Why you can’t run complex construction projects with Whatsapp and Excel

Download our free ebook today and learn how LetsBuild can help you deliver successful projects without tearing your hair out using Excel and WhatsApp!

Almost all of us have in one way or another used WhatsApp at some point in our lives to communicate with our friends, family, and even colleagues. What makes WhatsApp so popular is how easy it is to exchange messages and photos with your connections.

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A user can be either the admin or the participant to a number of WhatsApp groups and communicate differently depending on the members and the scope of each group. In that aspect, WhatsApp offers distinct levels of transparency that meet the needs of the users for personalised communication flows.

But what about using WhatsApp in your construction projects? Could that be a good idea? The short answer is no. And we can explain why:

1. WhatsApp isn’t sector-specific

First and foremost, WhatsApp isn’t a tool that has been made for the construction industry. As a result, there are a number of challenges that appear when you try to rely on a digital solution like that to connect your 3-6 week planning to the master schedule.

Many stakeholders in construction resort to WhatsApp in their effort to get real-time updates on the numerous ongoing tasks and projects. So they export their P6 plan into Excel and try to get it out to their site teams in time to monitor and track progress reporting. This leads them gradually to lose control over their tasks as they don’t have all the information they need around the status of the project.

As a result, costs are escalating and Project Directors come to a position where they might have to spend their entire Sunday doing progress update reports for client meetings on a Monday.

2. The data shared in WhatsApp is static

The data you have shared through WhatsApp is static and lacks the context project teams need to plan ahead and monitor the progress of their tasks. If you decide to use WhatsApp for your reporting and monitoring processes, you will eventually need to employ someone just to extract information from the platform on a weekly basis so that everyone can stay updated.

So this quickly turns again into a manually-intensive approach and you end up working on outdated programmes surrounded by endless bits of critical information without any context or connection to their respective tasks.

3. WhatsApp isn’t built for collaboration

Given that many stakeholders in construction are still using pen and paper or endless email threads, it comes as no surprise that WhatsApp might feel like an improvement on the way you exchange feedback and the latest updates with the rest of your team.

However, the truth is that WhatsApp isn’t built to support a dynamic data ecosystem where critical issues should be flagged and addressed in real time. The lack of context and dependencies around the collected data leads to huge amounts of time spent for Project Directors and Project Managers going back and forth with all sources.

Read also: How to reduce admin work and endless meetings in construction

Soon they end up becoming a bottleneck for their projects as they don’t have all the information they need to make the right decision.

4. Absence of accountability

It is no secret that construction is struggling with a serious blame culture. The use of WhatsApp can amplify this behaviour and allow stakeholders to avoid sharing all the necessary data at once fearing that they will be held accountable for the setback on the original plan.

Needless to say that this adds to the confusion and makes life even harder for Project Directors and Foremen who have limited visibility over their projects. They end up missing crucial information as there are too many different channels with no connection between them whatsoever.

5. Lack of connection across multiple applications

Regardless of the size or the type of your construction projects, one thing is for sure. All your platforms should be connected in real time ensuring that no information is lost or delivered late.

WhatsApp can deliver your information in real time but in an isolated way making it impossible both for your site teams and the people in the boardroom to assess the importance of an update the moment they receive it. In other words, whatever your teams are reporting on, they have no context on how critical the information is.

Download our free ebook and learn what you should do next

By now, you have a good idea of why using WhatsApp for managing your construction projects can throw your project over time and budget. But it’s time for action!

It’s time to dive into how LetsBuild can improve collaboration between your teams and become the missing link between your master programme and your 3-6 week planning. So that you can segment your various communication workflows while maintaining full visibility over your multiple tasks and projects.

Download our free ebook today and learn how LetsBuild can help you deliver successful projects without tearing your hair out using Excel and WhatsApp!

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Topics:
Digital constructionTeam collaboration
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