Does it ever feel like every job your business runs is an island? That’s normal. A construction project team is naturally isolated from the rest of the business. They’re focused on one job, and only that job, for the months or even years it’ll take to complete. And during that time they’re mostly holed up in the jobsite trailer — organizationally and physically separated from your other project teams.
On top of that, the people on your project teams are independent, action-oriented thinkers. They’re focused on solving problems on the job, and they have little time for worrying about how an improvised workflow will (or won’t) suit other teams.
For all these reasons, it’s no surprise that each team’s process starts to diverge. But that natural dynamic is a huge risk to your business.
If the process is different, so is the information
Part of workflow definition is about how you store and organize the information involved in that workflow. So if each team’s process is a little different, then so is the information they’re keeping.
If every team’s information is kept differently, then it’s almost impossible to aggregate and report on that information. If you’ve ever asked a project accountant or an admin to pull together a report, and then wondered why it took three days to do it — this is the reason. That PA spent the first day stuck on the phone with each project team asking for help getting to information that they couldn’t access or make sense on their own. They spent the second day trying to put all that information together in a single report — and when it didn’t quite work, they spent the third day making a second round of phone calls to sort out all the inconsistencies, gaps, and confusion in the data.
The report you got from all that effort wasn’t very trustworthy, either. There were too many opportunities for translation errors as the data made the very manual journey from the project team to your desk. And because all the project teams out there have more important things to do (actually executing on the project, for instance), you can bet they weren’t evenly responsive to the reporting ask. So you can count on late and missing data in your report as well.
Bottom line: that lack of standard construction management processes across your project teams means you have a clouded view of the state of your business. That’s not inconvenient — it’s an existential threat. Because if you can’t get a good picture of where the business stands, you don’t know where the problems are. You don’t know what risk you’re exposed to. And you don’t know where to point your resources to head off a crisis.
Standardize on Excellence
If you’re going to go through the effort of standardizing construction management processes across your business, those processes might as well be as good as you can make them. What does that kind of operational excellence look like?
A good process should yield great outcomes. It has to distill best practice. Your teams can leverage a process like this to deliver exceptional results for the owner, and profitable outcomes for your business.
A good process should be repeatable. If even one of your teams can’t easily drop into a workflow and produce consistently extraordinary results, it’s not something you can reasonably expect teams to accept and stay faithful to. Construction professionals simply won’t stick to a process that’s not serving the project. Instead, they’ll create one-off process deviations to make it work, and your effort at standardization will be dead on arrival.
A good process is scalable. Your business is growing — and what’s more, you can expect a significant inflection point in that growth when you implement consistent practices across the organization. Your construction management processes should hold up whether you’re running 10 jobs or 50; whether the contract is $2M or $2B.
A good process should surface reliable, current information. It should cause information to be captured and organized by your teams in a way that’s transparent to all levels of your organization. And it should cause that information to be updated any time the actual status of the job changes, so that you can be confident that your data is telling you the real story.
When great teams align on strong processes like this, it means that the whole organization gains crystal clarity around the state of the business across all active projects. That’s important because it allows you to see where you’re exposed to risk — in time to actually do something about it. It allows you to direct your resources toward the challenges and opportunities where they can have the most impact. That makes your project teams even stronger, and your business even more successful.