How New Mobile Processes Help Construction Companies Form Better Habits, Finish Projects Faster And Out-Compete Their Rivals

improve processes on construction projectsThe development of good habits, instinctive behaviors that allow a person to flawlessly complete complex tasks, is the key to the success of any major endeavor, from running a major corporation to overseeing a construction megaproject.

In the context of top-performing project teams, individual habits add up to project-wide processes. Teams with the most efficient processes have the most successful projects. But what happens when a process that worked great in the past becomes outdated? This is the challenge facing teams on construction projects of all sizes as the industry’s growing adoption of cloud + mobile technologies allows for new, more collaborative approaches.

“We must learn to overcome paradigms that worked in the past but that new technological, social or market contexts make obsolete,” the organizers of the European BIM Summit declared when they announced the conference last year.

The Project Paradigm Shift: Cloud + Mobility

The new paradigm is based on processes that run in the cloud and make full use of mobile devices. The critical importance of mobile is not lost on industry leaders. A recent poll of executives at leading E&C companies by Deloitte found that 96% of respondents recognized greater productivity as a benefit of mobility. At every company, use of mobile devices for work-related activities was common.

A recent online survey1 of over 300 architects, engineers and contractors found 91% of respondents identified improved collaboration as one of the top three benefits of mobility, followed by reduced reliance on paper (60%) and a reduction of unanticipated problems (54%).

Slow Adoption of New Project Technologies

But despite broad acknowledgment of the benefits of mobility, adoption continues to lag. In the Deloitte study, barely 75% of respondents were using mobile solutions to share information externally. Only 63% were reviewing and editing documents on mobile devices, and just 54% were tracking their project’s progress.

As Mick Jagger would say, “old habits die hard.” Nearly two out of three respondents to the online survey were continuing to use FTP sites to exchange large documents while two out of five were using handwritten notes. These professionals, and the project teams with whom they work, risk losing market share to competitors who have embraced dynamic cloud and mobile technologies without hesitation.

Any project team can realize productivity gains if they are willing to embrace new habits. And while the effort required to change the behavior of seasoned industry veterans may seem daunting, just starting small by making minor adjustments here and there can have a huge impact.

In the recent best-seller “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” author Charles Duhigg describes the power of “small wins” to transform negative (or outdated) habits into positive ones. “A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves,” Duhigg wrote.

Case in Point: ConocoPhillips Canada

In 2015, Mark Banham, a project manager at ConocoPhillips in Canada demonstrated how the concept of small wins can transform a construction project.

After implementing a new cloud-based, mobile-enabled collaboration platform in the face of heavy internal opposition, Banham persuaded key members of the project team to begin using the system by sending them links to key weekly reports that they could only open in Aconex. Once people started using the platform, their objections to it disappeared. By the end of the year, all the projects that Banham was responsible for were delivered on time and under budget, with a total decrease in project cost of 23% .

Ready to Go Mobile?

If you’re already using Aconex, then check out our suite of apps on the App Store and Google Play. You can log in using your existing Aconex credentials.

If you’re not using Aconex, then contact us for a demo of our broad range of project collaboration mobile apps.

Keep an eye out for my next post on cloud + mobile, specifically in the BIM space.

Like what you’ve read? Check out our other recent blog posts in this series:

  1. How Combining Cloud + Mobility With BIM Facilitates Cost Savings And Better Project Delivery
  2. Mobile Services, BIM & the Rise of Radical Transparency

1 “SmartMarket Brief: BIM Advancements” by Dodge Data & Analytics

John Barkwell

John Barkwell

Director of BIM Professional Services (Americas) at Aconex
John Barkwell is the Director of BIM Professional Services (Americas) at Aconex, the world's leading collaborative construction and engineering management software.
John Barkwell