Optimizing Construction Projects with Project Progress Monitoring

Udit Poddar
June 10, 2023
5 mins to read

Ensuring seamless project process monitoring from start to finish is a complex task, even more so in the construction space where time is everything. Delays only add to the cost, along with the all-too-familiar challenge of managing multiple teams, assigning work, tracking progress, and meeting deadlines. Despite the myriad tools available (I’m sure you’ve tried a bunch), there is still a challenge when it comes to adoption. Many legacy software out there, even though immensely powerful and great with their features, are not that easy to implement, adding to the existing confusion 🙇

In this article, I’ll take you through Grid’s method of ensuring end-to-end project process monitoring for time-critical construction projects. Before getting into our method, let’s start by…

Digging into the on-field reality 🔨

mobile application

Even today, 80% of the infrastructure sector relies on the traditional paper-plus-excel approach to manage their operations. If they do break from the paper mold, it’s usually by starting out with a cumbersome tool that often falls short of meeting expectations- a simple way to manage a construction project from start to finish. 

Here’s a checklist that we prepared for ourselves before launching Grid. The focus was on identifying opportunities to help project monitoring initiatives move past the planning stage. 

📲 Easy access to a mobile-application that lets one enter data on the go | Which would do the work of presenting almost real-time information on planned V actual progress.

🧺 A clean and intuitive user interface for easy navigation and search functions | Understanding time constraints to figure out a new tool, we focused on building something that takes the least time to get used to. 

🥳 Low learning curve for a high adoption rate | As construction projects are time-bound, we wanted to give something that has the least training to get started with no overly complicated features. 

While Grid caters to a diverse range of use cases, we focus on utilizing features that get the job done.  

🙏🏻 The ability to sync or export data to or from multiple software like ERPs, MS Project, Excel, Sharepoint, and more | One of the most important aspects for any business is importing or exporting data from multiple software. 

Let’s first start by taking you through the standard processes to plan a project of any size or scale 👷

STEP 1: Create a comprehensive project plan which includes detailed execution steps. You probably spend most of your time on this step as it forms the foundation of the entire project. This is also what helps us at Grid understand the tasks that can be automated as you move closer to the next step.

STEP 2: Identify core activities that will drive the project. These activities typically include tasks such as site preparation, securing permits and approvals, conducting surveys, and establishing the project team and communication channels. As most of the tasks are sequentially dependent on each other- we set specific formulae to fix timelines, send reminders, and more.

STEP 3: Follow up with the activities that can run in parallel with others. To be able to schedule realistic timelines, it is important to identify these activities and ensure they are appropriately scheduled to optimize the project timeline. 

STEP 4: Assigning people who would lead certain tasks. Here we get a little more granular where we create a schedule and the estimated duration of each task. It also entails assigning responsibilities to specific individuals who will lead and oversee each task, ensuring clear accountability and effective project coordination.

STEP 5: Here is when the tool you use will provide you real statistics on the planned V actual progress. We set this by using detailed formula configurations on Grid. Once set up, you can view your running data, enabling you to identify any deviations and delays promptly.

What makes this entire process fruitful? 🍎

Unlike in a traditional set-up where everything is documented on paper or cumbersome Excel sheets, streamlining and cleaning out your data gives you a level of control you may not have thought possible.

Managing large amounts of data on Excel often means dealing with multiple sheets that document various activities. On top of that, it may lack data sanity as anyone has the freedom to type anything. Even if one masters all the restricted formulae, it’s prone to very natural human errors.

Instead of getting lost in a sea of documents, it is advisable and also more productive to do this 👇 instead.

A lean approach…..and what it takes to achieve it 👏

When you have a tool that sorts half of your headache for you, it’s easier to focus on what truly matters.

Start by optimizing your system of sharing field data till the office 📡

The ability to gather and analyze field data in real-time has been a game-changer for construction projects (especially for decision-makers) who can access it in almost real-time. With the right tools and processes in place, project managers can monitor progress, identify bottlenecks, and make timely decisions.

While some construction companies turn to legacy software solutions like Primavera or NPulse, there are drawbacks worth considering, such as a steep learning curve, a cumbersome user interface, and an overwhelming barrage of features that are often unused.

On Grid, you can efficiently and consistently scale and mold your data to how you do things (not the other way around).

To demonstrate this, we started working with one of India's fastest-growing global conglomerates with businesses in home textiles, flooring solutions, DI pipes, stainless steel, and a lot more. Projects of such magnitude surely involve hiring multiple contractors and significant resources, placing even more pressure on adhering to timelines. Our customer follows a specific MIS target date, making project process monitoring one of the most critical aspects of their business.

Hello Grid 🤝

Our client has been using Grid to build a better data structure, automate critical calculations, reduce data entry errors and improve data sanity on a macro and micro scale.

Over time, the progress of even the most granular tasks is now reported on Grid. 

The best part is how their data and tasks are now integrated with their reporting structure, providing them with a comprehensive view of which tasks are causing delays. Add to that, Grid’s no-code capability allows the team to make tweaks and additions easily, without being limited to a rigid platform.

Lately, they’ve also been entering data directly on Grid while importing large volumes of data from other software. They can now view complex and extensive reports in the form of no-nonsense dashboards. All in all, managing their large-scale projects on Grid has helped them clean and standardize data, reduce (a lot) of errors, gain an overview of multiple projects with unique SOWs across different locations, and ensure progress without anomalies on dashboards that are simple to read, even for a layman.

How do you streamline these processes for a healthy level of accountability? 🚨

In traditional setups, maintaining extensive documentation manually is undoubtedly a nightmare. It not only increases the likelihood of errors but also hampers accountability as there is no digital record for easy tracking.

Fortunately, you now have the option to maintain a seamless process that makes record-keeping actually fun and transparent, ensures version control, promotes accountability throughout the project life-cycle, and makes sure that relevant stakeholders are answerable on time. Gathering almost real-time field data to track project progress is a sure-shot way to timely project execution.

Liked what you read? We publish one article every month where I delve deep into a problem that’s hindering asset-heavy industries. Feel free to drop me a message on LinkedIn.

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Udit Poddar
CEO @ WorkOnGrid | Enterprise SAAS
“Using Grid to track drill program progress and day to day expenditures has allowed VR Resources to make better decisions more quickly. The highly customizable and elegant interface allows me to track and manage all aspects of our field work and it’s clear after just a few weeks that the possibilities are nearly endless. Cost tracking estimates were consistently within expected variance of invoices received giving me further confidence in managing agile drill programs. Further the development team and customer support have been top notch!”
Justin J. Daley
PGeo, MSc, Vice President Exploration
VR Resources
VR Resources
“Grid has been extremely helpful in changing the course of multiple operations, here at U-Solar. We started with one module for Materials Management, and have now adopted Grid for 3-4 more processes, all of which have been smooth and quick to implement.”
IT Admin
“GRID has helped Hotel Polo Towers group to manage their assets and inventory through its simple, user-friendly yet dynamic application. Managing asset data have really been simple and it goes without saying that the technical support team members have done a tremendous job by providing quick and effective troubleshooting measures whenever required.”
Anirban Chatterjee
IT Manager - Corporate
Hotel Polo Towers
Hotel Polo Towers
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