By Darin Cox, Southeast Regional Manager
Initiation, planning, execution, performance and monitoring, and closure: the 5 phases of every project management. Looks pretty straightforward, right? Well, in the construction industry, managing a project calls for more than that. The complexity of projects, the management of risks and budgets and the pressure to meet deadlines without jeopardizing quality, are some of the challenges that construction project managers (PMs) have to overcome. So, how do you stay on track with the plan and meet expectations? The following factors will help you become more efficient and improve your construction project management skills.
Know Your Plan of Action
The devil is in the details. Try to keep this in your mind throughout your construction career and every time you come across a project. You must have a clear understanding of the strategy you are going to follow and more importantly of the steps you need to take to make the strategy work. A good method of approach is to divide tasks based on their sequence within the project itself. Remember that some tasks need to take place simultaneously and others need to be prioritized. For example, your electricians might be able to work alongside with your carpenters, but your painters might have to wait for your masons to complete work before stepping in. Diligent planning is critical before launching a project and it is a great exercise to improve your construction project management skills.
Establish Solid Communication
A difference that should be highlighted when it comes to construction project management is the number of stakeholders that are involved. This calls for prompt communication and collaboration among the different parties. Superintendents, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers need to exchange information timely and cooperate smoothly. Establishing a solid flow of communication is going to eliminate unnecessary delays and confusion throughout the life of the project. Apart from concentrating on getting the necessary construction skills, look for tools and technology that help you keep the channels of communication open and make sure that you hold everyone accountable for staying in touch and responding instantaneously.
Have the Proper Resources
Do you have the resources you need to manage the project as planned? Don’t wait to find out while the project is in progress. From construction skills to materials to equipment, it is important to address shortages and fill mishaps quickly. For example, the time to fill a carpenter job opening might delay the entire project, so partnering with a construction staffing firm is a timely way to cover manpower needs. In addition, managing resources means assigning tasks to the tradespeople with the right construction skills or outsourcing tasks to save time and increase efficiency. Improve your construction project management skills by keeping a close eye on the daily operations to spot any deficiencies and use technology to facilitate control.
Manage Risks and Budget
Budget, budget, budget. You are going to hear this word many times during your construction career. As a construction PM, you will also have to manage the budget. There are many factors that can and will affect your financial planning and you need to be aware of them. From an increase in prices of materials to an onsite accident to delays in filling positions, many variables can affect your budget plan. You can’t account for or control everything, but at least you can be prepared. Your job is to monitor and track all costs and make sure they have a minimal impact on the project. Not an easy challenge, but totally doable if you give it the necessary attention.
Managing a construction project is not easy. A lot can and will go wrong putting your project management skills to the test. You will realize, during your construction career that no project is the same as the one before it. However, every single one of them has lessons to teach for the one following. What could you have done better? Was the communication process working the way you anticipated? Did everyone stick to the plan and is there room for improvement? Do you need to look into technology that facilitates procedures? Dig into the details to see what you can learn and how you can use the information to improve your construction project management skills for the future.
Key Takeaways for Improving Your Construction Project Management Skills:
- Have a clear understanding of the strategy you are going to follow
- Keep open channels of communication between the involved parties
- Ensure you have adequate resources to manage the project
- Monitor and track all costs to make sure they have a minimal impact on the project
- Use the information of previous projects to improve your construction project management skills
Founded in 1993, TradeSource is a construction labor solutions firm focused on delivering labor solutions to contractors throughout the United States. By supplying skilled tradespeople – where and when they’re needed – we help contractors grow their companies, without the associated costs and hassles of full-time hires. Likewise, we match qualified employees with rewarding and well-paying job opportunities in the construction industry. www.tradesource.com