Why every residential project needs a real-time GPS, not a paper-based map

Written by LetsBuild

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During one of our recent LetsBuild webinars, a Senior Project Manager on a residential project made a great analogy. The way we plan a residential project today is similar to the way we planned a road trip 40 years ago. 

Imagine you go on a road trip with friends in 1980. A few days before the trip you sit down, take your Michelin map, and define the different stops you will make, the highway you will take, and you document that in a detailed roadbook. Now imagine you start your trip and after a while, you hit a traffic jam or a roadblock, so you end up stuck in traffic for hours. You revert back to your Michelin Map and replan a part of your trip causing significant delays. It is frustrating and generates a lot of stress for you and your passengers. 

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

On your project, it’s the same. You plan your project in MS Project and distribute it, but as soon as there is a problem on site, such as delays in delivery, your planning becomes obsolete causing stress and significant administrative workload because the information is coming to you late. 

Fast forward to today, to make this trip you are using apps like Waze or Google Maps. You step in the car with your friends and you put the phone in the middle of the car, visible to everyone. As soon as there is a traffic jam or a roadblock the application tells you because other drivers have reported it. You arrive faster at your destination and much more relaxed thanks to collaborative and real-time information.

With a construction-specific digital tool, it is the same. Your programme is updated with real-time information about progress and issues by all involved project members enabling you to adjust and react quickly to unforeseen events. So, you are able to protect your margins against claims and unnecessary delays and build reliable workflows where all stakeholders have ownership of their tasks and, more importantly, a clear understanding of when a task should be defined as “done”.  

Learn more: Did you know that 80% of the people who deliver on time stick to their budget?

That is what collective intelligence of applications is all about. This is the difference between working with an Excel or MS Project and working with a tool that is tailored for the construction industry. Like many others, the project manager who participated in our webinar used to rely on Excel and MS Project to manage his schedule.

But he had no way to share his programme with the rest of his team. The programme would remain stuck in his computer or in that of his foreman forcing project stakeholders to work in silos. This disconnection between the people on the ground and the programme fueled the culture of blame and reduced engagement from subcontractors. 

After bringing his project information to the cloud, he started witnessing the value of working together with his team on a shared schedule. He was able to see everything that was happening on site and give everyone involved the information they needed to keep their tasks going and deliver according to the promises that had been made in advance.

If you are also ready to transform the way you communicate around your project’s schedule, download our free ebook today. It will offer you some great insights into how you can ensure that your programme always reflects reality without relying on tools like Excel and WhatsApp.