Nowadays, agile methodologies are the dominant and one of the most important project management methodologies, particularly for those that call for collaboration between several stakeholders and the customer/end user. Agile is commonly used in IT and software development, as well as in finance, marketing, and advertising, among other industries. Additionally, it is gradually becoming more typical in almost every industry related to projects.
What about construction, though? Can Agile project management techniques be used for construction projects? Can a project with a high cost, like a skyscraper, bridge, or tunnel, that involves numerous stakeholders and occasionally governmental entities and has specific requirements, like the need to last a lifetime, rely solely on Agile project management? Eduhubspot is the best platform from where you can clear all your doubts regarding the application of agile project management for construction projects.
Project management’s evolution
Take a look at how contemporary project management methodologies got their start by taking a step back. Early in the 20th century, Gantt charts, the critical path method (CPM), and later the program evaluation and review technique were developed. These three forms of modern project management were the first of their kind (PERT). Waterfall techniques, the forerunner of Agile methodologies, were the main foundation of project management in the 1960s.
The Waterfall method divides project needs and activities into logically ordered phases. Every requirement is gathered from the very beginning of the project, and as each new phase progresses, it becomes more specialized in its tasks and is dependent on the deliverables of the previous one.
Before Agile emerged, the Waterfall methodology—which was used to manage projects in almost every industry, but particularly the software sector—was the most well-known and came from the manufacturing and construction sectors.
Is the Waterfall method sufficient?
The software industry started to have concerns about the Waterfall method as software projects grew bigger and more complex and as some requirements grew murkier. As it is challenging to go back and make changes in earlier phases, it came to be seen as one of the less flexible and iterative approaches. Once the development of the project is complete, the testing process begins. If the requirements are unclear at first, this can cause significant delays, cost overruns, and even project failure. Additionally, it didn’t leave much room for efficient change management or continuous improvement.
Agile’s Importance in Construction Projects
A minor design change in a construction project can delay its completion and result in a significant increase in costs later on. Every task in a construction project is completed sequentially or linearly, and making any changes will result in a rollback of the tasks already completed as well as the development process as a whole. Disaster in terms of money, time, etc., as well as project failure, could result from this.
Agile project management in the construction industry has, as was already mentioned, been most successfully used in software development projects and is the best project management methodology for construction where changes or rollbacks are made through coding and adjustments at any stage of a project.
The Use of Agility in Construction Design
Agile is most useful during the Planning (Design & Pre-construction) phase before any major construction work begins. Agile construction teams there concentrate on developing an iterative work process and delivering value frequently while being adaptable to changes.
They try to gather initial customer feedback as quickly as possible through sketches, site plans, etc . To make sure that requirements have been properly communicated. This enables them to adjust to changes early on, which is much less expensive in an industry like construction than having to do reworks later. The PMI ACP bootcamp helps candidates in learning more in depth regarding the construction design.
Why Use an Agile Construction Approach?
Naturally, the risk is very high because construction is one of the most complex industries and frequently produces goods of significant public importance. After all, budget overruns and delays in construction projects are not uncommon. As a result, there is a greater need for improved communication, process visibility, and flexibility to respond to new problems.
In the sections that follow, we’ll go over some typical problems that the construction sector encounters and examine how an agile project management methodology might be able to help.
Construction process transparency is lacking
The inability to properly track their processes from conception to execution. In which produces a chaotic environment, is a problem that construction companies frequently encounter. Teams track their work in endless spreadsheets, so status updates frequently involve a lot of “he said, she said” arguments. This adds to the already burdensome complexity of the processes.
Agile encourages visualization at every stage of the workflow as a solution to this issue.
Regardless of the industry, poor communication is cited as one of the main causes of many failed projects. The Agile teams’ decision to prioritize “Individuals and Interactions” over “Processes and Tools” is understandable. But because the work process in the construction industry is so complex, there is frequently poor communication and a lack of accountability.
Agile’s approach to resolving that is to incorporate regular feedback loops to sync progress and talk about problems. Agile construction teams, for instance, hold daily meetings where they present the work that has been completed, the work they plan to complete, and any obstacles they are facing.
This keeps everyone in agreement and guarantees that any roadblocks are exposed as soon as possible. Having follow-up conversations after the meeting and offering assistance to one another if needed are also encouraged.
Additionally, team members are encouraged to share their ideas with construction managers. Mostly decide together how to improve and speed up work processes. This helps create a culture of constant improvement and a setting where people can freely express their opinions.
The Future of Construction Project Management
Transparency is essential for achieving organizational agility in the construction sector. One of the key pillars of agility in terms of project management it is. Once you accomplish that, you can gradually look for additional improvements. Like increased productivity or better ways to monitor your plans.
Even though the construction sector is very complex and sequential, Agile still succeeds. The following are some of the main issues that an agile project management methodology aids construction companies in resolving:
Lack of transparency due to the use of connected Kanban boards
Lack of coordination of progress and discussion of more effective ways to manage the work process. Daily and weekly routines is a sign of poor communication.