The Next Evolution of Project Management: Emergent Trends and Technologies in 2021
2021 shapes as a crucial period in the growth of construction project management. The stakes have rarely been higher for the industry as a whole, with efficiency and productivity likely to be key themes that dominate discussion.
Several new techniques and concepts have made their mark on major project builds in recent years. Advances haven’t been limited to just cutting-edge digital tools; fundamental changes to long-practiced techniques and thought processes are also changing the way we do business.
For our latest blog, we have investigated some of the emergent trends tipped to play a defining role in our industry for 2021 and beyond.
One Unified Source for Project Data
Reliable access to up-to-date project data is a vital consideration in project management. Historically, oversights and miscommunications are a common issue on major builds, with avoidable mistakes holding up progress and inconveniencing other project teams.
Enterprise cloud software is a popular advent in construction project management, and it’s easy to see why so many are making the switch. Controllers can unify all teams including designers, contractors, subcontractors and more on a single cloud platform, eliminating the information silos that compromise projects.
Web-based project management platforms such as iTWO cx offer dedicated modules for correspondence, with all participants able to access all relevant data in real-time. This mitigates the risk of outdated revisions or files being mistakenly used and causing issues as a result. These modules represent a far more reliable tool for data transfer than email, with audit trails also available to assist processes.
A New Modular Movement
Prefabrication is hardly a new concept for construction, but the speed, consistency and cost-effectiveness of modularisation is boosting its popularity once more.
Modular solutions can reduce onsite waste, improve logistical considerations and even help to limit the number of workers onsite at once; with many worksites requiring social distancing to be maintained for the foreseeable future, this is a significant selling point.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is key to the success of prefabrication, as modelling can help to validate installation plans before problems present onsite. In an era of tight project scheduling, having the ability to complete labour-intensive tasks offsite before a quick installation period is likely to be very appealing to project managers.
Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions are already playing a role in many construction projects worldwide, but mixed-reality technology is quickly gaining prominence for problem-solving and visualisation.
For those who don’t know, mixed-reality blends real-world environments with digital content, such as BIM models, with models represented through holographic technology. Delivered via wearable devices such as headset, mixed-reality can help to visualise a model or model aspects as they appear in the actual physical environment. During the preconstruction process, this can be very helpful for clash detection, processing RFIs and conceptualising solutions in real-time.
Mixed-reality is yet another technology that is empowered by BIM workflows. RIB Software offer a mixed-reality solution called iTWO Lens, which combines the MTWO enterprise platform with Microsoft HoloLens technology.
Given mixed-reality can provide further value to enterprises who have already invested in BIM, we expect to see the technology further explored and widely implemented in the near future.
We’re heading rapidly towards a more digitalised industry, and it’s integral that skills development keeps up with this robust rate of change. We need the right people and skillsets to unlock the digital potential that is apparent across multiple project phases, from planning and design through to long-term operation.
This not only means attracting a new generation of multidisciplinary engineering talent to take up a career in construction, but giving existing staff the tools they need to operate effectively in our evolving industry.
Executives understand how vital this is to the future of construction. It’s now common to hear of major construction enterprises providing upskilling opportunities for their employees, as part of business commitments to digital transformation. We can expect this attitude to prevail in coming years, given the essential need for our industry to adopt advanced digital solutions as we face up to the productivity challenge.
Advanced Data Analytics
On the topic of digital transformation, big data and analytics have played a defining role in the recent evolution of numerous industries. Construction has been slower than others to yield the benefits, but we’re beginning to see the extensive potential on offer with big data.
In construction, it’s the application of the data that counts. Drones, mobile apps, surveying tools and other means are available for gathering data, but this raw information must be interpreted effectively to better inform decision-making.
Project managers with the right tools and knowledge can accurately forecast build completion dates, analyse risk factors, establish the success of their initiatives and much more. Enterprises can even leverage their historical data to challenge or reinforce projections on current builds.
The rise of data analytics in construction has been exponential, and it’s hard to imagine this trend will slow in the months and years to come.
Choose iTWO cx for Streamlined Construction Project Management
The value of web-based workflows cannot be denied for modern construction projects. No matter what cutting-edge technologies you choose to implement, a robust software system is crucial to boosting your productivity potential in the modern industry.
iTWO cx offers a variety of powerful management modules to support intelligent project collaboration and control. Our web-based solution allows users to manage everything from tenders and contracts to work hours and data in the field, with enterprises able to customise an iTWO cx package to suit complex requirements.