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If you possess several properties, it’s likely that you have some form of project management system in place—whether it’s rooted in Excel, email, or a combination of various tools. However, relying on a patchwork of generic tools to navigate intricate decisions is far less efficient compared to utilizing a project management platform specifically designed for commercial real estate operations. Follow these 8 Warning Signs You Need a Project Management Platform

In accordance with a recent McKinsey report, a team that implemented a unified online platform for bidding, tendering, and contract management experienced significant benefits. This included saving over 20 hours of staff time weekly, reducing report generation time by 75%, and accelerating document transmittals by 90%.

So, how can you determine if your organization is ready for a purpose-built project management platform? Keep an eye out for these eight indicators.

Project management can be a complex beast, even for the most seasoned professionals. Without the right tools in place, it’s easy for projects to spiral into chaos, leading to missed deadlines, frustrated team members, and a hit to your bottom line.

8 Warning Signs You Need a Project Management Platform

But how do you know when it’s time to ditch the spreadsheets and email chains and invest in a dedicated project management platform? Here are 8 warning signs that you’re dringend crying out for one:

1. You’re drowning in spreadsheets and emails:

If your team is constantly digging through endless spreadsheets and email threads to find the latest information, it’s a major sign that you need a central hub for all project data. A project management platform will provide a single source of truth for tasks, deadlines, files, and communication, saving everyone time and frustration.

2. Missed deadlines are becoming the norm:

Are deadlines constantly being missed, leading to project delays and angry clients? A project management platform can help you stay on track by setting clear deadlines, assigning tasks, and tracking progress in real-time. You’ll be able to identify bottlenecks early on and take corrective action before it’s too late.

3. Communication is a complete mess:

Is project communication happening in a dozen different channels, with important information getting lost in the shuffle? A project management platform can streamline communication by providing a central platform for discussions, file sharing, and updates. Everyone will be on the same page, and you’ll never have to worry about someone missing a crucial update again.

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4. You’re constantly chasing team members for updates:

Are you constantly playing detective, trying to track down team members for project updates? A project management platform can eliminate the need for endless check-ins by providing real-time visibility into everyone’s workload and progress. You’ll be able to see exactly what everyone is working on, when it’s due, and any potential roadblocks they’re facing.

5. You have no idea what your budget is:

Are you flying blind when it comes to your project budget? A project management platform can help you track your expenses in real-time, identify areas where you’re overspending, and make adjustments as needed. You’ll always know where your money is going and be able to make informed decisions about resource allocation.

8 Warning Signs You Need a Project Management Platform
8 Warning Signs You Need a Project Management Platform

6. Collaboration is non-existent:

Is your team working in silos, with no real collaboration or knowledge sharing? A project management platform can foster collaboration by providing tools for teamwork, brainstorming, and document sharing. Team members will be able to easily share ideas, work together on tasks, and stay up-to-date on each other’s progress.

7. You’re constantly reinventing the wheel:

Are you wasting time recreating the same project plans, reports, and documents over and over again? A project management platform can save you time and effort by providing templates for common tasks and reports. You’ll be able to hit the ground running on new projects without having to start from scratch each time.

8. You have no idea where your project is going:

Are you feeling lost and directionless, with no clear idea of how your project is progressing or what needs to be done next? A project management platform can give you a bird’s-eye view of your project, with tools for tracking progress, identifying risks, and making course corrections as needed. You’ll always know where you stand and be able to make informed decisions about the future of your project.

If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs, it’s time to take action. Investing in a project management platform can be a game-changer for your business, helping you improve efficiency, boost productivity, and deliver projects on time and within budget. So ditch the chaos and embrace the power of a dedicated project management tool. Your team (and your sanity) will thank you for it.

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1. Experiencing Budget Overruns in Your Projects:

As highlighted in the aforementioned McKinsey study, “large [construction] projects across asset classes typically take 20 percent longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80 percent over budget.”

To address this, it becomes crucial for your team to closely monitor the progress of each construction cost category or line item throughout the project’s duration, aiming to prevent cost overruns.

While many cost tracking systems focus on the total job cost, a project management platform allows for the tracking of individual line items. This granularity is essential as line items often have dependencies, enabling your team to identify and address small issues early on, mitigating potential bottlenecks later in the project.

2. Project Managers Engaged in Time-Consuming Manual Bid Leveling:

The manual leveling of bids, involving tasks such as merging multiple spreadsheets and identifying errors in formulas, can be laborious and time-consuming. This process turns project managers into data-entry specialists, diverting them from more value-added activities.

Moreover, teams relying on manual bid leveling may be discouraged from engaging in triple-bidding projects, a proven method for achieving cost reduction.

Implementing a project management platform with intelligent bid leveling tools shifts the burden of data entry onto vendors, simultaneously reducing the inherent risks associated with managing Excel files.

This not only streamlines the bid leveling process but also empowers project managers to focus on activities that contribute more strategically to project success.

Experiencing Budget Overruns in Your Projects:
Experiencing Budget Overruns in Your Projects:

3. Difficulty in Obtaining Real-Time Portfolio Insights:

If you find yourself waiting for weekly meetings or chasing down project managers for updates, valuable time is being lost. Meaningful intelligence on projects, especially at the portfolio level, requires the compilation and aggregation of numerous data points.

Spreadsheets can diminish the power of data by isolating it into digital silos, and hastily requested information through emails often leads to hurried responses.

To gain quick access to reports and specific information, a project management platform should serve as the central repository for your data. A robust platform functioning as the system of record enables faster and more informed decision-making.

4. Loss of Data and Institutional Knowledge During Employee Turnover:

When a project manager departs, crucial information such as vendor contacts, pricing data, and project history may be scattered across various emails and Excel files on shared or local drives. This information becomes inaccessible until someone can reset a password, and distinguishing it from previous versions can be challenging.

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Having a centralized platform for communication and information sharing ensures that critical knowledge for the smooth operation of the company is preserved.

Relying on Excel spreadsheets as a project management system leaves the organization vulnerable to significant data, intellectual knowledge, and proprietary intelligence loss when even a single person leaves, and the recovery time for these assets can be substantial.

5. Lack of Transparency with Capital Partners:

Owners and capital partners share a vested interest in understanding the status of expenditures across a portfolio. Project management teams often dedicate substantial time to preparing reports and metrics for investors, joint venture partners, lenders, or other capital stakeholders.

The World Economic Forum’s Inspiring Future Cities agenda emphasizes the importance of transparency, facilitated through open data, to build trust and legitimacy among stakeholders. A centralized, digitized project management system addresses this need, fostering improved financial decision-making.

6. Strained Relationship with the Accounting Team:

Efficient communication of project data, including real-time updates on invoice approvals and payments, should occur digitally between the project management platform and accounting or payment automation systems.

If project managers are still physically delivering invoices or forwarding emails to, it can lead to frustration between teams.

Integrating a project management platform with accounting tools streamlines the entry of contract and cost data, eliminating duplicative efforts and fostering transparency and seamless workflows between departments.

7. Underutilizing Purchasing Power:

Developers and building owners should assess historical costs across multiple projects or buildings to identify valuable metrics such as cost trends, vendor volume and pricing, and market anomalies.

This analysis becomes more streamlined once systems and procedures are established, allowing for effective procurement of products and services at lower costs.

Underutilizing Purchasing Power
Underutilizing Purchasing Power

8. Challenges in Efficiently Retrieving and Utilizing Data from Previous Projects:

Accurate forecasting relies on data sourced from various channels and spanning different financial periods. Collecting this information from diverse sources and presenting it in an easily evaluatable format can be a time-consuming task. How many hours or days does your project team typically spend on this process?

A technology platform automates and streamlines this process, saving a significant amount of time for your project team. It enables quick access to key performance indicators from past projects, empowering more informed projections.

If your organization is encountering any of these indicators, from a lack of transparency across the portfolio to excessive time spent on low-value activities, it’s likely a signal that your organization is ready to transition to a platform specifically designed for commercial real estate project management platform.

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