Project Planning, Communication & '4D'

You need engagement - not lip service, because if the project is not built as intended and as priced, the potential negative commercial implications can be huge.

  • Project Planning, Communication & '4D'
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As a Project Planner, the general process is to gather, organise, agree and communicate the project programme info successfully to people - Get people into it.

Even though the Gantt chart has been in use for over a century, the production of a project programme used to (and may still) be described as a 'Black Art' in the Construction Industry.

Some Project Managers and site teams more often than not don't follow the road map that is provided to them too closely for many reasons - People just don't get it - PM: just looks like a mess of bars and links. Why do I need that?! I know what I'm doing - it's all up here (points to head)... Me: OK, yeah that's what we're trying to show here - can I get that out of your head so we can all be on the same page?

Some people just don't want to let go and share... but mainly, it's due to the fact that the communication of it was unsuccessful - they just don't buy it.

How do I know this? Because I've failed to get buy in on several occasions. That programme sat in the drawer and they went off and did their own thing which, most of the time, became a disaster.

What is marketed as '4D' Planning software, 4D being crudely, 3D+Time, is what Construction Planners and Project Managers have been doing separately forever in our heads: 4D is Project Planning. It allows us to directly link programme information to 3D information and produce a virtual construction of the project as planned.

It gets it out of our heads into a format than can be shared so that we can invite others closer to the work to give opinion more quickly, incorporate and see the effects of change in real time as the information is directly linked.

Better still, we can view the project as it is planned to be built from any perspective in the model, at any time in the process, unearthing things we may not have even considered.

As a method of communication for construction projects and Project Planning in general, this is by far the best tool available to us today. A medium that engages and interests the team results in a more robust programme with real team buy in. This can then be priced correctly as to the way it should be built with people far less likely to go off and do their own thing as they will feel they own the programme having had a much greater input.

As for the programme, the Gantt may still be in that bottom drawer for some people, but the content of and why the programme needs to be run and managed as planned, has the greatest chance of being engaging and understood.

Check out 4D User Group (coming soon) for more information...