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By Megan Wild
September 25, 2017
Project management is one of the most challenging responsibilities both in and out of the construction industry. The well-overused phrase “keeping all the plates spinning” does not even begin to describe the complexities and pressure involved in balancing a construction project.
If every manager was honest, they’d agree that one of the main issues every failed project shares is timekeeping. In an informal survey, Construction Executive found that more than one-third of construction project managers needed to work on completing projects on time. With schedule delays come overextended budgets, occasionally rushed quality of turnout, and unhappy clients.
Therefore, to stay on budget, you have to stay on schedule — which means intensifying your attention on planning, creating contingency plans, and perfecting your communication and delegation skills. Given we are in 2017, it would be foolish not to look to technology to keep all the moving parts in order and integrated into the grand scheme of a project. Here are some things to consider, as well as several management software programs that could work for you.
Anticipate Delays and Blockers
Firstly,identify the differences between the two. Blockers are tasks that need to be completed in advance of other things. Inspections, pending permits, incorrect on-site materials, or lack of correct equipment all classify as blockers given their effect of impeding momentum on a project. Identify blockers as soon as possible to prevent them from being just that — a blocker.
Delays can be more subcontractor-, staff-, or even weather-related. Considering that construction is typically sequential, projects are frequently delayed by several days to accommodate problems with transport of materials, poor weather, or late subcontractors. Hopefully, you will have had several projects under your belt and be more familiar with identifying these issues well in advance.
Manage The Mischief
Poor management is, unfortunately, another major reason for project failures or setbacks. TheModular Building Institute published a white paper on the importance of competent project management, which reported that “time, money and resources are wasted when projects are poorly managed.”
While there are plenty of tips online to helpimprove your management effectiveness, the first step is being aware of how vital the relationships you hold are. As project manager, you will be essentially the only person to guide subcontractors through your plan of action and the project’s expectations of them. Accepting that responsibility is paramount to the timely completion and overall success of your construction project. To avoid disaster, you need at least three months head start to get organized.
Keep 10 Steps Ahead
In line with the point above, planning in advance is critical. The more detailed your project plan, the better you will identify new issues and avoid them. Like a business plan, your project plan needs to be easily adaptable and provide you with a clear overview of progress. The most successful managers can use their plans to instantly identify and avoid problem areas.
Delegate and Communicate
As project manager, delegation is key — and you will have a lot of that to do! Assigning clear roles and responsibilities to staff, subcontractors, and contractors is imperative to ensure potential blockers are dealt with in a timely way. This will allow you to stay on time and on budget.
Communication of these roles also helps facilitate buy-in from your employees. Encouraging a discussion of each person’s role before the construction work will help clarify any misunderstandings. Effective communication binds each individual into healthy accountability and motivates each on-site presence to accept responsibility for their jobs.
Lean Into the New
Today, incorporating management software packages increases the momentum of your project and keeps everyone on the same page in real-time. It also helps you communicate the fastest resolutions to all stakeholders involved for how the project can continue without delays.
1. Procore:A cloud-based construction management software package, which helps project managers improve efficiency through clear, concise communication, and documentation, allowing users a way to collaborate remotely on all aspects of the construction.
2. Sage:Sage 100 Contractor is perfect for small- to medium-sized construction companies that have outgrown the typical accounting packages. Sage includes applications for accounting, estimations, scheduling, cost, and general management. It also displays all current statuses on a very clear dashboard.
Project management is indeed one of the most complex and highly responsible roles in construction. By following the tips above and investing in a top-notch project management software application, the scheduling and success of your work could improve significantly.
If you liked this article, here are a few more you might enjoy:
Construction Software Buyer's Guide
How Construction Technology is Saving Time, Money, and Jobs
Master Your Budget, Protect Your Profit Margins
Project Management Guide Part 2: Scheduling
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