How Does Your Construction Management Style Stack Up? – ForConstructionPros.com

Article originally published by Appfluence

As a manager, it’s not uncommon to ask yourself, ‘am I doing this right?’ Even the most experienced managers in the construction industry consistently strive to learn different methods of management that allow them to increase their team efficiency and deliver more successful projects.

However, without a benchmark to compare to, it’s hard to know if what you’re doing is ‘normal’ or working as effectively possible. 

Appfluence surveyed 20 construction project managers, along with a five senior-level and VP-level managers from construction firms across the country. In this article, we explore how they run their projects — from the number of meetings and emails they deal with each week, to the software they use, and their best advice for success.

Emails and meetings: a necessary evil

Among construction managers, the average amount of time spent on emails was 2.35 hours per day, with a median of 2. This amounted to a median number of of 38 emails per day. Compared with project managers, this information provides an interesting contrast, as it is notably lower. For reference, project managers handled a median number of 50 emails per day, or 3 hours of time communicating with their team via email (source).

The difference can likely be explained by the fact that construction managers spend significantly more time in the field than project managers, and thus have less access to their email throughout the day. As opposed to project managers, who reported spending the day frequently checking their email, the best practice among construction managers is blocking out time either before or after heading to the jobsite to catch up on correspondence.

Among construction teams, some of the main frustrations expressed were the tedious process of digging through stale emails to find an important document, or information falling through the cracks due to an unresponded message.

If your inbox is overwhelming you, try carving out an extra 20 minutes at the end of each day to make sure everything is both well-organized and responded to.

When it comes to meetings, the median amount of meetings construction managers reported having per week came in at four. While 50% of respondents in our sample reported having at least one daily meeting, the other 50% averaged just one to two meetings per week.

Interestingly enough, those managers who had more weekly meetings also sent a higher median number of emails. When broken into two groups, the managers who held one or more meeting per day also sent approximately 16 more emails than the group with lesser meetings – 46 vs. 30.

This could be a signal that those managers who hold more meetings are also more communicative. For those with email envy, it could be beneficial to heed the advice of Steve Bergeron of AECOM, who told us he only sends around four emails a day ‘with clear verbal direction and documented minutes of meetings’.

However, while less meetings does sound nice, as Quinn Westmoreland from Brahma Group pointed out, “sometimes in person, face to face is still the best way to communicate.” In this case, the goal should not be simply to reduce the number of meetings but to find the most efficient way to share information. This could mean making meetings more efficient or exploring alternate forms of communication.