There is nothing more exciting than when a shiny new platform or project management software is launched into the marketplace. You quickly hit that website and find out that it has every service you could ever need or want. You know that if you purchase it for your company, it will solve every single operational issue—including world peace—your company has ever experienced. As you read about all the great and wonderful things it can do, you buy it for your construction company, and before you can even get your employees on board, it is one big massive fail.
Why is it that project management software might work great in one industry, but not for the construction industry? The simple answer is that not all industries are created equal. So, what might work great for one industry, will not necessarily be the best solution for every other industry. In fact, if you have tried different project management platforms for your construction company, it’s important to know that the reasons they aren’t working has nothing to do with the software itself. It just can’t meet the objectives of every industry, or in our case, the construction industry.
How to Choose the Best Project Management Software
There are some tricks to choosing the best project management software for the construction industry. The most obvious is, of course, software companies whose specialty is the construction industry. Let’s take a look at StratusVue and our suite of software products. A SaaS financial firm or a large consulting company wouldn’t find success using our software, but any size construction company would.
If you are looking around at some of the project management software available, there are lots to choose from, and many of them perform similar functions, so how do you choose?
- Set out clearly defined goals and objectives. You don’t want to buy what you can’t use and having a bunch of fancy functions you have to pay for, but will never touch, doesn’t do you any good. Also, if you are resolving complex workflows of a multi-location team, how does this software help you achieve that? It’s important to look at the end goal of what you want to achieve and then go for the win with your project management software.
- Ask your team for their input. Your team will be the ones using the software. For instance, if you are replacing paper to go paperless, have you discussed this with your teams who have only relied on paper? Their comfort level is key to the success of your new project management software.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. We all want to sell every feature our platforms do, as well as wanting our platforms to do everything, but sometimes the best course of action is only to use what you need, and then slowly incorporate the other integrations that will improve your operations. This way your team won’t get overwhelmed and you are more likely to get the most out of your purchase.
- What is the on-boarding process like? No matter how easy the platform promises the user; they never are. Be sure you’re getting the customer support you need from the very beginning. We have a dedicated customer support specialist for each customer because we want to be sure you understand and are comfortable using what you are spending your hard-earned dollars on.
- Updates and new features. What is more annoying waking up to new features you didn’t know were going to be there, and you don’t know how to use. When you are buying project management software, take a look to see how often the updates are coming out and don’t be afraid to ask how you are informed and trained on these updates.
- Schedule time with your team to learn the software. Make sure that as your team is on-boarded they have had enough time to use and understand the software. Schedule a webinar with them or a lunch and learn. This will ensure greater success with the software.
- Make sure the software matches every end user. The rule of thumb that we use when we design or update our platform is this: It must challenge the 27-year-old, useable enough for the 37-year-old, manageable enough for the 47-year-old and not scary to the 57-year-old.
- Familiarity breeds usability. Our industry is old school. We’re resistant to change. So, if you want to implement new software for your team, then check out the forms and see if they look similar to what they are used to. If they see that just because something has changed, there is still some familiarity than the team will have a greater success with the software.
- Keep in mind, we are focusing on the Operations. Most of the technology that supports our industry is focused on the accounting side of the business, which is excellent, but where we really need the help is with the operations side. It’s not unusual that each project will have different contractors working them. This makes consistency elusive. The project management software you choose should support the entire team while not weakening the company.
These are just some of the actionable plans you can take to make sure your project management software isn’t failing the construction industry. Although our industry acts as if we are the first industry to go through software changes, we aren’t. In today’s world, we are all moving at the speed of light, but a brief moment of planning and strategy will ensure your next software purchase will be successful. If you are interested to learn more about our suite of products, contact us and we would love to tell you all about them.
This article originally appeared on StratusVue.
The StratusVue system is an integrated system that manages project information from the design phase, through construction, and into building operations. The StratusVue System fosters collaboration, provides transparency to help build trust, and offers a “neutral” environment for the project documentation.