When it comes to any construction project that you might undertake as a project manager, there are 5 important phases that you will need to deal with. Whilst a good project manager course will undoubtedly cover these, as any project manager will tell you there really is no substitute for experience that you gain whilst on the job, and with the construction industry in demand there is certainly plenty of room for project managers.
The five phases that you will encounter in construction project management are: initiation, planning, implementation, performance and monitoring, and closing. Read on as we take a good look at exactly what takes place in the construction life cycle.
If you are not sure where to begin as a project manager then it can be a good idea to start by making an evaluation of the work that you will need to do. This should be followed by a feasibility test which will examine if any of the solutions that have been proposed will align with the main project objectives. This will help you determine if the project is in fact worth undertaking. Make sure that you consider the definition of the project and make a list of as many possible solutions as you can thing of for the specific needs of the project.
This is not a decision that you should make alone, talk to the members of your team and make sure that you identify a final solution that you can recommend.
Once you are ready to get started on the project you should write a Project Initiation Document (PID). Think of this like a blueprint it will highlight all of the main points of your construction project.
The key to any successful project management, whether it relates to multiple locations or just the one single location is planning. When you reach this point in the life cycle of your construction project your project team will recognise the scope of the work ahead of them and be able to create a road map. You will also be able to identify any resources that you might require and come up with a strategy for producing them.
Every goal that you set will need to be SMART – this is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. They will also need to be CLEAR – Collaborative, Limited in scope, Emotional, Appreciable and Refinable. Any plan that you create should outline any tasks, timeframes and dependencies. You should also create a budget that looks at the approximate costs of labour, materials and equipment.
This is the phase which will require most of your time. You will need to put your project plan into practise. During the implementation and execution phase you will need to be very effective with your communication, this is where your project management skills will really need to come into their own. You will need to make sure that any budget that has been set out during the planning phase is being followed. As the time that you spend working on the project progresses ensure than any variations to your original plan are recorded.
The characteristics of a successful implementation phase are:
Having a team that is well developed
Proper allocation of any resources
The implementation of project management plans
Relevant status meetings
Updated project schedule where necessary
Having the right tracking systems in place
Modification of project plans when appropriate
Performance and monitoring
This phase of your project management for a construction project should occur simultaneously with the implementation process. Performance and monitoring are in place to make sure that every part of your project is in line with the project schedule that you have created. This is considered to be a regular phase and you should make sure that you come back to it at regular intervals during the execution of the project. When it comes to a commercial construction process every activity that you carry out, from the start to the end, should be in line with the plan that you have created. KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators are the best tools that you can use during this phase. Here are a few KPI examples:
Effort and Cost Tracking – this will help determine if the budget is still on track
Project Performance – this will monitor any changes and also unforeseen challenges
Quality Deliverables – this will determine if some task deliverables have been fulfilled
Project Objectives – this will determine if the project goals and schedule have been met
The last step is very important as it is this one that gives the deliverables to your client. Check your plan to make sure that any of the potential weak areas that you identified previously have been accomplished successfully. This is the moment when you can give your project team the good news that you have reached a successful outcome with your project and hand over any documentation to your stakeholders.
Before you end any of your contracts with your suppliers make sure that you take a careful look at any termination provisions that might be in place then give written notice. The final thing you should think about doing is conducting a study into the work you have completed on the project; this will allow you to look at any lessons that you might have learnt. Consider what went as you had planned and what aspects of your project did not go to plan. Analysing your project in this way can be very helpful when you start your next project as it will help you to improve how you manage things.
If you have encountered any problems during your project, possibly with the organisation of your tasks and keeping track of where you are up to then you may find it helpful to look at some of the software options that are out there. With the right software in place, you will be able to keep track of everything in one place, communicate easily with your team members and improve your organisation.