Project management is an increasingly important part of construction. Project managers are intermediaries between stakeholders and construction workers. They’re responsible for ensuring that everyone has what they need to complete the tasks necessary to deliver a construction project. It is a big task for anyone to take on and comes with challenges. In this article, I identify several common challenges in construction project management.
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But First, What Is Project Management?
A project manager manages a project. They use techniques, skills, and knowledge they’ve picked up over the years or learned. Using this knowledge-base and more they initiate, plan, execute, monitor, and complete projects based on requirements. Project management is a newer field, but since its introduction, it’s become an important part of construction. However well trained a project manager, there are some unavoidable challenges in construction project management.
One of the biggest challenges in construction project management is undefined goals. Sometimes stakeholders don’t know what exactly they want, other times they can’t agree. However, when the goals aren’t clear to a project manager it’s difficult to manage the project. Project managers can help prevent this by asking direct questions and continuing to communicate questions throughout the project. A lack of defined goals is one of the big challenges in construction project management, but they too can be managed.
Another one of the biggest challenges in construction project management is changing scope. Also known as scope creep, it can arise from a lack of defined goals. It can be a huge reason why projects end up delayed or over budget. A good project manager can communicate concerns to scope changes to the stakeholders. Thereby informing them of all the changes to schedule and budget it will cause.
Another issue that creates challenges in construction project management is a lack of accountability. The project manager is responsible for laying out the goals of the project and assigning them. It’s the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that all goals are assigned to the right person or team. Even then, a project manager must ensure all parties are held accountable for their tasks.
Lack of Risk Management
Risk management is important in construction as the risks are greater, and far more expensive than ever. One of the challenges in construction project management is managing risk, since the project manager is responsible for identifying potential problems and finding ways to mitigate it. They need to gather input and plan ways to prevent the project from veering off course. Without this, the project will most certainly go over budget or delayed.
A lack of communication or poor communication can be the death of a project. Project managers need to have updates on project status and feedback, since project managers are responsible for updating their teams as to the requirements of the stakeholders and upper management. The project manager has to foster open communication or risk falling to the communication challenges in construction project management.
Sometimes stakeholders have unrealistic expectations. Whether it’s from impossible deadlines or a lack of resources. Unrealistic expectations create challenges in construction project management because they can hurt morale and productivity. With impossible deadlines looming or a lack of resources, teams sometimes become less productive. In some cases they won’t make the deadline regardless of their high productivity. As the project manager, it’s important to advocate for workers and against unrealistic expectations and set realistic ones.
Stakeholder indifference can kill projects, and the lack of stakeholder participation is a common challenge in construction project management. When stakeholders are indifferent to the activity at the site, it can result in rework and delays. Project managers can communicate with the stakeholders and encourage feedback. Since it can be difficult to get participation, it’s important to have contingency plans in case of issues.
Preparing for Challenges in Construction Project Management
Everyone has different tips and tricks that work well for their job. And for project management, it’s no different. Great project managers have faced these challenges before and discovered how to avoid or mitigate their impact. One easy way to reduce challenges in construction project management is through construction management software. It is built to help project managers mitigate risks and reduce challenges and can be an invaluable addition to anyone’s toolkit.