Project Management can be simple and fun, or stressful, complex and risky! Every project faces challenges and issues from time to time. Fortunately, great technology is now available to help. New project management platforms are increasingly being deployed and adopted to help boost productivity, manage time and budget and enhance collaboration among associated parties.
This is certainly good news, but also gives you an extra task of picking a system that best suits your project. Depending the scope and type of your project, there are a few suitable software solutions on the market that can get you on the right track, save time and prevent issues in the right areas.
In this article, we will look at the 6 most common solutions for project managers in our space and why they work for their particular use case(s). It is important depending on your project that you don’t end up with a square peg!
Although Excel is not particularly designed for planning and tracking progress, many project managers find the platform powerful enough when working on small and less complex projects. With its nearly 700 functions in the most recent version, Excel is a great, easy-to-use program with lots of possibilities.
Excel could help you handle a lot of tasks associated with your project in the form of a simple spreadsheet tracker for budgeting or something even more complicated like pivot tables and charting dashboards.
Pros: when it comes to “back-of-the-envelope” project management, Excel is king. You can easily create a quick timeline, task list, or budget planner using multiple sheets within Excel, or even play with something a bit fancier like graphs, diagrams for your report.
The fact that Excel is no more a need but a habit in our office means there are a lot of templates or plugs in just to help you turn the spreadsheets into simple, beautiful project management dashboards.
Cons: Excel is not recommended for complex project, program and portfolio works, which are all common within the construction industry.
Perhaps the most noticeable problem with Excel program is the inability to view data in real-time. Likewise, many people found over the years that collaboration is their Achilles’ heel. When people work on different components of the same project, there is no way to link data across separate workbooks or sheets they are working on.
One of their solutions over the year for that issue, file locking when only one user works on the same workbook at the same time, led to another problem with accessibility. When it comes to works that involve communication with different stakeholders, not being able to collaborate efficiently could turn a major project into a mess.
monday.com is a project management tool that enables organisations to manage tasks, projects, and teamwork. The platform stands out for being highly customisable and its sleek user interface which powers teams to run projects and workflows, assign tasks and track progress from a centralised view.
Monday.com purports to be a “work operating system” that allows users to shape workflows, adjust to shifting needs, create transparency, connect collaboratively, and stop doing manual grunt work. It lets you set up from the beginning what you want to track for your business.
Pros: Monday.com is favoured for simple tracking of tasks, teams and centralising work. Reviewers on Capterra call the platform “a glorified spreadsheet with a much-easier-to-use interface and much better looking”.
Cons: the platform is not recommended for cost management, risk management, program and portfolio reporting. Being a highly visual application is sometimes a double-edged sword. Many found Monday.com offer too many features that there is too much going on in their dashboards. It takes time for new users just to befriend with the software’s terms and functions before hopping on their actual jobs.
Like Monday.com, Asana is a cloud-based standardised project management platform. It facilitates the use of dashboards and conversations in one spot and includes features like teams’ pages to share messages and work. The platform is designed to help teams meet project deadlines while tracking the completion of all tasks.
Asana can easily be integrated with other data sources like Google Drive, Github, Dropbox, and many more.
Pros: Asana is highly recommended for centralising teams and communications. It allows all team members to see the workflow from conception to completion. Asana is compatible with mobile device including laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Cons: The app is not suitable for project management specifically for capital, infrastructure and construction. Asana allows every team member to see what others in the team are working on. For program and portfolio owners who may need to manage different teams working on a ton of projects at the same time, they may not want all their tasks to be seen by everyone in the team.
Source: Hyde Park Solutions
Another cloud-based application that made it to our list is Aconex. Unlike its many one-size-fit-all counterparts above, Aconex is a construction management software that is part of Oracle's Construction and Engineering Cloud platform.
It connects teams on the world's largest construction and engineering projects to help manage correspondence, documents and workflows between builders, subcontractors, designers and more.
Pros: Project managers face with thousands of documents and emails everyday. Designed specifically for the construction industry, Aconex easily wins their heart with its ability to manage documents, correspondence and workflows.
It is easy to store and find documents and keep track of everything with Aconex. The platform makes dealing with documents super simple by allowing users to export papers into an Excel sheet, check the hierarchy of reviewing the documents with workflow function, sort the documents according to date, organisation and etc.
Cons: With limited dashboard reporting, Aconex does not offer much customisation. Without these insights, it is hard for project managers to stay on top of factors such as risk management, costs, programs and portfolios.
InEight provides field-tested construction project management software for large owners, contractors, engineers and architects who are building mega or giga projects with huge complexity.
In Eight supplies quite an extensive monolithic solution for scheduling, safety, cost management, contracts and field management.
Pros: InEight is recommended for giga project controls, centralising communications and documents. It could play a vital role only if the users are highly trained on how to use the software and have good command on complex estimating application.
Cons: when it comes to managing a single project or small-mid size capital project portfolios, with only simple cost/risk tools needed, InEight could make the project more complex than it has to be. The software is better reserved for the largest projects.
Mastt is a new, easy-to-use cloud solution for project owners delivering capital works projects/programs/portfolios.
Mastt provides simple real-time tools for managing project costs, risks, reporting and analytics that gets projects out spreadsheets, unlocking data and providing automated program and portfolio reporting on powerful dashboard visualisations.
The platform is currently used by $ billions in projects in Australia and Overseas from the Federal Government down to a high school.
Pros: Mastt is designed to help you oversee cost, risk and status reporting for projects, programs and portfolios delivering capital and infrastructure projects. The company has developed a global first project Anomaly Detector that allows you to automate identification of risks and issues and foresee problems in your projects even before they occur. What could be more relieving than that?
If you are working on large, multi-layered programs and portfolios, you may be more surprised by how much time the platform saves for your team to collaborate efficiently. Not only does it allow permission levels among team members to maintain process, Mastt also identifies and analyses projects, people and performance across the organisation.
Before you start using the system, Mastt will help you align your existing data and get you off spreadsheets to disparate documents as quickly as possible. A one-on-one training is part of the platform’s engagement process to ensure you are comfortable with the full suite of features available.
Cons: With transparency at its core, Mastt is not designed to be a mailing system or a document management system. Hence the system is not recommended if you are looking for a space to store and manage your internal correspondence or loads of documents.
Looking to switch from your current project management system to Mastt, contact our customer support today to book a FREE demo at https://www.mastt.com.au/.
While there are many approaches to digitising a construction business, it ultimately comes down to which one fits the needs of your company. You will need a clear picture of what the transformation should accomplish, and what digital tools are right for the business’s delivery processes.
Founder Sam Carigliano shares his 8-year journey building structural analysis and design software SkyCiv. To him, the key to success lies in the ability to teach yourself almost everything.
"Mastt provides software that is currently at the forefront of owner/client-side project management for the construction industry and continues to change the way we operate for the better."