Common pitfalls in construction project management and how to avoid them
By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
Good project management is critical to the success of any construction project. So, are these common project management mistakes slowing you down?
For your construction project to go smoothly, you need consistent communication among all members of the team, both on and off the job site. Find communication methods that work for everyone. Using the right mobile time tracking and scheduling tools can help you communicate changes to work schedules or project priorities.
Relying on outdated technology
Sharing project management information between workers on a job site and those in the back office is inherently complex. Add in the hundreds of moving parts involved in the typical construction job and you’ve got a recipe for confusion. Old-fashioned approaches like playing phone tag, relaying messages through multiple people, and emailing documents back and forth all waste time and can lead to costly misunderstandings.
Instead, use cloud-based project management and collaboration tools to communicate, share files and update information in real time. That way, you can feel confident that everyone is on the same page. Better yet: TSheets’ 2017 list of the Top 10 Best Construction Apps is the perfect place to start!
Making estimation mistakes regarding the materials needed, the time a job will take, or the number of workers you need can lead to major slowdowns and cost overruns. Purchase too much material and you could be left with supplies you can’t use. Underestimate workers or time needed and you’ll either disappoint the client or end up paying significant overtime.
Carefully track materials, workers, and time on every job. Then use that information to improve the accuracy of future estimates. A time tracking solution with GPS functionality means you always know exactly where they are and when. Recording correct hours worked for each employee on each job helps you better estimate future projects.
Rushing and compromising
Time is of the essence in construction projects, but rushing only makes things worse. If you rush to complete an estimate, you’re likely to overlook important information. And if you rush to communicate an order change to the crew manager but forget to update the order in the project management software, you and your team will be confused later on. If your crew rushes to complete an aspect of the project, they may do sloppy work or compromise safety.
Make sure your team takes the time to complete each step in the project properly. Instead of having your existing crew scramble to finish the day’s work, for instance, use a solution designed for construction projects to call in additional workers on the fly.
Clients may need only a high-level view of what’s happening during the project, but internally, you need to plan every detail. This helps ensure that work is done in a logical order, materials are ordered on time, and inspections are done promptly.
Being overly optimistic
Build in contingency time for every aspect of the project. This way, inevitable delays like rain or missed deliveries won’t throw you completely off schedule. It’s better to underpromise and over-deliver than to disappoint a client.
Not learning from past projects
After each project is finished, do a recap with the team to review what went right and wrong. How accurate was your initial plan? How well did you communicate during the project? What can you improve next time? Use this knowledge to continually improve your project management skills.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.