A proper construction software project management is vital when new software is implemented and it might be a hard and long-lasting process, especially when software project management best practices are not followed. When it comes to the implementation of new construction software, you need to have in mind even more factors that can affect the implementation process. For example, the timing and seasoning play a significant role while there is a high season and low season in Construction. Functionality scope, different needs of your team members are also questions that you need to deal with. In this post, we will share 5 simple tips for construction software project management and make this process smooth and successful.
5 simple tips for construction software project management:
- Choose a Project manager (product owner)
- Choose the right timing for the implementation phase
- Take smaller bites at the time
- Agree on a software usage process and stick to it
- Be consistent
1. Choose a Project manager (product owner)
In construction software project management a project manager or so-called product owner is the first thing you need to decide. A construction software product owner is a person who is personally responsible for the implementation of the new Construction Management Software. The best person would be someone who understands not only the software solution and its functions, but knows the business and the needs from different roles in the construction business. A construction software project manager should communicate with the tool provider and help the internal team with questions and problem-solving. We have seen many times, that too many people are involved in making the decision on how to use the new tool. Too many different opinions create delays and to organize a meeting with the full team can be "Mission Impossible." This doesn't mean that you should not rely on Project managers opinion or exclude them from the process, that would be a mistake. It only means, that best practice is to have a manageable project team for the Implementation and a great balance between actual need and nice to have ideas. A suitable product owner should be able to manage all these challenges.
2. Choose the right timing for the implementation phase
In construction, there are low and high seasons when people are the busiest. For e.g. in the summertime, the project team has the most active period and in the wintertime, people are on vacations. The time is never right for construction software project management, but you as the project manager can still choose the most suitable time if you plan it in advance. When trying to implement new software during the highest season, it might be a fast way to failure. A poorly executed process will not give expected results. Another challenge is to try to transfer all historical data to the new system before starting. This is one reason why people procrastinate, while the idea of manually transferring past information seems to be a significant amount of work. Instead, you can start using the new Construction tool with new beginning projects and projects that will not end soon. This way has some disadvantages either, but much more advantages and saves time and your money also.
3. Take smaller bites at the time. Understand the company most important needs and split the implementation into parts
It is common that peoples think that more complex and more expensive construction software is, better it is. In fact, it can be exactly the opposite. Large scale and highly complex software implementation and project management is riskier, takes longer, peoples hardly learn it, and what is most disappointing - a significant number of functions remains not used. Think of your own experience - how much software functions do you usually use? For sure, it depends, but usually, we stick on some reasonable amount of main features. So how to apply these principles while managing a construction software in a quite complex construction business with many processes? Well, how you would eat the elephant? Peace by pease, right? So, first of all, decide what the most important and critical needs/functions in your construction company are. And implement only these main functions in the beginning. Do it with Agile principles, step by step, piece by piece. Sometimes it can even mean to implement several different software solutions that does exactly what you need now and in the amount that you can “eat” at once. Remember the 20/80 rule, 20% from the construction system will give 80% of effects. Try to do less and implement your new tool peace by peace, and you will avoid high scale failures.
4. Agree on a software usage process and stick to it
Often you can use one software product in multiple ways. In construction software project management it is necessary to find the best usage process of the new construction software, write it down, agree on it with the team, and stick to it. To adopt a unified process can be a bit harder for existing employees, whit their own habits, but it will be much faster to teach new employees and makes life easier in the end. Even the management meetings will be smoother while everyone is working on the same process and speak the “same language”. After implementation of new software, take time to review how people are using the Software solution and if they are not using it as agreed, talk to them. Try to find out why they are not using it as agreed, do they have different need or expectation or they just don't know how to use it. The success of implementation depends on how effectively software is used in a daily life.
5. Be consistent
One of the most crucial thing in construction software project management is to be consistent and push it until everyone on your team gets it. People are used to their old habits; change is not easy for them and sometimes even scary. We all feel that the “old good way” was better and more comfortable and we often don't have enough time to learn something new. Usually, none of the software is built to make someone's life harder, or at least it shouldn't be this way. It's just a very human, that to get used to a new way of doing things is a difficult task for our brain until it becomes a habit. So be consistent until everyone feels it as a habit, then you can say that your implementation project was successful.