Construction projects almost always involve large teams and lengthy timelines, which can make project management of individual tasks a challenge. Staying on top of subcontracted costs, bids, deadlines, and materials while juggling jobsite duties and office paperwork can be overwhelming at times.
We’ve come up with six tips for simplifying project management culled from our 35 years of experience in the construction industry. We hope this bit of advice will help you keep your next project on budget, on track, and on time.
Know all the details
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.
Develop a solid plan
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 based on these stages of the project. Doing this will help you clearly define your mission and goals. And perform an evaluation at the end of each phase so you can maintain a controlled evolution of the project.
Be in constant communication
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 of three hours a day reading or writing emails to their teams. So, maybe go easy on your contractor with all those messages.
Collaborate with the team
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.
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 use construction-focused software that tracks and shares every aspect of a project’s lifecycle 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.
Roll with the changes
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.
We hope these tips will help make project management a bit easier for you and your team. To discover how Viewpoint’s fully scalable software platforms can streamline your next project, reach out to us anytime. Or see what’s new with us on Twitter and Facebook.