In the realm of construction projects, planning is often perceived as a rigid and inflexible activity, leading to doubts about its relevance and effectiveness. It’s not uncommon for meticulously crafted plans to veer off course or become outdated in the blink of an eye. However, overlooking the true value of planning can be a costly mistake when it comes to achieving effective governance and maintaining proper project controls. In this article, we delve into the crucial role that planning plays in ensuring successful outcomes and explore how it can adapt to the dynamic nature of the construction industry.

Planning as an evolving process 

Planning must be viewed as the application of techniques to gauge project performance, allowing deviations to be found and addressed to meet project objectives. Planning for every event and obstacle that can arise over a project’s lifecycle is impossible.  

Throughout the project’s lifespan, we must make sure that plans are becoming more detailed. To accomplish the overall aim, it’s critical to prepare for interim milestones, elaborate solely on those milestones that are approaching, and pay more attention to the upcoming few weeks of work than the entire project timetable.  

These lookahead plans are essential because they aid in identifying potential issues, coordinating the work of various trades and disciplines, ensuring the timely availability of materials and resources, coordinating the work of various trades and disciplines to prevent conflicts and delays, and identifying and resolving potential issues before they arise. 

Role of Planning in creating connected and common data environment 

Most projects are derailed due to collaboration issues, which affect project schedules and costs; therefore, it is critical for project controls teams to capture the impact of collaboration issues, design/document delays, and procurement delays in the project plan in advance. 

This is where technology can help; a project controls solution that serves as a common platform for all project stakeholders to collaborate and exchange information, and also connects these different information points like costs and 3D (3 Dimensional) design, quality, and safety to project schedule and bring a lot of value and guarantee that plans are followed by providing predictive analytics and automatic notifications to enable stakeholders to proactively close the issues.

Governance control through planning and project controls 

Therefore, spreading out the plans over different milestones and developing them gradually, as well as using technology to connect different data silos and information points, helps identify risks proactively and offers a meticulous approach to managing risks, preventing some risks like budget overruns from occurring in the future.  

In conclusion, the crucial role of planning in achieving effective governance and project controls cannot be overstated. While it is true that certain plans may prove unsuccessful or misaligned, the knowledge gained from these experiences serves as a valuable resource for improving project controls. By embracing planning as an evolving process, incorporating lookahead plans, leveraging technology, and proactively managing risks, construction projects can navigate challenges, enhance collaboration, and achieve their objectives.

Author: Nirad Nunna, Consultant II, Bentley Systems