Construction project management isn’t getting any easier. Projects are more complex, skilled labor is limited, and your customers are demanding more. Quality, schedules, and budgets are constantly on the minds of your project managers as they juggle seemingly endless tasks and details.
Despite these challenges, project management still remains a highly manual process for many construction companies. According to the 2016 Construction Technology Report, 21.6% of construction professionals use manual methods for managing projects, while 12.7% use only spreadsheets.
If you’re interested in automating your project management for the first time, or are thinking about changing your system, you have many options to consider. So, how do you know which project management technology will be best for your company? Here are four main questions to answer when evaluating project management solutions:
Does the software have what you need?
As with any technology purchase, the first thing you should do is determine what improvements you’d like to see from your investment in project management software. Do you want to streamline approvals, get a handle on change orders, or make it easier for those in the field to access project-related information?
The best project management is not just about solving problems; it’s about preventing them. Consequently, look for software that, at a minimum, lets you:
- Easily access and drill into the most up-to-date job cost numbers.
- Keep track of details related to contracts, RFIs, submittals and other construction documents.
- Track change orders—from initial request to final approval.
- Manage subcontractor compliance, such as insurance expiration.
- Alert you to issues you need to quickly address, such as costs exceeding a specified limit.
Are there mobile capabilities?
It’s hard to imagine a time when smartphones and tablets weren’t commonplace on the job site. Make sure the software lets your superintendents and project managers use their mobile devices to file daily field reports, manage RFIs, and handle other tasks.
Can the project management system integrate with your back-office accounting?
There are a fair number of construction project management systems available today. The problem is that many of them won’t tightly integrate with your accounting system. Look for project management systems that take the burden off your office staff as well as your field staff. For example, some systems can automatically transfer percentage complete numbers from a superintendent’s mobile daily field report into your job cost accounting system. Tight integration means there’s no exporting and importing of files from one system to the next—and no delayed syncing of data.
How does the software rank with credible third-party sources?
Of course, it’s always smart to talk with other contractors about the project management systems they use. In addition, there are other reliable sources. Software Advice, for instance, plots various construction project management systems based on their value and capabilities. Software Advice’s frontrunner product chart is a good way to understand which software systems are considered project management industry leaders.
Project management software is one of the most requested construction software applications, according to Software Advice. By taking the time to determine the best system for your company, you should see the payback in terms of proactive project decision making and efficiency.