The construction industry is gradually digitizing, which bodes well for an industry that has been notoriously slow in its technology adoption relative to other sectors.
Technology is important in construction project management, but the people who use it are even more so. Mobile apps, software and field technologies have been positively disrupting how projects are managed and delivered, there seems to be a corresponding concern over ensuring it doesn’t negatively disrupt how individuals out in the field and in the back office do their jobs. With technology becoming more and more advanced every day, it’s no wonder people are afraid of being replaced by robots or software. Even tasks that require human knowledge and experience, like estimation, can be done by machines now.
In simpler terms, construction digitalization seeks to use technology in order to make processes more efficient and optimize project workflows. In other words, the goal is to make construction technology more user-friendly — not just used by people, but for them.
To “humanize” construction project management digitalization, you can take multiple approaches so technology supports people and their jobs instead of the other way around.
1. People-focused digital change management is key
It is essential to remember that, even though technology plays a major role in all of our lives, some members of your project team may be unfamiliar with it. Such change can be difficult as it replaces the familiar. As technology becomes more advanced, people worry that it will replace them in their job. Acknowledge this fear and reassure them that won’t happen.
Creating a change management strategy for digital project management is crucial for ensuring that employees are comfortable with the new tools and technologies. This will help to reduce fears of technology taking over jobs, and encourage employees to embrace construction digitalization.
It won’t happen immediately and there will, of course, be some bumps in the road. However, with the right attitude and approach, change can be positive for everyone involved. There are ways to manage the change process so that it goes more smoothly for those adopting new project management technologies. And while there are a number of technological solutions to facilitate adoption, there are also several things you can do from a purely human perspective to shift any hesitant mindsets:
- Evaluate the value that current technologies bring to your business processes and operations. Are they helpful? If not, research ways to digitalize them in order to improve productivity or remove bottlenecks.
- If you want to create a culture where everyone feels like they’re part of the conversation, then you need to make sure that people feel heard. This means giving them the opportunity to voice their fears, suggestions, and questions. By leading off in a collaborative way, you can make people feel like they’re part of the solution instead of feeling like something is being forced on them without their input.
- Invest in digital skills training that not only emphasizes how the technology will positively impact a company’s operations or bottom line, but also how it will help workers onsite or in the back office.
2. Focus on team empowerment instead of just the technology
Construction project management does not only revolve around making technology a priority to make work easier and more efficient. It’s also about changing the way we think about work, building relationships with our clients, interacting with each other, and collaborating across departments and teams.
Though it’s evident that automation’s importance will only grow in construction management and delivery, every part of an organization’s operations won’t be replaced by machines. Actually, automating some processes will give individuals more time to strategize since those automated tasks wouldn’t need human decision-making abilities. Furthermore, project management data is sifted through and conclusions are easily drawn by AI; though there are some things which common sense or human judgement is required for that robots cannot do with the same efficiency yet.
What really matters for construction digitalization is the human factor. With cloud-based digitalization, you can give your workers access to information stored on emails, so they’re always in the know about what’s going on with the project. This way of managing data also eliminates silos between teams, which makes collaboration much more efficient and effective. Not to mention, it builds trust among stakeholders since everyone has visibility into every aspect of the project.
3. When integrating new technology, less is more
How can a single project management platform increase project certainty? By choosing an integrated platform with connected data as a basis for collaboration and decision making, rather than Single function “solutions”. Fragmented systems not only can’t share data, but they also hinder team collaboration by preventing the flow of essential information.
When an organization employs multiple project management tools to manage various parts of their business, it can lead to inefficiency and a lack of data working together holistically. When numerous software tools are used for things such as scheduling, estimation, or risk management, it creates silos where information cannot be shared between stakeholders who need the data to deliver projects or work onsite.
It’s not only the quantity of data that matters, but also the quality. This is what will make such a huge difference in helping individual workers and project teams work together more effectively. Having access to current, consistent, and accurateproject data is crucial for construction digitalization processes which technology can provide. From a technology standpoint, an integrated platform does just that by delivering up-to-date project information that teams can rely on.
It provides visibility into what’s happening in a project at any given time and the ability to track data with more certainty. Ultimately, project management software helps connect data and people; not only can the different functions “talk” with one another and share data, but teams can depend on that information as a basis for making decisions throughout the project life cycle.
How can human-centred digital transformation benefit your construction business?
The construction industry will still rely on human labour, experience, expertise and decisions. Construction project management digitalization is a means to achieve those ends; you could say it makes our work collaboration more efficient. You may have questions about how your company can begin this process or how a solution like PlanRadar would fit into your digital transformation plans.