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How To Keep a Project on Track in Construction (12 Steps)

As a project manager within the construction industry, it is your responsibility to ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and safely, and it’s hard work!

There are a lot of moving parts to consider, as well as numerous risks. It is important to get the project on track as soon as possible and keep it there.

Additionally, it’s common for a project manager to be juggling multiple projects at once, which is why it’s more important than ever for these individuals to know how to keep a project on track.

In this post, we explore the 12 key steps to keeping a project on track and how a project management platform like Compliance Chain could revolutionise and streamline your project management process.

Keep reading to find out more.

1) Break down your project

Start off with what we see as the most important construction project management tip – having a deep understanding of your construction project.

By breaking down your project, you’re not just dividing it into smaller, manageable tasks; you’re delving into its intricacies, gaining intimate knowledge of every aspect, ranging from the resources required to potential risks and dependencies.

Advanced knowledge of every aspect of the project, from material requirements to manpower allocation, ensures more efficient resource utilisation and maximises profit margins.

In fact, research shows that poor project management leads to organisations wasting as much as 12% of their resources due to them not being used efficiently.

This comprehensive insight allows you to anticipate potential obstacles, devise effective solutions, and streamline your process by breaking down each step into simpler tasks.

In the long run, this meticulous preparation not only ensures smoother execution but also establishes a robust framework to swiftly respond to any unexpected changes or challenges, ultimately keeping your project on course.

2) Know the strengths and weaknesses of your team

Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of your team plays a vital role in keeping a construction project on track.

Expertise and specialisation within your team allow for more focused and efficient work; those who excel in certain areas can concentrate on pertinent tasks, thereby ensuring high-quality results and minimising the risk of errors.

At the same time, identifying areas where individuals within the team might lack the necessary skills or knowledge gives you the opportunity to outsource specific tasks.

Through this, you can ensure that every aspect of the project is handled by professionals but it prevents overloading your team with tasks outside their purview.

In essence, knowledge of your team’s capabilities enables you to distribute tasks strategically, creating a more efficient, streamlined process that significantly boosts the project’s chances of staying on schedule and within budget.

3) Set goals with realistic timelines

As with any project, setting goals with realistic timelines is a crucial step if you want to be successful—and, more importantly, on schedule!

It provides a clear roadmap for everyone involved, including stakeholders, workers, and partners, promoting a shared understanding of the project’s timeline.

Having well-defined goals and deadlines fosters a sense of responsibility, encourages team members to strive towards meeting these deadlines and keeps the project progressing at a steady pace.

However, it’s critical that these timelines be realistic.

Overambitious or impractical timelines can lead to rushed work, mistakes, and an overworked team, all of which can derail a project.

With research showing that as much as 91% of construction businesses have experienced delays in recent years, it’s essential to set goals with realistic timelines to avoid costly delays.

A realistic timeline respects the complexity of the tasks at hand and the team’s capacity, instilling a balanced work ethic and promoting a healthier, more productive work environment.

4) Make sure your team understands their role in the project

Once the previous three steps have been completed, the next critical step is to ensure everyone on the team understands exactly what their role is and what is expected of them.

Ensuring that every team member comprehends their role in the project is essential for maintaining the momentum of a construction project.

When each individual is completely aware of their responsibilities, it results in a synchronised team effort where everyone is working in unison towards the same goal.

Conversely, a lack of understanding about one’s role can lead to significant delays and setbacks, which can completely throw a project off track.

Misinterpretation of duties can result in tasks being incorrectly executed or important steps being overlooked, both of which can cause costly delays.

Therefore, it’s clear to see why clear, effective communication around expected roles and responsibilities is paramount.

It fosters a collaborative environment where everyone is on the same page and can confidently complete their tasks in a timely and efficient manner.

By keeping everyone informed and aware of their specific responsibilities, you’re bolstering the project’s chances of staying on schedule and ensuring a smooth path towards successful completion.

5) Prioritise time management and check in regularly

Prioritising time management and regular check-ins are integral components when it comes to keeping a construction project on track.

Efficient time management ensures that every task is completed within the stipulated deadlines, preventing any delays that could hinder the overall progress of the project.

Regular check-ins, on the other hand, provide a platform for the team to address any issues or challenges as they surface, allowing for prompt resolution and preventing minor hiccups from escalating into major roadblocks.

Furthermore, these check-ins serve as an accountability tool, ensuring that everyone is on task and performing their duties as expected.

Ultimately, these practices contribute to smoother project execution, enabling successful, on-time completion.

6) Make sure communication is always clear

Clear communication plays a pivotal role in keeping any construction project on track.

Clear communication facilitates the early identification of any potential risks or dependencies. This enables the team to address these issues proactively, preventing minor challenges from escalating into major setbacks that could derail the project.

Following back to previous points, clear communication ensures that project expectations are well understood by everyone involved. This avoids any tasks being overlooked or neglected, ensuring that every aspect of the project is taken into account and executed efficiently.

Therefore, maintaining open, clear communication is a fundamental practice in ensuring a construction project remains on schedule and is carried out successfully.

7) Find the balance between having an open mind to new suggestions and sticking to the original plan

Finding the perfect balance between being open to new suggestions and remaining unwavering in the original plan is critical to keeping a construction project on track.

New ideas and suggestions, when considered with an open mind, can often lead to innovative solutions that enhance the project’s efficiency and overall outcome.

However, it is equally important to stick to the original vision and plan to maintain consistency and stay on schedule.

As with any project, constantly adding new ideas can cause scope creep to occur, meaning that the project’s increased requirements can lead to it becoming delayed, over budget, and sometimes unachievable.

This adherence to the initial strategy ensures the project stays true to its original scope and prevents unnecessary delays caused by constant changes.

Thus, this balance facilitates a dynamic yet structured work environment, promoting creativity while ensuring the project stays on track with its estimated timeline.

8) Learn how to say ‘no’

Following on from the last point, it’s important to learn how to say ‘no’ when necessary.

In the course of a project, there can be competing interests and multiple suggestions that, although well-intended, may not align with the project’s objectives or schedule.

This is where the ability to say ‘no’ becomes critical in keeping a construction project on track.

Saying ‘no’ to alterations that stray too far from the initial plan or to tasks that are beyond the team’s capacity helps maintain focus on the established goals and timelines.

It allows for the preservation of resources and prevents the scope from creeping beyond manageable limits.

Therefore, while being open to new ideas is valuable, the ability to decline when necessary is equally vital for efficient project management in construction.

9) Consider what challenges you might face & identify ways to tackle them

Considering potential challenges and identifying ways to tackle them proactively is an essential strategy for keeping a construction project on track.

This approach allows for a comprehensive understanding of the potential health and safety risks and the difficulties associated with the project.

It enables the team to formulate contingency plans, ensuring they are prepared to address these challenges swiftly and efficiently, should they arise.

This method not only prevents potential issues from escalating into significant roadblocks but also minimises the disruption to the project timeline, ensuring that the project remains on schedule.

Hence, forecasting potential difficulties and planning for them is a valuable strategy in the successful execution of a construction project.

10) Celebrate milestones in the project

Celebrating milestones within a construction project is not only a recognition of progress made but also a powerful motivator that can help keep the project on track.

Each milestone achieved stands as a testament to the team’s hard work and dedication, reinforcing their commitment to the project.

The celebration serves as a morale booster, instilling a sense of accomplishment and fostering a positive working environment. It provides the team with the motivation to maintain their momentum and continue working diligently towards their next goals.

By marking these milestones, the team is consistently reminded of their capabilities and the value of their contributions, inspiring them to keep pushing forward and meet the project’s timelines and objectives.

Thus, celebrating milestones is a strategic move to ensure a construction project stays on schedule, fuelling the team’s motivation and maintaining their focus on the project’s successful and timely completion.

11) Be prepared for changes

Being prepared for disruptions and changes is crucial for keeping a construction project on track, as it enables the team to be flexible and adapt to unforeseen developments.

In the dynamic environment of construction, changes are almost inevitable, whether they arise from unexpected weather conditions, supply chain disruptions, or changes in legislation. If a team is well-prepared and adaptable, they can swiftly pivot their strategies and adjust their plans to deal with these changes, minimising any potential delays or setbacks.

This proactive approach ensures that the project can continue to progress even in the face of uncertainty, maintaining the project’s timeline and reducing the risk of unforeseen events derailing its success.

Therefore, a prepared and adaptable team is a resilient team, capable of navigating the complexities and challenges inherent in construction projects to ensure successful and timely completion.

12) Gain an advantage and use a project management platform

Utilising a project management platform like Compliance Chain is a strategic tool for keeping construction projects on track. This software offers a comprehensive overview of the project, facilitating the reporting and analysis of project KPIs.

This ability to measure performance against key objectives provides a clear picture of the project’s progress and any areas that may need attention. Furthermore, the platform allows for the capture of live data throughout the project lifecycle, enabling real-time updates and decision-making.

Considering that only one in four companies uses project management software, using a platform like Compliance Chain gives project teams a significant competitive advantage.

Compliance Chain’s flexibility to create and track bespoke project KPIs ensures that the metrics align with the unique objectives of each construction project. In addition, the feature to export PDF reports allows for easy dissemination of information, ensuring all team members remain informed.

Additionally, sharing key updates with project stakeholders is equally smooth, fostering clear communication and transparency.

It’s clear to see the ways in which using Compliance Chain for project management significantly enhances the efficiency of construction projects, ensuring they stay on track from inception to completion.

Book a demo today and start taking advantage of our comprehensive project management platform, which will ensure the continued success of your construction projects.

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