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Construction, Business - 5 min read

6 Project Management Hacks

Jason Hook

Head of Sales and Marketing

Sep 6, 2016 8:24:00 AM

In the construction industry, project managers wrangle approximately 120 responsibilities, according to The Construction Management Association of America. The construction industry is diverse, technical and ever-changing - so project managers need to be highly skilled and agile in their approach.

Project management in most industries falls under 5 phases: Conception and initiation, planning, execution, performance and monitoring, and finally project close.

With the increasingly technical operation of even a simple build site, managing a construction project has become a little more technical. To succeed as a construction project manager, you need a working understanding of the latest technology to keep up to speed with competitors.

Here are 6 hacks we recommend adopting for improving your project management skills, including how solid organisation strategies drive productivity and streamline the management process.

 

1. Assess your current skillset

Look at your current performance and business goals, and take time to reflect on past projects and benchmark these against more recent projects. Ask yourself honestly, how are you performing?

Once you know where you stand and the areas you can improve, it’s time to set some goals. Perhaps you want to increase profitability or improve on your project timelines? Set realistic and measurable goals for your next project and work out what needs to happen to make them reality.

4 time saving email templates 

2. Focus on exceptional communication

Communication is essential in all facets of business, and a non-negotiable in every phase of construction.

A good communication flow is needed with every stakeholder, contractor and supplier to ensure productivity and performance don't lag. Keep it simple. Whenever possible speak directly to the parties involved, rather than relying on email, texts and phone calls. It will save you time. 

Brush up on your writing skills too. Project management requires a good deal of paperwork and email communication. So even if you use automated communication tools, you’ll still need to know how to craft a meaningful letter.

 

3. Pay attention & ask questions

Due to the physical demands of the construction industry, project management in this industry can be more laborious than others. In many situations, you’ll have to visit the project field before making any clear-cut decisions to resolve problems.

Be a better project manager by familiarising yourself with the responsibilities of your tradesmen, the construction site and any other professional working on the project. When you pay attention to the fine details, it speaks volumes to those around you. Showing you’re invested in all parts of the project makes for excellent leadership. 

Ask questions when you don’t know something. Continue to educate yourself as much a possible and learn from those around you. This will strengthen and grow your project management skills.

 

4. Schedules and task lists

Productivity and excellent planning go hand in hand. Control your project by creating schedules and task lists so that everyone involved knows what they are doing and when. Without them, your workers can lose momentum and slack off.

You can adopt the use of a Gantt Chart. This is a horizontal timeline of the project tasks. Sometimes having this visual can help you keep track of where you are and the big picture. Otherwise, a simple tasks list can do the job too.

You can also look into project management software, which already has these components in place.

 

5. Measure and track progress 

As we outlined in the beginning, assessing where you currently stand and where you want to go is critical to improving project management. But setting a clear goal is only one chapter of the story, the next is measuring and tracking milestones.

Your milestones should be key deliverables. You should be able to measure them and recalibrate if you’re not reaching them. Tracking performance against your task list and project deadlines is a good way to determine the capabilities and efficiency of your labour force.

Note down what you learnt on each project. Ask yourself:

  • What issues arose during the project?
  • Were there any risks and how were they managed?
  • What tasks went overtime? Why?
  • Document the anomalies between projects.

Make notes throughout the duration of the project when issues arise because it’s more than likely you’ll forget. Understanding where things didn’t go according to plan can help you rectify these for next time. 

 

6. Organisation strategies

Adopting the following organisation strategies can also drive productivity and streamline the management process.

Records Management: Keep tabs on all documents and provide a central library for everyone to retrieve, distribute and manage electronic and paper files safely.

Contract Management: Contract management plans ensure all staff have set roles and responsibilities and a procedure to follow at all times. This process also outlines payment procedures for contractors, methods of payment and how to modify contracts when necessary.

Contract Procurement Planning: Procurement activities must always fit into a project plan, and it’s the responsibility of a project manager to ensure these activities integrate into the schedule.

Project Control Process: Manage and track the construction project from cost through to schedule. The purpose here is to monitor performance against the baseline and make forecasts for performance while tracking the progress along the way.

Project Requirement Definition: An outline of your project deliverables. This document describes to stakeholders, external parties and members of the team the goals of the project and its expectations.  

Daily Documentation: Monitoring project activities through daily reports, diaries and logs can help to reduce any damages. This documentation process can show how problems were solved and keep track of any anomalies that occurred on any individual day. Having these notes can be the lifesaving material if anything goes wrong later in the project.

For more project management advice, download your free copy of the Builder's 10 Minute Toolkit with Tips and Tech to Save You Time below:

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