The Anatomy of a Decision in Construction

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Jeff Sample, Industry Evangelist, Join, Inc.

By Jeff Sample, Join, Inc.

The most critical factor in construction project delivery is effective decision-making. Critical decisions must be made throughout a project lifecycle, but they are often made with little more than a team’s collective gut feeling. Collaboration, communication, and the early establishment of leadership roles focused on critical decision-making and smart solutions are key factors of a project’s success.

Technology is deployed in all phases of a construction project, but it’s vital to leverage available data and software to improve decision-making for future builds. To do so, you’ll want to lean on digital platforms that allow you to tap into past project history, compare future decisions, view updates in real-time, and communicate with your entire team every step of the way.

In this post, we’ll look at the anatomy of a decision, how to structure teams around smart decision-making, and the available resources to simplify the entire process.

How Successful Construction Leaders Make Decisions

Construction is not a new industry. In fact, it’s arguably one of the oldest. But despite the centuries of knowledge, experience, and processes, too many projects lag behind client expectations. They’re completed late, over budget, and missing an array of aesthetic features that were promised at the start.

Realistically, some aspects of a build—supply chain issues, material shortages, changes in zoning laws, and more—fall outside your realm of control. And most construction managers know to expect changes to the project’s plan and design. But ultimately, the difference between a happy client and a disgruntled one is often a project team that anticipates irregularities and one who doesn’t.

To put it simply: you have to anticipate the worst so you can deliver the best.

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Smart decision-making in construction is rooted in customer values. It’s therefore critical that project managers take ample time to get to know their clients and what aspects of the project are most important to them. Doing so will provide you with a clear understanding of what aspects of the build to prioritize so you and your team can plan accordingly.

Though it might be easier said than done, communicating potential challenges to your client before they arise can help you and your customer work together to determine top-, mid-, and low-level priorities. Moreover, you’ll be able to run through different scenarios to understand how cost, timeline, and aesthetics all impact one another and when to prioritize each one.

How Technology Can Aid Your Decision-Making

Smart decision-making in the bidding and preconstruction phases is critical for establishing realistic expectations between you and your client. Thankfully, modern project design software has transformed the landscape of early construction. Where there were once massive Excel files and hours of number crunching, there are now user-friendly software options that allow you to weigh different design impacts, see possible outcomes, and set priorities accordingly.

User-friendly software has bridged the gap between construction professionals and their clients. With new cloud-based technology, you can sit with a customer and design a virtual model of your project together, all while leveraging historical data for the most accurate estimates. Additionally, all stakeholders can access the project from a smartphone, communicate within the chosen tech platform, and make changes to better suit their needs. Doing so saves valuable time and labor hours and creates more client-customer transparency which is crucial for a lasting relationship.

Collaborative Decision Making

Individuals and organizations will inevitably have different decision-making styles. Typically, small projects make it possible for construction managers to make all necessary decisions alongside the client with little outside influence. Larger projects, however, often require a group effort.

It’s not uncommon for teams to bring in consultants. This practice is particularly prevalent if you’re building in an area you aren’t familiar with and need someone with knowledge of zoning laws, material sourcing, and more. Additionally, when working with large teams, it can be helpful to tap into employees’ experience in their relevant specialties to better track progress and avoid major pitfalls along the way.

No matter the method, construction technology makes it possible to collaborate with all stakeholders and make the most informed decisions possible. Additionally, each team will gain insight into the other teams’ progress, allowing for a more streamlined execution of your anticipated timeline. By keeping everyone connected, you can avoid labor stoppages and adjust materials and design to remain on time and within budget.

Using Experiential Insights

Careful planning is critical for successful project delivery. But plans can—and do—go awry. To avoid recurring pitfalls and ensure you’re making informed choices, construction managers must tap into past project data to gain the experiential insight necessary for successful completion.

It’s easy to fall back on old systems, processes, and suppliers. However, your reliance on your comfort zone might be holding you back. Therefore, it’s essential to use construction planning software that utilizes your past project data so you can better understand where a project deviated from the anticipated budget and timeline. Doing so will help you make more informed decisions and better maintain client expectations.

Make Better Decisions, Win Bigger Bids

Successful project delivery is all about smart, informed choices. Become a member of ABC Wisconsin to stay updated on all relevant industry news and advancements so you can make better decisions to keep serving your clients best.

Jeff Sample is an Industry Evangelist for Join, Inc. He has devoted the past 20+ years optimizing companies throughout the construction industry by designing solutions, optimizing strategic advantages, and breaking down information silos. His passion for outdoor adventure and Ironman competitions garnered him the moniker “The Ironman of IT.” As Industry Evangelist for Join, Jeff promotes collaboration and the transformation of preconstruction to help project teams reach their potential.

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