Navigating Construction Projects: Best Practices in Project Management

Running a construction business takes meticulous planning. However, even the best-laid plans may fail in practice.

Successful commercial construction projects rely on experienced project managers who are adept at managing material submittals, approvals, and permits, as well as subcontractors’ scheduling, inspections, and quality issues. 

1. Establish Your Goals Early

Establishing goals is an integral component of construction project management. Doing so ensures that a project stays on course to fulfill its objectives and deliverables.

Beginning a project successfully is best achieved through conducting an initial meeting with all parties involved – this includes clients, external stakeholders and internal staff alike.

2. Create a Plan

Construction projects involve various phases that must work seamlessly together in order to save both time and money. To do this effectively, it’s necessary to have an outline that helps track your progress as well as detect any deviations from your original plan.

Construction plans are often created using activity-network modeling or formal computer simulation techniques to identify any problems with the project and whether or not its implementation is physically possible. These techniques allow construction planners to see whether their ideas can actually be executed.

3. Create a Budget

Budget planning for construction projects is of vital importance. Accurate estimates must be made regarding task durations and milestones to be reached, procurement lead times, any notes on whether additional materials need to be bought, and contingency budget provisions in case unexpected costs arise.

Establish all dependencies between tasks. A customer request or delay on one task could disrupt your schedule, so creating dependencies will ensure all related tasks move at an even pace.

4. Schedule Your Work

Project managers need to plan their work to accomplish everything within the allotted time frame, leaving enough of an allowance in case any unanticipated situations arise. Experience, consulting with others, and trial and error can all provide valuable guidance when calculating how much contingency time needs to be added in.

Many modern programs allow you to easily create PERT charts to identify dependencies and the time necessary for the completion of projects, giving you the information you can use to prioritize tasks and delegate as necessary.

5. Communicate With Your Team

Reducing risks by keeping your team informed can be achieved through weekly meetings and sharing project progress reports.

The definition of roles and responsibilities allows everyone to understand who to communicate with regarding what and when. A risk evaluation matrix can also help identify potential challenges before they arise.

Encourage team members to build personal connections with you by setting up regular one-on-one meetings, so they feel at ease discussing issues with you and voicing their concerns.

6. Be Flexible

An adaptable project management process is critical in the construction industry. Being flexible enables you to respond swiftly to any unexpected circumstances that may arise along the way.

One of the key enablers identified in this research is decreased hierarchies. This can be accomplished by providing short feedback loops and assigning responsibility among team members.

This research seeks to improve practitioners’ ability to apply flexible project management in their projects by offering them a four-phase framework.

7. Create a Checklist

Construction projects involve many stakeholders and a great deal of data that needs to be managed effectively. Create a checklist to track project progress to ensure no steps or details slip through the cracks.

A practical project management checklist will ensure your work complies with local regulations and meets client expectations. A great project management list should contain everything that needs to be accomplished, along with deadlines and resources required for completion.

Use a simple paper checklist or construction scheduling software; just be mindful that any checklist is only helpful when updated.

8. Follow Up

Project management can be complex, and it is easy to overlook smaller tasks that need to be accomplished. That is why it is vitally important that a follow-up activity be included in the plan for every project.

This will ensure all tasks are completed, and all stakeholders know what needs to be done. Furthermore, this process helps manage project impact and function through verification and implementation, maintaining flexibility in decision-making and encouraging an adaptive management approach.

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