Oscar Núñez is an Architect and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the construction industry. He has started seven companies and is now co-founder at BuildBinder, a cloud based construction information management system. Visit buildbinder.com.
Software has disrupted entire industries in a way in which team collaboration is seamless, costs are cut and smarter decisions can be made. The construction industry is no exception. Today, construction project managers can leverage software so that goals are easier to meet in a timely and cost-effective fashion. The following are five ways software is helping construction project managers hit their milestones.
Planning is the project’s cornerstone. With no planning, there would be no project to manage in the first place. To have a plan, relevant data needs to be collected. When a project manager summons the team to a planning session, each subject matter expert has data and information to share. Instead of having it all lying around in various formats including paper notes, whiteboard scribblings or multiple versions of Microsoft Project, it can all be shared with the entire team in the cloud.
Therefore, data can be shared and analyzed in real time. If you are wondering how real time helps decision-making processes, just think about the precious time you are losing when you are waiting for someone’s answer to be shared with the appropriate stakeholder. Instead of days or weeks, a stakeholder can receive a notification on a smartphone about valuable information they need to get things moving. Software ultimately automates this process, bringing incalculable value to the project.
2. Quality Assurance
How do you make sure features or tasks are being done properly? And why is this important? Of course, there are quality assurance processes lead by subject-matter experts. However, as a project manager, you need to make sure the construction process is hitting milestones in time and form. Otherwise, parts that meet deadlines, but are faulty, will become a major strain in budget and time by the end of your project.
Software allows subject-matter experts to upload their quality scores and checks, providing the project manager and other stakeholders with evidence that each part has been thoroughly done and revised. In the end, should there be any disputes or questions, stakeholders can refer back to this evidence.
3. Risk Management
Every great project manager not only accounts for the project’s budget and timeline, but also plans for a risk management budget and plan based on subject-matter experts’ input. Once that is established, project managers can use software to do inventorying, track risks, analyze upcoming threats and vulnerabilities and reformulate a plan if necessary.
A construction project needs a clear way to build and view an inventory of needed materials. Software can not only let you write up and share a comprehensive list of everything from drywall, to paint or even interior design if is included in the project scope, but it can also give you the opportunity for vendors to upload their bid packets or quotes to the same platform.
A project manager should have a bird's eye view of all possible suppliers and their costs. Software allows you to compare them directly on the same screen, choose the best option, and helps you stay on budget.
As noted by Industry Week , one of the upcoming challenges for procurement is the growing need for procurement teams and project managers to share information with the rest of the organization. Therefore, integration with the rest of the company becomes key for a successful procurement strategy. Moreover, innovation will streamline the process, making it faster and easier to take advantage of quality and cost-effective relationships with vendors.
When a project manager prepares for closeout, it may be a challenge to look back and gather relevant data, information and analysis; especially after a long standing project. Using software, project managers can easily jump in time and track documents or resources needed to write up a closing statement.
When the time comes to hold a project closeout meeting, team members can revisit lessons learned throughout the project. Important factors, like what worked and what didn’t, might be a great help for future projects and team performance, as noted in Quality Digest.
In the end, regardless of the project management style you are working with in your construction project, software is a great tool to stay on top of things. Team communications become uncluttered, thus decision-making processes are more streamlined and accurate. Your team does not need to fight with clunky and fragmented information that can lead to big and costly mistakes. Relevant information can be in a single location, accessible by anyone relevant to the project, from anywhere in the world at any time.