It’s always very interesting to me how much difference there is between how organizations structure the management of major projects.  Naturally, the bigger the project, the more bodies they’ll need for project controls, construction project management, procurement, etc. Adding more people of course, adds more complexity (to anything). When you add more people, those people need to be organized into groups and disciplines; each requiring key inputs and outputs and deliverables. In defining this organizational structure; I’ve found that there is a tendency for major to mega projects to disconnect these groups into individual silos. Working in silos, they coexist with each other, but with minimum interaction. No-one wants this to happen, of course, and any person would tell you that healthy communication is vital for streamlined success.

As a company that builds construction project management software to handle the intricacies of keeping construction projects in a happy place, we often find that the additional role we take on (besides providing technology) is to also provide tools for improving the interactions and cooperation between the various groups charged with project cost management. These groups can be: Project Controls, Procurement, Engineering, Project Management, Accounting, IT etc.

If we can create an environment where, for example, the Project Controls group have a solid level of co-habitation and healthy collaboration with the Buyers in the Procurement department, we’ll see that as a mini win. Even if that cohabitation is in a digital sense.

I can safely call that a win because we hear the periodic grumblings from people in all groups about the challenges they face in managing complex projects.  Looked at objectively, the underpinnings of many of their challenges are rooted in the fact that they live in a communication silo.  We’d like to say that software can help break-down the silos, but of course the individuals have to take advantage of the tool to let it facilitate the relationships.