Successful project managers are always looking for new ways to improve their construction management process. A successful process can improve project completion times, communication, and even impact future projects. Many construction projects end up over time or over budget which hurts the subcontractors that work on them. Improving the construction management process can help improve key stages in the project lifecycle and increase efficiency.
What is construction project management?
The construction project manager holds a breadth of skills, as this job requires both technical construction knowledge as well as general management ability. As construction projects increase in complexity, the project manager’s duties continue to broaden. This places extra pressure on the project manager to ensure that everything runs smoothly, as any tiny mistake can have devastating results on a project’s success. Luckily, there are technological advancements and process management techniques to help the project manager eliminate costly mistakes. Once project managers eliminate costly errors, companies can ensure that the project is more successful. There are many steps that project managers can take to improve their construction management process.
Here are some ways the manager can improve the construction management process:
Don’t take on more than you can handle
Before the construction management process begins, the project manager must determine whether or not to take on a project. The project manager can determine the feasibility of taking on a project by comparing the requirements of a project against the resources available. The project manager must consider costs, materials, labor, and expertise needed to complete any given project. But it’s more than just that; they also must think about how the project will fit into their schedule and whether it will clash with any other projects.
A lot is at stake every time a project manager chooses to accept a project. This is why it is crucial for the project manager to always make a thorough and detailed plan before tackling any project. Planning includes making the budget, setting a schedule, determining task dependencies, setting deadlines, allocating resources, and determining communication expectations. Having a plan in place not only forces the project manager to think through a project before starting but also creates an action plan for every team member to reference throughout the project delivery cycle. It also provides benchmarks (or milestones) by which progress can be measured to ensure success.
Expect the unexpected
Construction by its very nature is unpredictable; it is subject to weather conditions, natural disasters, delivery delays, and human error. Since it is almost certain that something will go awry on any given project, why not plan for this in the budget and schedule? By preparing for these costs and delays, there will be less stress for the project manager and more satisfaction from all stakeholders. However, force majeure isn’t the only thing project managers should consider. Worksite injuries are also common in construction, and most of them could be prevented. By offering regular training and refreshers on proper techniques, project managers can improve the project performance. By improving project performance, they also strengthen their construction project management process.
Play to your strengths
Scheduling the labor force is much more than fitting workers into a timetable according to their availability. It is imperative that the project manager knows the strengths and weaknesses of his employees, and that he considers them when scheduling the labor force to specific tasks. And if a project manager isn’t sure, then they should ask supervisors for who they would pick for a job. Project managers should try to play to their employees’ strengths to improve the construction management process.
Despite the growing complexity of construction projects, the advancement in technology for the construction industry has also grown exponentially, and just in time! Construction project management software can help out the project manager tremendously with the complex and time-consuming tasks that are required of the project manager. An all-inclusive project management solution will automatically track and store all documents, provide a transparent medium of communication, and streamline the planning process.
Project management is not a one-step process, but rather a continuous process that takes place from a project’s implementation to its completion. The project manager should continuously be comparing actual performance to the optimal performance determined in the planning stage. This allows the project manager to identify areas that are lagging, discover the root of the issue, and take steps to alleviate the problem immediately.
Upon the completion of a project, the project manager should hold a final meeting with all members of the construction team to discuss the events of the project. This meeting should address everything that went right and wrong during a plan, and discuss ways to improve construction processes in the future. This will create an environment of continuous learning and continuous improvement. But the final meeting shouldn’t be the only place where project managers look at a project. They should be judging the efficacy of their policies and procedures throughout the project.
It goes beyond just one project. Project managers can learn from past mistakes through reports. Project managers should use the summaries of previous projects that went well and poorly to improve their construction management process. When they examine what was done well and what was done poorly, they can apply that knowledge to their process. History is the best teacher, especially in construction.
The role of the construction project manager is anything but simple, but with the right technological tools and following best practices, it is possible for project managers to complete projects successfully. Great project managers are always looking for ways to improve their construction management process; otherwise, they aren’t great project managers. Using historical data and the final meeting can be a great start to determining what changes would be most effective. Especially if there is a specific element that causes projects to go awry. Staying up-to-date on practical techniques and tool can improve the construction project management process and help companies increase their efficiency.