I’m going to start with a basic assertion: to be effective and successful in their job, Project Managers need good information and the right tools. These two things are an absolute must. A bit more specifically: project managers first need current, accurate and complete project data; then secondly, they need the right tools to analyze, and report on that data.
This is especially true when managing large construction projects, where there are so many moving parts, changes, documents, contractors, costs, schedules, etc. to stay on top of. There are other things they need of course, but without these two key things, construction project managers are left feeling around in a dark room, desperately hoping to find a light switch.
The Fundamental Characteristics of a Good Project Manager
The reason they need good data and tools might be pretty obvious to you, but to clarify that a bit, let’s have a look at some of the most fundamental characteristics of a good project manager. There are many things they need to be of course: like they need to be organized, persistent, hard-working, practical and detailed-oriented while having an eye to the big picture; along with many more key attributes. But most importantly, it’s the following two characteristics that are absolutely critical for a good construction project manager:
- To make timely decisions
- To communicate
If you agree with that statement, then you must wonder why so many project managers are stuck with having to manage complex construction projects using poor-quality data and outdated tools? How can anyone make an informed decision based on old, inaccurate and incomplete data? How can they be expected to analyze the data they get using a beast of a spreadsheet that has 25 tabs, #REF errors and shaky formulas? How can they be expected to communicate critical project status reports to all stakeholders, vendors, clients, etc. when the information they’ve been given can’t be trusted?
To get into this a bit further, below I’ve identified 4 key strategies for ensuring construction project managers can be effective in their job.
4. Eliminate Information Delays, Errors and Gaps
Information delays, errors and omissions can significantly risk a project’s success, including budget overruns, schedule delays, health and safety issues and even claims risk. Project managers need to be in the know. They need to know what is happening NOW so they can make informed decisions and take necessary action to ensure the project is successful.
3. Reduce the Impact of Scope Changes
Scope Change, RFIs and Change Orders can have a devastating effect on the success and smooth management of a construction project. They are inevitable and can happen regularly on the project, so there’s no getting around them.
- Since they’re going to happen anyway, you’re best and really only option is to manage them elegantly, document them clearly, communicate the impact to everyone, ensure they’re properly budgeted and approved.
- With the sheer numbers of change orders, and the complexity they can represent, you’ll need a solution to organize, report, communicate and budget your change orders. A simple change order log can be a beast to manage without a solution like 4castplus to provide you the platform for change order management.
2. Create a Healthy Environment where Everyone Communicates
When there’s a breakdown in communication, or when teams work in silos, projects can really struggle. It can be difficult getting everyone on the same page and in an atmosphere of healthy communication, especially when there are barriers to accessing key information.
- Reducing the friction of how easy it is to communicate is critical to construction project success. This means keeping everyone informed by making key information easy to access and to consume.
- Get everyone on a centralized platform where multiple disciplines are working in the same environment, sharing data and workflows. Where information goes in once, and is used and reused by many people for many purposes and many places.
1. You Really Need Good Reporting and Analysis
Project managers that rely heavily on spreadsheets for their project cost management, spend an unreasonable amount of time buried in their spreadsheets trying to get reports out on time. This is further exacerbated when the project manager has multiple projects on the go. It is a significant effort to organize all project data into a consolidated report in order to analyze and communicate the bigger picture, and without a system in place, it’s a tremendously inefficient process.
- Eliminate your dependency on spreadsheets and invest in a solution that provides one-click reports that are flexible and customizable
- Adopt data and systems efficiencies through the use of a dedicated cost management platform that not only simplifies your reporting; but also provides a robust suite of analysis and forecasting tools to empower the whole team with the right decision-making capabilities.