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Complete your 3- to 6-week planning on time

What is forward planning?

Construction projects always involve a lot of administration and various tasks that are inextricably linked. Even the slightest delay in a single activity can result in subcontractors spending weeks on site without being able to complete their assigned work.

Free Guide: How to reduce project delays by more than 20%.

It doesn’t take much to understand that project budgets can be exceeded so quickly and serious conflicts can arise between stakeholders.

This is where it becomes apparent how important it is to complete your 3- to 6-week planning on time and on budget without running into problems. With the help of this forward planning, a project manager can plan all the project tasks and objectives for the next 3 to 6 weeks.

The 3 to 6 week planning is one of the most important tools used in weekly progress reporting. With this in mind, forward planning should be considered an essential part of the master plan.

Without it, the project team would not have a clear view of what needs to be ordered, what needs to be requested, and what needs to be subsequently delivered and/or reviewed. These are all critical elements to the success of a construction project and require a data-driven plan.

The real challenge is that the various tasks and elements must be properly linked and the status of that linkage must be constantly updated, ideally in real time. Failure to do so can quickly lead to disruptions and severe productivity limitations that can result in costly litigation.

Learn more: Planning ahead: do you have the right tools to stay on track?

In addition, this planning naturally triggers a series of quality controls. This allows nonconformances to be identified and appropriate remediation actions to be initiated. At the same time, each action should be viewed as a stand-alone workflow.

Thus, planning ahead plays a very important role throughout the construction process, from start to finish. It is useful to identify the main challenges you will face and find functional solutions to solve them.

3- to 6-week planning: the weak points

It quickly becomes clear that it’s all about real-time communication and seamless collaboration. This is your foundation on which to build your entire project and ultimately implement your master plan.

To summarize, below are the key vulnerabilities you need to be aware of to protect your project’s 3- to 6-week schedule.

Fragmented communication

Working in isolation can lead your project down a dangerous path. When each team uses their own tools to collect and report data, it becomes nearly impossible to keep your short-term plan on time and on budget.

If we then consider that many construction companies are still working with penst and paper work on manual processes, it becomes clear that the need for a platform designed specifically for the construction industry that provides real-time updates to all stakeholders is enormous.

A centralized platform can solve this very problem by providing project managers with a detailed overview of short- and long-term planning. The ability to access all project data and communicate your latest updates with the click of a mouse ensures a smooth flow of communication, keeping all stakeholders in the loop at all times.

This ensures that your 3- to 6-week planning is based on what is actually happening on the job site, and that any changes are reflected on the master schedule in real time.

This is extremely important given the close link between forward planning, compliance checks and the resulting tasks.

Administrative and mental workload

Many workers in the construction industry spend nearly 40% of their time each day on administrative tasks. Endless meetings, long phone calls, and the daily barrage of emails: this reflects the work of those responsible for short-term planning, without standardized processes for sharing data and information.

It is an approach that is not effective enough and brings psychological and administrative stress. Trying to keep all parties to the project constantly informed while they struggle with a number of different tools can become chaotic.

Project managers must search for nonconformances on the jobsite and record them with pen and paper. Some of these can potentially impact schedules, and others are related to quality issues that need to be reported to subcontractors. At the same time, a number of checklists need to be completed accurately.

Keeping all this valuable information in mind and jotting it down on loose slips of paper while trying to communicate the latest version of the plan to all stakeholders can quickly overwhelm project managers. Tools such as WhatsApp and Excel, in turn, are also not suitable for this type of task because they cannot link to the master plan. As a result, project managers get lost in the overwhelming sea of contextless information.

An industry-specific tool can make all the difference here. Moving from pen, paper and Excel to a collaborative data ecosystem increases efficiency and helps project managers structure their strategy.

The wrong tools

It is well known that the construction industry uses many digital tools that are not specifically designed for the industry. This creates many costly problems that could have been easily avoided with an industry-specific tool.

The more different tools used for a construction project, the more confusing it becomes. Teams work and communicate in isolation, drowning out important information. This can hinder the progress of your predictive planning and create confusion.

This is exactly why a new, industry-specific approach toatz is required. This should enable project teams to collect, store and communicate all data on a centralized platform so that everyone has access to the latest version of the plan at all times.

This allows project managers to plan ahead and quickly adjust the sequence of tasks to reflect changes. This can be a real lifesaver, as the right tasks, and the inspections that go with them, are prioritized. It can also help you manage material orders more efficiently and save additional costs.

Ultimately, breaking down the master plan into actionable and assigned tasks using a single source of information can make all the significant difference and promote transparency throughout the project.

Blame culture

Reciprocal blame is unfortunately still a common occurrence on construction projects. The lack of trust in contractual relationships is particularly detrimental to the industry in this regard and impacts project development.

This lack of accountability is also reflected in the way the supply chain handles the short- and long-term planning of a construction project. When different teams are working on outdated plans, serious problems can arise due to poor communication.

So teams try to deflect responsibility away from themselves, creating a strong culture of blame. So your short-term planning is delayed and, as a result, the progress of the master plan is hindered.

Again, using a centralized digital platform that acts as an objective third party can be the solution. If all data is truly stored on the platform, it’s a snap to find out what really happened and, more importantly, who is responsible. Such an approach can gradually restore confidence in the entire supply chain and increase productivity.

Completing your 3- to 6-week planning on time.

Ensuring that your short-term construction planning is completed on time without interfering with the development of the master schedule is not easy. In other words, you need to digitize your manual and constantly outdated spreadsheets and forms and make your plan available to all parties.

Below are the five steps to smart 3- to 6-week planning.

1. task-based communication on a centralized platform.

During the construction project, all communication revolves around tasks. At LetsBuild, we understand this very well and try to support this approach through our platform. Every update, comment, and documentation needs to be task-based and in perfect sync with the master plan. This way, you don’t waste time with long email conversations, endless phone calls and searching for the right documents and information in different tools and archives. It ensures that all collaboration remains centralized.

2. Bring your blueprint to life with real-time updates.

Regardless of whether you use third-party tools or choose LetsBuild, yourre construction project management software should be able to bring your plan to life. All activities and incidents on the jobsite should be immediately visible on the master schedule.

With LetsBuild, for example, site workers update the project plan in real time via their smartphone or tablet. This avoids misunderstandings, unnecessary phone calls, and frustration because your employees are making the updates for you.

3. lean planning and the master plan

Linking Lean Planning to your master plan can pave the way for a successful construction project. Specifically, you should choose a construction-specific digital platform that allows you to create a 3- to 6-week extract of the master plan to collect here all the details needed to manage daily site activities. As tasks are completed or modified, they immediately appear on the master schedule, allowing for smarter decision making.

4. Automate compliance processes.

Enable automatic task-based compliance follow-ups. Choose a tool that supports your compliance management to ensure that when a milestone is reached (i.e., when a task or group of tasks is completed), a quality control check is immediately triggered and the inspector is notified that the follow-up check can be performed. Because all information is up to date, linked to the master plan, and consolidated into one tool, you can immediately see when and where problems occur, who is responsible, and what their status is.

5. integrated material and resource management

Construction materials are often delivered at the wrong time and in the wrong place. So you need a digital platform that allows you to schedule material deliveries according to your work plan. This gives you a clear view of what needs to be ordered and when, and ensures that no materials are lost.

An industry-specific tool can connect your teams and digitize your processes

A significant investment of resources and a lot of work are required to achieve good results in the construction industry. For this reason, you need a platform that is specifically designed for construction, user-friendly and easy to implement. This can improve digital adoption and simplify the onboarding of all stakeholders (e.g. subcontractors).

Connecting all project teams is one of the most important aspects to ensure successful execution of your projects. It is also the first step in standardizing your systems and processes.

On most construction projects, 80% of the processes are always the same, which gives project managers an excellent opportunity to control all activities by applying processes from previous projects to current workflows.

The ability to define all of your processes in detail will gradually create a tighter connection between your teams, as everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and is equipped with the right tools to communicate critical information in real time.

Why is a branch

enspecific digital solution so important, then? The reason is simple: Because both you as a project manager and your teams should always be able to have a clear overview of the dependencies between the master plan and the 3- to 6-week plan.

Every update that pops up on your smartphone or tablet should be automatically linked to your short- and long-term planning, so you can make informed decisions faster. The same goes for your teams. They can see the impact of the latest data themselves on the plan and can act accordingly on their own without having to contact you.

So the next big task for the industry is to find the cultural drivers that will enable a new way of working and communicating in the construction industry. This will help stakeholders ensure that their 3- to 6-week schedules are completed on time without compromising the project’s master schedule.

Download our detailed guide today on how to keep your teams connected and projects on budget. This guide is completely free and can be accessed by clicking the following button:

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