The construction industry is inarguably one of the biggest businesses in the world, and statista.com predicts that in 2025, construction spending all over the world will reach 14 Trillion US Dollars. But at the back of every successful project, there is an immense amount of construction management planning involved – from the moment the plans are drawn up, up to the actual construction and completion, people in the form of project managers coordinate every movement like a conductor of a well-played orchestra.
But what is project management, and what is a project managers job in the construction scheme of things?
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT
The Project Management Institute defines project management as the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time quality, and participating objectives. This definition can be extended to the construction setting where a project manager uses the same concepts to achieve the same objectives.
Because construction project management encompasses a lot of areas, people involved in this work requires knowledge in many different fields like finance, mediation, business, law and many more.
THE ROLE OF A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGER AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Construction Project Managers are the people who shoulder the responsibilities of keeping the construction project moving according to the plan. The goal is to manage the project so that it finishes on time and within the specified budget while meeting building codes, plans, and specifications.
With all of these, construction project managers certainly have a lot of balls to juggle with every construction project that they take – from conducting meetings, to accounting, tracking change orders, hiring crews, down to managing client expectation. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to manage large crews and multiple projects error free without the help of a project management software to automate time-consuming tasks.
With this said, IT companies have begun developing project management software as a response to the need of the construction industry, and the number of new software released every have been growing exponentially
With all of these options out there, that, at first glance offer the same features, how do you choose the best software for construction project management? The answer is, it depends on your company’s needs. The best software for construction project management for residential construction will be different from the needs of a construction firm that engages in mega projects. However, there are some characteristics that should be present in all construction management software.
FEATURES TO LOOK FOR IN A PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
For you to filter through all the project management software out there to find the best construction project management software, the platform must, at the very least, should have these five basic features. Any less than these five, the platform will not qualify as the best project management software for construction for your organization.
Feature 1: It Should Have Accounting and Financial Modules
The best software for project management in construction will have a robust cost managing solution. You want a software that has estimating, forecasting and accounting modules that will allow you to track budgets, do payroll, invoicing and billing. You also want software that allows you to see your cash flow so you can see where you are standing financially so you can make the necessary adjustments.
Feature 2: Team Collaboration
Construction is all about team effort, and whether you are working on a small scale construction with ten team members or on a large project that consists of hundreds of people, these people frequently look at each other’s work to supplement their own. And so, the software should be able to let the entire team no matter how small or large it connects seamlessly with each other to share files, project details, comments etc. in real time.
Feature 3: Material and Equipment Management
A good project management software will have a material management tracking feature where it allows you to control where the materials that your supplier has delivered. This option should also allow you to review quotes that you’ve received as well as track payments for your materials.
Equipment Management, on the other hand, will allow you to track the equipment that you own as well as see who is using it as well as track whether it needs to be repaired or if the warranty is still valid.
Feature 4: Project and Schedule Management
Construction is all about schedules, and every step has a deadline. You want a software that will allow you to manage your resources – manpower and construction materials effectively.
You want to get a software that has at least a Gantt chart, or for more sophisticated scheduling needs, a software that can run CPM ( Critical Path Method). You also want software that allows you to set targets as well as send notifications to the person or team assigned to the ask when the scheduled end date is approaching and the assigned job is still unfinished.
Feature 5: Reporting
You want your ideal platform to have at least two things: customizable reports and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) because you want to be able to stay on top of things so that you can see if a potential problem is brewing so you can stop it before it has a chance to escalate.