You can do months of prep work, put in hours of research, and painstakingly plan every last detail you need to put into place for your build – but if you can’t communicate with your team in an effective manner, none of those details matter. You need a foolproof plan for keeping your team in the loop at all times. Read on for ideas on strategies that will help your team stay up to date for every step of your project.
Clarify Everyone’s Role
Whether you are working with a small team close to home or dozens of people worldwide, it is essential to let everyone know who is filling which role(s) during your project. Make a list of key people that everyone needs to know, and keep an updated version of the list in a place where it is easily accessible to the majority of the team. You may even consider posting a copy of the list on a document-sharing service so your team members can access it even if they are not close to the office.
Since you are already making a list, it’s important that you also include contact information for each of the key people on your team. Add an email or phone number so your team can reach out as needed without wasting time looking for contact info on their own. You can also denote if there is a second-in-command that your team can speak with in the event that the lead is unavailable.
While your general contractor may not be an in-house part of your team, it is still a good idea to let everyone know who is providing which types of services for your project. This list doesn’t need to be publicized; you can just disseminate it to your team members so they have all information quickly available as needed.
Schedule Regular Updates
Since all of your contact information is available to the team, you are probably receiving important updates as they happen. But it’s also a good idea to schedule regular opportunities for updates on the project so everyone is on the same page.
If your team is spread out around the globe, getting everyone together in the same room probably isn’t going to happen. Fortunately, there are plenty of virtual and application options that can still allow the updates to happen. Consider using a video chatting service like Skype to conduct meetings over video, or use a group chat application like GroupMe or Slack to check in with your team members who are too far to conference in.
Decide beforehand when these updates will happen – is it the same day every week, or the 10th of each month? Make a schedule and stick to it as closely as you can. Every meeting doesn’t have to be a complicated or formal affair: If your team is busy working to achieve a promised deadline, you can always send a group email and ask everyone to reply with their update. The important thing is to make sure everyone has the info they need in a timely manner.
Make Contingency Plans
You already know that the unexpected will happen during the course of your project. Delays, new vendors, extra expenses – it’s all part of the job. But even though you may not be able to predict the details, you can still make a communication plan to enact during unforeseen circumstances.
For instance, if your project lead is suddenly unavailable due to a family emergency, who will take over his or her responsibilities? If the city contacts you to let you know that you have the wrong type of permit, who is in charge of communicating that information to the rest of the team, and who is tasked with responding to the city? Create a hierarchy of leadership that allows your team to conduct business as usual even when they are faced with complications – and make sure everyone knows what their extra responsibilities will be if they are temporarily taking over a new role or task.
This is especially true for delays involving safety, like dangerous weather conditions that cause you to pause your work on the project. Make sure you are able to communicate to your team if the work environment is unsafe for any reason, and ask for a response from them so you know they received the message.
Communication is a vital part of your project’s success – take the time to put effective plans in place that allows your team to thrive at their jobs.
About Impact Construction Management
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Impact Construction Management is a full-service construction management firm. Founded by Louis Buonaiuto and Richard Bowlin, Impact Construction Management has been managing construction projects for clients throughout the Midwest and South for over 10 years. From our very first project to today, our focus has been on delivering the results our clients want by providing responsive service, up-front pricing and the highest-quality workmanship.