Many organizations absentmindedly rush their way through the preconstruction process. Planning at this stage should be less about getting through project strategies as tasks to be completed quickly, and more about devolving a plan for operating as a foundation of excellence.

Here are 4 moves from Construction Business Owner toward a project-planning method that does more than check boxes:

1. Ask the Tough Questions

Standardized agendas and processes are essential to any organization’s operations. The first question a leader should ask is: Do we have an operational standard for preconstruction being used by every project manager, estimator and superintendent/foreman? The second question: Is our preconstruction process stale and stagnant—too focused on checking boxes and less about constructive dialogue about project challenges?

2. Plan Practically

A plan is constructed in the conference room, but when it hits the jobsite trailer, it falls into a circular file. Lean construction advocates the concept of pull planning (in which all stakeholders plan collaboratively from the desired end result backward) along with a planning mechanism that drives the appropriate use of resources at the right time.

3. Hit the Reset Button

There are times when personnel changes happen, even before a project breaks ground. A new team may call for a new plan.

4. Challenge Assumptions

No one particularly likes having their ideas challenged, but it can be an important activity. Studies positively correlate the amount of time spent planning and the return on investment. Haphazardly putting together a written plan simply to feel good about accomplishing a meeting is not an effective use of time, nor does it achieve the goal it was intended to in the first place.


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