What I learned at MCA Chicago last week: managing construction projects is tougher than rocket science
Last week my colleague and I attended the Mechanical Contractor Association’s Tech Day Conference in Chicago. We were invited to speak and present workflows specifically tailored to specialty contractors who were looking to digitize their project communication and leverage the cloud for collaboration. The keynote speaker was Reg Hunter, the Sr. Program Manager for FiaTech and formerly worked with NASA. Reg’s keynote speech outlined how project productivity improvements can be achieved through the use of technology.
He started off by saying that construction projects are one of the most complex and challenging projects to manage, from procurement of materials to close out. In fact Reg said, “If you think this isn’t rocket science, you’re right…it’s harder!” In Reg’s opinion, our challenges are more complex than rocket science due in part to our interdependency upon each other to achieve project objectives.
While technology can be leveraged to improve accuracy and add efficiencies, Reg stated that it is often our siloed process that causes us to focus on our specialized approach, losing sight of the end point. Therefore, productivity improvements must be made through situational awareness. It was here that Reg made a statement which I full heartedly believe to be true. Unless you have your arms wrapped around your existing process, implementing a new technology is futile. In fact, if you don’t understand the challenge you’re trying to solve, and thoughtfully select, test and implement a technology solution you will most likely cause more harm than good.
So my question to you is, how well do you know your process challenges and have you taken the time to really identify your needs? Does the concept of situational awareness change the definition of your challenges? How does this then further define the criteria for the solutions you seek? You may want to get another cup of coffee before answering this one. I know I need another after asking it!