Project Managers Shape the Construction Industry

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 05/12/2023

The construction industry is undergoing digital transformation. In this article, we will be addressing project managers. The focus is on how they are in a position to drive this process and set tone for the future developments. 

There is no denying that a project manager is one of the most important people in any construction industry. The overall success of a project delivery rests heavily on their shoulders. And, in fact, the very future of the industry does too. Project managers in the construction industry are in a unique position. They have insights into almost every element of the company, therefore having a better understanding of gaps in processes, communication and the overall performance of the company as a whole. 

Although not primarily a decision-maker, a project manager is among the most significant people when it comes to digitisation of the sector. That said, we believe project managers are in control of shaping the future of the industry. In this article, we will explain how can this be achieved and what should they do moving forward. 

How Does Project Management Impact on the Construction Industry?

Traditionally, the role of the project manager is described as ensuring successful and smooth project delivery. Alas, this is a very broad term that barely touches on the intricacies of the job. The impact of project managers on the sector is huge. They oversee expense management, resource allocation, ensuring the project follows the schedule, avoidance of scope creep, quality control and many others.  

As of late, the role is becoming even more crucial. Namely, as the industry is undergoing digitisation, there is a new area of responsibility for the project managers to take over. And it’s a revolutionary one.

The Perfect Time to Change

The change in the industry is happening now. Whether you choose to wait it out and follow the path paved by others or take the lead is up to you. However, we strongly recommend the latter as it’s not likely there will be another opportunity like this. Plus, the stakes are still low - you can make mistakes and not lose anything from it. 

Digitisation of the Sector

The construction industry is notoriously behind the rest of the world when speaking of digital transformation. However, despite severe delays, the process has begun and is picking up the pace as we speak. The sector is currently in somewhat of a limbo, experimenting with new methods, all the while trying to preserve some traditional practices. In other words, nothing is set in stone as of now and there are no right or wrong answers. 

The course the process will take is highly indefinite. Historically a brick-and-mortar industry is difficult to automate due to being run by the ‘old boys’ who pass their knowledge to the future generations instead of adopting the new mindset. But the younger leaders are trying to compromise and incorporate innovation, understanding its significance. Overall, digitisation of the construction sector is very unique compared to other industries. No one knows what the end result will be, but everyone has a chance to make a contribution. 

Role of the Project Manager

It may come off as surprising, but project managers have the most power when it comes to shaping the future of the industry. While they’re usually not the decision-makers, their opinion carries a lot of weight. Namely, they are somewhat of the middlemen between the back office and the on-site crew. They have insights into what each is tasked with and a direct line of communication with both. This puts them in a perfect position to take the reign of the digitisation process. 

With their finger on the pulse of every assignment, project managers have a deep understanding of the roadblocks and caveats different teams face. It’s only natural for them to look for a solution. Not to mention, every project manager seeks to improve their forecasting and delivery quality, something most digital solutions are aimed to do. In other words, the role of the project manager is to be the driving force behind the ongoing process of digitisation. They need to instigate the change, communicate its benefits and oversee it taking place. Or, to put it briefly, set the new industry standards. 

Be the Backbone of the Company

It all sure sounds great and inspirational, but where do you start? Shaping the future of the entire sector is not an easy task. Nor will it happen overnight. There aren’t any definite best practices yet, but there are a few stepping stones we are happy to give you. 

Nourish an Innovation-Focused Mindset

Digitisation is more than simply bringing digital tools into your processes. No matter what changes you implement, if your teams aren’t on board with the idea itself, it’s not going to bear the desired result. Innovation, before anything, is a process. Meaning it is continuous and requires consistency. As a rule, people can only be consistent if they believe in what they are doing. If your team doesn’t believe that the change is useful, they will likely play along for a while and drop it the moment you stop paying attention.

To prevent such a waste of effort and resources, you need to sell the idea to your team before making it a reality. Make sure that each person understands what’s in it for them specifically, how it’s going to affect their day-to-day lives and what the long-term benefits are. Some initial discomfort and growing pains are normal, especially for people who aren’t too technology-savvy. But if they believe it’s a good investment of their time, they won’t drop it as easily.

Build Your Company’s Digital Toolbox

Or, if you’re not a decision-maker, do are thorough job of presenting its short and long-term benefits to the stakeholders. Don’t get disheartened if you get rejected a couple of times and carry on showing the initiative. The construction sector is very behind with innovation and many companies still hesitate to begin the digitisation. But if you continuously prove the change it can bring, you will eventually get through. 

As a project manager, you will be utilising the digital toolbox a lot, if not the most. That’s why it’s important it caters to your needs and supplies you with the tools and functionality you need to bring success. Additionally, you have a better understanding of your team dynamics, work style and preferences than the higher-ups. This way you are in a position to choose software that is suitable for everyone to use without requiring extensive training or changing one’s day-to-day workflows and processes. 

Time to Take the Lead

You can’t dawdle now, not after understanding the role you have to fill. Project managers were always an important asset in the construction industry, but the future of the sector is now in their hands. And it’s not a time to snooze. 

What Will the Future Look Like?

There are currently no industry-best standards, no methods everyone follows and no rules when speaking of digitisation. However, digital transformation is already underway and in full swing. Now is the best time to experiment, find new solutions and pave the path other project managers will follow in years to come. This is a unique opportunity no other industry has at the moment. To decide what the sector will look like in the future. 

We understand the fear of failure may be holding you back, given these are unexplored territories with unknown challenges and risks. However, sitting back and waiting for someone else to do the footwork will not bring you success. Given this all being very new, the stakes are not high even if something goes wrong. Even then, it simply becomes a learning experience. You are in a position to shape the industry. Don’t waste this chance. 


With the digital transformation gradually picking up the pace, the project managers should step up right now. Possessing a deep knowledge of both on-site and back-office challenges, they are to take over the process and become the driving force behind it. The key challenge is to build up the team’s mindset to ensure they stick with the digitisation in the long run. And from there, the project manager should take ownership of building a digital toolbox that will help the company accomplish its short and long-term goals. 

There are currently no industry-best practices or rules in place when speaking of digitisation. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the project managers to leave their footprint in the course the whole industry takes. Our final advice is to be bold and not to fear experimenting. At this point, there is no failure - only experience. 

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