Excellent contractors deliver world-class output by hiring top talents, building highly effective project teams, and enhancing productivity, which in return drives increased competitive advantage and construction productivity. However, the steps to obtain and maintain a thriving organization have become a little more complex over the years. So what are these key components that needed to have to make your team more highly effective and make your upcoming projects more successful?
Great teams are strongly characterized by some common habits. Before outlining these habits, it is crucial to understand first the general definition of a habit in the construction environment. As paraphrase, a habit is an intersection of knowing what is needed to do with the skills and the strong desire to get the work done. In essence, a habit merges inspirational leadership with high standard operation processes, procedures and effective training.
Here are the seven everyday habits crucial to develop when you’re building project teams.
1. Create Accountability
Top contractors manage accountability on any project, and PMs are the business managers for every project. The best project managers personally think that if the project is losing money, they too are losing money. If a particular project currently has issues, making excuses by blaming the architect, the owner or the estimator is not something PMs do. Hence, your company can create accountability by allowing senior management dynamically involved in the rigorous, periodic examination of job status.
Overall, it doesn’t mean a cursory review of project costs but it includes a narrative of the following as well:
- Project cost projections in comparison to budget
- Current project status
- Change order complaints and management
- Subcontractor performance
- Profit projections
- Cash flow status
- Customer concerns
Senior management should create the proper environment during the reviews by making a forum for honest and open communication, rather than punishment and recrimination. Only by then will you feel comfortable and confident enough to share both the bad and good news. As a result, the corrective action can be initiated before it is too late.
2. Be Proactive
The ability to establish and measure leading KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is one of the most valuable habits of any team from a top construction business. Simply put, you need to take a proactive leadership approach when solving problems, not a reactive approach. If you’re unsure whether you are a proactive or a reactive leader, you may ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my unofficial job description includes “Problem Solver” or “Fire Fighter”?
- Are my projects frequently over budget or/and late?
- Do I start the day with best intentions only to become disrupted by 10 AM?
- Do I get emails labeled “urgent” regularly?
- Are there high volumes of Requests for Information (RFIs)?
- Do most of my project performance reports based on the last month’s data?
- Do I often use contingency funds?
- Do I get surprised when there are change orders?
If your answers are most Yes to any of these questions, you are more likely to make a few reactive decisions. So how to be a Proactive leader? Actually, there are many ways to become more proactive. You have to work in a time management quadrant that more emphasizes vital tasks and not urgent tasks. You can spot these action items, regardless of the deadline, that might be driven by somebody other than you.
Here are the typical “Reactive” lagging indicators you must recognize:
- Actual project schedules and accomplished milestones
- Quantities installed
- Actual cost versus budget costs
- Cash flow to date
If you are a proactive contractor, you start recognizing the significance of team dynamics and communication. Doing so will ensure that there is sufficient time to do any of your leadership activities. You can keep a careful eye on your project team’s culture while looking for signs of defensive behaviors. A proactive contractor doesn’t have to be submissive to always in fire-fighting mode to their projects.
When you have the burning desire to improve projects, make sure to bring in the knowledge and the leadership skills you got. Simply put, you will ultimately build some game-changing habits that will make you more competent or a world-class contractor.
3. Forecast Completion
Much of project performance management focuses more on what has already happened. It so happens that historical data has been the only way a contractor like you can gain insights into project performance. Everybody in the construction industry can immediately recall the tiring process while waiting for the accounting period to close to see how much the project expenses are.
In many cases, PMs are looking at data from two months prior. The incapacity to gain project status in a sensible manner allows any issues to become urgent, resulting in project delay. The demand for real-time project data is what gave rise to project accounting or cost management.
If there’s one particular habit you wish to leverage from seven cited practices in this blog, always consider deploying the best construction tech like Pro Crew Schedule and implementing construction crew management. Doing so will empower you and your team to identify and capture any changes the moment they occur quickly. In addition to capturing those changes, you can manage everything, including cost and time, all the way through the approval process. It provides real-time reporting metrics into project risk.
4. Automate to Operate
As a contractor, you need to invest your time in high-value activities. Automate to operate strengthens the age-old truth that nobody has enough time to get everything done right away. You are a great contractor if you already had figured out the essence of automation. Automating as much as you can with the things that might steal your time can push you to reapply your time to the things that quickly improve work performance.
There are two common dirty secrets in today’s environment that steal much more of your time than you care to admit. You may find yourself spending:
- Too much time crunching numbers – according to a study, almost 80% of PM’s time is spent discussing project status. You might find yourself spend a lot of time crunching numbers to facilitate a productive team meeting.
- Too much time chasing members down – how many times you walked an immediate change order request to get everybody to approve it or sign it? How about a late invoice that a sub desperately needs today?
5. Subcontractor Scheduling Software: Empathize, Adapt & Overcome
Essentially, a competent contractor empathizes, adapt and overcomes, particularly when it comes to software solution deployment or any technology-driven process implementation. A great contractor already realized that the right solution to improve team productivity, drive efficiency and streamline the process requires several adjustments. One of the first vital requirements is to invest and deploy project management software in work.
Without an advanced tool for project management for construction, it is challenging and time-consuming to keep track of everything, including your team and the entire project. Only this project tool enables you to build and maintain your project schedule successfully. It allows you to shift deadlines, track change orders, and have all attached project tasks immediately rescheduled accordingly. These features will save you from doing manual task-per-task changes.
Pro Crew Schedule is the leading construction scheduling software in the market. Explore all of its features firsthand by requesting a live demo for FREE! Here’s what Pro Crew Schedule offers to your business:
- Real-time updates
- Accountability and transparency
- A central hub for you and your team
- Data-driven decision making
- · Time-tracking and time management
- Crew and resources management
- Easy and quick accessibility
- Establishment of strategy
6. Collaborate to Accelerate
The contractor should lead the strategic implementation of the cloud-based software. There should be collaboration and engagement in all stakeholders inside and outside the organization. Consider that change orders are one of the most significant risks when it comes to any project. Change orders can wreak chaos on the construction schedule, raising project expenses beyond the allocated budget. You have to be aware that these issues occur mainly because of the lack of communication, particularly with the end-users.
Using technology like Building Information Model (BIM) tools is crucial in engaging internal stakeholders and end-users. A great contractor will find a way to transform complex models into a more accessible mode, allowing someone with no construction or design background to engage in the process and then contribute. Thus, minimizing the chance of change orders during construction.
7. Relentless Improve
Consistent improvement is crucial to every company’s success, despite the size or market segment. The concept is called as, “Sharpening the Saw”. Once you already have automated processes to enhance efficiency, collaboration, and productivity, you need to use all data to improve and pinpoint bottlenecks continuously continuously.
One of the most reliable methods to make sure your company is continually improving is implementing the DMAIC approach. Six Sigma’s DMAIC, stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, and is a data-driven improvement cycle for optimizing, improving, and stabilizing business designs, procedures and processes.
Building a team that can effectively collaborate is never without any challenges. Always remember that it is not enough to put up or gather a group of individuals together; call them your team, and hope for the best. As a leader, you need to cultivate the right habits and the skills to establish and support team collaboration successfully.