SameerSameer Kalburgi • 

If you asked me five years ago whether it would be possible as a software engineer to work from a single platform, I would have probably told you ‘no.’ Because, like most people in similar roles, I needed separate tools for issue-tracking, real-time chat, and email just to do work.

Thankfully, though, this all changed when I started working at Fieldwire and realized I was wrong; there is a way to work efficiently and from one platform.

Why Fieldwire run on Fieldwire

Fieldwire’s construction field management platform, as the name implies, is used by jobsite teams to coordinate tasks and streamline processes in the field. However, the more I continue to develop the platform, the more I realize how powerful it is — not only for jobsite construction teams but for software engineers like me.

Fieldwire uses Fieldwire internally — across the whole company including engineering, marketing, sales, and operations — to ensure work gets done in the quickest way possible and without any need for extra tools or emails. Instead of spending up to three hours in my inbox each day, I now spend about an hour in Fieldwire’s task dashboard, where all of my tasks for a given day, week, or month are listed in order of priority. Not only does this keep me organized but it saves me a lot of time and hassle as I no longer need to jump between my inbox, Jira, and the likes of Slack just to complete a task; everything I need to know is stored in Fieldwire.

The benefits of increased transparency

As the VP of engineering, I need to be across all of my own tasks, plus my entire teams’ tasks to understand what work is being done each day. From the task dashboard, I can see exactly what my software developers are working on, the pace at which they’re progressing, and any conversations happening around a particular task. This kind of transparency is especially helpful when it comes to answering questions about product releases my team is working on. For example, if the marketing manager says “hey Sameer, when is that new feature being released?” I just easily jump into Fieldwire, search for the relevant task, and communicate the release date in seconds — without having to send an email or ask around in the office.

Below is an example of one feature release I worked on recently with my team. It might seem relatively simple, but this task — to create a Gmail style pop-up alert in Fieldwire — has saved us from doing hours of unnecessary rework. popup alert

Wondering why we built this feature?

Fieldwire employees sometimes accidentally closed tasks or tabs in the middle of adding a message. And, unlike Gmail, Fieldwire used to not alert them to the fact that they were about to lose what they’d already written. Hence why I created a task in Fieldwire for my team to build a Gmail style alert which would pop-up on the screen every time someone was about to close a task that contained unsaved content — including files, images, and notes.

Fieldwire-specific features were leveraged when creating this task to ensure the work required was communicated clearly to everyone involved. A category of ‘Web App’ was used to identify the team responsible for completing the task, and a brief description (including some screenshots) was supplied for further context. The task was then assigned to Tyler Lu, who allocated one day in his two-week Sprint to complete this task. Tyler could explore ‘Related Tasks’ or send messages directly to other Fieldwire employees (which he did) from within the task to ask questions or simply communicate progress. This helped me stay abreast of all conversations that were being had prior to the feature’s release. fieldwire task on macbook Besides the benefits gained with increased transparency, the best thing about Fieldwire, in my opinion, are the real-time notifications which alert me to change, remind me of pending tasks, and (ultimately) keep me productive. It’s the key feature I use to stay organized every day, especially when I have more than 100 tasks to stay on top of for a big release!

Staying organized and productive shouldn’t be hard

Technology has advanced in a way that makes it easy for any type of engineer — whether a software engineer or a civil engineer working on a jobsite — to work painlessly. If you’re interested in joining a company that works with the product it’s developing each day, we want to hear from you! Check out our list of job openings and follow the links to apply; we’re hiring across the entire company including on my team, construction, and sales.

If you’re specifically looking to improve productivity on an upcoming construction project, I highly recommend taking a look at Fieldwire — and you’ll see why we run Fieldwire on Fieldwire.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

And just like that, another month has passed, but not without any major achievements! Fieldwire received some honorable press mentions, this time from four prominent publications — The Globe and Mail, ENR, BIM+, and Construction News — to all of whom we are truly thankful.

In case you missed it and would like to catch up, here is a quick recap of each story’s highlights:

The Globe and Mail: App-based technology comes to the construction site

The Globe and Mail (the largest newspaper in Canada) further explain how EllisDon uses Fieldwire as part of their series on innovative decision-makers in Canada.

In this article, Chief Technology Officer at EllisDon, Tom Strong, explains why he chose Fieldwire in such a competitive tech market, and why he will continue to use the platform going forward on every project. He said:

“Fieldwire helps our project teams deliver high-quality results by connecting us seamlessly with our clients and trade partners.”

To learn more about Strong’s perspective on app-based technology in construction, read the full article online today.

ENR: Construction Productivity: Why It Matters

How can we move the productivity needle if we don’t have any boots on the ground? Yves Frinault, Fieldwire’s CEO, weighs in on this debate to give ENR (the largest construction trade publication) readers some food for thought when it comes to construction productivity, or lack thereof.

Frinault speaks to the high turnover rate in construction — 13% higher than in oil and gas — as a reason for a labor shortage and explains why with supporting evidence:

“Competing industries like oil and gas offer skilled workers a higher wage. The average pay for construction workers in the U.S., according to BLS, is $29 per hour – a staggering $16 less than oil and gas workers who earn $45 per hour on average.”

How do competing industries afford to pay employees so much more? They’re much more productive and therefore generate more revenue per employee. ENR 2018 - Construction Productivity - Why It Matters To learn more about the pay and productivity gap, and why it matters in construction, read the full article on ENR here.

BIM+: Can construction quality be boosted by collaboration software?

The short answer is yes.

While quality control is an issue plaguing the construction industry in the UK, it can be resolved with field management software.

This article in BIM+ (a respected digital construction resource in the UK) explains how Fieldwire is used by global construction giants – like EllisDon – to improve efficiency all while boosting quality. In fact, leveraging collaboration software for QC could result in significant savings. The article notes that:

“Better quality management could save the industry between £7bn and £12bn.”

Learn how to leverage technology to improve quality on your next project! Read the full article here.

Construction News: Warwick’s 1,000-year-old school gets a new site

A UK-based construction company with a passion for innovation, Speller Metcalfe, has been contracted to expand and relocate one of England’s oldest institutions; King’s High School in Warwick.

The three-year project will be managed on Fieldwire to ensure the project stays on track and critical information doesn’t get overlooked. Speller Metcalfe Project Lead, Michael Quinney, said:

“Fieldwire is particularly useful for snagging and allows notifications to be sent to the team when work is overdue or complete. It means we can keep a complete live track on the project as it is being built.”

For more details, please read the full story in Construction News, the UK’s leading source of construction industry news, market intelligence, and forecast and trend data.

Jillian cropped 1 Jillian Reesink • 

At Fieldwire, we’re always shipping new features and improving our platforms functionality. With Fall in full swing, we want to give you an overview of every product update that was made over the past couple of months. Just a few of the highlights include:

New digital forms

The biggest release of the Fall comes with Forms! This a is a new way of using Fieldwire, allowing business and enterprise users to consolidate disparate paper forms onto our platform. Forms save huge amounts of time and work now that all of your Daily Reports, Inspection Requests, RFIs, and Timesheets can be completed on Fieldwire. You can link forms to tasks or plans and assign them to anyone on your team to complete. Check out our full support page or read our launch blog post.

Types of Forms

New mobile notification center

Ever missed a notification on your mobile device? No problem! You can now find all of the notifications you were tagged in on our new notification center on mobile. All of the updates on your tasks and plans are now consolidated in one place across all of your projects. Staying on top of your projects has never been easier! Check out our full support page.

Gantt calendar view

There is now a new “Gantt” view in the tasks tab to accompany our kanban and calendar views. This view is a great and simple way to visualize the flow between your tasks, especially if you are using tasks to schedule activities. Simply add start and end dates to your tasks or drop-and-drag them directly on the Gantt chart to set durations. Check out our full support page.

Drag-and-drop tasks on plans

Improve your Fieldwire workflow with the drag-and-drop feature for tasks. You can now add a task to a particular position on the plan by simply dragging and dropping it from the task list on the web. In fact, you can even drag-and-drop multiple tasks onto the plan at once. This can be particularly useful when you create multiple tasks for inspections or punch walks and need to associate them with a plan later on. Check out our full support page.

And lots more including. . .

Quickly build structure into your site inspections and workflows by adding checklists in bulk, and automating weather on daily reports. Fieldwire will auto-fill weather conditions based on your location, saving you more time at the end of the day. We’re also making life easier for iOS users who can now upload files from the iCloud/Files app.

To stay on top of new product releases, check out our support page for Fieldwire feature updates.

HeadshotTara Callinan • 

Rarely ever do we toot our own horn, except for those months when our product makes the news! Thank you to ConstructConnect, On-Site Mag, and for giving Fieldwire praise and sharing in our company’s success.

In case you missed it, here is a quick recap of each story’s highlights:

ConstructConnect: “EllisDon using Fieldwire platform to connect construction teams”

One of Canada’s top construction companies, EllisDon, is now using Fieldwire for job site coordination on its $9.1-billion expansion project underway at Vancouver International Airport.

Tom Strong, CTO at EllisDon, said the platform is being used to connect dispersed teams and promote transparency in an industry that “has not always been the most forthcoming about sharing information,” adding:

As the article states, “the digital revolution is changing the way white collar workers do business,” and EllisDon is embracing it. They will use Fieldwire to improve jobsite coordination and connect their team like never before.

Read the full article to learn how EllisDon leverages Fieldwire for worksite flow on capital building projects.

On-Site Magazine: “Putting focus on job site technology, EllisDon to implement Fieldwire on all Canadian projects”

Using EllisDon as the primary example, David Kennedy, explains the positive impact technology has on construction in On-Site Magazine. He writes: “technology enables builders to assign, track, and review each stage of construction, as well as share data collected with relevant stakeholders. It does it all without a cumbersome paper trail and costly face-to-face meetings.”

Yves Frinault, Fieldwire’s CEO and co-founder, adding:

“We’re moving from a world where it was okay to not know exactly how things were completed, to a world where we want to know exactly what was completed and how well it was completed.”

Wondering how to leverage technology for your next project? Follow in the footsteps of EllisDon as highlighted in the full article. “Best Android Apps for Construction”

With so many reviews, but never enough time, it can be hard to decide on the best tools for you. That’s why exists - to give you short and sweet summaries of leading apps - so that you can make quick decisions with confidence.

Technology expert, Howard Wen, recently included Fieldwire in his review of the top six Android apps for construction workers, claiming:

“Of all the apps featured here, Fieldwire is the must-have in this category.”

Wondering what else he said about the market? Read the full review on today.

Thomaspochedly round headshotThomas Pochedly • 

Editors note: Scott Capps is a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He has twelve years of service, five with the intelligence community. Thomas Pochedly is a Seaman with the U.S. Navy with two years of service. As leaders in the U.S. military’s innovation initiatives, Scott and Thomas were selected to intern with Fieldwire for six weeks. Their goal was to immerse themselves in the startup culture, and think of ways the startup culture can be used to improve the military. As their time with Fieldwire came to a close, they wrote a brief post outlining how their time with Fieldwire will benefit the U.S. military.

Turning the spotlight on innovation

Across the Department of Defense there is recognition that innovation will be key to our future success. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, at a recent briefing held in Silicon Valley, said “the impact of innovation from high-tech companies will continue to grow at the Defense Department,” and a recent Foreign Policy article points out that, “Only this summer is the U.S. Navy expected to upgrade from Windows XP, an operating system long since scrubbed from home computers.” The point is not lost on those of us in the service. The push towards innovation, and a better relationship with innovators in Silicon Valley, is long overdue.

2018-09 MD5 Military Blog Post Scott and Thomas 2

Bridging the gap

An increased focus on innovation and commitment to creating a culture of innovation within the service is working. In partnership with technology accelerators, such as MD5, the Department of Defense (DoD) is starting to see results in their efforts to build a culture of innovation.

MD5, a national security technology accelerator for defence innovation, works with branches of the U.S. military to connect service members with the tools and skills they need to bring innovation to their Command. MD5 acts as a bridge between the military and their partners in the private sector, including startups and academia. MD5 bridges a gap between the private sector and the military, and this is crucial in helping to build the innovation culture. While MD5 administers several other innovation initiatives, it was their Innovation Fellowship that brought us to Fieldwire.

Innovation Fellowship creates culture of innovation

The purpose of the Innovation Fellowship is to place service members into startup companies for a six week fellowship. Service members are immersed in the startup culture, they learn what makes a startup successful, and they can take those lessons back to their Command to grow the culture of innovation. For six weeks, Scott and I worked within the marketing department of Fieldwire. Scott, with his background in software, focused on front-end web development and content management. I focused on event marketing and content management. While we both considered ourselves innovators prior to attending the fellowship, we definitely learned new things by immersing ourselves in Fieldwire. Without a doubt, we both left the fellowship with a plethora of new ideas and best practices to take back to our Commands. In that way, MD5 brought a lot of value.

2018-09 MD5 Military Blog Post Scott and Thomas 1

Moving forward

While we are pleased with the progress the DoD has made so far in its innovation initiatives, we know that we still have a long way to go before innovation is fully ingrained in our culture. Cultural shifts take time and persistent, consistent effort from many people, but it will happen. In the Navy, one area that I am particularly interested in looking at is the Chief of Naval Operations Rapid Innovation Cell. At the Command level, I believe that we could make Rapid Innovation Cell a collateral duty — in other words, creating time within the work week specifically for sailors to focus on innovation . We already have collateral duties for Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD), Diversity Committee, Seabee Ball Committee, and many others. Why not create a collateral to encourage innovation?

The Air Force has been extremely open-minded when it comes to considering change to existing processes or innovative ways to solve problems. I believe we need to invest more into our task management processes such as documenting and tracking what has been accomplished and items that need to be completed, similar to how Fieldwire’s platform works to streamline task management for the construction industry. Most of my mission partners are outside of my organization and I cannot simply walk to their office or drive to their building; this makes it really difficult to convey exact specifications in a timely manner. Upon returning to my unit I am going to take a look in how we share our tasks and subsequently, the thought processes that coincide with each task.

Collaboration with the Military

Fieldwire was proud to partner with MD5 on this program, and look forward to similar initiatives in the future. As always, if you’re a veteran, especially with construction or software experience, we’re always hiring, and all proceeds from the Fieldwire online store go directly to Hire Heroes, a non-profit with the mission of “Transforming Military Service into Civilian Success”.

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