Planning ahead: Do you have the right tools to stay on track?
Three-week advance planning (also known as 3-6 week planning) should be an integral part of any construction project, regardless of its type or size. The primary function of such planning is to help teams prepare the project’s goals and activities for the next three to six weeks.
In other words, it allows project staff to get a good understanding of what materials need to be ordered next, what tasks should be completed and/or reviewed, and whether there are nonconformities that need to be addressed. Each of these actions is a stand-alone workflow that must be carefully linked to the master plan to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Forward plans are inextricably linked to the master plan and any change can have a direct impact on the progress of the entire project.
For example, the slightest delay in a single activity on the site can result in subcontractors spending weeks on site without being able to perform their assigned work. Serious delays can occur in this way, resulting in litigation and budget overruns.
For this reason, seamless collaboration across the supply chain is essential. All stakeholders must be able to share and rely on accurate data in real time to make smart decisions quickly.
To achieve this, all employees need access to a live program and the right tools. And that’s where the problem starts for many project managers and leaders.
To shed some light on how project teams can keep their forward planning on track, below we present three critical questions all project managers must consider to ensure successful project completion.
3 Important Questions All Project Managers Should Ask Themselves
Digitizing your systems and processes alone is not a panacea for all your problems. There are certain steps that need to be taken and certain questions that need to be asked to help you better manage delays, avoid errors and waste less time on costly administrative tasks in the future. Below are three questions to ask yourself before you start working on your advance planning:
Can I waste less time on administrative tasks?
Many workers in the construction industry waste nearly 40% of their time chasing updates, running endless reports, and attending endless meetings. The worst part is that they seem to think this is part of the job.
However, it should actually be quite different. You shouldn’t be spending your time creating reports that could easily be generated automatically or searching multiple sources for important information instead of using a single and constantly updated data source.
Then there are the endless meetings that often take longer than necessary simply because many of the participants don’t have access to the project information they need. Thus distrust arises within teams and the culture of blame is reinforced throughout the supply chain.
In such circumstances, micromanagement becomes part of the daily reality, leading to even more administrative work and poor relationships between all parties.
Therefore, the next time you develop a forward-thinking plan, ask yourself the following question: Can I waste less time on my administrative tasks? The answer to this question will most likely be “yes” and pave the way for a new way of working and managing your projects. After all, you don’t work in the construction industry to spend all day in meetings, but to give back to society.
Were my tools designed specifically for the construction industry?
This is the second question you need to ask yourself if you want to increase the productivity of your projects and guarantee successful implementation of your advance planning.
Project managers often tend to believe that the tools they use are perfectly tailored to their needs and made to work with various stakeholders on a project. More often than not, however, the truth is quite different.
Especially when it comes to tools such as WhatsApp, emails or Excel that are not specifically designed for the construction industry. Such tools may be very useful for personal use, but not for the construction industry. Let’s look at these tools from an analytical point of view:
- They are not updated in real time, which often means working with outdated information.
- The data communicated through the tool is not linked to the master plan. In other words, the data is static.
- The information is scattered across many different platforms, making the reporting process a nightmare.
- They are not designed to allow internal and external stakeholders to collaborate, which means not all teams on the site can be in touch.
It becomes clear that using the wrong tools can significantly impact your forward planning. Your teams don’t get real-time visibility into the project and there is no clarity on who is responsible for what. This results in a slow and dysfunctional decision-making process.
So next time, think carefully about this issue. Otherwise, you may lose control of your own project sooner than you think.
Can I standardize more?
The next big question is about standardization. You may think that all construction projects differ in purpose and size, so standardization is not always an option. However, that’s not entirely true.
80% of the construction process is always the same, regardless of the type of project. Therefore, standardizing your design, collaboration and construction processes is a viable option. More importantly, it takes a lot of pressure off you and allows you to prevent critical problems or identify them at an early stage.
Precisely because there is a high number of subcontractors and various external workers on the construction site, is
t is especially important that each follows a clearly defined workflow.
Of course, implementing a new system and process at this stage is challenging, but that’s no reason to give up. If your teams can handle a smartphone and online banking, they should also be able to operate a digital tool that structures their way of working and minimizes frustrations. But first, they need to understand the added value of such a tool so they can break free from their old habits. And this is where the question “Can I standardize more?” comes into play. Don’t standardize for the sake of technology, standardize for the sake of your team so that you can secure your forward planning and therefore your entire project.
Your tools should be more than just “pretty good”
If you’ve asked yourself the three questions above, you’re already one step ahead of the competition. But that’s just the beginning. Being “quite good” shouldn’t be your goal.
Using a “quite good” tool like WhatsApp or Excel will also allow you to complete your projects. However, this does not yet take into account the true costs involved, because in the long run, this can prove to be quite an expensive decision.
Therefore, below you’ll find some tips that you should consider when looking for a suitable tool for your advance planning
- The tool should enable seamless collaboration and synchronize all project updates in real time with the overall plan.
- The tool should work with a single source of information so that everyone is always up to date and reporting processes can be automated.
- The tool should provide a detailed and always up-to-date audit trail that allows all project stakeholders to see what has happened in the past. This can also protect you from litigation that could jeopardize your project’s progress.
- All applications should be linked through the same platform. Stop running from site to site for reports.
- The tool should be user-friendly to encourage quick adoption
- Last but not least, the tool should be construction-specific. Choose tools that were developed with the construction industry in mind.
All of these are just some of the parameters you need to consider. To help you reduce the administrative burden and improve communication around your advance planning, we have developed a detailed guide that explains how to complete your projects on budget and on time.
The guide is free and can be accessed at any time by clicking the following button:
<!– [if lte IE 8]>
Continue reading: https://www.letsbuild.com/de/blog/vorausschauende-planung