When it comes to using new technology in the construction industry, you’d be forgiven for thinking that your colleagues may not be ready to use it on the jobsite.
Even though it offers significant benefits — such as avoiding rework costs and ensuring that everyone is using up-to-date plans — the use of mobile devices, software, and applications in the field is still new to the industry and can represent a considerable cultural change. “This is the way we’ve always done it” is sometimes enough of an objection to slow things down, but with the right guidance you can still win your team over.
Whether you’ve just bought construction software, or are uncertain about how to move your team into the software world, here are six tips for driving adoption with your colleagues:
1. Explain the benefits and how it makes their lives easier
The use of construction software helps people complete projects ahead of schedule and under budget, but these benefits are sometimes less apparent to individual team members. Help them out by explaining how using the software will improve their work on a personal level. Will it mean fewer trips from the jobsite to the office, or make it easier for them to share progress updates? It’s hard to turn down your proposal if it gets them home earlier, or saves them three or more hours per week.
2. Get a small group committed to testing it out
While you may be 100% sold on the value of software for your company and want to onboard everyone at once, it’s wise to deploy to just one or two projects (for larger organizations) as a starting point; or, for smaller companies, test it out with a small team on a single project. Use those learnings to understand how the team benefits from it (and address any concerns they might have) before getting the rest of the organization on board. This will help you define a process and set expectations for how everyone should use the software.
3. Start simple: Focus on one or two key functions and use them well
The less work required from your team to adopt a new technology, the better. Start by selecting just a few key software functions to focus on, and learn to use those well. Don’t worry about being experts immediately — that will come with time. Many PlanGrid users start by simply uploading sheets and keeping them updated so that the entire team is always using the same set, whether they’re on the jobsite or in the office. It might take another week or two to be ready to use features like issue tracking, RFIs, and more, but if you prove value early on, you improve your chances of getting the rest of the team on board.
4. Get people to use it together
While some construction software might be useful for individual productivity, software that improves teamwork and communication will encourage others to use it organically — if you see a couple of coworkers using a new software together in a compelling way, you’ll be more inspired to check it out yourself. Construction software that lets users share documents, assign tasks and reviews, or work together in other ways encourages more productive collaboration.
5. Define roles and responsibilities across the team
Once you’ve tested the software on one or two projects (see tip number two), use those learnings to agree on how the entire team will use the software moving forward. For example, a team using PlanGrid might have a project engineer agree to update sheets and documents first thing every morning, while the superintendent will publish markups and pictures to the project for everyone else to see. Agreeing on responsibilities and expectations early on is key to gaining adoption across the organization.
6. Utilize training and support
Any construction software company worth its salt will offer onsite training, online webinars, a responsive chat support team, and more. Take advantage of these resources. Even spending a few minutes watching a “how-to” video can help your team be successful without disrupting their entire day.
At PlanGrid, we believe adoption of construction software should start on the jobsite, and that the value will sell itself from there. Start with a free trial of our mobile app, or check out our training resources to learn more.
Author: Pete Schott