4 Ways to Improve Construction Project Management

When managing a construction project, you need to consider many areas. At each stage, it is necessary to take into account the points of view of the actors of the construction site and the financiers of the project. Here are four ways to improve the project management process.

Building Project Management Essentials

1: Continue planning throughout the project

It’s tempting for any project manager to make a concrete plan at the start of a project and refuse to change it except in the worst circumstances. But getting things done in the real world doesn’t always go as planned, and being open to changes in plan elements — or even planning as you go — can be beneficial.

You see this willingness to adjust plans in the Lean-Agile approach adopted by software companies, in which they plan each sprint, each section of work and each stage.

By continuing to plan throughout the project, homebuilders can actually get a good view of any scope slippage and keep tight control over the risks. It also helps you deal with any issues that arise quickly, as your plan is fluid enough to adapt to the current situation.


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2: Ask questions of everyone involved in the project

Take the time to look at both the big and the small picture and ask questions of those in various positions within the company. Speak with the architect or designer – internal or external – for the project to learn and understand their concerns and know when to update or engage them. Talk to construction workers to find out if they feel the site is safe and meets their needs.

Communication is key to a successful project, but it doesn’t just mean relying on bland reports; Project management is, at heart, a people-driven business, and it’s essential that everyone is working towards the same goal. If you continually ask people what they need and want, their concerns, and where they are in the process, you get a good picture of any challenges or obstacles…and make sure everyone has a the feeling of being heard.

3: Manage risks

Too often I’ve seen project managers create a hard-to-read spreadsheet filled with business jargon that sits in a folder and is barely mentioned, and calls it the risk assessment. The spreadsheet is rarely updated and is only really consulted during business meetings, which causes eyes to cloud over when looking at the columns of data without context.

But manage risk well is essential to the success and sustainability of a project. If you use a more interactive (or “living”) document to identify and manage risks, it makes it easier and clearer to unearth issues and keep people aware of potential risks ahead.

When planning the stages of a construction project, risk details become an essential tool to ensure that you incorporate appropriate buffers. If you have an automated reporting system, you can set up alerts for specific risks so everyone who needs to know is notified. Break out of spreadsheet mode and make risks tangible to all stakeholders so they also feel a sense of ownership and responsibility.

4: Keep everyone on the same page

As mentioned earlier, communication is key to project success, and it’s much easier when everyone is on the same page, no matter where they are in the chain of command. So many projects fail because of misunderstandings about requirements or miscommunication of expectations. Keep everyone updated on the status of the project and make sure everyone knows they can come to you to discuss any issues.

A big part of this principle is to keep a watchful eye on the use of any jargon that might find its way into your vocabulary. I always say that analysts and project managers are basically translators for all areas of the business; what may be common jargon among investors may mean nothing to the guys on the ground doing the actual work.

As such, it is your duty to ensure that all communications are:

1) Sent to the right audience

2) Suitable for this audience, and

3) Provides enough information without overwhelming the audience.

Taking the time to create a communication plan that identifies all stakeholders and the amount of communication you want will save you a lot of hassle once the project is underway. This is where asking questions can really help you find out the exact concerns of each person involved.


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Key takeaways for successful project management

Construction management is a form of project management that can have disastrous consequences if things don’t go well. However, the key takeaways for improving your project are to be flexible in your planning, keep risk in mind, and ensure that communication workflows are developed from the start and maintained throughout the project. Do that and you should find your project – and your life – much easier.

Project Coordinator and Technical Writer, Sara Sparrow is a Contributing Writer for OX Essays and Dissertation Writing Services in the UK. She spends most of her professional life attending conferences and consulting with companies on technology and marketing, and then shares her knowledge on a variety of business topics.

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