When evaluating a project management software to track your construction projects, one of the most important criteria is the reporting capability.
Project managers or construction business owners invest in a project tracking software seeking following benefits from the reporting capabilities –
- Complete visibility of different projects being executed by the team
- Real time updates regarding any possible showstoppers
- Accurate information
- Actionable reports
A construction project manager has high confidence in project control reports meeting these four expectations.
A construction project is the grand total of a variety of activities – engineering design, obtaining permits & approvals, material purchase, inventory management, actual construction work, commissioning and handover.
All these activities are interdependent and their progress is deeply interlinked with each other.
Hence it is always important that a project progress report tells a holistic story of what is happening in different areas of the same project.
For example – when ‘final approval of engineering drawings’ or ‘permits for one particular construction area’ are delayed, that is going to delay the start of construction activities. But exactly by how many days?
That can only be answered by considering the holistic picture of how – material procurement is dependent on final engineering drawings and how construction work cannot start without material delivery or the approved engineering package itself.
A project control software that accounts for these interlinks between different project activities can provide a holistic picture through its progress tracking reports.
Real Time Updates
Infrastructure projects are very capital intensive, requiring significant upfront investment.
Because of their capital intensive nature, any delay in the final completion a construction project means reduced returns on initial investment.
Accordingly, construction project managers are always trying to mitigate any possible delays in project completion.
That makes all the activities in a construction project quite time sensitive, especially considering how all activities are deeply interdependent.
Progress tracking reports can help a project manager to monitor all project activities from different areas of a construction project. But this monitoring is valuable only when it is done in real time – considering the time sensitive nature of the construction project activities.
So, apart from providing a holistic picture of how different project activities are progressing, progress reports should also do the same in real time (or near real time).
Highlighting any delays immediately to the project manager, allows him a sufficient window for taking measures to containing the effect of those delays.
Accuracy of Information
Project control reports are used for tracking actual project progress and costs. These actual numbers then help to forecast any possible delays or budget overrun.
The impact of delays or excess costs can be significant and demands that strong preventive measures are taken.
But that can only happen when the project control team and project managers are confident about the accuracy of actual numbers being reported.
Further, any construction project is delivered through team work. Everyone on the team needs to contribute to keep it moving.
Decisions and instructions from a project manager are well received when the team understands where those decisions are coming from.
If a project manager takes certain steps based on a progress tracking report, it is important that he and his team have high confidence in that report.
Consistently accurate project control reports are important for taking the right decisions and for taking them with confidence.
Ultimate goal of having a project control system is to mitigate all the project delays or cost escalations that can arise from time to time.
Given how construction project activities are very time sensitive, project managers must act quickly based on the information that they have to prevent cascading effects of any delays or cost escalations.
Therefore whenever any such scenario comes to light through project control reports, the same reports must also point toward the next action that can be taken to contain the situation.
A simple example would be a list of delayed activities with a detailed description of where each activity has been stuck and for how many days.
Such a report is highly actionable, since the project manager can immediately follow up with people who are delaying certain activities. That will quickly lead the project manager to the cause of the delay and subsequently to a solution.
Digital Tools for Construction Project Control
We now know what the most crucial elements are for an effective construction project control system.
There are some digital tools that can be used collectively, to achieve all four of these project control goals.
- Cloud based project control system enables connectivity to all project stakeholders, connecting everyone on a central platform. This can provide complete visibility of everyone’s work in the project control reports.
- Mobile apps can make this cloud based system accessible from anywhere, with ease. That means information can now be shared quickly than ever before – helping in real time updates to the project team.
- Workflow based software can further be used to digitize actual work processes that a construction team is already used to. Continuing the same work processes will help in smooth transition of the team to a digital system, minimizing any confusion and maintaining the same level of accuracy that is already in place.
- Custom reporting module or integration of with a business intelligence (BI) system can help a project control to set up actionable report formats.
WorkPack is an online platform for construction project managers which has already integrated all these elements in one single place and already helped project managers from different industries.
Can this platform help your project control team as well? Find out by setting up a free trial account.
To learn the details of how it all works, set up a free consulting call with our experts.