Disperse has long prided itself in providing customers with project management tools that don’t require changing their work flows. The London-based tech firm is taking it a step further with Lookahead, a product that combines the look and feel of a traditional construction schedule whiteboard right down to its sticky notes.


Known Workflow

Lookahead uses virtual task cards that mimic the ubiquitous sticky notes project managers often move around a whiteboard in a trailer. Task cards come pre-populated by Disperse and are sequentially organized across project spaces so that project managers, superintendents and project executives can easily plan work across zones, floors or apartments as required by the project.

Prebuilt task cards for common construction activities such as foundation placements and steel installation can be manipulated into a sequentially arranged board and dropped into place during planning sessions. Project managers, engineers or executives can manage construction sequence exceptions and alter the sequence by re-ordering tasks and simply moving the cards left or right, just as they do on a whiteboard.

The pre-populated tasks were created by Disperse and were gleaned from data gathered from hundreds of projects that used Disperse’s AI-powered productivity tracking and problem-solving platform Impulse as well as other tools. Users can also create custom tasks for anything a project might need.

“It’s incredibly helpful for day-to-day running of a project,” says Charles Blackledge, senior construction manager at U.K.-based contractor Mace, which has been testing Lookahead since November. “Our subcontractors have used it. They like using it.” Blackledge says Mace and its subcontractors prefer using it to their previous planning and sequencing tools as the ease of use and simplicity of the movable scheduling cards turned out to be a good fit given the number and variety of firms the company works with on projects.

Commentary fields

Commentary fields in Lookahead allow users to explain why a task is being blocked.
Screenshot courtesy of Disperse

“You don’t want something that’s complicated, where you have to press 500 buttons to get from start to finish,” he says. “It’s clean, it’s simple and it does the job.”

Project teams can add comments and track blocks when a particular task cannot be completed on plan. Lookahead highlights the next available work task to help project teams redeploy resources.

Integrating Lookahead with Impulse allows Lookahead to automatically update construction task status using the dates from Disperse’s pictures or video of work completed. Short-term plans can be exported to Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software to share with any construction stakeholder outside of the platform.

With its reality capture platform and technology products such as Impulse and now Lookahead, Disperse is focusing on tools that fit into the workflows of construction professionals on the jobsite. They’re trying not to change workflows.

“You have to build for where the construction industry is today, and you have to take the journey with them,” says Harsh Vardhan Singh, chief technology and product officer at Disperse. “You can’t move 10 years ahead of them and tell people on a construction project, ‘I’ve built this thing, which will work in this perfect world.’ The perfect world is where you have to arrive from here.”