The Pitfalls of Email in Construction Project Management
March 23, 2015
Email – You can’t live with it and you can’t live without it. But maybe you can live without it — at least when it comes to your construction project.
But before we return to that point, we should debunk the myth that email is the best and only way you can reliably, efficiently, and quickly communicate. Let’s be honest… Email is a communication swamp.
A quote from the Irish playwright and founder of the London School of Economics comes to mind when I think about email:
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Why Email just sucks…
Just because you sent the email doesn’t mean it will actually be read. The inbox of the person you sent it to could be stuffed with junk, meaning it will get lost in the shuffle. And do they have the time to wade through the mess to get to your email or even find it?
What if you need to send a follow-up email? Should you summarize what you sent in the first message because maybe your sub-contractors will only read your follow-up? Did you remember to CC (carbon copy) everyone?
Then, you have to contend — and waste time — reading emails from the 40 people that responded to you. You may have to reply to all of them individually, or make sure they are all CC’ed.
How it Affects your Jobs
Also, can you be entirely sure that the important project information you sent to your general contractor for review will be forwarded to one of your sub-contractors, who need the info to get the job done today? There’s no accountability with email because excuses are easy to make: a classic excuse, your email went to my spam folder. “Sure it did…”
Fact: Email produces communications bottlenecks, which can result in miscommunication, delayed communications, overdue documentation, missed deadlines, and project cost overruns.
“Time is wasted when team members have to sort through emails, identify the most current version of a document, and constantly reenter data. Further, effective project collaboration is nearly impossible when emails … get lost and it’s hard to hold team members accountable,” according to Modern Contractor Solutions.
How do we move away from Email?
So how can you overcome this challenge? Can you stop using email and turn to another solution so that you can effectively manage your communications and project? Absolutely. The answer is cloud-based construction management software. Platforms like CM Fusion have proven to drastically reduce email and improve communication.
For example, all your document management is tracked and logged in one central location – CM Fusion – which automatically sends email updates to the right people when changes are made. A cloud-based platform will also enable your team to view history logs and statuses in real-time so they don’t have to send out redundant emails asking about when things took place and what their current status is.
I know what you’re thinking, “Well that still uses email, right?” Yes, but we’re moving the role of email into an automated process [sent by software] so that emails or only sent when needed. This saves you and the rest of your team A LOT of time and headaches.
Bottom line – email is still a modern day communication tool, but it can hinder your production and waste time during construction projects without proper software in place. I hope this article was helpful. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.