Trying to manage all the information in a construction project with dozens of participants and thousands of documents from multiple systems can be a daunting undertaking. I met online with Kelly Doyle, the COO of ProjectReady, to learn how the company’s platform makes life easier for every stakeholder in a project.
ProjectReady is an online end-to-end project management and document control solution platform. It takes into account the information needs of building owners before and during a construction project, and it’s a solution for AEC project managers for collaborating on a project while managing the content flow.
“An owner can start from scratch, creating a secure framework around the project before it’s even a project,” said Doyle. “This setup also gives design firms the ability to manage their business and interact and interoperate with the owners and the other members of the project.”
ProjectReady is not just a standalone application. In fact, the integrations with other systems are what makes the application truly powerful. It integrates with several systems that construction sector firms typically use, including SharePoint, Teams, Outlook, Autodesk BIM 360, Bluebeam, Plangrid, and Procore.
Direct Access to Personal Project Information
Kathryn Roses, Director of Sales & Business Development of ProjectReady, demonstrated to me how the application works.
Once logged in on the app, the user gets access to their personal dashboard. The weekly calendar displays all the tasks assigned to the user for their particular projects, which can be tasks for content review, content approval, submittal, and others.
Owners and AEC firms can run several projects simultaneously, and team members often take part in several projects as well. Having a portfolio view of all the projects is therefore necessary.
Task cards on the dashboard provide the portfolio view. They display each project’s health indicators and contain links to respective content repositories and connections to project team members.
Setting Up a Project Automatically
Starting a new project on ProjectReady is straightforward. On the dashboard, the user can build a new project from a connected system, like an ERP or CRM, by using a wizard. No intervention from IT specialists is necessary as the entire process is automated.
It takes a few minutes to create a new project and set up the integrations with the connected systems. From dropdown menus, the user selects the appropriate SharePoint Templates, Teams privacy levels, and the BIM 360 project type.
After assigning team members that can edit the project, the user selects a project plan template. Templates are available for different types of projects, for example, a municipal project, a mixed-use construction, or a retail store improvement. As a result, the app determines the phases, deliverables, and tasks of the project. Fetching team members to various roles from the connected systems is also straightforward.
ProjectReady uses a unique project ID to connect various systems together, including Microsoft Teams, which provides a communication and collaboration channel for the project.
The Project Dashboard
The project dashboard collects all the vital information to one page and displays it visually. You can see the task statuses and how many of them are on schedule, at risk, or overdue. In addition, you can see budget hours versus hours used, and summaries of the number of submittals, issues, RFIs, change orders, and so on. Furthermore, the dashboard has financial information, including the budget baseline, and information on invoices and billing.
The project plan section of the dashboard lists task information and phase-wise progress indicators. The use of plan templates standardizes project management, which is one step toward more industrialized construction processes.
“It really allows us to drive repeatable processes through an organization,” Doyle pointed out. “It’s no longer the Wild West where the project plan looks different every time.”
Collaboration Within and Across Trades
Doyle thinks that architects, engineers, and owners “sit outside the bubble” that goes around the construction project. They don’t perform the core functions—at least that’s the way he feels they’re treated.
“For design firms, and architects especially, we have the ability to manage RFIs, submittals, nonlabor budgets,” Doyle said. “What we envision is that a design firm can use ProjectReady to essentially run their business. Their project manager can run their project plan and make sure that the designers on the team are doing what they need to do, whether they’re internal to the firm or external consulting engineers.”
When designers build out pieces of content on BIM 360 or on some other system, they can use ProjectReady to distribute a set of content and have an automated audit trail for that information.
A Shopping Cart Experience for Document Control
ProjectReady provides multiple document workflows. When the user wants to add a document package for approval, they start by adding some metadata and then add the files from their sources, e.g., BIM 360 and SharePoint.
A document workflow can be either serial or parallel. Once submitted for approval, the system generates a cover sheet that appears on the team members’ individual schedules. After approval, the content can be published on any of the connected platforms.
ProjectReady stores document workflow logs in an Azure SQL database. The solution facilitates cross-platform search and native reporting for both project task and document control. Power BI allows the user to surface this data in other ways, such as task management, RFI, or issues logs.
After seeing what ProjectReady can do and how intuitive its user interface is, I’m convinced that it can improve the customers’ business performance, reduce project risks, and increase the productivity of construction project management.
“We have the unfortunate distinction of being the best kept secret in the industry, and we’re looking to change that,” Doyle said during our conversation. I can agree with him and encourage owners and AEC firms to look into ProjectReady before they start their next project.
Visit project-ready.com to learn more.