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Project Management vs.Construction Management software: Do construction firms need both?

Project Management vs.Construction Management software: Do construction firms need both? 1

The outbreak of the most deadly pandemic of the 20th century viz. Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 has affected almost every country taking the world by storm. With millions of lives lost and job losses rife, and still more, hopes left in the lurch, businesses, both small and large, have been severely hit by the spiralling effects of COVID-19.

The untold stories of businesses suffering continue to grip business owners the world over with fear and uncertainty. The COVID-19 is all about uncertainty and businesses that fall back on traditional practises are feeling the heat—this will continue to do as long as they are conservative in adopting innovative technology. Businesses don’t need earth-shattering technology to stay afloat but rather the right technology that will save the sinking ship. The ongoing crisis will prevent the boat from rolling with the waves of progress as long as the right technology stack is not identified. Businesses that continue to disrupt the space and grow incrementally call the shots: those that do not stay in the receiving side of things. The construction industry is no different! In fact, the construction industry, along with the travel sector, is the mostly severely affected industry as per reliable news sources.      

The construction business has two options left to revive its fortune. One, adopt the right construction management strategy using construction management software suite. Two, deploy a robust project management methodology with an effective project management software in place. But learning the differences between construction management and project management software is worthwhile. This article will enumerate the differences between the two and helps you make the right decision while weighing both the options for your next construction project.      

The functions, roles and responsibilities of both project managers and construction managers are well defined and documented in the construction industry. It is important to understand the different roles and responsibilities of both the project manager and construction manager to learn the differences between project management and construction management software suites.

Role of Project Management is expansive:
The main difference between project managers and construction managers lies in the scope of a particular project. Project managers are usually higher up in the organizational hierarchy, characterized by broader and expansive responsibilities. For instance, a construction manager may only supervise the construction of the building, whereas a project manager runs the whole hog in the construction spectrum starting from selecting the site to procuring land, and in most cases, hiring the construction manager. A project manager, more often than not, is entrusted with the task of defining the scope of the construction manager, and offers the required tools and support apparatus so as to get the job done within the stipulated budget and time schedule.

Project software management suite at a high level covers some of the common activities and roles of the project manager, though not limited by scope and control as the expansive nature of the role demands:

# Site analysis
# Procurement of land
# Marketing and PR
# Budget Allocation & management
# Staffing (including hiring the construction manager)
# Timeline setup
# Deadline management

Responsibilities of Project Manager:
A project manager is responsible for defining the project charter and scope, team communication drills, improving efficiency, delegating responsibility, foreseeing and delegating responsibilities, relaying communication status to project sponsors and other stakeholders and fostering the culture of growth and innovation within the organization. There is also a full report available to Gartner’s clients online that is downloadable.

What does a Construction Manager do?
Project Manager don’t actually get into the thick of action involving managing construction workers, equipment and materials, expect granting approvals and sign-offs. A construction manager is actually responsible for developing the proposal and submitting it to the project manager who will then weigh the budget against the activities and may even request for the justification of the expenses, but it is the construction manager who actually reports on the expenses as part of the project management process. Now, let us see what construction management software typically will cover:

# Management of subcontractors & workers
# Documents ensuring compliance with building regulations and codes
# Equipment maintenance            
# Material order and purchase management
# Preparation of estimates
# Planning work schedules

Project management software in any sense steers a construction project towards completion, and there can be no denying this, but without Construction management software for builders and contractors, there would be complete chaos without proper work schedules or building codes and regulations not mentioned on the construction documents.

Construction management software is more than focused on project completion than bringing customer satisfaction; therefore, lack of project management software would put the project out of sync with the client who has to approve every single step even if the project is sailing smoothly.

Summary of the differences between Construction and Project Management software:

Construction management software:
Construction management helps contractors manage the complete spectrum of build process ranging from scheduling to tracking workers do’s and don’ts, punch list preparation to costs invoicing and client billing. These tools supposedly offer firms with the required oversight and document control to check requests for information (RFIs), order change requests and purchase orders such that they fall within the project budgets and timelines.

Project management software:
Project management software involves a sequential flow of process from their conception, kick-off to completion and/or launch, and allows individuals or a group to keep tab of project progress. You can find a numbers of tools available in the market place that range from basic free online project activity trackers to integrated project management tools for complex projects that allow the user to create tasks and manage every part of the project from developing business case, completion to client payment.

To conclude:
If you’re simply looking to focus on managing everyday tasks of a job site, from tracking labourers to monitoring change orders and requests for info, then don’t go any further than construction management software.

On the other hand, project management software suite runs the whole gamut from creating business case to client relationship management, in addition to including minutiae such as track tracking.