Expectations of Digital Transformation from the Construction Sector

2023-04-09 #Agile Digital Transformation

For a successful digital transformation, it is of course very important to determine your expectations from the transformation and to prioritize them. What about the expectations of digital transformation from you, are you ready to give them?

Digital transformation must be considered as a project, but please do not draw the triangle of time, cost and quality and place the scope in the middle, as in the classical project management perspective or do not start calculating the budget to be allocated for software, hardware, consultancy, and the workforce required for implementation. Scope, budget, time and quality are the tip of the iceberg in the digital transformation process, if you focus on them, you lose before you start.

Even if we consider the "digital transformation" in the narrowest sense as "dissemination of information technologies", or” to digitalize the processes”; digital transformation means transparency and liberation of information via technology. Building digital information hierarchies and silos in which the information is trapped, means inventing flying cars to solve the transportation problem but planning the new flying cars track the detour streets on the earth.

Solving traffic jam of the big cities is beyond our purpose, let's see what we can do for the traffic in construction projects via digital tools. A construction project is like a colony of city-states. During the circulation of the information among the stakeholders and departments, it goes through plenty of approval cycles just like it is going through the city customs, and visa controls. Eventually, the destination of 5 minutes flight takes days or even weeks and when the information reaches to the final destination, it may become useless. No matter how sophisticated digital tools we use, we cannot achieve a real solution unless we solve customs, visa and traffic light problems and create a common sense with holistic approach. So we cannot go beyond sitting in a Ferrari stuck in traffic jam.

To create disruptive impact, digital transformation demands unrevealing information, once the information is liberated, people will have the opportunity to redesign the processes in the optimum way from design to demolition, from landscape works to M+E works. Although there will be some dust in the beginning, everything will work better when things settle down. Probably your budget and time estimates will be exceeded, your scope will creep but your project and company will thrive.

When we are talking about “digital transformation”, we are mentioning more than implementing digital tools like ERP, Scheduling, or BIM. These tools give us opportunity of transparency and collaboration, and once we leave aside the self-seeking mindset and collaborate for the good focus on the lifecycle success of the  project we all can benefit from the results.

Digitalization and agility are two terms mostly used together. In fact, they expedite and increase each other’s effect. Agile approaches help digital transformation to actualize properly because they aim to transform to a learning organization with empiricism and collaboration, they create organizational safety and encourage people try new things safely.

In construction industry most of us are not so talented for digital tools, and the digital mindset cannot be gained by trainings, we need to experience step by step. Instead of a comprehensive planning and targeting big goals we can start small. Agile management approaches instruct us think big but start small. After each step we can run small safe experiments to create a better result align our goal.

So agile transformation is not something the management directs, putting challenging goals with carrots and sticks ahead. It needs a cultural transformation of collaboration and empiricism. After each step the teams celebrate the learnings and achievements and that encourages them to take a bigger step and run a bigger experiment, by this way the way of doing work changes radically.


Technology is everywhere… Let it be easy for all of us to be ready for it.