Agile Approach to Managing Construction Project

Agile Approach to Managing Construction Project


Agile Approach to Managing Construction Project
Agile Approach to Managing Construction Project

There is no doubt that Agile approach to managing the process of creating products is being implemented in more and more companies all over the world. 
Lightweight and effective methods turned 
many projects into a success story. But when you hear that somebody is mentioning Agile and AEC industry in the same sentence you just wonder what he or she is talking about. Such methodologies are good for software development, not for constructing business.  

It is definitely true, that Agile movement is spreading fast among IT companies, which use it mostly to build new software for their clients, both internal and external. But there is something more about Agile, than just some tools. 
It is about mindset and how problems are solved in complex environments. The rules and values behind this way of thinking are far more useful than just managing the process.

Openness, transparency and empirical adaptation can make a huge difference in any undertaking and can decide of its success or failure. Let’s take a look closer, how Agile world and the construction industry can work together in a brilliant cooperation.

When it comes to a construction project you can divide its lifecycle into two separate activities. the first one is a global planning of main parts of a project, where each part takes months to be completed. This part of work is around 30% of every project and can be scheduled and managed by well-known Project Management techniques and tools like Primavera, Microsoft Project, ASTA, TILOS and ERP systems.

The bigger part of a construction project lifecycle, like 70%, is an operational day-to-day work, administrative tasks, ad hoc requests and other smaller jobs to complete, which can be managed in other ways.

One of them is an Agile approach, for example, a Kanban board, which clearly presents the whole process, shows what is currently in progress and what is left to be done. Also exposes points, where intervention is needed to speed up works and cut costs.

If you wonder why is Agile approach better than other solutions, you have to understand the genesis of this movement. Some time ago, when people were trying to deal with complex products, Project Management was the most common way to do it right.

Sometimes it really worked but often it turned out that a plan created at the beginning of a project, is no longer valid after some time. That caused a lot of problems and that was the place where the new way of process managing was born.

The world started to change so fast, that plans made for a couple of months ahead, were useless after few weeks. That caused fail of many projects because while they were more and more advanced, time and cost were rising rapidly while final product and client needs were starting to diverge. Both sides suffered from this situation. Then Agile proposed a different way.

The principle rule behind all its methodologies is „inspect and adapt“, which is simply responding to change, once it appears. Working within the spirit of this rule, reduces a risk of a project failure and enhances a customer experience, as we end up with a product that is really desired. This is a perfect win-win situation, a holy grail of all projects.

When you enter one of the agile teams in any company you will probably notice a whiteboard full of post-its on it. Most of the teams use it to track their progress, managing tasks, assigning them to proper people and isualize a task status.

No matter, if it is Scrum, Kanban, any other methodology or framework, the idea is the same - to track progress in a clear, simple way. That is why ISETIA offers exactly the same experience but moved from a whiteboard to the digital world.

With the ISETIA process board, you can demonstrate the workflow which helps you understand what it takes to get a task from request state to full completion. This knowledge allows you to propose modifications in the process and make it faster and cheaper.

On the board, you are able to set columns (states) which suit best for your type of work. At the beginning, it is good to mirror the reality, to show how things are working at the moment. After a short period of time, you can spot bottlenecks in your process, which determines the speed of the whole line. Those are places for improvement and you can start to apply them.

The empirical process simply works this way. Cards on the board allow you also assign people to it and filter by their names. At one glance, you can see who is currently the least busy person in a team and can take care of the new request. Also, you instantly know who is doing what and who to ask about details of a specific assignment.

Moreover, every item on the board can be equipped with the deadline and a progress tracking. The latter not only shows the percentage of a task completion but also indicates in which state task needed the longest time for completion. With this knowledge, you can revision this part of a process and apply changes if needed.

The huge advantage of the electronic presentation of a board, in comparison to a physical one, is visibility to all the people engaged in the project.

No matter if you are working with distributed teams or employees working in separate buildings, everyone shares the same point of view. A change made by one person is immediately detectable by others, even if they are located on a different continent. Easy access to knowledge about project details is crucial to its success.

Where different tools meet with different mindsets the synergy emerges. Combining an Agile approach with a Project Management, widely used in AEC industry, can bring you more value than you expect.

When there is a need for long-term planning, do it by the good old methods. But when it comes to daily routines, when responding to change matters the most, use Agile Methodologies to manage a process the efficient way. ISETIA can surely help you to achieve it.

It is strongly recommended to keep using project management software tools like Primavera, Microsoft Project, Asta Powerproject or TILOS for planning and managing earlier mentioned 30% of the project.

The rest, 70% of a process base work, like RFI, RFP, RFQ, transmittals, submittals, punch lists, design changes, claims, change request, etc. can be covered with ISETIA. For more details please visit the website at

The Author : Tekin Guvercin

About :
Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. 

Skilled in Business Process, Sales Management, Project Portfolio Management, Primavera P6, and Contract Management. 

Strong business development professional with a Structural Design focused in Civil Engineer, M. Sc. from Atat√ľrk √úniversitesi.

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