5 Keys to Delivering Better AEC Projects: Maximize Project Collaboration and Communication

Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” This adage applies to many business situations, including individual projects. When individual contributors on a project team are all aligned on the project’s goals, their individual responsibilities and the project’s status, overall success is likely.  

But what happens when everyone ISN’T moving forward together? Without effective project collaboration and communication, teams or contributors can lose sight of the progress of the project and individual tasks, which can result in serious delays and cost overruns – not to mention unhappy clients.  

For these reasons, collaboration and communication are obvious keys to delivering better AEC projects.  

Enabling truly effective project collaboration and communication  

Microsoft developed Teams to facilitate collaboration across your entire organization. With the rise of collaboration tools like Teams, many AEC firms spend their entire day communicating via voice or chat without touching a phone. Teams is also a great tool for conducting meetings and sharing documents. Teams has become the way a truly efficient firm works together. 

Project Operations in aec360 can be directly embedded in Teams. When a Project Manager needs to develop or modify a project plan, or assign resources to their project, they don’t need to leave the environment that they live in all day, every day.  

Brainstorming to come up with unique solutions to projects, sharing documents so the design team is working off the same deliverables and scheduling tasks on project calendars are just a few of the other ways Teams provides an AEC firm with the foundation for more successful project outcomes. 

This screenshot below shows Project Operations being accessed inside of Teams. It couldn’t be easier to create the Teams site for any project. When the Project Manager first starts to develop their project in Project Operations, simply clicking a button establishes the Teams site for that project. 

A screenshot of Project Operations being accessed within Teams

Collaboration gets taken to a whole new level when you consider that this is all available via Microsoft’s Cloud, the leading cloud for business. This means any of your employees who are working on the project can access all of this anytime, from anywhere. For AEC firms, project resources are typically spread out over several offices, potentially in different time zones. Project Operations and Teams makes it easy for everyone to work together in real-time.  

aec360 uses Teams everywhere, not just with Project Operations 

As described above, there are clear benefits of giving your project team access to Project Operations in Teams. aec360 doesn’t stop there. Almost every application area of aec360 is available within Teams, allowing team members to collaborate with others as they complete tasks that run through the entire project lifecycle. 

Here’s an example that everyone can relate to: entering a timesheet. In the screen below, the employee’s timesheet sits inside of Teams. No more excuses for a late timesheet! 

A screenshot of an employee timesheet viewed in Teams

The collaboration in this case is between an employee and a project manager. The employee has a quick question about where they should charge their time. 

Think of the benefits of the employee communicating with the project manager as they complete their timesheet. Right from the start, the timesheet is more accurate, so the PM gets the true story of what’s going on. The employee has also investigated whether the charge should be billable. What if that was miscoded and never billed? That’s lost revenue. Increased accuracy of time records also means that there are fewer labor adjustments during the billing process, thus increasing cash flow. More revenue and better cashflow – that’s a successful project outcome. Interested in learning more about aec360? Contact us today.   

Read our next article in the series on how to optimize resource utilization.

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