What to Look for in Contruction Project Management Software
Project Management can simplify how you manage projects. Like other types of software, there are generic solutions (made to handle all sorts of projects), and solutions designed specifically for the construction industry. The key to finding the right project management software for your construction company is to find the solution that will help you keep the right people well informed at all times by providing easy access to up to accurate and up to date costs, contracts and document information.
In order to achieve that goal, make sure to look for the features listed below when evaluating your options:
Centrally Integrated Data
Ideally, you want a solution that integrates with Accounting, Estimating, and Purchasing, etc. This will allow you to be able to issue and see all prime contracts, subcontracts, updated plans and drawings, change orders, purchase orders, meeting minutes, requests for information (RFIs), and other project related documents, all in one place. It also eliminates the duplicate data entry that not only takes valuable time, but is also a common source of mistakes and re-work.
Real-time Information for Better Decision Making
Having all of you project information stored in a central source also helps make sure that you and your employees of have complete and current information on the project they are working on. There's no need to stop and manually synchronize information from accounting, project documents, etc. Your project information is always current and can be shared with those who need it to make real time decisions about the project.
Create, Track and Retrieve Documents
Every construction project includes a raft of documents; RFIs, meeting minutes, submittals, transmittals, etc., all must be created, tracked, and updated. Trying to keep track of these in a "special" folder on a network drive in problematic at best and often chaotic. Look for a solution that stores and manages documents in a central database and includes logs that can be queried to find out when changes and revisions were made.
Also, look for a solution that works with the other tools that you use, like Microsoft Outlook email, Word or Excel. If you use these types of documents, you should be able to add and retrieve them from the central database on the fly.
Access to information
Your solution should include the ability to quickly create queries and run reports that give you the details behind the numbers. If you’re on the phone and need to know about the payment of an invoice, you can pull it up in a hurry to see exactly how and when it was paid. When looking at job cost reporting capabilities, make sure the reports can also contain un-posted costs as well, so you know where you truly stand today.
Tools for Managing Change Orders
Change orders can make or break the profitability of a construction project, so it is essential that you project management solution includes tools for taking charge of the change order process. Look for features that help you quickly identifying potential change orders, solicit quotes, and pricing. You should be able to record all the details (i.e. when quotes are due, from whom, etc.) using a familiar-looking pricing worksheet grid. If you needed, look for solutions with security settings that allow you to control who can request and approve change orders. Ideally, your project management system should be able to forward change orders to your accounting system - removing the need for double data entry.
Easy to Learn and Use
Look for project management software that works the way you do. If a software solution requires everyone in your company to do their job differently just to suit the software, then the chances of successful adoption of that software are slim. Look for software that is straightforward and easy to learn, with electronic documents that mirror many of the paper documents you’re probably using today.
If you have any questions about project management software for construction companies, feel free to contact us.