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'Agile' may benefit construction in the design phase.

Can construction be agile?

You may be aware of agile software methodologies for software development. Wrike, a project management platform, defines it like this:

The Agile methodology is a way to manage a project by breaking it up into several phases. It involves constant collaboration with stakeholders and continuous improvement at every stage. Once the work begins, teams cycle through a process of planning, executing, and evaluating.

‘Agile’ is a very precise term. It was designed to be an adaptable, lightweight process, and highly flexible for changes and conditions that may change on the fly.

Are you thinking this sounds familiar to the beginning phase of a project lifecycle? Could the agile methodology benefit construction in the design phase?

The Balance Small Business believes it could benefit construction “when used appropriately” and recommends these specifications:

  • Alignment of the project deliverables to customer requirements
  • Definition of clear goals for a project
  • Breaks the project or challenge down into small bits to be completed in order of highest priority downwards
  • Continual reviews of progress and improvement from those reviews then applied to the project
  • A clear definition of when a task or activity in the project has been done
  • Development of team intelligence and know-how through teamwork and collaboration across different parts of the project

Pre-design and design phases

Furthermore, the Balance Small Business also explains how agile development methods can work most effectively early in the pre-construction phases:

  • Customer input and shared vision at this early stage
  • Breaking down the project delivery into smaller, more manageable parts
  • Opting for pre-fabricated assemblies that are less subject to change

The caveat

Small Business warns that the principle has limitations. While software design can withstand late changes in design, actual construction with progressive physical buildouts cannot. Project overruns and budget constraints are obvious use cases for not changing late stream.

The best of both worlds

As a software development company based in construction, hh2 Cloud Services understands the requisites of both industries. Used by hh2's development team, there is a literal understanding of how Agile project management can be an effective tool for construction management as well.

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