As a subcontractor, it’s important to not have lulls between projects. And if your company is expanding, it’ even more crucial to have enough projects. However, you must be careful before signing multiple contracts at one time because once you do you are binding yourself to those projects. It is important that you allow yourself and your team enough time to provide quality work, otherwise, you might land yourself in a sticky situation. One must learn how to manage multiple projects in construction.
When you are considering whether or not to sign a contract, take extra caution that you are not overextending your materials and/or labor force. Often times, companies don’t plan far enough ahead and end up with a shortage of workers and supplies, leading to missed deadlines and unhappy project owners. This problem is especially apparent in new companies that are looking to expand. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help avoid landing yourself in these type of situations.
When managing multiple projects at once organization, planning, and progress tracking is key. Here is how to manage multiple projects.
Plan the project phases efficiently
Before starting multiple projects or signing a contract, prioritize the order in which tasks will be accomplished. When you prioritize the importance of different tasks, it sets a schedule for the project. Also, remember the deadlines and milestones you must meet for each of your projects. It is better to allow yourself more time in the contract (if possible), so that you avoid getting yourself in a time crunch.
Once you have signed a contract, communication is your best tool for staying on track. If potential issues might arise, come up with a game plan beforehand. This means keeping a good flow of communication with the general contractor. The more open you are, the less likely you are to fall behind. You might be surprised at the willingness of the contractor to help assist you in attaining more resources. One of the worst things you can do is wait until the last minute. At that point, it’s likely too late and you risk damaging your relationship with the general contractor. It’s also important to communicate with your team about what you need from them and what they are able to physically able to do. Depending on the skill set of your workforce, some workers might be able to finish tasks faster than others. The last thing you want to do is overestimate the amount of work they can physically do before a deadline. Thankfully, open communication can help prevent that from happening!
Check the milestones
Another extremely important aspect of managing multiple projects and deadlines is to continuously check milestones and goals. This means that you MUST create a deadline for each task to be completed. By tracking your goals, you can manage your progress in meeting specific deadlines for each of your projects.
Going back to open communication and goal tracking, weekly team meetings are a perfect way to put those in action. By having a scheduled mandatory meeting every week, you can foster discussion and discover possible shortages or problems in advance. It is also important that the whole project team be present if possible so that the different divisions and groups have a chance to communicate with each other. Although there may be several groups involved in a project, you are all on one team together, which means you need to work together if you want to be successful.
Technology, Labor Delivery and Multiple Project Management
Construction technology goes hand in hand with managing multiple projects. The right software and tools can make scheduling, managing, and tracking a breeze which reduces issues from working on more than one project. The labor delivery method can also be helpful in determining the efficiency of a project. Certain labor delivery methods can make it harder to be able to complete a project to budget and schedule, and when working on multiple projects that adds up very quickly. These technologies and tips will help you manage multiple projects in construction easier.
Time Management Software
Time management software is a big one in multiple project management. Knowing when and where employees were and what cost code they were working on makes billing easier, and can be used in conjunction with daily reports to know what happened on a job site. It can also be used to see how the project is doing, if it’s to schedule, and if it is on budget.
Project Management Software
Project management software is a great way to be able to better manage multiple projects. Unlike typical project management processes, project management software will keep all information in one location. So Daily Reports, RFIs, Change Orders, Time Cards, Resources, Drawings or Designs, and all Correspondence is kept in one location. For forepersons, superintendents, or project managers to be able access those documents quickly is crucial to know project health and manage all those projects at once.
Project management software improves on project management principles. It’s great to say that there has to be open communication between all stakeholders, but that’s hard to maintain without proper documentation and easy access to that documentation. Because if a stakeholder asks a question but the paperwork with the answer can’t be found that can cause a breakdown of communication.
Mobile technology is a great addition for construction management, especially when there are multiple projects. Using mobile technology makes it easier for the field to be connected to the office which in turn improves project visibility. The improved visibility makes it easier to manage multiple projects. It’s easier for superintendents to see what happens on every site, where there laborers are, and where equipment is. Having this information readily available makes it easier for the office to improve scheduling.
Labor Delivery Methods
The labor delivery method used with multiple projects can change how easy those project are to manage. Integrated Labor Delivery (ILD) is a project delivery method that improves productivity across the board. Unlike other project delivery types, integrated labor delivery brings subcontractors in alignment with construction managers, designers, and owners to provide years of experience in the field and improve constructability. It tries to cut through waste to make all projects more efficient. It also improves communication between all stakeholders and subcontractors.
Whether you’re growing your business or usually manage multiple projects in construction, there are always places to make improvements. The biggest tip to consider when taking on multiple projects or considering multiple projects is how they will all fit together. Lack of planning upfront can be the biggest cause of delays and issues with projects. While not everything can be planned for, having contingency plans and some expectations can make it easier. Being able to manage multiple projects at once is a skill, but like every skill it can be learned.