I’m sure many people have heard of Helmuth von Moltke the Elder’s quote that states “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” Any good war plan changes in the face of the enemy. Construction projects are very much the same (minus people trying to hurt you.). As we go through a project, there will always be changes and adjustments, and project management software is a tool that helps us do this in the best way possible.
When it comes to project management software, everyone is looking for the newest, coolest, sexiest gadget. But the truth is that even the best project management software that’s ever been invented isn’t going to work for you unless you work it. It takes work, effort and time to learn how to properly use it, take care of it and figure out how to best utilize it for your projects.
There are many different options, such as Microsoft Project and Primavera. These two basically do the same thing but on different levels. Primavera works best when used for large projects. In many of these large projects, there may be people whose entire job is to manage the schedule. We put a plan or budget in place with the best intentions, but once it’s put into place, it changes. In my opinion, the strength of a good scheduling software lies in managing the changes. If the schedule is built and created with all the correct relationships, the software will show how changes will affect your forecast and highlight any need for tactical change in the field. But you have to use it.
As noted above, project management software helps to manage those changes, but there can also be other goals for using it. We always ask ourselves what is the point of the software. Is it to hold people accountable? To provide a general guideline of the plan, overarching goals, and milestones? Is it a marketing tool? This answer will probably be different for all contractors and may even be different from project to project for the same contractor.
Stone Development uses project management software, but we always keep in mind that it doesn’t replace the THINKING and the work involved for projects. Software will never be able to do that for us. I actually still use a pen and paper for most of my work. Then when it’s time to hammer out the task relationships and forecast ahead for planning the project, project management software is a great tool.