Project Delivery and Chess
Are you struggling with the overall delivery of your projects? Project delivery is a little like chess; you’re constantly anticipating unknown moves, readjusting your plan, and playing out scenarios in your head. And, as in chess, there is mastery, but there is also a long process involved in learning the best strategies to play to win.
How to Manage Project Delivery
Construction projects are a challenge; that’s why I love them. The landscape is constantly changing, and the only way to push through is to continually adapt. Thinking on your toes, adjusting course, and handling changes with confidence are all essential aspects of project delivery.
Confidence is often hard-won through effort and experience. Before you can manage changes, you need a solid starting point or plan. For example, if a wall gets ripped out in a renovation project and there’s mould behind it, but mould remediation wasn’t part of the plan the GC put together, a change will have to be made. This change is easier if you have a thorough understanding of the project in its entirety.
When can this be worked into the schedule? Will it extend the critical path? How can other trades work around it? Can we work this into the current budget?
Once you know how all of the pieces of the project will reform around this unexpected event, you can reassess and play out a new scenario.
Seven Steps for Sound Project Delivery Every Time
When challenges arise in project delivery, it’s often the result of one or both of the following: Poor communication or poor organization. These seven steps are aimed at clarifying every communication and keeping organized throughout the project.
1. Produce a Scope/Requirements Document
Without a project scope, any project can go sideways fast. A clear scope sets expectations from the beginning, avoiding last-minute scrambles, poor delegation, disputes, and many other problems that can arise.
2. Develop a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
This is particularly essential for large projects with many moving parts. A work breakdown structure helps you break large projects into smaller components that can include their own schedule, deadlines, budgets, scope, and teams.
3. Develop a Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS)
A cost breakdown structure lays out the costs of a project in a hierarchical order. Major costs are broken down into smaller costs. For example, engineering may be broken into assessments, drawings, and construction supervision.
4. Understand Your Contract and Requirements
Most people don’t take the time to read and understand contracts, but as a team lead, it’s essential that you can be a complete source of knowledge for the project. Save yourself time, headaches, and potentially more negative consequences down the road by understanding and asking questions about your contract and requirements upfront.
5. Keep Track of All Actions, Issues, and Risks/Opportunities
Information getting lost somewhere between intention and action is often the culprit behind project delivery that is less than successful. Record actions, incidents, issues, risks, and opportunities as they arise so you can address them when appropriate. This also benefits you in future projects, as you can consult your notes during the planning stages to identify these items early on.
6. Manage and Record All Your Meeting Minutes
Meeting minutes are where effective organization and clear communication meet. Keep meetings running on time and focus on tasks at hand by creating an agenda and sending it out ahead of time. At the meeting, record the minutes and send them out to attendees so any discrepancies can be caught immediately, questions answered, and tasks delegated. Before or at each meeting, review previous meeting notes to discuss anything that hasn’t been addressed.
7. Update the Project Schedule and Review the Critical Path
When changes come up, you’ll want to respond to them as quickly as possible and reset expectations. Go back to your schedule and review your critical path to update the timeline for delivery, making sure all stakeholders understand what’s being done, when, and why it’s essential to take the time for the change.
Share Your Project Delivery Strategies with Us
Change is part of life; the best way to deal with it is to learn how to manage it effectively. CVL Engineers Inc. is always on the lookout for new strategies and processes. What tools do you use to effectively manage your projects?