The prospects for construction in the United States are positive. Revenues are expected to grow by 5% every year until 2024. That means construction will be a $1,428.5 billion industry by then.
Success in the construction business can come down to how effectively you manage projects. How do you go about improving project management? Read on to learn about seven tips for better project management for construction businesses.
1. Budget Management
The construction business is just that. It’s a business. Managing the financials effectively is key to project success.
Setting and managing budgets better is one way you can improve your project management. Learn the skill of cost estimating. Make sure you know what you are spending and when and where you can shave costs if you have to.
Have some contingency plans and budget in reserve. You know you’re going to need it you just don’t know where and when.
Budget tracking enables you and your team to understand what’s happening. Tie invoicing back to budgets so you can check progress. Be clear who is authorized to spend money and hold them accountable for their actions.
2. Better Communication
If you notice that deadlines are being missed, people are blaming each other for failings, and people don’t seem to have the information they need to do their jobs, check the communication. Poor communication can undermine projects by confusing responsibilities, creating discord, and de-motivating team members.
Set up great communication by sharing a clear vision for the project. Let people know what the processes are for decision making, information management, and conflict resolution.
3. Time Management
Time management is a skill for life and yet few people do it effectively. Better time management as a project manager isn’t just about being efficient or doing things right. It’s about being effective or doing the right things.
Your team may make many demands on you. Email fills your inbox. People press you for decisions and interrupt you.
Time management is concerned with identifying the urgency and the importance of the tasks that present themselves to you.
By all means, do urgent tasks now but don’t let non-urgent tasks clog up your schedule. They can easily consume you, and you’ll soon discover that you have not prioritized the important tasks.
Be clear about your purpose. As the project manager, you are there to achieve the project objectives. Tasks that deliver the project’s purpose are important.
If a task is important, plan it into your schedule and give it plenty of time. If it’s not concerned with delivering the project objective, it’s not important so don’t waste too much time on it.
4. Adopt New Technology
You may have been successful in the past using tried and tested approaches. Don’t let that get in the way of adopting new approaches and new technologies. Failing to engage with these opportunities could lead to others getting a competitive advantage.
Construction management software, project planning tools, and document management software can all improve planning, communications, and control of projects. There are opportunities to automate many operations and so improve efficiency.
5. Under Promise
There’s a temptation in any project to be overly optimistic. This can set up unrealistic expectations among stakeholders.
A positive outlook and enthusiasm are desirable traits in a project manager. If these characteristics lead to over-promising they are grave errors. The implications of over-promising are budget overruns, missed deadlines, and the dislocation of dependent tasks and projects.
Better to under-promise. It’s much easier to cope with a budget-saving or early delivery than the opposite results. Over-delivery is a much better outcome for everybody.
6. People Development
People can be a source of competitive advantage in construction projects. Recruit the best talent you can. Engage them in delivering the construction project by involving them, treating them well, and rewarding them.
Don’t miss an opportunity to develop your people. Improve their capability and they are more likely to be committed and deliver great performance.
In times of talent and skills shortage, it’s all the more important to train people. Don’t settle for poor quality employees unless you’re willing to accept substandard work and failing projects.
Won’t you just be training people for other construction companies to hire?
That’s the refrain of poor leaders and unimaginative employers. Of course, once you’ve trained people you need to retain them by giving them every reason to stay. Be a great place to work and your employee development will be an investment with great returns and not a waste of money.
7. Continually Improving Project Management
Build regular progress reviews and end of project evaluation into your project management methodology. It’s important to learn from every project and continuously improve.
Involve the whole team in identifying problems. Encourage people to suggest solutions too. Listen to people, especially front-line people and a range of stakeholders.
Give people feedback on what’s been changed as a result of feedback. It gives them confidence that their suggestions are taken seriously. That way you’ll get more great ideas for improving things.
Don’t use this as an opportunity to attribute blame for failures. Learning sometimes involves some pain so support people through the process. A continuous improvement culture should reward people who admit they have things to learn with approval and recognition.
Project management is so important for construction businesses that improving project management must be a top priority. Project managers are the heroes of this industry. They make construction projects deliver customer satisfaction, on time, and on budget.
Contact us about how we can help you deliver improved project management right now.