Do you sometimes feel that everything slips out of your hands during project execution? Or, do you often have an impression that you cannot really control any construction activity? Check out our 5 tips on how to increase control over projects and benefit from timely delivery, with no worries attached.
Many aspects of your project can go wrong in the execution stage. You can exceed the budget due to unplanned costs, extend the work because of the delays or have communication resulting in constant problems and last minute changes.
Even though many external and internal factors influence your delivery, you can still develop some practices to manage them. The most important aspect here is proper project control. But how to provide it? Let's take a look at our list!
As a person responsible for project delivery, you probably heard a million times that proper planning is crucial for further success. But, in real life, do you really devote enough time to the planning stage?
Did you know that 39% of projects fail due to a lack of proper planning? If you do not devote enough time to that, you deprive your project of more than ⅓ of the chance for success. It is a lot!
To increase your chances at the very beginning, try to devote more time to planning activities. While scheduling work:
consider potential blockers and risks that can occur during execution
assure a clear view of your project schedule with dependencies between tasks (so that if any risk occurs to the project, you will be able to move the single tasks without risking the final deadline)
review the previous projects to see what worked well in the past and which aspects should be improved
engage your team in the process
Many project managers do not want to engage their employees in the project planning process as they fear organisational mess and unproductive hours spent in long meetings. We understand these concerns, but involving the team in the process has undeniable benefits:
82% of employees have ideas on how to improve their work and obtain better results
23% higher profitability of projects in which employees were engaged in the planning process
4,6 times better performance of employees who feel heard
So how to plan with employees to make the process efficient and productive? Crucial here is the responsibility aspect. If your employees feel accountable for preparing specific parts of the planning, they will be much more engaged in project execution later on. Also, setting up clear responsibilities gives you a good control tool as you know which teammate has the best information about specific activities.
Okay, our employees are engaged and responsible for their project parts. Two steps from five are done. But how to control the execution of their activities once the project starts and everybody seems super busy with their daily tasks? Also, should the team contact you by phone, email, report or company’s communicator if any risk occurs?
To gain control over your project delivery, you must know what happens during its execution. You are not able to watch, manage and control every single process. That is why, before a project starts, you should discuss with the team your communication path. Apart from the primary source of communication, specify an additional type used only for crisis situations. Thanks to that, you know that you must take care of it immediately after receiving a notification.
So far, you have:
prepared a detailed project plan with detailed work schedule
engaged your team in the process, making them accountable for their actions
created a communication plan and made sure that your team is on the same page with the changes
but have you thought about project control on the company level?
Many project managers and company owners tend to forget that changes on the company level also enormously impact their project's success. Why? It is because construction assets like money, employees' time or equipment are the same for the whole company. So even with your tasks planned perfectly, you can still fail to deliver them on time if the work on another project is delayed.
The solution here can be the assets approach in project management. According to this approach, you should consider the situation on other projects during the scheduling process. Are certain machines available by the time the project starts? Or, how likely is it that project A, from which I need employees, will be delayed? By treating assets this way, you can better plan your actions and react more flexibly to the changes. And as you probably already know, flexible project management is nowadays more crucial than ever.
Read more: Why is Project Management not enough?
Last but not least: project budget. Even though it is one of the most critical aspects of project delivery, managers often do not pay enough attention to financials during execution. Usually, they just sit down at the end of the project and summarise all the costs, invoices and final income, but it is a huge mistake!
As we said earlier, make external and internal factors influence your project delivery. If you leave the financial calculations at the very end of the project, you deprive yourself of any possibility of managing changes. It’s only by having a clear understanding and overview of your project finances that you can make changes without fear of exceeding your budget.
In order to control your budget, try to find some time daily or weekly and book it in your calendar (so that nobody distracts you) to analyse the project's financial situation.
What changed during the week?
How did my project cost change?
Are these changes happening according to the plan?
How did the prognosis change during this week?
Are there any aspects that need to be changed/managed more closely?
These are only some of the questions you can ask yourself, but you should come back to them as often as possible to guarantee proper construction project control.
What do you think of our five tips for better project control? Have you already implemented some of them? Of course, there are many more aspects in project delivery that you can optimise, but implementing these five steps should already give you a positive boost in construction project control.
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