How to Easily Track Project Progress

How to Easily Track Project Progress

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017 12:17

Tracking project's progress during the implementation phase is far more important than planning its original schedule. The most successful Project Managers know that.
Making a brand new plan for a Project is somehow an easy task... you have all the time you need and you do it just once. But how do you cope with the repetitive task of keeping everyone updated on what's going on on the construction site?

This is especially true for all types of works which require fast implementation. In fact, at the beginning of a project, activities tend to move according to the plan but further into the implementation little delays start to accumulate and can throw off course the schedules of all Subcontractors.
This requires the ability of quickly rescheduling the planned activities, evaluating the available capacity of materials and labor.
Knowing how to track project progress properly can make the difference between a success and a failure. 


A Party with too many Guests

In the last few weeks, we had the pleasure to onboard in our system a few Subcontractors dealing with technical installations.
They came to us reporting the following problem:

"we cannot really schedule the starting day of our works on construction site since it all depends on the progress of construction works. We are notified by the main Contractor just a couple of days before we have to start working.
At that point, we go on site to inspect the situation and we must quickly make a situation check on everything that could prevent our work from being executed to perfection.
We must be able to share this information with our Team in the office and all our workers, so they can quickly reschedule their activities based on the eventual roadblocks.

Also, as our work is linked to the works of other subcontractors, it would be great to see their plans as well. This way we would know when some of their roadblock activities (preventing us from finishing our works) will be executed... and we can plan consequently."

The root cause of the pain point described above is that those Subcontractors are not in full control of what is happening on the Construction site, therefore they need to adjust their plan according to the real situation and they need to have an efficient line of communication to handle the changes in their plans.

We found this to happen for ventilation works, electricity works, plumbing works, interior finish works, furniture installation...
Apparently, when it comes to executing works inside or around the newly constructed object, all Subcontractors have the same problem: how to track project's progress?

Well, solving this kind of problem is EXACTLY why we built Leansite!


No, not another Excel...

When a quick solution is needed, people generally turn to the almighty Excel.
...and so did our Clients.
They attempted to solve their problem by listing all the works to be executed onto an Excel sheet and then updating the related information in the sheet.

While this works in principle, it is extremely inefficient in terms of time and communication.
In fact, this information cannot be generally edited on the spot and the person who makes the comments needs to write them down as notes first and then copy them back on the Excel sheet while in the office.
Also, not everyone can edit the file at the same time and information such images and files cannot be passed along when using this rudimentary system.

Although Excel is an amazing piece of software, it is meant to do calculations and not Project Management... so we should do ourselves a favor and use better tools for our scope, each time the scope becomes specific.


Focus on Activities

Tracking project's progress is one of the main features of Leansite. In particular, tracking implementation of activities in Leansite is pretty easy when using the Workplan view.
The Kanban representation shows what is scheduled, what is in progress and what is done and approved. On top of that, each Activity can be "opened" and information can be added, describing specific situations, instructions or roadblocks.

leansite kanban discussion board

Also, images from the Construction site or other documents (files) can be added to any Activity... so that who has to deal with it later has all the updated information and instruction to execute the work with no waste of time.

So our recommendation to these Clients was to focus on the Kanban view (Workplan) and try to fragment activities as much as possible already in the planning phase. This way, any situation on the Construction site (affecting one or more activities) can be described on the related activity cards and solutions can be quickly proposed, including rescheduling or adding new activities to overcome the roadblock.

The new Clients adopted this solution enthusiastically and they were happy to finally be able to drop their inefficient Excel files. 


Make it a Habit

The key to turning any good solution into a great success is to incorporate it into your daily routine so that it becomes a habit and after that, it can be performed effortlessly.
At the beginning, you might have to force yourself to use the tool and input the status updates for all the activities. However, as soon you see the benefits that it brings in terms of improved communication, better planning, more efficient file handling, you will begin looking forward to opening the tool and make sure that all the information is up to date.

Having a sound system behind your daily working process is a great way to set yourself on the path to success.


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a Kanban Board

for Construction ???


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Published in Discussions and Files/

Read 452 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 May 2017 15:34

Andrea Bronzini

Brilliant and committed professional.
Andrea has been working in construction industry since 2004 and he was certified as Passivhaus Consultant in 2010.
Among other skills, Andrea specialises in Sales and Marketing and collaborates with Leansite in quality of Marketing Consultant.