Tips for minimum-friction construction tech adoption 

One of the hardest parts of making the paper-to-software leap is getting buy-in from your project team. It’s one thing to recognize a problem and identify a solution as a general contractor; it’s another to be confident that your team and your trades will adopt it successfully. It doesn’t help that nearly everyone in the field has experienced a rollout of new software that didn’t stick.

Success in this area boils down to three things; preparation, consistency, and the ability to measure progress. In this article, we’ll lay out a failsafe approach to the implementation of a new digital solution.

Step 1: Prepare yourself and your team

It’s hard to prepare for something that you haven’t done before. Every addition to your tech stack is going to be different. But there are aspects that are the same, and these are the parts that you can work to anticipate.

  • Define the purpose: Having a clear reason for the change in method or tool is key. You must be able to articulate the problem you’re experiencing, how it’s harming your projects, and why the change you’re proposing will help solve it.
  • Expect skepticism and resistance: It’s inevitable that there will be some resistance to change. Whether team members are concerned about the time and effort required to learn how to use a new software, or are convinced that their current methods leave no room for improvement, there will likely be some reluctance or outright pushback. With your purpose for using a new tool already well defined, you can counter these concerns and explain what results you will be looking for to define success or failure.
  • Benchmark your team’s experience: If possible, try to gauge your team’s experience with digital planning tools and Lean construction methods like pull planning before you begin. You may not be able to do this with everyone, but if you have a general sense of where you’re beginning from, this will help identify any project team members who can run point on certain parts of the rollout or coach others. If the entire team is new to it, that’s also useful information to keep in mind.

Step 2: Be consistent in your approach

This aspect will require focus on your part. Your team needs to know you will hold them accountable for following through on the new actions and initiatives required. Set the expectation that you will follow up to ensure that these things are done even if you are not there. Otherwise, you run the risk of the adoption losing steam.

Consistency will also help build the habits that will help your team get the results you’re after. Whether it’s holding a daily huddle, importing from your master schedule on a regular schedule, or reviewing and discussing your project’s key performance indicators (KPIs) like percent plan complete (PPC) or variance reasons at set intervals, being consistent will not only ease the friction of construction software adoption but also make the effort involved more worthwhile.

Step 3: Know how you will measure progress

The more you can quantify the results you hope to see from the use of a new digital tool, the more easily you can demonstrate that the adoption was a success. What are the areas you wanted to improve in the first place? More accurate planning, more input from the field, more reliable commitments, less downtime? Whatever the specific pain points were that led you to evaluate construction software solutions, find a way to measure them to track whether you are making progress against these goals. This is especially effective if you know what some of your team’s frustrations were in the past, and if you can define improvements in these specific areas.

In Hoylu, many of these project KPIs are automatically tracked, which makes this part easier. For example, if you have struggled with schedule slippage, keep a close eye on PPC. If labor shortages have delayed work, pay attention to how many crew members your trades plan to have on site on a given day, and confirm with them that they will have these employees available.

The results won’t be perfect off the bat, but the important thing is that you’re measuring it from the very beginning. You have the data to determine whether you’re moving in the right direction, and you have it in real time. Share the trends you’re seeing with the wider team, and if they’re positive, make sure to acknowledge the team’s efforts.

Get started

With these steps in mind, your software rollout should be smoother. By keeping the experience level of your team and your trades in mind, remaining consistent in your efforts, and quantifying your progress, you can be more strategic about how you launch a new tech initiative.

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