How to efficiently manage and resolve project constraints

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If your project data and communication are not made available to everyone in real-time, valuable project information gets fragmented and “trapped” in different tools and formats, which causes misunderstandings, work interruptions, and construction disputes.

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Move your schedule and all project communication to the cloud

Moving all your project information to a live, shared place in the cloud ensures that all stakeholders access the same data. By doing so, everyone obtains an up-to-date picture of what exactly is happening on site. When armed with instant information, people on site can instantly take action when a problem appears and resolve any issue before it could expand out of proportion.

If your project data and communication are not made available to everyone in real-time, valuable project information gets fragmented and “trapped” in different tools and formats, which causes misunderstandings, work interruptions, and construction disputes.

Use a construction-specific tool

Many project managers rely on WhatsApp, Excel, Messenger, phone calls, and emails to communicate their progress with their teams on site. These tools are great for communication of simple messages but in a complex project setting, with multiple stakeholders and related activities, this kind of fragmented communication can result in a lot of unnecessary admin and time waste. The worst part? It causes confusion, making it impossible for people to collaborate efficiently, leaving them with no clear view of where they stand in terms of their individual tasks. Updates about errors and constraints reach the right people late, fueling delays and waste.

Read also: Why planning is the heartbeat of your repetitive project

Here is where a tool specifically built for team communication in construction comes in. Imagine if you had a tool that would allow you to connect all your project stakeholders around the same live version of your programme where they can share real-time updates with each other. By giving everyone the same tool where they can communicate and share critical information easily, everyone can make informed decisions faster, avoid problems, and address issues early before they turn into threats against project delivery. Now you can have a proactive team rather than a reactive one.

Focus on preparation

Many project managers tend to lack focus in the preparation of a construction project. There is still much room for improvement, except for external events out of a project manager’s control, such as bad weather.

An essential thing to note, though: preparation does not start, nor does it finish at the launch of a construction project. Calculated anticipation and preparation around adjustments in delivery, orders, designs, decisions, and workforce availability help mitigate and avoid issues and problems that could emerge on site.

When relevant parties fail to plan and consider things together problems arise. The same issues can occur when proper work preparations happen late, creating mistakes and last-minute work or rework.

A case in point would be having your prefab elements delivered late on site. This delay can massively impact on your project’s timeline. To avoid this problem in the future, you should get all your stakeholders together (engineers, suppliers, purchasers, etc.), discuss the cause of the problem, identify other future causes, and put different solution scenarios in place. By doing so, you are establishing a proactive problem-solving approach for your project preparation and constraint resolution, giving you an advantage in handling unexpected circumstances so that they don’t end up in disaster.

Standardise as much as you can

Another important key to effective collaboration among workers and stakeholders on site is to ensure that your project information is standardised and communicated smoothly from one worker to another. The fundamental approach, in this case, is to move your project schedule to the cloud and collect all critical tasks and project information in one centralised place to establish seamless collaboration.

Think back to how you would file your documents ten years ago. You would print them out daily and store them in a filing cabinet. At best, you would convert them into PDFs and email them to relevant stakeholders. As soon as someone changed or adjusted something in the resource, design, or supply chain, you had to redo the document and resend it to everyone. Fortunately, digital technology has completely changed how we record project documents and disseminate information. But why are you still stuck doing the same thing in your planning?

Learn more: How to place planning at the centre of your projects to protect your margins and deliver faster

Give all your team members instant access to up-to-the-minute changes by basing your team communication around a central and live plan. Now your team members know exactly when to show up on site. No more waiting around for pending tasks to start their day; they can simply re-organise their to-do lists and work on a different job to save time.

As the project manager, this is how you help your teams and subcontractors: by empowering them to recognise opportunities that add value to your project. This gives them the most significant lesson in identifying elements to standardising a construction project: what can we learn from this process, and how do we improve the next time?

Then you wouldn’t have to build the same apartment unit differently every single time.

Connect your schedules

Project managers, site managers, procurement teams, and subcontractors currently struggle to see the pile of changes on their projects, and the impacts and problems these can cause. Because they keep all critical information separately in multiple disconnected tools and formats (Excel, MS Project, Primavera P6, Powerproject, PDFs, paper notes, whiteboards, etc.) and send them through various communication channels (email, SMS, WhatsApp messages, phone calls), they have a difficult time seeing the overall picture and fail to make timely and educated decisions.

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

Wouldn’t it be easier if each team and each team member can share updates of their own schedule in real time? Wouldn’t that be better than having to receive disconnected programmes and outdated emails? Similar to how you share your drawings through Dropbox, Google Drive, or One Drive, you would need a digital tool that focuses on all vital communication around planning in a collaborative environment. This would allow you to:

  • Smoothen communication with your teams and subcontractors
  • Improve planning transparency and visibility
  • Execute complete alignment between on-site and off-site teams
  • Achieve all important milestones and developments without missing anything
  • Quickly identify which tasks to focus on to deliver other value-adding tasks

Resolve project constraints easily

In summary, the key to resolving project constraints is using a centralised tool that connects your teams and subcontractors around your project planning. Having a live, central plan grants you and your teams timely and relevant information that allows everyone to easily collaborate, align schedules, resolve conflicts, avoid mistakes and make well-informed decisions, so you can deliver your projects successfully while saving everyone’s time and a lot of money.

If you are interested in incorporating a digital tool specific for team communication and planning in construction, you can download our free ebook here. Turn your reactive team into a proactive one today!

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Topics: Project management

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