Mind the Information Gap: How Project Managers Can Spend Less Time Looking for Data

‍Project managers spend valuable time each day looking for information, which detracts from other priorities. Simple solutions like using drones and 3D mapping software can provide valuable data to save time and money.
Let technology do the work for you and spend less time gathering information.
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We hear it from construction teams all the time: there aren't enough hours in the day. Between problem solving, progress tracking, and dispute resolution, project managers are busy; the typical project manager spends half of their day (or more!) looking for information. What's worse is that when solving challenges on their projects, they spend more time looking for the right information than they do developing a solution. In this blog post, we'll explore the biggest sources of time depletion that plague project managers and what they can do to get the data they need.

Visual Site Inspections

How big is this stockpile? Did the rain over the weekend create a pond? Did the paving crew get started in this area? The answers to so many questions can be found in the field. Formerly, obtaining this information required a site visit, field inspection, and possibly some photo documentation. It could take a few hours depending on the information needed.

Fortunately, drone technology is changing the landscape for field inspections, even allowing managers to track progress remotely. Drones can easily create 3D project maps using photogrammetry and capture high-definition 360 panoramas of construction sites. This provides enough detail to give project managers a clear picture of current site conditions without requiring a site visit or spending time capturing photos.

The True Cost of Information

While project managers can find some information via a time-consuming site visit, there are some things that require additional expertise. Checking elevations, measuring stockpiles, tracking quantities of materials moved and other calculations used to require hiring consultants. Since consultants bill by the hour, these costs add up quickly and have a huge impact on project budgets. Furthermore, the turnaround time for data can be multiple days, which delays decision making.

Thankfully, construction teams can reduce these costs and obtain information much faster by using drones. Drones capture 3D site surveys that can be used with specialized software, making it possible to run calculations and get information in a few minutes. This saves project managers valuable time and costs that would be spent on consultants. Having access to quality information ultimately allows project managers to communicate more efficiently and effectively.

Meetings that Could Have Been an Email

Project Managers spend an insane amount of time in meetings. Between owners, engineers, contractors, public agencies, and consultants, there are dozens of stakeholders that need to be kept in the loop. One of the biggest challenges construction teams face is how to communicate what's happening on site visually. Typically, teams would use 2D drawings with markups, Google Earth images, and site photos as visual aids, but these options are not ideal. 2D drawings are hard to conceptualize, Google Earth images are unclear and usually out of date, and site photos lack reference points.

A better solution is to use drones and software that allow project managers to create a 3D map of their construction site.  This provides the necessary clarity to share information with stakeholders. This solution has a high level of accuracy and resolution, and it allows teams to communicate much more effectively and efficiency. Using drones and software, project managers can have fewer, shorter meetings and focus on developing solutions for problems on their projects.

It's no surprise that project managers spend a lot of time every day looking for information. What is surprising, however, are the number of hours they're spending trying to solve challenges on their projects when they could be using drones and software to get high-quality data more quickly and easily. If you or your team is struggling with how best to communicate what's happening on site visually or need help finding cost effective ways to manage your projects, contact our team. TraceAir can provide you with the right tools so you can focus less on gathering data and more on managing problems in an efficient manner.

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