5 reasons project managers don’t want to digitalise. And why they are wrong.

Written by LetsBuild

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Are you using MS Project, Excel, or WhatsApp to stay on top of your programme? Many project managers, like you, choose to rely on these tools to manage their project schedules.

Good as they are, none of these tools is made for running construction projects with a lot of repetition. Imagine that you work on a hospital, apartment block, or even a roadwork project. If your tools of choice aren’t made for construction, you will soon find yourself buried under a mountain of disconnected data having to manage multiple updates from different sources with no way of sharing the latest programme version with the rest of the team.

Free ebook: Why WhatsApp and Excel aren’t enough for running complex construction projects

Despite all this, some project managers insist on using the wrong tools and push against implementing construction-specific tools in their projects. Here are their top 5 objections and why all of them are actually wrong:

1. Digitalisation is too expensive.

Implementation cost is one of the biggest concerns for project managers. But with the right tool, the return of investment will be extremely high and it will actually start becoming apparent very quickly. Like in the case of Federico from Grupo Provivienda. He managed to reduce building time for one house from 330 to 60 days after moving his planning to the cloud and replacing MS Project and Excel with a tool made for construction teams.

2. People on site won’t use it.

Another concern many project managers have is that their teams on site won’t use the new app. They think that their field staff isn’t tech-savvy enough. That’s not true. If your people on site are able to use their smartphone to follow the news of their favourite sports team or to check their mobile banking, then they are surely able to use a construction app to access the latest programme version, send updates, and flag critical issues.

3. I don’t have time to implement something new.

Project managers who work in construction projects with a lot of repetition are under a lot of time pressure. However, there is always time for improvement. Especially because the implementation of a construction-specific tool will eventually allow them to finish faster and, therefore, increase their chances of staying on budget.

Learn more: Residential projects – 5 mistakes project managers don’t know they are making

4. This new tool is too complicated.

The complexity of a new app can also be a blocking factor. Many project managers are afraid that a new tool can be too complex and that getting everyone to work on it will be time consuming. To avoid that, you need a digital tool that is built for repetitive projects and has a strong customer success team that will help you with training your people. If these two factors are in place, you can start reaping the benefits of digitalisation very quickly.

The example of Denis from Toureen Group speaks for itself. He was able to see everything on site and experience results within just 24 hours after replacing MS Project and Excel with a digital tool that was tailored to construction.

5. I don’t have a problem, I’m doing fine!

The last, and possibly most dangerous, objection. In one of our recent webinars, Olivier Luxen, Senior Project Manager on a residential project, compared the way we do planning in construction today with the way we did on a road trip 40 years ago.

You plan your project in MS Project and distribute it, but as soon as there is an obstacle, your planning becomes obsolete causing stress and confusion because the information is coming to you late.

But it should not be like that! It’s time you replace MS Project, WhatsApp, and Excel with a single source of truth like Matt Ghinn, Project Director at VolkerFitzpatrick. Matt believed that planning is king. If he delivers on time, he will stay on budget. In other words, he had to complete as many tasks as possible within a certain time frame. Like that, he increased on-site completion from 60% to 85%.

“We’re not phoning out, we are not using WhatsApp groups, we’re not sending emails. The programme is just live, it’s there and all data from the site is captured,” explains Matt.

Download our free ebook and start working like Matt!

If you want to start working like Matt and always feel confident that everyone in your team is aligned around the programme, download our free ebook here.