Project management covers various spheres, and developers shouldn’t forget about the construction project management, because it requires their contribution as well. Just like any other sector, the construction industry has the procedures that are designed to ensure the successful completion of a project according to scope, schedule, and budget. It means that it has phases, and a project manager (PM) needs to lead it from the design and planning to building and finishing stages. This is why the project management apps exist. Each phase is complicated, and a relevant software can make the life of a PM a lot easier.
Project managers prefer to use apps that include the features they want. It means that you, as a developer, should be skillful enough to include all these necessary functions in a construction project management software. To ensure that you create a perfect app for construction project management, we will cover all the details of the development process in this article and lead you through the life cycle so that you will know what to expect from a client who ordered to develop software for construction project management.
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Pros & Cons of Developing Construction Project Management Software
When a client from a construction business company asks you to develop a project management application, you need to consider all advantages and disadvantages of using this or that attribute. A customer may not know your full potential or technical aspects and properties that should be included in such an app, which is why it is important to point them out at the early stages of construction software development.
The app you work on should be robust to carry all the processes and real-time data, coordinate job schedules, lead through construction tasks, and provide a project manager with status reports. It is intended to improve productivity and has many positive aspects that should be noted:
- Construction project management software with a simple and user-friendly UI is the one that is more popular among project managers and their teams. The better you can navigate through all the implemented features and tools, the more chances that they will be used by all the participants of a project.
- There are many technologies that can be implemented during the frontend development and backend development processes. Thus, if such options as ready-to-use templates, customizable dashboards, and time tracking features are included, they ensure an easier workflow and more effective process. Implementation of such characteristics as an ability to view 3D drawings, launching on mobile devices, multi-screen layover, as well as better document management tools give project managers more options to maneuver.
- With the relevant skills, it is even possible to create an all-in-one integration of several systems that will include construction project management tools, project accounting features, financial system, and so on.
Source: Full-featured Project Management Solution for Construction Industry
If talking about the negative aspects of developing an app for construction project management, it is important to discuss the following with the client:
- Due to limited customization, it can be troublesome to insert shortcut key commands into the software you construct, or it can take more time than other features. The system can also be overloaded with data that can prevent, in some cases, from applying this or other function. Therefore, it is vital to be ready for possible cost and resource increment.
- During the custom project management software development process, you can notice that additional documentation or reporting is required. Or, notifications, accounting system, and time clock features need integration or improvement. Any additional task can increase the amount of the time you spend on each tool and attribute.
- Even if the software is already released, different features can still be implemented, and it can confuse users if they are used to certain characteristics it offers. Thus, users may want to have better task management, nonetheless, you need to think through how to implement it without scaring them away and pushing to use the software of the client’s rival company.
Must-Have Features to Implement in Project Management Software for Construction
To win your client’s favor, you need to have certain experience to understand which features can be implemented and how. You can even suggest using some of those that you are familiar with or at least discuss the details with the project manager of the team you are in. Let’s look at some of the options that you can offer to include in the development process.
Any project management application that has Gantt charts implies to be much better than the one that hasn’t. Gantt charts can be implemented with the help of various technologies, such as Webix, and they bring order to the chaos created because of the load of different tasks for different members of the team.
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Resource Management Tools
Team scheduling and resource management are other essential features a customer may want. It is a good assistance for them to chart the availability, skill set, cost, and allocation of the workforce and construction materials in real time.
With the help of timesheets, users are able to log the time they spent on each task to let the whole team see the progress everyone’s made and keep the pace of the project. It helps to dig out the bottlenecks and resolve them ASAP.
Mobile Version of App
If you or your team members are able to work on a mobile version of an app, it should be considered as well. Or, you need to be at least ready that the client can ask you to make one. Mobility creates more options both for business and users, which is why it is usually chosen as one of the milestones of the development.
While desktop applications are not tied to the speed of the Internet connection, it can be more efficient to go for the cloud-based version. Choosing this feature gives users an opportunity to work with the app from anywhere they want and have access to all the required features. Thus, a construction crew will be able to work on site right on the tablets with the installed software. Real-time data also offers faster insights into the project, because everything is stored in the cloud and has a backup copy available in case you need one.
Stages of Developing Construction Project Management App
Providing a customer with the construction software services and developing project management software applications can be tiresome, therefore, we want to remind you of the development stages that you need to be ready for and pinpoint when your team will need the skills you possess.
- Discovery phase
This is the first stage of project construction, and it will mostly be the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that the customer’s requirements are met. However, a developer needs to be ready to help during the process of deciding which features and tools to implement or improve if a client comes with his own app that they want to enhance. Bring all you have in mind and help the PM in informing the client about all the benefits or drawbacks.
- Designing and developing an app
This is the point when your expertise and skills shine to the fullest. The construction project management software can be already done by other developers, and you may need to implement some changes. Or, you will be told to create an app from scratch considering the tasks set by the client and including design principles. Do you see a flexible solution to an issue? Are there any suggestions you want to table? Everything should be discussed whether with a client directly or with your PM so that your team will be able to proceed with the project and finish it successfully.
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- Testing software
During the testing stage, many bugs and difficulties may occur that will need your assistance. Of course, it all depends on the size of the team working on the project, but you should always be ready to decide whether the implemented feature is worth a shot or not.
- Deployment and maintenance phase
Your job as a developer doesn’t end with just developing and helping during the testing stage, because some of the bugs that were missed earlier can occur at this moment. Users begin to open the tabs that weren’t tested properly or utilize the features that might not be ready for such a high load. Therefore, you need to be ready to activate your skills during this phase as well.
As you see, building a project management app for a construction business company is the same development process that you do every day in your developer’s life. It means that everything will depend on your skills and customer’s expectations. It also means that there shouldn’t be anything extraordinary happening in the process except the possible errors after implementing special features. But you already know how to overcome any difficulties.
If you or your company needs consultation or assistance on building a project management application, please contact us, and we will gladly help you.