There are technical issues and then there are issues of human behavior and how we manage construction work. Too many people don't hear me when I point out the difference.

Maybe they'll hear me now.

Issues with enterprise scheduling and web apps don’t only crop up with construction projects in remote locations of limited connectivity.

Such technical issues merely call for technical solutions. For example, while we may argue that web apps may lead to loss of ability to perform useful work while on an airplane flight, that problem is rapidly being addressed. Give it maybe another year.

Instead, we need to focus on what our engineering management and M.B.A. students all were taught about effective leadership and creative use of human resources. 

Creative? A carpenter or pipe welder is creative? You bet! The craftsperson working on a construction site is far more likely to encounter challenges on a daily basis requiring innovative solutions than his or her counterpart in a manufacturing environment. By the time we reach the Superintendent, or Resident Engineer, we are talking about the need for some serious, on-the-spot decision making dozens of times per day. 

Management of human resources is as much an art as it is a science. Even the slogan for my consulting firm, EnProMaC, is “Choreographers for the Construction Industry.” The growth of our future leaders is not helped by requiring them to think in a drop-box option manner, nor by requiring reporting (or worse yet, getting approval for) every decision made, nor by filing daily status reports. The Daily Report prepared these individuals is NOT meant to be a status report; it is instead a diary of conditions and events at the site for use by project personnel at the site. 

Accounting, cost and schedule procedures and software are designed for different purposes and are not subsets of each other. The CPM is designed to be a forward-looking forecasting tool, and not as a status report of past performance. Timesheets are designed to pay for past performance, and not to predict which employees will call in sick next week. Any attempt to combine the two is fraught with reducing the accuracy and usefulness of either.

It is the same among medical professionals who believe a primary care physician should be left to practice without constant directives and second-guessing from lawyers and accountants and business managers of insurance companies.  

Can you hear me now?