Does it start when a contractor arrives on site? Does it start before that? Maybe when the first vendor is hired on to the project?
What if quality starts before the project even has a name?
Are the requirement documents developed for the project meeting the same quality levels to which vendors are held? Are the requirements specific, detailed, and actionable?
What about the process for ensuring that each of these requirements makes it to the right vendor and is understood? What if the vendor has questions about the requirements? Who will handle those questions? Is it the same team who developed the requirements?
After the requirement is met, who will follow-up to check quality? What criteria will be used and how will the results be communicated with the rest of the team?
Each of the questions points to an area of risk within a project. In complex projects, each question is repeated throughout the life of the project, creating exponentially increasing opportunities for a misstep.
You don’t fix the problem until you define it. – John W. Snow (Click to Tweet)
Laying a Project Foundation
Before a project has a name, a Gantt chart, or even a champion, it needs a process. A process is a map, it tells your team where to begin and shows a direct route for achieving a result. It is clear, concise, and provides a framework for success.
Too many projects start with a process that looks a little like this…
Image Credit: Vox
How do you get to Ohio? The answer depends on where you are starting from and how you plan to travel.
For too many projects, the information provided and even the route for obtaining that information is undefined.
Now, what if instead of a vague concept of the project, your team had a clear route from point A to point B, including a way to verify that the project is on track (before reaching the end).
Image Credit: Google Maps
Imagine taking a road trip from Colorado to Ohio and never stopping to check if you were headed in the right direction until the trip was over. Who knows where you might end up? Maybe in Ohio or possibly in Canada.
Too many projects are managed with this mentality. Quality is something that is checked at the end, instead of being defined and reviewed from beginning to end and at many points in between.
Read more about process verification in the construction industry.
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If you took that road trip to Ohio and found yourself in Canada, you would have to travel hundreds of miles just to get back on track. Yet, if you stopped to check your progress at predefined points, you may have only lost an hour or two of travel.
Now, let’s take it a step further. Let’s compare traveling with a paper map and predefined checkpoints to Google Maps.
With a paper map and checkpoint process, you can only get as far off track as your next manual checkpoint.
Yet, with Google Maps, as soon as you make a wrong turn, Maps begins recalculating, gauging the impact, and finding the best route forward.
Applying automated process verification to your projects is like traveling with Google Maps. As soon as a there is a missed step, the right stakeholders are notified and can begin gauging impact and course correcting.
However, the backbone of any construction process automation system is the right process. Applying process automation to a broken process only exacerbates quality and efficiency issues. Imagine traveling along, relying on Google Maps, when suddenly you see this…
Image Credit: Google Maps
What if Maps had blind spots and if you ventured into them, you were on your own. What if Maps suddenly stopped providing direction, and you were left to not only gauge the progress of your journey on your own but to also arrive in Columbus on-time?
Efficiency and focus are the keys to success. – Robert Crais (Click to Tweet)
Create a Robust Process with Construction Process Automation
Take the time to clearly define the processes that are necessary to your business success. Identify how progress (and quality) will be checked along the way and what will happen if there something is out of spec.
Driving efficiency and quality throughout a business is about more than simply implementing a new tool. It is about creating the policies, procedures, and data requirements that breed success and then implementing construction process automation to drive efficiency and repeatability.