Construction project visibility is the only way to know in real time how a project is doing, and whether it’s on time and budget. Without it, it’s hard to learn from any mistakes. Here are some ways to improve project visibility in construction.
How Foremen Can Improve Project Visibility
Project foremen are instrumental in improving project visibility. Since they spend most of their time in the field, they should know everything that is going on in a project. Here are several tips that foremen can use to improve project visibility.
Tailgate Meetings and Check-Ins
Tailgate or toolbox meetings must address specific site hazards and best safe work practices for the days tasks. Since this is a time where the crew is all together it can be a time to tack on additional information. Whether it is general housekeeping or a change of task. Foremen can use this as a good time to check in with their crew and better understand how the project is going. Sometimes the team will notice things about a project or events that could delay the project before the foreman. Regardless, having time to check in with the crew can provide better project visibility.
Daily Reports and Field Notes
A crucial responsibility of a project foreman is to fill out field notes and daily reports. Daily reports are a record of everything that happened on the site that day. Daily reports are important when it comes to understanding what went wrong or what went right. They also give the back office visibility over what happened in the field on a given day. Because daily reports are crucial for project visibility, foremen must fill them out. If they don’t, there is no record of what happened on the site, and it can be hard to find out.
Tracking everything goes hand in hand with daily reports and field notes. If it isn’t on paper, there isn’t proof it happened. From material shipments to labor hours, everything must be recorded and tracked. However, it becomes harder to follow different items if everything is in a separate system. Not only is it difficult to remember where specific documents go, but it can also be difficult to find documents without one central database of information.
How Superintendents Can Improve Project Visibility
Superintendents need project visibility into each project that they are responsible for. Without quick dashboards and reports, the superintendent can’t tell the overall health of a project. While superintendents need project visibility, they should also be working towards creating more visible projects.
Communication is key to gaining greater project visibility. It is a great way of increasing visibility upstream as well as downstream. The superintendent is supposed to report to the project manager and other key stakeholders how their section of the project is doing. However, they can’t report back to key stakeholders the status if they don’t know what’s going on. Communication is incredibly important in project visibility.
Use One Source of Truth
The superintendent is in the right position to enforce good habits. By enforcing one source of truth, it’s easier to have project visibility. One of the big issues into project visibility is too many sources of truth. When one foreman decides to email daily reports and another is putting them in the software, and another turns in handwritten forms at the end of the week it’s hard to know where any project is quick. If a superintendent can’t quickly tell how a project is doing or where it is they can’t keep the client or executives informed which can be detrimental.
Advocate for Document Sharing
Document sharing amongst stakeholders and key teams within a project can be difficult. Someone might change something on their copy of documents but only share it with stakeholders and teams they deem necessary. However, it can be difficult to determine how significant that change really is. By advocating for document sharing or a common shared file, stakeholders have visibility into the project, and teams have access to the most recent documents.
How Executives Can Improve Project Visibility
Executives play a significant role in how companies can improve their project visibility. While they might not work in the field or manage projects, their support can be crucial in making essential changes to improve processes.
Executives Push Tools and Systems to Improve Project Visibility
Executives are key to pushing tools and systems to improve project visibility. The executive decides if a company purchases software to improve project management. They’re responsible for trusting that their project managers and superintendents will inform them of what they need to do their job better. And they’re responsible for advocating for the software and pushing implementation and training forward.