Expert Benjamin Sparks Explains How Technology Is Changing Commercial Construction Scheduling

Commercial construction is fundamentally changing with the advent of the digital age. Experts like Benjamin Sparks, a Dallas, TX Construction Consultant, knows how technology impacts construction scheduling in fundamental ways.

Construction Scheduling Technology or Experience – Which is Most Important?

Advancements in construction technology continue to stretch construction project programs and their managers. It sometimes seems that the technology has outpaced organizational capabilities to manage it. While the technology promises advantageous results in effectiveness and efficiency in managing not only larger and more sophisticated programs and projects but also small projects as well. It also presents new issues for organizations to deal with in implementing new systems and procedures. So, between Construction Scheduling Technology vs Experience – which is more important? 

Construction Scheduling Technology or Training

Mr. Smith, a Framing and Drywall contractor knows that to stay competitive in the current market it is important to keep up with the latest in hammer development. After all, he knows that good tools increase productivity. His approach is to purchase only the finest hammers for the young apprentice carpenters on his staff. Through careful research and evaluation, Smith selects a new hammer from a reputable manufacturer for his inexperienced crews. The selected manufacturer provides the sleekest and most user-friendly features in the hammer industry. The contractor justifies the purchase price and the cost of training for the best tools in the business with the money he is saving by hiring only apprentice carpenters. Following a day of training with their new device, the carpenters begin framing walls with new enthusiasm. 

Construction Scheduling Technology and Experience

Over time the overall company production has not increased significantly with the new product or construction scheduling technology. Mr. Smith gradually becomes somewhat disillusioned with the innovative hammer product and begins re-entertaining new products for the company thinking that the previous selection has not lived up to his expectations. We on the outside look at Smith and his hammer selection process and say “It’s your carpenters, Smith.” You can purchase the best hammer, but in the hands of inexperience, even the best tools will bring little benefit to a construction project. On the other hand, an experienced carpenter can produce a quality performance with a mediocre hammer.

Let’s apply this same analogy to a different area of project delivery. Planning and scheduling construction projects and using that schedule to coordinate the execution of the project can have an impact on whether or not a project is successful. Yet the emphasis on experience for scheduling is often minimized. Just like our contractor, expensive and sophisticated planning tools (software) are entrusted to inexperience for their implementation. In so many situations, project executives entrust the coordination of the project schedule to apprentice project managers inexperienced in critical planning and scheduling techniques, developing a well-coordinated plan, identifying potential risks, recognizing issues, and analyzing impacts. Owners are also guilty of minimizing experience in the schedule coordination and review process.

Here’s a tip, inexperience will often cast blame on the failure of technology (a quality planning tool) for a lack of quality performance. Experience, on the other hand, provides quality with the available tools. A change or an upgrade in technology will usually only increase efficiency, not quality. With so much at stake, budget, and time, wouldn’t it be prudent to re-evaluate where the planning and scheduling department focus should be? Research and evaluate procedures, experience, and expertise first – then review technology.

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