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Strategic Planning: The MVP (Most Valuable Process) in Construction


engineers writing on the blueprint

In the construction industry, strategic planning is the cornerstone that transforms blueprints into buildings. It's a process that goes beyond bricks and mortar as it intertwines creativity, efficiency, and precision to turn ideas into reality.


Strategic planning by construction management firms is like setting up a detailed roadmap for a long journey. It involves carefully considering the resources, timelines, regulations, and unforeseen challenges that might arise along the way. From the first draft on paper to the last nail in place, every step is planned, reviewed, and executed with meticulous attention to detail.


Here’s why strategic planning is an essential foundation for construction firms and their projects.


What is Strategic Planning?

In formulating a strategic construction project plan, the project manager often collaborates with corporate planners and the client to identify the specific requirements that will fulfill the client's expectations. This collaborative effort helps define goals and objectives tailored to the project's unique needs.


The project manager carefully crafts a comprehensive construction delivery plan after this consultation. This master plan includes precise guidelines outlining the steps and milestones to ensure the project team adheres to the timeline and stays within the budget.


Steps To Strategic Construction Planning

While construction planning is not a one-size-fits-all solution, this method is highly regarded and endorsed by numerous construction project management consultancy firms that have seen successful results after implementing this strategy.


Identify the key resources

No matter how big or small a project is, it must start with a business case to outline its needs and feasibility. This step involves crafting an initial Project Charter document indicating the workforce, materials, timeline, and budget. This initial document serves as a transparent outline for the construction project management firm, specifying the resources necessary to bring the project to fruition.


Create an initial plan

This is the part where the project manager is supposed to utilize the Project Charter by setting S.M.A.R.T and C.L.E.A.R goals. Specific resources for the previous step are taken to this step to create a broader strategy that will serve as the construction project’s foundation.


Let’s start by defining S.M.A.R.T goals:

  • Specific: The project plan must have clear goals and deadlines for each milestone.

  • Measurable: Now that specific goals have been set, it’s time to agree on how the team should measure success for each plan.

  • Attainable: The project manager must have a plan for how the team will achieve these goals.

  • Realistic: To avoid issues and delays, the project’s goals must be attainable and within everyone’s capabilities.

  • Timely: Set specific timelines within which the team can achieve each goal.

Next, let’s define C.L.E.A.R goals:

  • Collaborative: Everyone on the team must be on board. Before starting the project, a meeting must be held to determine expectations and possible obstacles.

  • Limited: Keep the project’s goals within specific boundaries of scope and time frame to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

  • Emotional: Ensure that the project’s goals will get everyone on the team fired up and determined to succeed.

  • Appreciable: Big goals must be divided into smaller, achievable tasks to avoid overwhelming the team.

  • Refinable: Encourage flexibility among team members as no one can ever predict what can happen inside the construction site.

Execute the plan

Now that the plan is set, it’s time to execute. Start by laying out a simple project timeline with big goals (milestones) and essential things you need to complete (key deliverables). This helps keep everything moving in the right direction. Then, work on the specific details of each part of the construction project.


After this, gather the team for a meeting to review the project plan and schedule. Discuss and go over what’s expected of each of them, and answer any questions they may have to avoid miscommunications.


Depending on the project’s size, you might need to pick one or more project managers to monitor things. Either way, make sure to have a plan that outlines what needs to be checked and when. This helps keep the project running smoothly and ensures everyone knows what to do.


Track the progress

Keeping track of the construction project team’s progress is crucial. It ensures that they meet the previously set standards and provide valuable data in case things don't go as planned so that the same mistakes can be avoided in the future.


Successful construction managers often rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge their projects' performance. Common KPIs that can guide project managers include:

  • Project Objectives: Are things staying on schedule and within the budget?

  • Project Performance: Is everything going smoothly, or are unexpected problems popping up?

  • Quality: It's excellent if milestones are being met, but is the work living up to the standards you expect at this point in the project?

Monitoring these aspects helps managers stay on top of the project, making necessary adjustments and ensuring that the client and the team can be proud of the finished product.


Evaluate the results

The construction of the building doesn't mark the end of the planning process. The insights and data collected from this project are essential for shaping future projects. It's vital to carry out close-out tasks, which not only conclude the current project but also serve as preparatory planning for the next one.


A well-defined construction project plan and effective tracking of performance and challenges sets you up for even greater success in future projects. Understanding where obstacles arose and recognizing mistakes enables you to refine subsequent construction plans for optimal outcomes.


However, this learning shouldn't be a solitary exercise. Hold a final meeting with the project team to evaluate performance and brainstorm improvements. Their insights are invaluable, so make sure to document their ideas diligently. They are the ones on the ground, and their feedback can significantly enhance future planning.


To complete the project formally, compare the actual project budget with the original estimate, and prepare a comprehensive final report to share with stakeholders. This step signifies the project's completion and solidifies the lessons learned, ensuring that your future projects benefit from the experience gained.


Be the MVP with JCVA

With the Philippine construction industry's evolving landscape, strategic planning has become the lifeline that ensures not only the completion of individual projects but the ongoing success and growth of construction firms.


The journey from the initial idea to the final product is filled with challenges, nuances, and opportunities. Strategic planning navigates this complex maze precisely, aligning resources, timelines, and quality controls to meet and often exceed expectations.


Strategic construction planning doesn't just finish a project by employing a systematic approach and recognizing the importance of collaboration, realism, tracking, and continuous learning. It paves the way for future success and a legacy of excellence.


Ready to work smart with JCVA? Email us at technical@jcvassociates.ph or visit www.jcvassociates.ph/construction-project-management to learn more about how you can work with the best construction management firm in the country.


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