The Benefits and Obstacles To Getting Project Feedback

Victor Zhang P.E.
May 10, 2024

Head office staff, such as estimators and procurement teams, often report that they don't receive enough feedback on subcontractor and supplier performances. However, this is usually because they don't put enough effort into better communication methods.

Not learning from current projects causes profit losses on future projects by repeating the same mistakes. Fortunately, you can improve how your teams learn from mistakes and criticism by establishing a knowledge feedback loop.

Explore the greatest benefits and obstacles to getting project feedback to determine your best approach.

The Importance of Performance Feedback Loops

A performance or knowledge feedback loop guarantees fluid and active communication between two or more professional parties. To be effective, both parties must contribute to the communication and continuously improve how they share information.

In the construction industry, feedback loops keep contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers in sync. Whether you're working with a current subcontractor or bringing back a professional you've worked with before, you can use the loop to pick up right where you left off.

Maintaining this historical information about subcontractor and supplier performances is vital for many reasons. At a base level, poor or positive feedback can help you determine whether or not to work with a particular subcontractor again. This is essential for project profits because a subcontractor mistake or a supply delay can set your budget back significantly.

Beyond that, a knowledge feedback loop can improve your productivity and risk mitigation when working with repeat subcontractors. For example, if there's a supplier you can't do without, recording feedback can keep your operations team aware of common mistakes and concerns.

4 Current Obstacles Preventing Effective Feedback

While many general contractors are improving how they provide subcontractor feedback, they often face similar obstacles.

1. Not Learning From the Past

First and foremost, not learning from past and current projects causes profit losses on future projects by repeating the same mistakes. Too many professionals still see feedback only as criticism rather than constructive comments for working forward. This can cause them to ignore the feedback, resulting in repeated errors and financial losses.

Accumulating feedback can give you a better idea of a subcontractor's complete picture. For example, you may hire a subcontractor who makes the same mistakes on every project. However, you may not notice this historical pattern if you don't record your feedback long-term.

2. Lack of Organization

It's not enough to only document feedback — it must also be easy to find and access. Otherwise, you, your team, and the subcontractors may easily forget about it.

Software, such as Trestle Benchmark, provides automated solutions for crafting, sharing, and storing subcontractor feedback. Benchmark lets you keep all your important subcontractor and supplier notes in one place. This way, you can quickly review subcontractors' previous performances and potential risks without missing any essential information.

3. Insufficient Cross-Team Communication

All departments and teams who work with a subcontractor should be able to give and review feedback. This will help them plan for potential risks and guarantee a more comprehensive feedback loop.

Unfortunately, many general contractors' feedback loops aren't built for cross-functional team collaboration. For example, some contractors only let members of leadership write and access feedback. This limits the feedback solely to their perspectives and restricts critical information from the teams that need it most.

4. Lack of Preparation

Genuine subcontractor and supplier performance feedback should include more than a "yes" or a "no." It requires your operations team and other departments to actually pay attention to subcontractors' performances.

Those giving feedback should understand the most critical variables to look for. For example, are you more concerned about subcontractors completing their work on time or completing it flawlessly? Communicating these priorities to your different teams will improve the overall quality of feedback later on.

How To Improve Subcontractor and Supplier Performance Feedback

Every general contractor's feedback loop is unique. So, the best ways to improve your communication may depend on your organization and the subcontractors you're working with.

Follow these best practices to improve subcontractor and supplier feedback:

  • Keep your feedback diverse: Different departments and team members will likely focus on different aspects of a subcontractor's performance, such as legal, financial, and safety concerns. Collecting feedback from other departments will give your subcontractor reviews better perspectives and accuracy.
  • Set feedback expectations: Each person reviewing your subcontractor should understand your most significant concerns and priorities. Consider writing unique feedback questions for each department. This will help them focus their attention and criticism on what matters the most.
  • Organize feedback in a digital interface: Organizing and storing your feedback allows you to access it whenever you need it, even years in the future. This way, you can quickly review subcontractors' previous performances when considering working with them again. Plus, you won't have to worry about important details being lost or forgotten if your organizational structure changes.

Improve Feedback and Project Profits With Proactive Organization

Not learning from current projects causes profit losses on future projects by repeating the same mistakes. However, in today's digital age, keeping all of your feedback and important information in one place can be challenging. Fortunately, you don't have to do this alone.

Trestle Benchmark software lets you compile subcontractors' reviews and details in one place. This seamless accessibility can improve your risk mitigation and feedback processes across every department. With Benchmark, you can record everything a subcontractor brought to your project to make more informed decisions in the future. Schedule a demo to find out how.

About the Author
Victor Zhang P.E.
Chief Engineering Nerd
Victor is always asking "isn't there a better way than how it's always been?" At the intersection of construction and technology, the possibilities are endless
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