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Almost every construction company out there sees the value in Estimating software and utilizes some form of it.  I will agree that not every company is utilizing a specifically designed piece of software from one of the major publishers to estimate their work, but if they haven't purchased the latest version of Estimation, they at least have an in-house spreadsheet system.  So why don't companies see the same value in PM software?  To me it is about seeing a need and progression.

With estimating software it does not take a genius to understand that putting together a 100 line estimate by hand and utilizing a calculator is not only less efficient, but it is also open to many errors.  Computers, when first implemented solved a basic need of calculation.  Some of the first tests between humans and computers were mathematical doing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  It was only natural that in building software that it would solve these processes first.  Accounting and estimating software became common place and almost no company exists out there without utilizing these forms of software.

In the 1990's a funny thing happened, that changed the world.  Computers moved from strictly calculations into a data store.  The rise of the internet, cheap storage, relational databases, and similar functionality changed the way that computers solve our problems.  It became clear that information was the new commodity and the price of that commodity fell to nearly zero.  Entire volumes of encylopedias were put into computers for easy searching and sorting.  Thinking back to my school days, I can't imagine how much more I could have learned writing papers if I didn't have to navigate the Dewey Decimal system.

As a simple example from your common life, the computer in your car known a GPS does not just calculate a route between two points.  It has been upgraded to tell you the points along the way, gas stations, the most efficient way given traffic conditions, weather concerns, and even the Zagat's rating of the restaurant you will be arriving at.

So let's get back to the PM software question.  Most companies out there utilize Microsoft Word and Excel to build the necessary documentation to manage a project.  Project management does not require a vast amount of mathematical calculations, so some people do not even see a need to use a computer at all.  Well, in my opinion that is misguided.  Computers are not there for just calculations, they are there for information.  If you utilize a PM software program, that databases your information, you will be much further ahead.  How many RFI's are outstanding?  What change orders are outstanding?  Which ones need to be priced?  If I go to build drawing E1, which one is the most current?  A good PM system will be able to tell you in a matter of seconds, in lieu of digging through file drawers (your Dewey Decimal system) for minutes or hours.

The world is a much faster place than it was just 10 years ago.  That speed has picked up due to the availability of information.  Are your projects and your business operating at that speed?  Just like today's GPS systems, investing PM software will enable you to find out where you need to go and give you all of the data that is pertinent to your trip and your destination.  So to answer the question: if information is time and money, then PM systems are NOT a waste of money.

About the Author

Craig Pierce

Craig Pierce has been working in the construction industry for the past 25 years helping subcontractors master their trade. Currently he is President of Atalanta Enterprises which provides consulting services to contractors And software solutions through ConstructionMonkey.com.