As a project manager in the construction industry, you must be able to track multiple deadlines and manage the inevitable changes in the field—it’s like a complex puzzle with numerous moving parts. On top of that, the stakes are high. One minor setback on infrastructure or building projects could cost tens of millions of dollars. Construction project management teams need the right technology to communicate and manage constant change.
Let’s look at the 4 stages of construction, then answer how the right project management and collaboration software can support teams in each phase of the construction project. We will also look at some of the benefits top construction companies have experienced from using a collaboration and project management solution.
The 4 Stages of Construction
Organization and accuracy are paramount to successful construction project management. Mistakes are expensive and difficult to correct, and one potential misstep can throw the whole project off, which is why work is often segmented into four stages:
The first phase of the project is the design stage. Look for a tool with roadmapping capabilities that combines strategy and delivery of work in a roadmap to plan and visualize long-term initiatives. Consider Gantt charts to create a visual representation of your project plan, goals, and milestones. You can use the chart to set goals and timelines, plan how resources will be allocated, and discuss potential risks with those involved in the design stage.
Look for a project management tool that can simplify the design phase through ready-made project templates and one that allows you to create your own templates, custom-tailored specifically for your organization and lets you reuse them again and again for similar projects.
Consider all the blue prints, e-documents, permits, contractor info, and contracts. Project managers need a document management platform that allows approved members to share and access documents anywhere using their computers, smartphone, or tablet—all in the same workspace so team members can share information real-time.
Once you’ve come up with an overall idea for your construction project, it’s time to turn that idea into an actionable plan. The preconstruction phase is where you’ll tie up any loose ends before breaking ground. If you haven’t already, this is where you’ll want to assign a project manager, contract administrator, superintendent, and a field engineer.
A lot of planning and double-checking goes on during the preconstruction phase, so organization is key. If you have access to a digital Kanban board, now’s a great time to add teams to the board. From there, you can start adding tasks to the workflow, assigning responsibilities, and having teams develop their action plans.
This phase is also where you’ll want to review documents or finalize any contracts and other paperwork. Using a document management platform helps keep your project organized. Professionals like field engineers and contract administrators can upload paperwork to cloud storage, where it can be retrieved on demand by anyone who’s been granted access.
The procurement phase helps prepare teams for breaking ground. Here, you’ll need to account for all of your equipment and material. Do your teams have all of the resources they need to meet their goals? Or do you need to order more materials?
The right project collaboration software helps companies minimize errors in this phase making it easier to track important information. Here’s how:
- Checklists make it easy to itemize your tasks, like ordering last-minute materials or checking to see whether all the necessary equipment has been purchased;
- Kanban boards to assign tasks like ordering and delivering materials, and supplying teams with the right tools;
- Document management helps with tracking invoices when purchasing tools and having supplies delivered.
These features help ensure teams are adequately prepared before beginning construction, reducing the chances of making any costly mistakes or miscalculations.
This is the final stage of the construction process. This is the phase where teams actually start building. Kanban boards make it easy to assign tasks, collaborate, and monitor the progress of teams, subcontractors, and anyone else involved in your construction projects. You can use it to optimize your workflow, creating cards for specific tasks then assigning those tasks to the relevant team members. As employees work on various tasks, they’ll move the Kanban card down the workstream, updating its status in real-time.
With Kanban, you always know:
- Which tasks are being worked on;
- How many assignments are in the queue;
- When work has been completed; and
- Whether there are any tasks stuck and unable to move forward until a problem is addressed.
Many top construction firms opt for a project collaboration software that lets them integrate Gantt chart activities to the Kanban board. This makes it even easier to monitor tasks by giving teams and managers the ability to break down work into simplified sections, so they can focus on the information they need to know without any clutter.
An effective project collaboration solution should also have dashboards, so you can monitor the progress teams are making in real-time by observing important metrics, like completed Kanban cards, cycle time, and whether teams are meeting their deadlines or if they’re in danger of falling behind.
Key Features to Look for in a Construction Project Collaboration Solution
Construction project managers are always looking for ways to drive efficiency and improve task management. In construction, confusion and excessive lead times can turn into expensive mistakes. As such, efficiency and task management are a must. Many construction companies have turned to collaborative work management solutions that offer a simple, easy to use user experience so those involved can easily communicate with all relevant parties involved in the project, whether they’re outside of the company or geographically dispersed.
Some key features that facilitate real-time communication and collaboration include:
- Secure, cloud-based storage where people can access contracts, blueprints, technical specs, and other important documents from anywhere on their computers and mobile devices;
- A secure document management system that gives managers the ability to grant and restrict access to data, such as CAD and BIM models, designs, drawings, contracts, and other important information;
- Gantt charts and Kanban boards for optimizing and managing tasks more effectively, as well as tracking team progress as tasks move through the workflow;
- The ability to create custom-tailored project templates or implement ready-made templates that help your organization reach strategic goals throughout your construction project;
- Advanced reporting tools and dashboard reports that enhance project planning and decision-making;
- An intuitive mobile app for Android and iOS devices that makes it easy for people to access and share documents, communicate, and collaborate with their teams from anywhere.
With Projectplace, you get all of these features in one easy-to-use platform.
ProjectPlace is one of the most trusted project management solutions around. It comes with a number of management tools that can help even the busiest construction companies succeed. That’s because ProjectPlace is loaded with features designed to drive collaboration and boost communication, so everyone is working with up-to-date information at all times.
ProjectPlace maximizes communication and connectivity by providing accessibility via computers, smartphones, and tablets. That way, those involved in the project can communicate and provide status updates in real-time—regardless of whether they’re in an office or working off-site.
There’s a reason why ProjectPlace is trusted among the top construction companies worldwide. It’s quick to set up, requiring no installations, and is easy enough for people with minimal computer experience to use. On top of that, data is stored in the cloud and backed up on two additional servers for maximum security.
Start a free trial today and see for yourself just how effective ProjectPlace is at helping construction companies improve efficiency.