Technology is a tool. Just like a hammer is a tool. It was designed with a specific purpose in mind. Few tools fail on site because they can't deliver on their original purpose (for example, planting nails straight). Most fail because they don't end up being used. Here is why.
First, stop for a second and think about the key tools that have ruled collaboration on construction sites for the last 10 years. I think most people would agree on a pretty short list:
- Paper & Whiteboards
- Excel spreadsheets
- Phones, 2-way radios, etc.
- (more recently) iPhone, iPad, Android
Those are tools that have snuck into our daily routines. Creating something that users will use 5, 10 or 15 times a day is incredibly hard, which explains why this list is so short. Here is the magic formula to get into people daily routine:
Success = Quick to setup + Easy to use + Flexible + Reliable + Adds value
Quick to setup: Setting up a new project quickly is about return on investment. In construction, each project is a "new beginning". Setup cost is always a key element in the decision to bring on a technology. Custom setups used to span weeks or months and require external consultants or even costly infrastructure. Nowadays, you can deploy top-of-the-line SaaS products in minutes.
Easy to use: Successful adoption hinges on how little users need to learn before they derive value from a technology. Or put more simply, how hard it will be to convince them individually to use the tool. You just can't afford to formally train every new user in your company. Good tools usually don't require formal training. Who taught you how to use your smartphone?
Flexible: As you saw previously, 4 or maybe 5 tools total have made it in our daily site routine and they are all characterized by their extreme flexibility. On site, we don't get to pick the weather, the changing conditions or the problems we encounter. However, we get to choose the tools we bring with us, and those are the ones that adapt to the way we do our job.
Reliable: When was the last time that you lost an email during transfer? When was the last time that excel made a calculation error on quantity take-off? That 100% reliability is expected. So forget the feature set for a second, because on site, winning products are above all the ones that you can really rely on.
Adds value: People will use something 15 times a day if it adds value or saves them time 15 times a day. You don't get into people daily routines by forcing them to fill forms that are only used to create a dashboard for a project manager. Foremen and supers on site are all about getting things done in the next hour, so if you want to win them over, you have to add value to them in that hour.
We created Fieldwire because we couldn't find a product in the field that delivered on those 5 values. So make sure to join the revolution by signing up below and let us know what you think at email@example.com.
Other posts you might find relevant: