Smart Tools for Construction Project Managers
There are several steps to effective project management, beginning with determining the scope of work and associated budgets. From there, planning and scheduling take precedence as you arrange for the teams and resources necessary to support project delivery milestones. Risk management and quality assurance are also essential areas of focus throughout the project lifestyle.
It’s easy to see how even the best project managers could use some help. Fortunately, there are dozens of useful software tools on the market. The right ones for you depend on the size of your organization and what type of information you need to track.
What kind of construction business do you represent?
There are various tools available for businesses of all types and sizes. Chances are that your company will fall into one of these four categories:
- General Contractor
- Building Owner
- Independent Construction Manager
Each one of these categories has needs that are different from the others. For example, a large general contractor needs a full-featured suite of software solutions to help manage projects from start to finish. Meanwhile, a sub-contractor will require less functionality, perhaps limited to basic scheduling and documentation capabilities.
What do you need to keep track of?
The next consideration comes in the magnitude of details that need to be tracked. Some systems will offer customizable dashboards to help you keep an eye on several activities at once. Software solutions are available to help manage any or all of the following tasks:
- Bids and Proposals
- Project Plans and Schedules
- Equipment and Workforce Needs
- Budgets and Purchase Orders
- Change Orders and Updates
- Collaboration and Communication
What are you trying to accomplish with these tools?
Your selection of project management tools also has everything to do with what you are hoping to accomplish – or improve – with your new system. This can include one or more of the following:
- Better documentation of SOWs, contracts, change orders, and communication exchanges.
- Tighter financial control of outside expenses, as well as estimated versus actual costs.
- Greater collaboration among all team members associated with any given project.
What special considerations do you have?
You also have a choice of cloud-based software applications or those housed on your premises. Cloud-based options allow for greater collaboration from various locations, including remote sites. Be sure to consider the mobility needs of your team in terms of choosing tools that will work on smart phones and tablet devices.
Finally, gauge your need for features that are designed especially for green building. These can keep track of the credits you must amass to qualify your construction project for LEED certification.
Of course, there are aspects of construction project management that no software program can accomplish as well as the human mind. This includes quality assurance and risk management, both which require onsite expertise to ensure that expected performance metrics are achieved.