“Documentation is everything” when it comes to an efficiently managed job. Documentation is extra powerful when problems arise on a job because correspondence in writing is far more useful than verbal communication, which turns into “he said / she said.”
So having said this, it seems our HVAC industry is “ripe for the taking” if someone were to create an app for today’s mobile project manager. The analogy I see with this idea is the difference between purchasing a 1,000-piece puzzle that comes all put together versus a box full of 1,000 puzzle pieces. With the purchase of a new computer, you can get Windows 8, Office 2013, Primavera scheduling, etc. (a.k.a. the 1,000 puzzle pieces) versus a completed puzzle (a.k.a. the mobile manager program). Ok, so you wouldn’t want to purchase a completed puzzle, but wouldn’t it be efficient to purchase a standardized project manager’s job journal app?
With touchscreen and keyboard capabilities, I envision each handheld device addict who wants to be a design or construction project manager (or to simply be a better project manager) would rush out to wait in line to purchase this mobile manager app. Heck, some business school could even get a piece of the action by endorsing it and using it in their business degree course.
So what does this job journal look like? First, it will be set up as a project folder with a prescriptive directory, so that the user could go from one job folder/journal to the next job folder/journal on this handheld device. Each computer directory will have a project home page where the pertinent project data will be inputted, such as name, client, contact information, and other basic information that the accounting and business development people will want/need. The next electronic page will be the table of contents:
1. Philosophy of Quality Control and Client Satisfaction. This chapter will have subcategories including standardized electronic templates for implementing QC methods for this process, along with a “client maintenance” template to track correspondence.
2. Time Management. This chapter will have tricks-of-the-trade reminders to best manage the project manager’s time.
3. Contract. This chapter will have uploaded signed contracts, terms and conditions, and billing requirement templates for processing monthly invoices.
4. Meeting Minutes. This chapter will have the standard template for uses beginning with the first meeting.
5. Project Schedule. This chapter will have Internet access to the current project schedule back in the home office or “in the cloud.”
6. Shop Drawing Submittals. This chapter will have Internet access to the shop drawing log and the actual submittals also in the cloud.
7. Field Coordination Drawings. This chapter will have Internet access to the computer aided drawings also in the cloud.
Hopefully, you get the essence of this electronic mobile manager software program, where much of the documents are standardized templates with an administrative assistant uploading them into the project manager’s business journal when the contract is first signed and the job is authorized to proceed. The administrative assist will edit the appropriate documents to become project-specific prior to uploading. At the end of the job, the administrative assist can simply download all this completed pertinent job data to the project closeout computer disc for transfer to the building owner.
So why do I think this would be good for the building industry? Well, “documentation is everything” when it comes to an efficiently managed job. Documentation is extra powerful when problems arise on a job because correspondence in writing is far more useful than verbal communication, which turns into “he said / she said.”
Today, the handheld enduser has already accepted and expects special apps on their handheld device, and those users in the building industry should relate to this particular app moreso than the standard manual documentation process.
So when it comes to managing a job such as the HVAC segment of the project, it is safe to say the industry has been following the same steps noted above in the table of contents, but the new generation of mobile managers will be expecting all their tasks to somehow be programmed to their handheld device. So it is time to create that “mobile manager” job journal app.