Construction and building projects come with unique challenges that can test the sanity of even experienced project managers and business owners. How do you ensure efficient collaboration between cross-functional teams? How do you anticipate issues that could lead to delays or cost overruns? How do you measure and improve project performance? If you find that your business is mostly applying a manual approach to overcoming these challenges, it might be time to review the software you’re running your projects on. If you aren’t currently using project management software, you can try out ManagePlaces on a free trial here.

The benefits of leveraging technology to connect teams and automate project management and finances can not be overstated. Here are five pain points that project management software can solve for construction companies wanting to grow.

1. Team communication

The domino effect of poor team communication can result in delays and cost overruns – not good news for anyone, especially the client. A unique challenge of managing a construction project is connecting cross-functional teams, usually comprising of staff who don’t work for the same employer. Ensuring that they coordinate their efforts efficiently is crucial for project success. Purpose-built software ensures that communication takes place and is recorded in the relevant projects and tasks. Software like ManagePlaces equip your team members with all the crucial project information they need at their fingertips so that everyone is ‘singing from the same project plan’. Changes are reflected in real time and team members are automatically reminded on upcoming tasks they’re assigned to.

Cloud-based software also solves the challenge of managing teams remotely by giving everyone access to a central digital platform. By logging communication, activity and documents (like photographic evidence of work) project managers are able to monitor the progress of the team in real-time and anticipate issues earlier. The value of this benefit can not be overstated.

2. Admin

The admin behind managing a construction or building project is both crucial and demanding. Granular responsibilities like reminding team members of upcoming tasks are cumbersome, prone to human error and really should be automated, along with plans, finances and reporting. The more admin you can automate on construction projects, the better as this will free up time and resource to focus on high level factors like project success and the overall profitability of the business.

By being a schedule-led platform, ManagePlaces connects teams, creates a project gantt chart for you and automates both workflow and finances, cutting the digital admin out of your To Do List almost entirely. Not only does this free up time, it is more accurate and consistent than a manual approach.

Consider the following scenario: Your project plan is carefully laid out in an excel spreadsheet. You’ve drafted a Work Breakdown Structure and created a gantt chart to display the project visually. Bad weather forces a delay on a task and you have to update the plan. However, it’s not enough to simply change the task in the plan and update the gantt chart. What if that task had to be completed before other tasks can start? In this case, you would need to manually update every dependent task manually. In addition, you have to inform the team of the changes and consider any issues the delay might create. All of this is fat and should be cut out of your project manager’s To Do list. Simply, by automating this part of the project, you are able to minimise project risk significantly.

ManagePlaces solves this issue by automatically creating a dynamic gantt chart for every project you upload or build in the system. It works with a drag and drop interface, so any delays or date changes can be updated simply by dragging and dropping the task to its new date. Not only will this update all the dependent tasks automatically, it will update all affected task reminders too, so your team will be automatically alerted in the correct time frame.

3. Human error

Given the comparatively high average value of construction projects, the costs of human error in in this industry can be significant and can have a direct effect on profitability. Everything from scheduling to finances should be consistently accurate to avoid the risk of rework and other costly errors. And in an industry where deadlines are frequent and speed is key, risk of errors increases the more you rely on manual workflow.

How does ManagePlaces cut out human error?

  • Built-in calendar scheduling system ensures consistency and date accuracy on all activity and reminders
  • Built-in financial calculators and integration with accounting software ensures accuracy of finances both within the project and as part of the overall business accounts.
  • Real-time reporting means you can create and send the most up-to-date and accurate reports possible at any point in the project.
  • Customisable roles & permissions mean you are able to set what your team members are able to do and see in your account.
  • All activity is recorded – from team communication to document uploads, completed tasks, KPIs, change orders – everything is recorded in your ManagePlaces account.

4. Anticipating issues

One way project management software helps with anticipating issues is by improving team communication. Without software, the speed of communication on a construction project is slowed down measurably and with that, is the ability of the team to update the project manager on potential issues. In addition, communication between cross-functional teams is minimised without software and the ability to coordinate and spot problems before they arise is diminished. A good project management platform will include digital collaboration tools to improve this area of project management. ManagePlaces is purpose-built for construction projects and facilitates real-time, recorded collaboration within the relevant project or task.

In addition to team communication, cost issues are always better to anticipate sooner rather than later. Without software, you’re only able to anticipate cost overruns when someone has updated the project finances manually. By automating finance management, ManagePlaces helps you anticipate cost overruns a lot sooner than manual methods. The software can integrate with accounting software to sync your project finances with your business accounts. Real-time finance management means you can compare your estimated expenditure against your actuals whenever you need to. Simply creating a purchase order in ManagePlaces, will update the appropriate finances and sync with your accounting software in real-time, automatically. Real-time finance management puts you in control, allowing you to spot issues before they arise, and has measurable cost control benefits.

5. Time & cost overruns

Time and cost overruns are too common on construction projects, impacting profitability directly. Without software, many businesses consider these to be inevitable elements of every project they deliver, but the effect on profitability and client satisfaction means they are hugely important metrics for every construction company. Project management software addresses these challenges by effectively delivering the previous four benefits. Here’s how:

  • Connecting cross-functional teams to improve communication leads to improved productivity and reduces the risk of delays from miscommunication or scheduling mix ups.
  • Automating admin frees up time to focus on project success and ensures accuracy and consistency throughout the project
  • Cutting out human error with built-in scheduling, finances, real-time reporting, customisable permissions and logs of all activity, improves efficiency and reduces risk
  • Real-time team collaboration and real-time finance management allow you to anticipate issues before they arise, whether they will result in delays or cost overruns, software lets you spot and deal with issues sooner.

If you have decided the time is right to invest in project management software, it’s crucial to choose a platform that is purpose-built for your industry. Purpose-built software is designed to solve the common pain points that businesses in your industry experience, and the right fit will help you deliver dramatically better projects at a fraction of the time and cost.

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