No matter how alike two projects seem to be, the array of possible risks and their repercussions are going to be unique to each one.
Absent a crystal ball, it’s impossible to know exactly what will happen during the course of a project, and 2020 certainly taught us that. Even the seemingly same risk can have varying levels of impact depending on project location, time of year, state of the economy and so on. Though it’s probably safe to say cost overruns and schedule delays are likely, it’s no wonder planning for such unknowns can be a bit of a challenge.
That’s what makes construction-specific project risk management software so valuable. It’s designed to streamline the risk mitigation process while delivering a degree of certainty when things seem most uncertain.
How? The software takes all the what-if scenario information you feed into it — including from real-world historical data from your past projects — and produces potential outcomes unique to each risk scenario, adjusting for the impact on schedule, costs, human and material resources and profit margin. All this information will form the basis for creating accurate, data-driven contingency plans ready to launch when a risk scenario occurs. Even throughout the project, the risks may evolve, but you can still adjust existing contingencies based on the new or updated data.
Now assuming you’ve already identified the possible risks specific to your project, there are several key items to consider when you’re choosing the right project risk management solution for your company. What follows are some core features to look for and their project benefits.
A cloud-based, centralised platform
- Schedule: Delays in job task progress can be triggered when too much time and effort are wasted trying to locate plans or change orders when they’re most needed. By acting as a sole repository for all project-related documentation, cloud storage circumvents this schedule-threatening scenario that has often played out with hard-copy or computer-based materials.
- Safety: What site crews and anyone on the jobsite don’t know or can’t find can quite literally hurt them. Transferring all safety-related documents — from required training logs to incident reports to material safety data sheets to equipment operating manuals — into this single hub that everyone can access could help bring down the likelihood of preventable accidents and injuries (and corresponding workers compensation and insurance claims).
- Document security: Risk of document theft, loss or damage is removed by storing documents in cloud-based project risk management software, with security features to help you control who can access what.
A functional mobile app
- Communication: Thanks to cloud-based technology, mobile apps make it possible for those out on the jobsite to do different aspects of their job simply by pulling out their smartphone or tablet. Using apps for everything from entering timesheet data, to completing punch lists, to performing inspections reduces the risks that often occur from written miscommunication (transcription mistakes or illegible manual entries) or incomplete documentation.
- Safety: Make sure your project risk management software has a mobile app to record safety incidents, hazards and construction flaws in real time by uploading photos, videos and reports, so remedies and repairs can be assigned and started more quickly, lessening the threat of injury and the potential impact on the job progress.
A collaborative communication platform
- Collaboration: Project risk management relies on collaboration. But depending on email and texting (and even phone) has proven to be both limiting and inefficient. Some key people are bound to be inadvertently left out of critical conversations. Plus, these methods aren’t efficient for sharing and accessing the necessary documents and data when you most need them, which can hinder your mitigation workflow. Instead, replacing these with software featuring a centralized channel allows necessary project teams to interact in real time and reference the same time-sensitive information for more effective, data-driven collaboration when discussing contingency planning.
- Cost and schedule: These are among the two biggest risk factors in any capital project. Having a virtual communication hub enables immediate sharing of documents and data for timely decision making among stakeholders from major risk areas (including safety, operations, environmental, accounting) to reduce impact on project cost and timeline.
Interactive dashboards and reporting
- Schedule and cost: Want to head off threats to your budget and project timeline before they have a chance to make an impact? Pay attention to your earned value management metrics. Schedule performance index (SPI) and cost performance index (CPI) are often going to be your first indication that a risk is playing out, or at least on course to. Tracking these and similar metrics presented in visually consumable formats like real-time dashboards and regularly distributed reports through your project risk management software lets you quickly see what’s aligning with the estimate and what needs your attention and action.
- Communication: Because it’s not realistic to continually monitor those dashboards or reports, have the software do it for you. Set up alerts when deviations in any of the metrics go outside a stipulated range, requiring immediate decision making or launch of contingency plans.
By investing in software with the features that make the most sense for you, you’re not only taking a proactive approach to project risk management, you’re gaining more control and confidence in addressing it head on.
InEight’s project risk management software integrates with scheduling and planning functionalities for an all-encompassing option to help you better anticipate and manage any far-reaching impact today’s risks can have on your projects. Watch this demo to see how it could work for you.