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Getting Real: Is Construction Project Management Software Really Worth It?

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Managing construction projects has always been challenging, but it’s getting even tougher now. If you’ve been in the construction business for years, you might be noticing more risks and missed budgets. This article explores whether construction project management software can help make things easier and more efficient.

The Growing Challenges in Construction

Increased Risks and Missed Targets

Construction projects are becoming harder to manage. A lot of companies are seeing more risks and failing to meet budgets and timelines. About 78% of engineering and construction companies believe project risks are increasing. Also, 37% of construction professionals say their companies missed budget and schedule targets by 20% or more due to COVID-19.

Busy Project Managers

Project managers are often too busy to focus on the management part of their jobs. This can lead to inefficiencies and mistakes, which can be costly.

Current State of Project Management

Reliance on Manual Processes

Construction is one of the least-digitized industries. Many companies still use old methods like spreadsheets and manual data entry. This makes the work slow and prone to errors. Experts believe that improving productivity in construction could add $1.63 trillion to the industry’s value.

Inefficient Solutions

Even though companies want to manage projects better, many still rely on familiar but inefficient tools. Dave Anderskow, president of Palmer Consulting Group, says companies focus on the project life cycle but use outdated solutions like spreadsheets to manage projects.

Benefits of Project Management Software

Boosting Productivity

Project management (PM) software can make managing projects easier and more efficient. It helps by providing accurate data, which leads to better decision-making. Chris Wetmore, principal at RMS Technology Advisory Practice, notes that relying on manual processes can create inconsistent data sets. PM software can solve this problem.

User-Friendly Tools

However, PM software only helps if your team knows how to use it. Wetmore mentions that sometimes companies buy expensive tools that no one uses because they are too complex. It’s important to choose software that is easy to understand and use.

Dealing with Chaos in Projects

Assessing and Documenting Processes

If your current system feels chaotic, it’s important to assess and document your processes. This helps identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Wetmore suggests taking a step back to understand the entire environment, while Anderskow recommends documenting processes to discover inefficiencies.

Training Programs

Having a continuous training program is crucial. Everyone in the team, from project engineers to superintendents, should understand the established processes. This helps minimize chaos and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Simplifying Processes

Avoiding Too Many Systems

Sometimes, companies create chaos by using too many different systems. Simplifying processes and ensuring everyone follows the same playbook can make a big difference. A Trimble executive recalled being hired to implement PM software for Disney to reduce chaos. This shows how important it is to have a streamlined process.

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Consequences of Doing Nothing

Risks of Staying with Old Systems

If you stick with old tools like spreadsheets, post-it notes, emails, and whiteboards, your company might struggle. These tools might not meet all your needs and could burden your project managers.

Evaluating Current Systems

It’s important to evaluate whether your current systems are truly effective. Organizations like Trimble, RSM, or Palmer offer tools to help you assess your systems and identify opportunities for improvement. For example, the Construction Financial Management Association’s Financial Benchmarker allows you to compare your financial performance against industry standards.

Importance of Modernization

Adapting to Market Changes

The market is always changing, and staying stagnant can be risky. Modernizing your project management approach can help you stay competitive and achieve long-term success. Even if your company is currently content with its scope of projects, future demands might require new strategies.

Conclusion

To improve your construction project management, start by evaluating your current systems. Consider adopting project management software and training your team to use it effectively. Modernizing your approach can help you stay competitive and meet the demands of the changing market.

FAQs

1. Why is construction project management software important? Construction project management software helps streamline processes, improve accuracy, and enhance decision-making, making projects more efficient and cost-effective.

2. How can PM software reduce chaos in construction projects? PM software organizes and manages project data, helping to meet deadlines and budgets more consistently by reducing the reliance on manual, error-prone processes.

3. What are the risks of not updating our project management systems? Sticking with outdated systems can lead to inefficiencies, missed opportunities, and increased risks, as the market and industry standards evolve.

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