Some of you may have already been delivering projects in the industry for years. Some just started. But even if you’ve been contracting projects for so long and you think you already know what it takes to carry projects forward and achieve success, the changes in technology and trends change the standards. So it helps to brush up on all the little things that may optimize your project planning skills to improve your work today.
That said, we listed 17 tips that can help you boost your construction project planning to help you execute your plans and schedule to achieve better project results. Of course, most of them are influenced by technology, most especially by construction project planning software like Pro Crew Schedule.
1.Link Your Project Plan With Worker Timesheets for Auto Update
It sounds like a lot of work but this will actually simplify progress tracking and reporting, which will save you a lot of time later on.
Linking your project plan with the crew members’ timesheets will help them update you with what’s going on t the site while they are working. As they go on with their tasks and make progress, the construction project schedule automatically updates, hence giving you real-time updates on what is underway. It’s a fast way of getting status updates where no one has to do any extra work.
2.Update the Project Plan Regularly
We can’t avoid it. There will be times when changes will be phoned to you in the middle of the operations and this is the biggest advantage of having a construction project planning software like Pro Crew Scheduled in your firm.
Letting the whole team know about the changes in the plan and schedule is so much easier with planning software. There’s no more need to set time-consuming meetings just to orient the team of the changes. Quickly add new tasks and some important notes on the project plan and notify the members of the changes so they can check them out.
3.Create Project Baselines
Before you start with the project, take screenshots or a record of the original plan. This will help you see what changes occurred as the project proceeded. This will also be helpful when it’s already time to meet with your client and discuss what happened during the process to avoid any disputes or litigation. This will also help you improve your next project planning as you can see the downfalls of your original plan or the elements that can affect it.
4.Define Tasks and Resources
It’s important to assign each task to a specific member. This eliminates the chances of repeating the same work or seeing some members loitering around because they don’t know what they are supposed to do. This also prevents confusion among members.
We know that this may take a lot of time during your project planning since you’ll definitely handle a team with more than 50 or 100 members. One thing you can do is to break them down to smaller teams and assign the tasks per team. Have someone (like a foreman) lead each team and he will be the one to assign more specific tasks relative to the team task given to them. This will not only help you understand who is doing what, but will also help the members see their complete work program and plan their time accordingly.
Milestones are key phrases that should be completed in your project. They are also really helpful when it comes to reporting to your client. This will help you measure progress easier and plan for better strategies if the first milestone seemed to be achieved slower or when you see flaws from that previous phase.
6.Set a Critical Path
Establishing a critical path helps you complete your project on time. The critical path is the shortest path through the project. If the plan changes because there are new tasks added along the way, then it will take longer but you will still be able to hit the due date.
7.Involve Your Team
We mentioned this before. When making your project plan, it is beneficial to have your team (or at least the key players like your field supervisors or foremen) involved in the planning. First, your field supervisors are the ones who truly know the capabilities of your crew members. That means they can advise you with how much time each would need to accomplish a given task. They will have useful insight into the work that needs to be done.
8.Get The Plan Approved
Before starting, have the plan approved by your client or general contractor. This is to avoid doing reworks if they don’t like the plan you plotted. Get them to approve the plan as it stands so that you have a clear mandate to proceed.
9.Use Change Control
When the plan changes (as it normally does in construction due to uncontrollable events) use a formal change control process to evaluate the change and then update the plan. When you make changes, take another baseline.
10.Do the Riskier Work First
In every phase, put the risker tasks on the front if you can. If anything goes wrong because of the risks, then you will have a longer time to sort it out.
One important element of project planning is setting a budget. Be sure to prepare cost estimates for each task so you will have an overview of whether your plan will exceed the given budget or will it stay on budget.
12.Use Planning Tools
Like we mentioned earlier, using a construction project planning software like Pro Crew Schedule will help you make better plans and organize entries. Much more when it is cloud-based as it means you can open the project plan anytime and anywhere you need to.
Online construction project management tools are the easiest way to manage your project plans. Sharing them online with your crew members allows them to make changes while you keep on track of the edit history of the plan. Being online makes it easier to check status or to add a new task even if you aren’t at your desk. Read our blogs on how to make the most of your construction project management software like Pro Crew Schedule.
13.Use a Gantt Chart
We’ve mentioned the benefits of using Gantt charts in some of our previous blogs. Gantt charts are an easy way to visualize the project and the work involved. You can also see how tasks link together and how long the whole thing is going to take. This is also a way for your busy workers to easily comprehend their tasks on a daily or weekly or monthly basis, depending on how you plot the tasks on the chart. Overall, it is a simpler overview of tasks that won’t strain the eyes and mind of your crew members.
Linking tasks that are related to each other or dependent on each other will help you organize your plan and schedule even better. Like we discussed in a previous blog, there will be tasks that need to be finished before another one can start. Or a task has to start at the same time as another task. Your construction planning software can automate tasks and their dependencies to show you how long the work will take once all the dependencies are taken into account.
15.Try to Plan The Project Backwards
It may sound complicated but for some projects (not all the time), this is the best way to do a plan. If you have a fixed finish date in mind, planning back from that will help you work out if you have enough time to do everything. If you find out that you don’t have enough time, you can then work out how to handle that.
16.Add Contingency Time
Most of the time, projects take longer to finish and oftentimes, the reason is uncontrollable factors like weather. Sometimes, it can be the changes in plans. Always add a contingency time between 5% and 20% of your estimated total working days. This gives you an allowance to work on unexpected problems.
17.Share the Plan to Everyone in Your Team
A good plan won’t work if you won’t share them with everyone involved in the project. You need to make it accessible so that everyone will see and no one will make mistakes because they were not aware of what they should do. Also, when someone will spot something on the plan that isn’t accurate, then you will be able to work on it and get a better quality plan as a result.
Planning your project is very important to ensure that you won’t make costly mistakes during the process. Plan online with your whole project team using Pro Crew Schedule. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require long training to master it. Everyone will be looking at professional reports and updates and files within minutes.