Having a successful construction is easier today, thanks to the rise of technology and the modernization of construction methods. The launch of project management software alone has helped numerous firms minimize losses and delays. How? By taking full advantage of the software’s capabilities for project tracking.
Construction project success is said to be in direct correlation with project tracking. Previous researches claim that if a construction company wants to be successful, then it should diligently track projects. A single construction project may already be too overwhelming because of the hundreds or thousands of moving parts involved, but by regularly monitoring progress, the project manager can gain better control of the work and the output.
One instance this proves to be true is when issues that could lead to delays or overrun unexpectedly arise. A project manager who regularly checks on the situations at the site would likely detect these issues at once, plan the adjustments, and resolve the problems immediately. So instead of being delayed or over budget, since the team acted quickly, they can still go back on track and finish the project right on time.
And this is how useful a simple project management software like Pro Crew Schedule really is.
Why Construction Progress Tracking Matters
Reiterating yet again, project tracking is such an essential part of any construction work that has so many moving parts. Monitoring is the only way a project manager can determine whether the project is meeting deadlines and within the budget. It’s more efficient than site inspection in a way that it can be done everyday when site visits aren’t possible, most especially when the project is at such a large scale.
Unfortunately, project tracking can be quite complicated in construction. This is especially true in the past years where tracking was done manually.
Construction firms used to rely on manual methods of progress tracking. They have ways to get snapshots of the project’s situation but real-time updates weren’t really possible unless the project manager walks around the site the whole day, every day, to take note of what’s new. But this is quite impractical.
Even by checking around every day, it may be hard to scale the progress just by using the eye for assessing. Therefore, it’s critical for construction companies to use the right tools in managing the project and tracking progress in real-time. And you should know by now that project management software is what construction firms rely on for real-time project progress tracking.
But, how exactly can you benefit from real-time construction progress tracking? Well, among other things, progress tracking offers:
- Lesser chance of delays
- Enhanced operation visibility
- More informed decision-making
- Improved accountability
- Prevents misunderstanding
- Faster formulation of contingency plans
- Improved accountability
Of course, there are more benefits than these that construction firms can get from real-time tracking. But there are still some who aren’t using any real-time project tracking solutions. Some firms say they aren’t ready to embrace digital solutions yet as they feel like they need an IT expert for the transition. Some others think that they don’t have the resources to go digital, thinking that computers and servers need to be set up on the site too. And some others say they feel more confident using traditional tracking methods.
And these are areas where traditional construction tracking becomes a problem, here in this modern world.
Problems of Traditional Construction Project Tracking
The world is advancing rapidly towards modernization and processes are changing because of that. Those who are stuck in the traditional realm are left struggling while others are becoming more and more competitive in this highly saturated industry.
Surprisingly most users of analog tools are the startup firms. While it’s not really costly to invest on in-the-moment, paperless project tracking tools, the misconception on complexity of usage might be one of the reasons why smaller firms resort to what most people know how to use-Excel.
Because they want to be in a safe place and avoid testing new waters, they have to endure traditional tracking which are actually problematic because:
- They don’t meet industry and company standards
- Have poor collaboration and communication features
- Silo data in separate systems and portals
- Prone to double entry and inaccurate data
- Ununified tracking of all areas of project
But there’s so much more issues faced by users of analog trackers. Clearly enough, it’s high time that these firms seriously consider going digital and automatic so they can achieve true efficiency, collaboration between the different levels of management, and higher quality output.
Helpful Strategies for Real-Time Progress Tracking
At this point, you may have already realized how real-time tracking and modern project management software like Pro Crew Schedule can benefit your firm. So let’s start talking now about how you can make the most of it.
- Establish a Central Source of Data
Data in construction is very important as it serves as a guide for workers (design, planning, budget , schedule documents) in carrying out their tasks while it serves as a reference for project managers in tracking progress and determining existing issues. However, data is often siloed and information is disjointed.
To solve these issues, there should be a single source of all documentation necessary in the operation. This way, everyone gets uniform information so nobody gets confused on which could be the real document. If there should be multiple technologies used in gathering data (for instance cctvs, drones, ai, and BIM), then the information they gather should be collected in a single space which could be your project management software’s cloud storage. Integrating these techs together will also help the project manager have a smoother and more effective tracking.
- Consider Doing Preconstruction Tracking
The pre-construction phase involves planning, scheduling, budgeting, and cost planning. And like we said in a previous blog, these stages can be tedious if there are no special tools used to organize the information collected. So setup with the right platform as early as pre-construction to streamline progress tracking throughout the construction stage.
Apart from reporting, when setting up your project tracking system, you should also include:
- Submittal: Project management software can help you automate your stakeholder’s submittal log. Once created, streamlining the review process will be easier, placing all submittals in just one space.
- Requests for Information: RFIs are important during the construction proper so the flow of messages shouldn’t be interrupted. With the right project management software, questions can be sent from anywhere on the site and answered immediately by the involved party. This way, delays can be avoided. A cloud-based project management software like Pro Crew Schedule may be the tool that can help you standardize this process.
- Set Up Task Tracking
It’s not enough to track progress in a bird’s eye view. Project managers should also put an eye on each crew member to see whether they are making proper use of their paid time or not. By tracking their activities, it will also be easier to trace where errors started. Consequently, project managers can come up with better solutions when they know the real cause of the problems.
Furthermore, task tracking gives project managers an idea on how the project is progressing. He’ll know which team is performing better and can get strategies from them to share with other teams that may be falling behind their schedule.
- Schedule Tracking
Tracking and optimizing project schedule requires a special tool like Pro Crew Schedule. With so many activities involved in construction, going through each schedule can be a headache. But it should be done so teams are aware whether they are behind the deadline or not. It may be a bad idea to pressure them but being lenient may also cause costly delays.
In modern project management software, the project schedule is shared to all crew members where details of their activities are listed. Later, members can leave notes on which tasks they have and haven’t completed and will be reviewed by the project manager. This way, the project manager can assess whether the plan and schedule he set is realistic or not and make necessary adjustments.
- Employ Productivity Tracking On-Site
Productivity isn’t always about how fast a task is accomplished but also how well they were executed. Like we said in a previous blog, before efficiency comes effectiveness and this can be measured more accurately with the help of a project management tracker.
Did the member do the right thing leading him to accomplish more tasks in a day? Or did he just try to do things in the right way but had to do rework because apparently, he was doing the wrong task?
Since tasks are itemized in the project management software, it will be easy for the project manager to see who is being effective and productive and who is merely trying to be efficient. Then he can find solutions to change the situation.
- Use Photo Documentation
In one of our previous blogs, we mentioned how photo documentation can help the firm:
- Avoid litigation
- Better monitor construction activities
- Gather references for the next project
Photos are becoming a standard part of reporting and monitoring in construction. Drones are used to capture scenes at the site to get visual evidence of the project’s progress. These photos are stored in the cloud so when issues arise, the firm can make their claim.
- Connect Your Systems Together
As we mentioned earlier, it’s possible that you use different technologies in tracking the project like BIM, drones, AI, CCTVs, and so on. The key to avoid confusion when using multiple systems is integrating them together and collecting all information each tech gathers in a central program.
This is where tools like Pro Crew Schedule. Like we mentioned earlier, this project management software already includes scheduling, planning, communication, and reporting in just one platform. This doesn’t only make the job faster and easier for project managers but also make progress tracking more accurate.
Cloud-Based Employee Tracking
It’s clear that traditional and analog methods of progress tracking will just slow you down. In a hectic industry like construction, what you need is something that can automate one of the most tedious tasks at the site and that is monitoring each move, each accomplishment, and each problem in real-time.
By using a cloud-based time tracking system like Pro Crew Schedule, you’ll always be working on the most up-to-date data and can gain better control on processes so you can get the output that your client expects from you.