Technology backlash

Key Issues 11 Jul 2017 by Tim Lovell

The brewing technology backlash in QS and why the solution is simple

In recent years, an endless stream of project management systems and platforms have sprung up, from Cab-I-net to CEMAR, SAP , Coins and Primavera.

When it comes to complex projects with multiple contractors and stakeholders, managing information flow has always been a challenge.

Developers looking at QS, project management and associated functions, as well as the sectors the industry serves, can see with an outsider’s clarity just how broken the system is.

But it often seems that modern solutions to this problem only serve to compound it.

It’s not uncommon for Abacus to deal with partners (clients and subcontractors) on one project who operate using a range of different systems.

Throw in the fact that some of their staff are better at updating them than others, and you can see it doesn’t help.

Some of these platforms are more user friendly than others.

Where they aren’t, project management tools can begin to feel like a monster that needs constantly feeding.

When the design of a system makes it difficult to convey information in a way that’s relevant and in-depth enough, it can feel like a waste of time.

Some of the systems used by construction contractors simply don’t account for the vagaries of the projects they are designed to manage.

And when everybody is operating on a different system, the whole thing is rendered fairly pointless. It can exacerbate the silo problem on large projects.

At Abacus, our solution is an old fashioned one, but it’s something of a forgotten art in today’s fast placed workplace where we are conditioned to communicate so much of the time via email, Whatsapp, Slack or via the project management platforms we’ve mentioned.

“Abacus integrates staff in our teams to ensure a positive team ethos throughout the project lifecycle. They complement our own staff to ensure the best possible results are achieved.”
Head of Project Management – Alstom

Have the conversation with all stakeholders

Encouraging communication between different functions and contractors within a project, with the emphasis of flagging up potential problems and bad news at the earliest possible opportunity, is still the best way to mitigate bigger issues further down the line.

We believe this is the best way to avoid litigation, manage the costs associated with a project, and enhance collaboration and information sharing.

It’s far easier to be combative at a distance than it is when you’re in the same room with the shared objective of finding a solution to a problem.