As a project manager, one is primarily at the helm of affairs of any project being handled at the time and beyond being a job title, it is a responsibility that is entrusted into the hands of someone who is believed to be capable of planning, directing, managing, executing and evaluating ideas and projects.
A project manager is one who wears many hats at once. He is the chief of operations; he oversees the entry and exit of every element concerning a construction project. He is the middleman between the client and the execution team and as such, establishes fluent and effective communication internally and externally.
Roles of a Project Manager
As a project manager, you are saddled with the responsibility to control every single factor concerning the project in question. Some of these factors include but are not limited to:
Every team is made up of people with similar visions and goals irrespective of their training, ethnicity or specialization. However, the driving goal is not enough to direct the team hence the need for a project manager. The project manager must group every member of the team into functional sub-teams with a team lead to spearhead the operations of the team. The team lead only takes instructions from the project manager and can be dissolved if the satisfaction is not achieved.
What is a project without funds? As the funds come in, the project manager is supposed to stand at the door to receive them, record them, allocate them and track their expenditure. If the funds are to be distributed, then it is the project manager who decides what the distribution process would entail.
For any project to be effectively completed, the construction has to start from the ground-up. In line with this, the project is divided into smaller units to be achieved by the sub-team in charge. Before it gets to the sub-team, it first has to go through the project manager. As a matter of fact, it is the project manager who delegates smaller projects to sub-teams and decides who leads the team.
As planning is ongoing, it is only normal to store all data in soft or hard copies. These and all other documents pertaining to the construction are to be kept in the custody of the project manager or in the custody of someone who answers directly to the project manager. If anything should go wrong with any of the documents, the project manager is to be held accountable.
Regardless of the project being handled, certain materials must be used to achieve desirable results. These materials may be hardware or software but whatever form they come in, it is the sole responsibility of the project manager to ensure safe entry and utilization of the materials.
Looking at all the responsibilities outlined, the role of a project manager may seem like a herculean task but with proper planning, management, and the tools that would be further described below, anyone at all can be an amazing manager. The tools include;
- BIM 360.
GanttPRO (with management templates)
Price: For personal projects, a fee of $15 would be billed every month. For team projects requiring up to 5 users, $7.90 would be paid for every user and larger projects having up to 10 members would cost $6.90 per user.
Free trial offer: New users have a 14-day free trial window with no credit card required to validate their registration.
GanttPRO is a multi-award-winning online software for project management. It uses Gantt charts to help project managers map out goals, track tasks, and evaluate progress.
The major features GanttPRO possesses include:
- Gantt chart timeline (that can also be converted to boards) to manage tasks.
- Provision of workspaces for numerous projects and sub-projects with an option to mark accomplishments.
- Creation of subteams with workspaces slotted to each of them.
- Provision of drag and drop options for tasks and their respective timelines.
- Real-time tracking of project progress.
- Team and virtual resource management.
- Different cost values: per hour, per item, and fixed price.
- Team collaboration with immediate notifications.
GanttPRO offers project managers so many options from planning to execution and evaluation of personal and team projects as well. The crucial thing is that it is very user friendly even for those who is new to project management.
GanttPRO would prove an effective tool for construction project managers as it allows users to track an unlimited number of projects, share project briefs with the designated team only, and filter all tasks uploaded.
Pricing: Buildertrend offers three value packages: For Core, a sum of $299 per month is billed to gain access to an unlimited number of projects. Pro charges $499 per month and Premium allows prospective users to request customized pricing plans.
Free trial period: A 30-day trial period is offered to intending users of the software.
Buildertrend is a project management software that was specifically built for managers of construction sites: remodelers, builders, and all sorts of contractors.
The distinctive features of Buildertrend include:
- Users can make a change in order while the project is ongoing and have the client sign it on the spot.
- Add photos with commentaries and share them with every member of the construction team and the client.
- It allows users to schedule tasks from anywhere in the world and track the progress.
- Send out proposals and have them e-signed wherever the client is.
- Generate invoices and send them to clients.
With all the features tailored to suit the specific needs of construction project managers, Buildertrend would be almost indispensable. The only downside to it is that users have to pay quite a lot to be able to manage multiple projects, but the good thing is that you have a 30-day trial period to decide if it is worth the money.
Pricing: ProCore offers two plans. The first comes with a financial management tool and is priced at $549 per month while the second only comprises of the basic project management tools and is billed at $375 per month.
Free trial period: ProCore does not offer a free trial.
ProCore is another project management software that was developed with construction managers at the forefront.
Some remarkable features of the software are:
- Availability on all kinds of devices which boosts efficiency and communication.
- Transparent timelines that allow job inspection to be carried out at any time.
- Seamless integration with other management software including Sage 100 Contractor and Salesforce.
- Provision of a cloud-based storage system to cut down on scanning time and file sorting.
Construction project managers would find this software useful as it is not only easily accessible but it also offers all the essential planning, finance management, and task-tracking tools in one package. It is, however, not as glammed up as a few other project management tools and as such, lacks some personalized functions.
Price: Prices can be customized for users depending on the type of project(s) being managed.
Free trial: HeavyJob does not offer a free trial window but a free demo and 12-month money-back guarantee.
Considering the many heavy-duty jobs that construction project managers have to carry out on and off-site, HeavyJob was created by the developers to help break down the tasks into bits and handle each one efficiently.
These features are what make HeavyJob stand out from other management software:
- Use of digital timecards that can be entered in different fields in the workspace.
- Diary function to allow project managers to record progress on the field.
- Capture photos on the field and add specific descriptions to them before uploading for the whole team to see.
- Send payroll concerning daily production data to the accounting system already in use.
HeavyJob understands the responsibilities of a construction project manager especially heavy infrastructure contractors and as such, it incorporates simple tools that mimic the conventional paper system but in a faster and more advanced format.
Additionally, it helps project managers see if they are maximizing or losing funds budgeted on projects and track fund-draining sources.
Price: There is no price specification.
Free trial: BMI offers a free demo to intending users.
BIM 360 is a simple management software designed for project managers and contractors. It allows users the opportunity to keep track of their project from initiation to execution and record changes as they progress.
A few of the remarkable features of the BIM 360 are listed below.
- Use of a cloud-based system to distribute data among team members.
- Recognition of risk factors and as such, the software takes note of all safety loopholes and reports to the team.
- Seamless connection with over 70 other software to prevent possible supplications.
The software is well adapted to contractors handling all kinds of tasks on the field. Contractors handling non-construction jobs may find it a bit difficult to use but it nonetheless provides basic value to any project manager signed up to the software.
As a project manager, it is your responsibility to choose which project management tools your team would work with throughout the project. Due to this, it is advisable to try out the tools you are interested in before the start of the project to help you determine which one would be most effective for the task to be carried out.
Before choosing any project management tool, you should go through the privacy policies and how many users the price package allows to prevent wastage of funds from the initial stage. If you always have so many projects to execute simultaneously, tools like GanttPRO which allow uncountable projects to be managed regardless of pricing plan would prove cost-efficient.
What other features do you think project management tools should possess to help you out with your job?