Most recently, we made a presentation “Three software products for construction project management” at a BIM breakfast. The organizers were the guys from BIM.by. During a short 20-minute report, Alexander Koltsov spoke about his personal experience of using programs for managing construction projects and construction estimating.
Trello for task flow management
Oracle Primavera for large and unique projects requiring critical path management.
Own development that allows you to control the cost of a construction project and unite the work of departments.
You can download the pdf-version of the presentation using the link. The slides and the presentation itself can be scrolled below.
I want to tell you about three software products that I personally used in application to the construction topic. All of these products are very different, but complement each other perfectly. I’ll start with perhaps the simplest and most convenient, in my opinion, Trello and its field service management software.
Trello – Kanban-based task management software
Those of you who have worked in the IT field or have a close relationship with it probably know about Kanban. If not, then I will briefly tell you what it is.
In my case, we used Kanban to:
- management of work on the preparation of commercial proposals (fire alarm systems);
- load management of “narrow” specialists: buyer, estimator;
- management of the recruitment process;
- control of payment of invoices;
- control of the decision of organizational issues that do not relate to a specific construction site, but nevertheless require management.
Specifically, Trello is convenient in that:
- allows you to run multiple independent boards;
- create independent teams (only VET, the whole organization, only top managers, etc.);
- allows employees to easily communicate inside the card (comments, notifications, documents, checklists, etc.);
- completely free.
Link to the invitation.
Applicability of Kanban Board:
- tasks require stage management;
- tasks with a large number of communications with related departments;
- tasks of a specific employee, who is the “bottleneck” in the company.
Kanban does not work if:
- you need calendar-networking logic. Oracle Primavera, MS Project Server or similar will do.
- you need to evaluate resource loading. Other solutions are also required.
- you need to manage the cost. Choose a different product.
Oracle Primavera for Complex Project Management
I have already talked about this software product in detail many times. In general, a strong platform that allows you to manage resources, deadlines, cost of a complex and unique project.
It is clearly seen that the program allows:
- decompose the project into parts (WBS) and tasks;
- describe each task with additional parameters (labor intensity, predecessors and followers, time limits, etc.);
- build a calendar-network model (critical path method);
- assess the project’s need for funding, etc.
Primavera is a strong software product that can solve complex problems, but there are several limitations that I have identified in practice:
- you need to have all the necessary information about the construction object (estimates, drawings, resource production, a list of contractors, etc.). This is often not possible.
- you need to constantly work and maintain the integrity and relevance of the work schedule. This is a titanic work, believe me. If the company does not have qualified network schedulers, then this work will die out in a month or even earlier.
- it is very difficult to get an organization to use the results that Primavera provides. This is not a problem with the product itself, but it nevertheless means that you most likely will not be able to “turn it on and get the result”.
No matter which you choose you will want to make sure you get good professional estimates before starting with one. Good luck and choose wisely!