Construction project managers are always looking for ways to help projects run more efficiently. When you save time, you’re also saving money and helping to keep your project on-budget. Here are five areas project managers should focus on to increase overall efficiency and reduce rework.
1. Avoid Data Re-Entry
Technology tools can be beneficial, but if they can’t link to each other, you might end up entering the same data in several different places such as a project management platform, accounting system, or ERP software. This leads to siloed data that’s cumbersome to access and utilize—and opens the door for human errors and confusion. To increase efficiency, streamline your technology and software tools to ensure that data can flow between systems and only needs to be entered once.
2. Create a Full Audit Trail
Construction projects have many moving parts and participants, making it a challenge to document each step, change, and agreement along the way. But to fulfill regulatory compliance requirements from corporations, governments, and licensing organizations, project managers need to create a full audit trail that tracks every action and decision throughout the project.
When you’re interacting with external stakeholders such as owners, subcontractors, and trades, this documentation can get tricky. Often, those communications take place via email with attached spreadsheets, or both parties pushing data back and forth over file systems. This introduces many opportunities for confusion, misplaced documents, and poor communication between the wider community of stakeholders in the project.
To avoid miscommunication and potential errors, use a software system that keeps all data in a central repository—and allows you to invite and collaborate with external stakeholders within the same system. This creates a full audit trail without the headache of tracing email threads and comparing multiple versions of emailed spreadsheets.
3. Simplify Change Order Workflows
Every construction project manager knows change orders can be a nightmare without a good workflow in place. If potential changes are discussed and debated across telephone calls, emails, and in-person meetings, the chances are good that project managers will miss important steps in documentation and reporting. And without a central, digital hub of project information, key stakeholders such as owners might not gain a full understanding of changes until after they’re already completed, resulting in frustration and rework.
To avoid these change order pitfalls, simplify your workflow and make sure you’re able to communicate with stakeholders through a single platform.
4. Enable Real-Time Responses to Budget Changes
Every construction project encounters unexpected complications resulting in change orders and added expenses. But when these changes are decided upon and documented on paper, spreadsheets, and other disconnected means, the results often don’t end up in the accounting team’s hands until after the fact. Project managers, too, might not understand the full scope of the change until the collaborative problem-solving process is complete.
Using a digital software tool that allows everyone to see the change order as it’s being scoped out gives stakeholders—including accountants—clear visibility into forecasting and projections during the process, instead of seeing something that’s already happened. Enabling that kind of visibility enables you to make real-time responses to budget changes—game day decisions, rather than Monday morning quarterbacking.
5. Work in a Software That’s Designed For You
Construction project managers need to oversee unique workflows, such as the change order process, that involve multiple collaborators including architects and subcontractors. Yet often, project managers are required to use accounting software to track these activities because that’s their company’s system of record for all job costs. They might have to create their own spreadsheets for everything else—or reenter the data in a separate project management software system, wasting valuable time and increasing the risk of introducing errors. To streamline this process, choose a software solution that’s designed with construction project managers in mind and can connect and share data with other vital business systems, such as accounting software.
Trimble Construction One and ProjectSight provide contractors and project managers with the modern tools they need to better manage their teams. Create a central repository of data and documents and a digital environment that includes both internal and external stakeholders and connects seamlessly with your accounting system, facilitating clear communication and real-time decision-making.