Collaborative planning in construction: Seamless collaboration between your teams
What does collaborative planning mean in the construction industry?
Construction projects are a complex affair. A large number of different stakeholders must work together toward a common goal, taking into account both the short- and long-term planning of the project.
All tasks, site activities, and material orders are inextricably linked, and even the smallest mistake or misunderstanding can stall the entire development of the project. This can lead to costly budget overruns and time-consuming rework.
So the importance of joint planning quickly becomes clear. All teams including the client and subcontractors, need to communicate seamlessly while relying on the latest updates from the jobsite.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always as easy as it may sound. Project managers and their teams often quickly find themselves lost in a sea of disconnected data. In other words, data that isn’t linked to the 3-to-6-week schedule and the master plan. And that’s just the beginning of the challenge.
Project managers may spend up to 40% of their day checking for updates, attending pointless meetings, and manually writing endless reports that are already out of date by the time they are created. Really, no one chose a career in construction based on these reasons.
This is where digitization comes in to reduce excessive paperwork and get people to collaborate in real time. But there’s a problem. In many cases, project managers and other project participants are relying on the wrong tools to achieve this.
WhatsApp notifications, emails, Excel spreadsheets and phone calls can connect teams in real time, but they weren’t designed specifically for the construction industry. Even if your updates are communicated in real time, it’s hard to avoid delays and errors because there’s no link to the project schedule. In other words, project managers still have no way to see if the plan truly reflects the reality on the job site.
Needless to say, this approach goes against the concept of collaborative planning and can put your projects at great risk.
The good news is that a solution already exists. Industry-specific tools, standardized digital processes, and seamless collaboration between the jobsite and the office can really make a difference and ensure successful project completion.
3 steps to successful collaborative planning
Below are the three steps to help you get your teams working together seamlessly and successfully manage your construction project:
1. reduce administrative work
Excessive administrative work is one of the biggest threats to any construction project. Using digital tools not designed specifically for the construction industry forces many project managers and leaders to continue relying on manual processes to report updates, record project progress, and protect the project from costly claims to Protect.
In the long run, this is not a viable strategy and can severely impact the way people on your project collaborate and manage their tasks. A fragmented communication flow can quickly lead to situations where everyone is working with a different version of the plan, which can lead to serious problems and costly misunderstandings.
For this reason, an open and highly collaborative data ecosystem is required. This ecosystem should be updated in real time and provide access to all stakeholders. More importantly, it should be inextricably linked to the project plan. This way, everyone is up to date at all times and issues can be identified and fixed early.
2. equip your team with the right tools
Wanting to reduce the excessive administrative overhead around your project is one thing. Actually getting it done is quite another, because you need the right tools. You need to invest in tools that are specifically designed for the construction industry.
Many people in the construction industry think that a tool that allows them to share an update with the team in real time is automatically perfect for that purpose. However, this is not entirely true.
All of your project’s stakeholders need to be connected, and each one needs to be able to have an accurate overview of the entire project at all times. If that’s not the case, then despite real-time feedback, you’ll still have to chase down information, sift through Excel spreadsheets, and go to manual records to verify the information you’ve received.
No matter how good you are at your job, such a way of working will always ultimately lead to wrong decisions, stress and overwhelm.
So it quickly becomes clear how critical the use of industry-specific tools is to achieving collaborative planning with seamless communication and flawless collaboration.
3. Invest in standardization
Getting your teams to follow standardized processes, systems and work practices may seem impossible for some people in the construction industry. This is often because they feel that everyone has their own unique approach to work and won’t change it under any circumstances.
In reality, however, things are quite different. Regardless of the size or purpose of the construction project, 80% of the processes are always the same. When that’s taken into consideration, it quickly becomes clear that if you don’t standardize your systems and processes, you’re throwing a tremendous opportunity for repeatability and increased productivity out the window. In other words, practice makes perfect. If you repeat a process over and over again, sooner or later you will identify and fix its weaknesses.
This consistent repetition of standardized processes combined with industry-specific digital solutions will vastly improve collaboration within your projects, making it easier for both you as a project manager and your teams to stay in control of the construction process and communicate smoothly.
As for how quickly your team will be able to
becomes to adopt a new digital way of working, you should no longer consider this a real problem. Of course, some will take longer than others, but if your teams are able to use a smartphone with online banking, then there’s no reason why they can’t use a construction app that can make their lives easier.
Improve collaboration and complete construction projects successfully and on time!
To be successful with your collaborative planning, you need to combine three critical elements: People, Processes, and Tools. When you strike the right balance between these elements, you can solve critical problems up to seven times faster.
That’s why industry-specific tools and standardized processes can make such a big difference for your current and future projects.
In an attempt to help you on this challenging journey, we’ve created a free guide that shows you how to reduce delays on your construction projects by massively improving your team communication.
You can download the guide by clicking the button below
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