is to stay organized. Keeping track of project deliverables, workers, timelines, and tasks is essential to project management. By staying organized, you’ll be able to make adjustments and modifications to your agenda as soon as changes occur.
A great way to stay organized is to useproject-focused software that tracks and shares every aspect of a project’s life-cycle in real time. Technological tools like this allow entire teams to stay connected whether they’re in the field or the office, and it enables contractors to manage all areas of operation right from their smartphone or tablet.
Once you have a strong plan in place, you can start assembling an effective project team. As a project manager, you’ll need to align the right skills, talents and personalities with the appropriate project needs. Each individual team member should be clear about their tasks and what they are expected to provide upon completion.
A key role in project management is the project leader. The best project leaders cultivate positive team dynamics and act as a coach and/or mentor to all team members. You will also be the chief point person for getting input from the project team and major stakeholders, as well as getting their buy-in to any and all project changes.
The best project leaders inspire their team at all times—whether things are going swimmingly or the odds are stacked against them. If you don’t have effective leadership skills, it might be a challenge to tackle the challenges facing your project.
Equally as important as your project’s team members is ensuring all documentation is in place, updated and consistently tracked. From the very beginning of the project to specific milestones to closeout, documentation needs to be in place, and signed by the stakeholders when needed.
Even with the best project management processes in place, it is not often that a project is completed on time and within budget, so you will need to have the appropriate documentation ready for the stakeholders and plan for any unforeseen events. And when those events arise, having the documents easily accessible, with complete audit trails clearly defined is vital to preventing conflicts, legal issues and project delays.
A big part of collaboration is listening to what your team has to say. Talk to them about new ideas or directions and seek their advice. A big part of collaboration is both giving and receiving feedback. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates so you can delegate roles based on experience and optimize performance based on expertise.
Today’s modern projects tend to be more complex and demanding, and everyone—project owners, the lead contractor, subcontractors, field teams, vendors, architects, back office staff and more—need to be on the same page at all times to ensure success.
Create an effective communications plan and stick with it. Throughout the entire project, communication should be consistent, open, honest and clear. Look to leverage technologies that promote collaboration and real-time data delivery and workflows so that team members are not waiting for the right information—or worse, working from the wrong information.
Having regularly scheduled meetings is the best way of keeping everyone involved in the project up to date and informed of any problems—even if that meeting is just a brief weekly check-in or conference call.
Emails are also a great way to keep in contact with the entire team, but being in the field may make getting online difficult. And speaking of work emails, a recent industry survey found that construction project managers spend an average ofthree hours a day reading or writing emails to their teams. So, maybe go easy on your contractor with all those messages.
Don’t assume that just because work is moving that all is well. There can be risk at any time during the project. Your project management experience with similar projects can help guide you, but even the best project manager needs a helping hand. Thankfully, there is a plethora of leading-edge construction technologies designed to track all aspects of the project and foresee when risk is imminent and when corrective action needs to be taken.
From back-of-house construction management and accounting software to intuitive online portals and collaborative data sharing platforms to state-of-the-art mobile applications, these technologies are helping to streamline the many project tracking processes, allowing project managers more clarity and control.
Setbacks are inevitable on almost any job, and they need to be dealt with as soon as they occur to keep the project on its timeline. The design, pre-construction, and procurement phases of a project all require extensive planning, and each may need to be revised before the next phase can unfold.
The key to success is adapting and adjusting to the changes as soon as possible, or you could face an unhappy client, loss of profit, and maybe even delays on starting future projects.
In order to achieve the best construction project management, you need the best construction project management software. An integrated, cloud-based construction management solution ensures that project managers—and the entire project team—has real-time access to a single source of shared data between accounting, operations, the field teams, human resources, the executive suite and beyond.
With a connected construction software suite, like Trimble Construction One, you can easily plan out projects, import estimates and set up new jobs. Intuitive HR tools let you streamline recruitment, onboarding and management of workers, ensuring the right teams are in the right places at all times. A powerful document management, compliance and collaboration platform ensures that all of your documentation is digitized and organized, alerts and tasks are launched when documentation is needed or needs to be updated, and automated workflows ensure the right team members are working with the right information at all times.
Meanwhile, automated workflows between the office and field keep data and work moving fluidly, giving project managers, executives and owners a clear picture of job costs, job progress, issues, and much more—all via simple to understand dashboards and intuitive reporting features. And with deep data analytic and business intelligence features, contractors can dive deeper into their project data than ever before, allowing them to identify new trends, spot problems before they start and forecast future work.
Read more about how Trimble Construction One helps each of your employees work smarter and more efficiently. Or, connect with Viewpoint today to see first-hand how we could help your organization scale for today, tomorrow and beyond.
5 Minute Read
May 17, 2018
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May 23, 2018