Three Ways Project Management Software Enables Successful Construction Operations

By Jenna Puckett

Construction projects are notorious for finishing over budget, past schedule and outside of the agreed scope. Let’s look at a few ways project management software can help overcome common hurdles that stand in the way of successful, on-time projects.

Improved Job Costing

All construction projects have one thing in common: they each begin with an estimate. Calculating a labor and materials estimate is complex, but the hard work doesn’t end there. That estimate turns into a budget, and throughout a project, all costs must be continually measured, recorded, and compared to the original budget. Job cost management is a critical component that ensures projects remain within budget. Good project management software will provide real-time material and labor data so you can easily identify and monitor job costs as they occur. Being able to track and react to problems immediately— rather than in hindsight— will keep your project from drifting into the red. Once a project is completed, you can use the data to estimate the cost of similar projects in the future. Accurate projections and increased budget visibility are win-wins for construction operations.

Streamlined Document Management

Proposals, blueprints, permits, change orders, and more - the paper mountain that a construction project can create sometimes rivals the actual structures being built. From RFIs to receipts, using multiple databases — or no database at all —  to store documents is problematic. Lack of electronic document management creates duplicate data entry, omitted information, and risk of misplacing critical papers. A single project management platform that stores all construction documents and paperwork enables easy information sharing and retrieval. Paper files can be scanned and uploaded as well, which helps keep important information for each job-site in one place. For example, if you keep your data in a cloud-based storage system, your colleagues can retrieve files in an instant and collaborate in real-time.

Transparent Timelines

Scheduling is the backbone of a successful project. It’s essential to have a project management system that can be tailored to your workflow and accommodate all the teams and suppliers involved. After your project is mapped out, a good system will allow you to save the schedule as a template, adjust it based on results, and reuse it for future projects. Two visual tools that help you plan and assess your project schedule are Gantt charts and Kanban boards. Gantt charts use a familiar timeline view to map major tasks and milestones, as well as indicate which tasks are interconnected or dependent. This chronological depiction offers a high level view of tasks, so you can monitor each initiative's progress and pinpoint bottlenecks. For a more granular view, use Kanban boards to delegate responsibilities linked to major goals and milestones. Construction managers can use these tools to monitor resources and deadlines, as well as stay informed of progress and anticipate any necessary schedule adjustments. Project management software helps automate tasks and creates a central location for up to date project information. This increases transparency, efficiency, and ultimately, project success. If your company is struggling to meet project goals and requirements, then it’s time to embrace technology that meets your business needs.

Jenna Puckett is a junior technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. She covers topics related to gamification, employee performance and other emerging tech trends. Connect with her on LinkedIn.  

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