Over the past years, many industries have started using the Agile project management method. The most notable industry is software development. Handovers to the client happen in stages when using Agile in software development, providing unique value to the client in the final product. More recently, the construction industry adopted the Agile project management method. We share Agile’s process, benefits, and risks in construction project management.
The Agile Construction Method
In the Agile construction method, smaller and shorter gradual goals define the project. The classic and linear waterfall project management method has a brief plan, test, and build process before the project starts that’s difficult to change once construction starts. This often led to complicated and long schedules with little room for change. Handovers are only done once the entire project is completed.
It’s Easier to Pivot
Project management in construction, like any other project management, isn’t set in stone. Unexpected weather, design changes, and supply shortages influence the building process. With Agile management, shifting and working around conditions are simpler to manage. The staged approach makes it easier to adjust planning stages (sprints) based on the unexpected and capitalize on opportunities to realize more value.
Collaborative Sprint Planning
Sprint planning is a process involving all teams. It’s an opportunity to discuss any backlogs, unforeseen roadblocks, and goals to be met by the end of the sprint. In construction, this could include the handover of a floor in a building or completing the HVAC systems. The collaborative process ensures all teams are on the same page, and if any pivoting is required, it’s done with the support of the project owner.
Increased Customer Involvement
The construction phase of a project will significantly benefit from customer involvement, and Agile makes this process more manageable. Construction project managers can break the building process into more manageable tasks and keep clients updated with the progress. This incremental approach means more accuracy and assurance in the project.
Transparent Financial Management
Productivity and procurement play a major role in budget planning and profitability. The Agile methodology requires frequent reviews that impact and improve the financial management of the construction project. With a construction project broken down into parts for handover, it’s now possible to generate income from floors or buildings handed over to clients.
Agile Construction Management Risks
The phased approach to Agile Construction may lead to unforeseen risks. The construction process is sequential, and large projects are scheduled for the most efficient use of contractors and crews to deliver the project on time and within budget. The Agile process would need to work with the contractual, schedule, and cost goals to avoid change orders, delays, and cost overruns.
Construction project managers see the benefits of using the Agile project management methodology with the critical path method of scheduling and planning. Agile project management is an excellent fit for construction, using real-time data and adding a value focus to pull planning and look ahead schedule reviews. Using both methods in construction provides significant value to the CPM waterfall approach.
At PMA Consultants, we specialize in delivering solutions to your construction projects. Our real-world experience and knowledge of the construction industry help your projects succeed. If you’re ready to embrace this new and growing approach to project management, reach out to us!