Planners in many industries are still using Excel spreadsheets to keep track of their projects. Some are reluctant to move to digital planning tools. Perhaps they assume it will be too expensive, complex or slow to learn. Or maybe it is simply that project planning spreadsheets are familiar and comfortable.
Let us take a step back and consider some of the opportunities they may be missing.
Like a project planning spreadsheet, but better
Construction project planning software tools like Elecosoft’s Powerproject have been on the market for a while. When you move from a project planning spreadsheet to digital planning software, you get all the usual spreadsheet features but specifically optimised for construction. The software is designed to store and handle tasks and timelines – whereas spreadsheets are designed to handle figures and calculations. Why spend time trying to force a spreadsheet to do what comes naturally with a purpose-designed solution?
Project experience meets digital logic
Project planning software like Powerproject has a big advantage when planning construction projects, it was developed by actual experts in construction. That expertise is augmented with the real experiences of users, our software has been continuously improved based on customer feedback and requests for many years. Whenever you’ve wished for a handy feature that is always needed on a construction project but is very time-consuming in your spreadsheet, you could just click a button in Powerproject.
Small change, high impact
Experienced planners can map out programmes for a few weeks in a project planning spreadsheet – but what happens if something unforeseen happens? Every project manager knows the big potential impact of even a small change. You can re-calculate the schedule with a spreadsheet – with time and effort to explore dependencies and possible outcomes. The experience and logic isn’t in the software, so it must come from the planner. Planning software such as Powerproject is designed around this challenge and to illustrate the impact of alterations or delays on the critical path and resourcing requirements.
I can see the (alternate) future
A construction-focused programme solution helps you see the full picture, make informed decisions, communicate with sub-contractors, and spot efficiency improvements. You can also explore alternate futures. The same capability that enables you to see the impact of change also allows you to explore ‘what if’ scenarios – to innovate around the project aims, explore the feasibility of value engineering ideas, and more.
A template for everything?
No two construction projects are alike. They may start out looking similar, but multiple small or large variations soon changes the trajectory. You can create a template project planning spreadsheet for the most common parts of the schedule, but it takes manual adjustments. There’s a better way, via pre-programmed templates within construction planning software to use, combine and amend and still build and save your own template library.
How up-to-date is your information?
Making informed decisions requires up-to-date information. That’s always a challenge because on-site teams rarely visit the office to sit down with the planner, often marking-up progress on scraps of paper or emailing updates. Inputting is a chore. This universal issue is why Elecosoft developed a mobile app for Powerproject to enable real-time updates from site via smart phones and tablets, to flow straight into the programme after validation. Decisions are based on real progress, reporting to clients is easy, and it helps sub-contractor oversight.
It’s so easy!
Lastly, far from being complicated, using project planning software is normally intuitive for construction experts with computer skills. It brings you functionality that was designed exactly around your needs. Spreadsheets were designed for generic accounting! Don’t let fear of learning something new put you off.
Want to know more?
We’ve created a project planning webinar that will help you focus on these and other aspects of upgrading your project management and programming approach.
In this free recorded webinar we’ll show you how quick, easy and inexpensive it is to create and manage a schedule. Don’t be intimidated by scheduling complexity. Spend half an hour in this webinar and learn how you can improve your project management with confidence.
- See how a construction project can be built in minutes with drag and drop functionality
- Discover key indicators that signal the project is going to be off track and why that’s important to resolve as early as possible
- Watch how an imported 3D BIM model can sync with the schedule for 4D planning
- Learn how mobile updates from the job site get reflected in real-time managerial report