Digitally ‘Retrofitting’ Your Project Management
August 23, 2022
With infrastructure projects in the United States and around the world queuing up rapidly, the global construction industry is poised for a very robust growth period.
And just as many of those infrastructure projects will undergo their own physical retrofitting, the way we manage those projects — and all of our construction projects, really — will have to undergo a transformation as well, one that incorporates sophisticated, digitalized technology.
But not just any technology will work; neither legacy systems nor newer generic business solutions will be able to rise to the occasion. That’s because we’ve been seeing the emergence of megaprojects that involve massive coordination of resources and stakeholders. And as these megaprojects become more complex, so does the project management process.
What’s needed now is an integrated project controls platform that can manage the vast amounts of information and resources that go into these substantial projects. Let’s look at why this is the case, and what such a platform is capable of providing.
Leverages data for more efficient project management
One of the most important aspects of managing any construction project is having up-to-date data at your fingertips at all times. That means not only knowing what work has been done but also what work still needs to be done, and when it will be completed. Yet for too long, construction projects have been operating at a disadvantage, with little if any definitive idea of true project status at any given moment.
Without having visibility into all of the moving parts — from change orders to inventory to labor productivity levels — your ability to make smart choices, avert risk and plan adequately quickly becomes limited. And when time is money, it’s critical that you have access to comprehensive real-time data at every step along the way. As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you can’t see.
Fortunately, there is a better way. An integrated platform gathers and standardizes the wealth of incoming data sourced directly from the jobsite and business units, condensing it all into real-time performance metrics like schedule performance index (SPI) and cost performance index (CPI). These are the numbers to pay attention to when evaluating status and progress.
That data is then summarized and presented through the platform’s online dashboards and reports for real-time visibility into what’s actually going on inside their project. Project team members can see at a glance how well phases of the project are doing against the established estimate. The responsiveness of these performance metrics to internal and external risk factors will show up flagged on those dashboards, giving a heads up that something may need a bit of attention or further corrective action before it worsens.
From a project management perspective, having such comprehensive insight into project status at all times gives you more control. And with that control comes better informed discussions and timelier decisions that keep the project workflow moving more smoothly.
Enables team access to all project data through the cloud
This data can be used to improve performance and productivity, but only if it’s accessible by all stakeholders and team members. Too often, they’re left searching for information that should be readily available — if only they could find it in the right place at the right time. Digitalizing the project management process in the form of cloud-based technology provides the flexibility to make this ideal a reality.
A robust cloud-based project controls platform is more than just a repository for data, however. It integrates all of the disparate sources that make up your cross-functional project management team and provides them with the tools they need to access information from anywhere. This is where cloud-enabled mobile devices and tablets come in, ensuring project details are available where they’re needed, when they’re needed, and by whom. The cloud essentially becomes the great connector, linking everyone to critical data and, just as importantly, to each other.
The impact on project management is significant. There is better communication and collaboration among teams, whether across geographies and time zones or across the jobsite and multiple shifts, quicker reactions to changes in scope or schedule, and the ability to act on that data through collective decision making based on the same universally accessible information.
Centralizes business functions for smoother team interaction
Many construction projects today are digitalized to some extent, but quite a few of those projects are still at least partially managed using traditional methods. This means that the information needed to track a project’s progress and manage it effectively is likely still housed in multiple disparate systems, making it difficult for project team members to stay on top of everything that’s going on. This situation has been putting a dent in project management efficiency — from continuous data re-entry among disconnected systems to bottlenecked information-sharing and communication to questionable versions of data truth. Especially with so much data each capital project will produce, no one wants to take on the task of continually figuring out what the latest information is and where it’s located.
Integrating all facets of a construction project’s life cycle into a single platform with one user interface reduces risks like these. And just as important as what you avoid is what you gain: Access to all project-related information housed in the platform’s single source of truth, enabling project team members to communicate and collaborate effectively. This means a central, virtual hub that has the latest version of data providing one location from which the team can access, analyze, act on, update and share that information.
Completing infrastructure upgrades and other large-scale capital projects is a complicated business requiring careful planning, coordination and communication between all parties involved. When it comes to managing such projects — including bridges, hospitals and power plants — there’s no room for error. Therefore, trusting the success of those projects to anything other than an integrated platform can pose real threats to the very outcomes you’re striving to achieve for your client. The InEight integrated platform offers a cloud-based way to better view and manage your cost, schedule and scope outcomes for even the most intricate of builds. Find out more with a demo.