Worker on site scratching his head, looking at laptop; feature hype concept

Feature Hype: The Dangers of Overcomplicated Construction Project Management Software

Choosing a new construction project management software is hard for many trade contractors. The problem is that software vendors tend to shy away from simplicity, leaving trade contractors trying to sort out the dangers of overcomplicated construction project management software and feature hype on their own.

There are so many options that it is easy to get overwhelmed by the choices and features — particularly those you don’t even need. You can end up investing in software that doesn’t actually meet your business needs. 

To avoid this pitfall, look past the distraction of fancy features and focus instead on simple, user-friendly solutions tailored to the needs of trade contractors, like eSUB

Feature Hype is Distracting and Dangerous

There’s no question that there are some extremely robust construction project management software platforms whose capabilities will knock your socks off. And when you’re at the receiving end of a sales pitch or demonstration of such feature-rich software, it’s understandable that you’re convinced the software is the answer to all of your project management problems. 

Buyer beware. Falling victim to feature hype often leads to paying too much for a tool with features you never use. 

This is a particular risk in the construction industry as many of the construction project management software tools are geared more for general contractors than trade contractors. Those tools have features that don’t fit the needs of the trade contractors, but they are the more popular brands of software so many trade contractors adopt them before they fully understand the incompatibility of the features with their business. 

This is the problem Patriot Air Systems was facing when the company owners pushed for a switch from eSUB to a different project management software. Turns out, that new platform didn’t align with the company’s needs. Because it was geared to general contractors, it failed to integrate into their workflows and ultimately didn’t meet their standards.

“It was awful,” Construction Project Manager Jessie Harris recalls. “Everything about it was bad. I tried to give it a shot. I spent a couple months really trying to make it work. But finally, I said to the team, ‘this does not function, we can’t use it.’”

This is a common problem for trade contractors who adopt software that doesn’t meet their needs. They end up doing their business more harm than good, often before they even realize that damage is being done.

Construction worker in hard hat, working on a plan at a table, with laptop; feature hype concept

The Wrong Software Can Hurt Rather Than Help Your Business

It’s critical that you be intentional in choosing the right construction project management solution for your company. “The wrong technologies selected in haste can create a nightmare for everyone involved,” writes Moira Alexander, author and founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine. “When considering replacing old legacy systems or bringing in new software, it’s essential to slow things down and ensure all aspects of your organization will work with it effectively and efficiently.”

This is hard to do when you are dazzled by what some software platforms can do. 

While logic may seemingly dictate that the more features a technology tool has the more benefits you stand to gain from it, this is counterintuitive. There are a number of pitfalls that come with too many features, including confusion, adoption resistance, and even financial losses. 

Unnecessary Features Lead to Confusion

Project management software is supposed to improve processes and productivity so you can grow your business. However, when you try to implement technology that is rich in unnecessary features, it actually complicates processes and confuses workers who struggle to learn to follow those processes. In short, it backfires and creates operational issues that can stunt your business’ growth.

“It’s tempting to gravitate to project management software solutions that offer a wide array of features,” writes the team at PM Times. “The problem is that having too many features that will likely never be used can overwhelm and complicate the learning curve and sometimes even the software implementation process.”

Workers Resist Using Complicated Software

Quite simply, a complicated learning curve for a new software can lead to adoption resistance by your workers. “It does not matter how powerful the features are in the tool, as long as it is not easy to adapt and people are not going to use it,” explains eLearning Industry author Sharon Thomson.

When shopping for a construction project management tool, Lake East Landscapes former operations manager Casey Freedom-Izdepski realized early on that ease-of-use was key. If the software was too complicated, his team wouldn’t use it. 

When looking at some of the available options, Freedom-Izdepski says, “I couldn’t hand that to a guy and say, take two minutes to input your time for the week, or whatever, because there’s just way too much information [on the screen]. I’ve got a minor in Computer Science and I’m looking at them and thinking, ‘Yeah, this is awful. You’re running a spaceship’”.

Your Business Suffers Financially

In the end, the wrong software costs you more time and money than it saves you.

For starters, you end up paying for features you don’t use, which is an unnecessary waste. Then you also end up spending too much time trying to train your teams to use a complicated tool that actually makes them more inefficient in their jobs and less productive. They start spending extra time on the administrative tasks associated with using the software and less time on project-specific roles.

These pitfalls highlight just how critical it is to choose the right construction project management software.

Construction worker in hardhat using smartphone on site; feature hype concept

Less is More With Construction Project Management Software

What’s most important to remember is that you don’t need all the bells and whistles of fancy software that isn’t going to meet the needs of your workers and company at the end of the day.  You want to keep it simple and choose a user-friendly platform that has everything you need and not a lot of features you don’t. For trade contractors, that tool is eSUB.

eSUB is designed specifically for trade contractors. It has a simple interface, which makes it easy to use, and its features are focused on meeting trade contractors’ needs. It is designed to create efficiencies in your processes to maximize worker productivity and improve business outcomes.

This is what attracted Alloy Sheet Metal to eSUB. “[There are bigger software solutions out there], but they have a bunch of features that I really don’t need,” says owner Bryan Lopez. “When it comes to eSUB, I feel like everything I need is right there. Nothing that I don’t need.”

The platform made sense for his business. “I literally fell in love with everything that I was looking at,” continues Lopez. “A lot of the software out there is made for GCs, general contractors. They’re not tailored for us. eSUB is.” 

To make sure construction management software makes sense for you and to avoid the dangers that come along with feature overload, it’s important to understand precisely what your needs are. “The features on offer with a project management tool can vary significantly, so it’s a good idea to compare your needs to the functionality of your prospective tool,” notes tech writer Barclay Ballard at TechRadar.

Start by listing features in order of priority. “Make sure to list the features that you absolutely require, the ones that are a nice bonus, but not necessarily something you need, and those that are completely unnecessary,” advises the G2A team.

Once you have your choices of software narrowed down, demo them so you can test the user interface of each to make sure it is easy to use. This also helps ensure the features you need are the ones you get. 

Schedule a demo of eSUB Cloud today to learn more about why it’s the right construction project management software for you.

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