Effective project management is essential for achieving a successful construction project. But it takes more than just discipline if you want to deliver on time and within the predetermined budget. Processes like Design-Build are proven to complete projects 100% faster than traditional design-bid-build.
Here are the 4 essentials to successful construction project management with the latest practices and the software to support them.
1. Effective Planning
The amount of planning required is directly proportional to a project's complexity. Given the complexity of most construction projects, it’s smart to invest in planning well. Using construction project management software will increase your project's efficiency by providing industry-specific tools that help you to complete the project on time and within budget.
As you build your list of deliverables, establish goals, and set project milestones, consider also:
- Human resources.
- Equipment & materials.
- Your safety, communications, and response plans.
- Risk assessments.
Tools like Monday.com, SmartSheets, Airtable and classic Excel (or the modern-day version of Google Sheets) help build out project timelines, but the first two will all help with dependency tracking, resource planning, and other project management functions.
What all of these tools lack though is information in the project documents which according to the Construction Connected report causes ~50 of rework, make sure to invest in a solid document management platform that makes organizing and finding information each to build your project plan from.
2. Robust Progress Tracking - and Responsiveness to Change
As you track the progress of your construction project, you need to be on top of the details to make sure that you’re on, or ahead of the plan. But really great construction project management also means responding quickly to changing conditions.
If your process for staying up to date is reading your emails and trying to capture everything there and make sense of it, there is a good chance you are going to miss information, see 4 Ways Your Business Causes You to Miss Project Information (and How to Fix it). In that, we cover how to customize notifications, and see updates that affect multiple project updates and their related documents.
Let’s face it, almost every construction project runs into unavoidable delays. And even if they’re minor to start with, they can add up to be a real blocker. What’s one practical step you can take to avoid minor delays snowballing? Analyze the daily progress reports, keep a close eye on the budget and schedule, and make changes as the project progresses.
Useful steps include:
- Identifying a problem or an imminent delay.
- Identifying the reason behind a problem or a delay. It’s important to find the root cause of a problem so you can find a workable solution.
- After identifying the solution, revise your plan and schedule, then share the new timelines with the affected teams.
For more lean practices to analyze waste and delays see 4 Ways Digital Forms Reduce Waste on Your Projects.
3. Clear Communication
Poor communication kills construction projects, but good communication increases productivity, teamwork, and your chances of completing on time and on budget. Best-in-class project management software for construction can play a big role in helping you to avoid poor communication.
It’s always best to agree on preferred communication methods for specific tasks before the project starts.
The DADO platform uses the following methods for team communication:
- Public and private mark-ups: call outs, text, and details related to the documents are all captured and are kept with each version that comes out. This is great for both real-time collaboration and for as-builts.
- Notifications: send updates of new documents or forms like RFIs, new mark-ups, and tailor that to specific information that is relevant to the project.
- Digital forms: push information in key documents like daily reports, observation forms, and all your forms in one hub to easily pull up or update the information.
- Built-in workflows: save time having to ping people and automate those steps to send information.
While you need to remain flexible in order to manage your construction project, it’s critical that you use the agreed communications channels to document the changes that occur. Every change and additional piece of information needs to be recorded and communicated so that everyone remains on the same page.
To stay flexible you need a flexible platform - we hear all of the time that “it depends on the project” or “it depends on the team” how the information and communication will work. If you still need to work on paper or send a hard copy to the site, plus digital, photos, and email, plan for that with the platform you pick.
Collaboration in construction project management isn’t just about completing tasks on time and handing the results off. It’s also about building a relationship with stakeholders based on mutual trust and respect, which contributes to completing the project on time. Great collaboration will only increase productivity and efficiency.
A solid collaborative process includes the following steps:
- Involving key team members in the planning process
- Allocating tasks to the teams best suited to handle them.
- Building trust among stakeholders that everyone is capable of finding the best solutions for any problems that may arise.
The best way to maximize the collaborative effort is by supporting it with technology. We recommend deploying construction project management software to streamline collaboration between your stakeholders.
Help is at Hand
Managing construction projects is complex. With so many interconnected moving parts, it’s simply not possible to be on top of every last detail - and nothing kills a construction project like its manager getting overwhelmed.
The most successful projects we’ve seen were run by companies that had invested in high-quality project management software for construction. Real-time access to project documents, information, and updates makes even the most complex projects much easier to manage. In fact, the greater the complexity, the more you’ll see the payoff.
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