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Tag: Skills

Eliminate All Meetings? Not So Fast.

Everyone loves to hate meetings. I’ve seen so many opinion pieces on eliminating meetings, all met with cheers from people who are tired of sitting through meetings they don’t find valuable. I think it’s worth a deeper dive into meeting types so we can be deliberate about which meetings to eliminate.

 

There are three primary categories of meetings:

 

Problem solving – these are your brainstorming or whiteboarding sessions. I think most people agree that these can’t be replaced with emails and Slack messages. When the creative juices need to be flowing and it needs to be collaborative, it needs to be a meeting.

 

Decision making – this is a grey area. If the decision involves a complex scenario or significant consequences, I think it needs to be a meeting since it will likely require discussion. In these cases, my personal approach is to send a pre-read to the decision maker and all key stakeholders, which I develop in partnership with the key stakeholders. My template is this:

 

Background – this explains the broader context of the decision. The decision maker is most likely an executive with many other problems and decisions on their mind, so this helps center them on the situation.

 

Decision point – explain the exact decision needed. Is it strategic direction where multiple approaches have merit? Is it a vendor choice for software that will have a major impact on daily operations? The more specific, the better.

 

Options – Write a summary of each option. Work with the stakeholder(s) who prefers this option and include both the benefits and the drawbacks.

 

Recommendation – Tell the decision maker which option you recommend and why. You know the situation in greater detail than they do, so your recommendation based on detailed consideration is valuable. They may not take your recommendation, but you will have made yourself a resource and thought partner for them.

 

Having this pre-read ensures everyone is on the same page about what the decision point is and what the options are. This will minimize surprises in the meeting, which in turn will minimize unproductive swirl. This preparation will enable the key stakeholders to argue their point, engage in productive debate, and allow the decision maker to hear and consider options before deciding.

 

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Status – this is the infamous “around the room” where everyone says what they’re working on and everyone else multitasks or dozes off. I believe these are the meetings people are thinking about when they write about how to eliminate meetings. The core of their reasoning is that this information can be shared just as effectively by other means, which is often true. I would break this group into two sub-categories:

 

Type 1: Small projects with a few primary workstreams. In these cases, I agree status information can be shared just as effectively by other means. The team can collaborate in a project management tool such as Asana or Smartsheet so anyone at any time can pop in and see where things are. Simple automations can remind team members to make their updates, and dashboards can be automatically shared. The technology exists to make asynchronous status updates possible. In an ideal world, everyone makes their updates on time, everyone checks in on status, and meetings only happen when the project requires discussion. In reality though, project teams often don’t take advantage of these options, so we find ourselves in meetings that shouldn’t need to happen.

 

Type 2: Major projects with many workstreams. In these cases, there are usually clusters of workstreams where people are working together and depend on each other’s work. There are likely also workstreams that seldom interact but will eventually need to interact. In these cases, I’m a believer in live status meetings. Asynchronous updates can work for more regular updates, but I think there’s value in less frequent live status syncs. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn about what’s going on with the more distant workstreams, allows an opportunity for questions and live discussions, and lets people know in advance how something is progressing that might matter to their workstream.

 

With these meeting categories in mind, how can we avoid unnecessary meetings? Regardless of category, there are some best practices for all meetings. If those can’t be followed for a particular meeting, then that meeting can be cancelled.

  1. Make sure the purpose of the meeting is clear.
  2. Write and share the agenda in advance.
  3. Make sure the right people are in attendance.
  4. Send any relevant information in advance.

If you can’t follow these, for example if your meeting doesn’t have a clear purpose or agenda, then it should be cancelled. To make the most of meetings that do happen, end them with a verbal recap of action items, owners, and timelines, and send a written recap of the same.

 

The highest potential category to eliminate is the recurring status meeting for small or simple projects. Eliminating these without negative impact to the project will require a team effort. Everyone needs to do their part to update and check in on the project tracker. The leader can set conditions for success by ensuring the project tracker is established and expectations are clear. However, if the team doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain then the leader will have no choice but to schedule recurring status syncs. I’ve found that credibility and trust can be established by following standard meeting best practices, and especially by cancelling meetings when there is no clear purpose or agenda.

With this trust, it’s a little easier to convince the team to contribute by making their updates asynchronously. Little by little, we can move toward that ideal world where we’re only in meetings that truly need to be meetings.

Agile Project Management Essentials: Navigating the Basics

In the dynamic landscape of project management, Agile methodologies have emerged as a transformative approach, fostering adaptability and collaboration. Understanding the essentials of Agile Project Management is crucial for navigating the complexities of modern projects. This guide will take you through the basics, providing insights into Agile principles, methodologies, and the key components that make it a powerful framework for project delivery.

 

I. Introduction to Agile Project Management

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile Project Management is an iterative and flexible approach to project execution that prioritizes adaptability, collaboration, and customer satisfaction. It emphasizes incremental progress, allowing teams to respond to changing requirements and deliver value consistently.

Why Choose Agile Project Management?

Agile is chosen for its ability to address the limitations of traditional project management. Its iterative nature accommodates changes, encourages client involvement throughout the process, and promotes a more efficient and responsive project delivery.

 

II. Agile Principles: The Foundation of Flexibility

1. Customer Satisfaction Through Continuous Delivery

Agile places a premium on delivering valuable, working solutions regularly. This ensures continuous feedback from stakeholders and enables the team to adjust course based on evolving requirements.

2. Embracing Changes Throughout the Project

Unlike rigid project plans, Agile welcomes changes even late in the development process. This flexibility allows teams to adapt to emerging priorities and ensures the final product meets the client’s evolving needs.

3. Collaborative Team Dynamics

Agile emphasizes collaboration among cross-functional team members. The collective expertise contributes to more holistic problem-solving, fostering a sense of shared ownership and accountability.

 

III. Agile Methodologies: Scrum, Kanban, and More

1. Scrum: A Framework for Team Collaboration

Scrum is one of the most popular Agile methodologies, emphasizing iterative progress, short development cycles (sprints), and frequent team collaboration. It is particularly effective for complex projects with changing requirements.

2. Kanban: Visualizing Workflows for Continuous Improvement

Kanban focuses on visualizing workflow, limiting work in progress, and enhancing overall efficiency. It’s a versatile approach suitable for both project management and continuous improvement processes.

3. Lean Agile: Streamlining Processes for Efficiency

Lean Agile combines principles from Lean manufacturing and Agile methodologies to eliminate waste, optimize efficiency, and deliver maximum value to customers.

 

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IV. Key Components of Agile Project Management

1. User Stories: Understanding Client Needs

User stories are concise descriptions of desired functionalities from an end user’s perspective. They serve as the foundation for planning and executing Agile projects.

2. Sprint Planning: Iterative Development Cycles

Sprint planning involves breaking down project tasks into manageable units and prioritizing them for iterative development cycles. This ensures regular delivery of functional components.

3. Daily Stand-ups: Enhancing Communication

Daily stand-up meetings, or scrum meetings, provide a platform for team members to discuss progress, challenges, and goals. These brief, focused sessions foster communication and collaboration.

 

V. FAQs About Agile Project Management

Q1: How Does Agile Project Management Differ From Traditional Approaches?

Agile differs by prioritizing adaptability, collaboration, and customer satisfaction over rigid plans. It welcomes changes throughout the project and encourages continuous delivery of value.

Q2: Is Agile Project Management Suitable for All Types of Projects?

While Agile is versatile, its suitability depends on project characteristics. It is highly effective for projects with evolving requirements, complex problem-solving, and a need for regular client feedback.

Q3: How Do Agile Teams Handle Changing Client Requirements?

Agile teams address changing client requirements through continuous communication and flexibility. The iterative nature of Agile allows teams to adapt and adjust project priorities as needed.

Q4: What Are the Common Challenges in Adopting Agile Project Management?

Challenges may include resistance to change, difficulty in transitioning from traditional methods, and the need for a cultural shift within the organization. However, these challenges can be addressed through proper training and change management.

Q5: Can Agile Principles Be Applied Outside of Software Development?

Absolutely. While Agile originated in software development, its principles can be applied to various industries, including marketing, product development, and even non-profit initiatives. The focus on collaboration, adaptability, and value delivery is universally applicable.

 

VI. Conclusion: Navigating Project Flexibility with Agile

In the realm of project management, mastering the basics of Agile is synonymous with embracing adaptability and collaboration. Agile Project Management provides a framework that aligns with the evolving needs of today’s dynamic projects. Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or new to the field, understanding these essentials is the key to navigating the complexities and unlocking the full potential of Agile methodologies in your projects.

Looking Back and Looking Forward to Improve

There are many New Year celebrations – Tet, Rosh Ha Shona, and more. Why not make every day the beginning of a new year?

But now we are here celebrating the Western solar new year. We are reminded to enjoy the moment, reflect on the past and visualize a healthier, happier, more productive, and peaceful future.

 

Time to Reflect and Plan

Now is a traditional time for looking back, remembering the past, and looking forward, resolving to make a “better” future. In project management this is quality improvement through assessment, control, improvement planning, and follow through.

As individuals, we make resolutions to improve by giving up bad habits and cultivating positive behavior. We resolve to stop overeating or drinking and to exercise more, or to take that course that will lead to a new career, or to be kinder and more understanding and patient.

But many resolutions last a short time because we don’t follow through.

On a team or organizational level, do you make resolutions and follow through with them? Do you reflect and plan as a normal ongoing process, or is it a once-a-year event?

 

Quality Management

Among project management’s principles is assuring quality by critically assessing performance and planning to improve. Dr Deming’s PDCA cycle: Plan, Do, Check, and Act is one way of looking at the improvement process.

Reflect and resolve once a year and you are certain to miss a lot of opportunities to improve performance and wellness. Build PDCA into your normal way of doing whatever you do and you will reap the benefits of an ever-improvising process.

 

Learn

This article reinforces the message of my October article, “Learn from the Past to Perfect Performance, “Learn from experience. Set aside time for reflection, learning, and making the intention to perfect the way you live and work.”

Improvement is cyclical. It is ongoing. It continues as long as the target process or product lasts. The target process may be your own project management process or a new process resulting from a project. Here the focus is on the project management process.

 

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PDCA

The PDCA cycle is an improvement model that uses a scientific method:

  • Plan – propose a change,
  • Do – implement it,
  • Check – measure to see if the intended goals are achieved,
  • Act – decide whether to adjust by taking appropriate action in another cycle, or to standardize and stabilize the new process.

You decide to standardize and stabilize changes to your process when you have achieved planned benefits. Then you start a new cycle based on your new standard.

 

The Standard

You may or may not have a standard to start with.

When a new process is being designed and implemented the standard is a set of expectations. For example, you expect to complete 90% percent of projects within 10% of the original planned time and budget.

If you have done performance measurement you may know that your current standard is 40% of your projects meeting that expectation. If you do not have an objective sense of your past performance, you are at a disadvantage, but all is not lost. Chances are there is a subjective sense that you are not satisfying stakeholder expectations. Too many projects are delivered late and overbudget.

Part of planning is to set an expectation, a standard or benchmark to use as a target. You determine your goals and set the standard for measuring or checking the effects of your efforts. Research to determine if your goals are realistic. Make sure you are setting a realistic expectation about how long it will take to achieve your goals. Assess risks.

 

Plan to Achieve Goals

With realistic goals in mind, you plan the way you will meet them. To do that well, you have a decision to make. Will you refine your existing process or start from a blank slate?

How unstable and undefined is the current process? Is documenting it worth the effort or is it more effective to find a good model and adapt it to your current conditions.

In the realm of project management, don’t try to invent a brand-new process. You would be reinventing the wheel. Instead, take the time and effort to find a suitable model or models for the kind of projects you perform. If you have multiple project types you may need multiple defined processes, some agile, some more structured.

 

Cause Analysis

Look back to see why you are not meeting stakeholder expectations. Sep back and candidly assess causes. Are schedules and budgets dictated from above or are they the result of actual planning based on expected resources and conditions? Are projects initiated without regard of their impact on ongoing operations and other projects? Are estimators and/or performers in need of training or better tools or both?

Looking back at causes and on the state of the current process often causes conflict and resistance. Performers and project managers may be attached to the way they have been operating.

For example, they may be happy not to have to follow a defined process. They may not have knowledge of or may be in denial regarding the perceptions of stakeholders. They may be threatened by criticism and resistant to change.

Tread carefully to manage change in a way that engages and motivates the people who will have to go through the transition and live with the new process.

 

Do

This is where follow through comes in. Educate, train, and implement change. Treat it as you would with any project, with care to support the people involved.

 

Check and Act

Realize that the new or changed process is not complete until you have checked to see if goals have been met. This is quality control and testing.

If you have done it well, the planning has left a standard, a benchmark, to measure against to determine if your efforts have achieved what you intended. Check often during the life of the improvement process.

Based on your findings decide and act. You may decide to continue, with or without changes to your goals, methods, or both. Or you may decide to stop, standardize, and stabilize the process.

Standardizing and stabilizing the process does not mean that your improvement work is done. You have just set a new standard against which to measure performance and go into a new PDCA cycle.

If you have done the improvement job well, future changes will be tweaks rather than major changes, though as new technologies like AI are introduced, more radical changes may be needed.

 

It is always a new year. Look back at what you have done, how successful it has been, and what you can do to make it better. Look forward to plan check and act.

 


Related articles:

Learn from the Past to Perfect Performance.
 https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/learn-from-the-past-to-perfect-performance/#:~:text=To%20optimize%20performance%2C%20learn%20from,intentions%2C%20performance%2C%20and%20goals
The Key to Performance Improvement: Candid Performance Assessment
https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/the-key-to-performance-improvement-candid-perfromance-assessment/
Achieving Quality Performance and Results
https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/achieving-quality-performance-and-results/

Project Scope: A Comprehensive Guide

Clearly defining scope is the foremost step to completing a project successfully. The project scope outlines the boundaries and objectives of the project, providing a roadmap for project stakeholders to understand what needs to be accomplished, the required resources, and the timeline for completion.

 

This article is a comprehensive guide that will delve into the key aspects of project scope, including its definition, importance, elements, and how to manage scope changes efficiently.

 

What is the Project Scope?

Project scope refers to the specific objectives, deliverables, features, and functions of a project. It defines the boundaries of the project, outlining what is included and what is not. By defining the project scope, project managers can establish a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved, ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page.

 

Importance of Project Scope:

 

1. Clarity and Direction:

A well-defined project scope provides clarity and direction to the project team, stakeholders, and clients. It ensures that everyone involved in the project understands what needs to be accomplished, reducing confusion and improving collaboration.

2. Resource Management:

Project scope helps in efficient resource allocation. It enables project managers to identify the necessary resources, such as staff, equipment, and budget, required to complete the project successfully. By having a clear scope, project managers can avoid over-allocation or underutilization of resources.

3. Cost and Time Estimation:

Project scope assists in estimating the cost and duration of a project accurately. With a well-defined scope, project managers can identify the tasks, dependencies, and milestones, allowing them to create realistic project schedules and budgets.

4. Risk Mitigation:

The project scope also aids in managing risks effectively. By clearly defining what is included and excluded in the project, potential risks and challenges can be identified early on, allowing project managers to develop appropriate risk mitigation plans.

 

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Elements of Project Scope:

1. Objectives:

Clearly defined project objectives are crucial to the project scope. It is essential to understand what results the project aims to achieve and how it aligns with the overall organizational goals.

2. Deliverables:

The project scope should identify the tangible outputs or deliverables that the project team will produce. These deliverables could be physical products, software, reports, or any other measurable outcome.

3. Boundaries:

The scope must outline the boundaries of the project by specifying what is included and what is excluded. This helps in avoiding scope creep, which refers to the uncontrolled expansion of project boundaries during the project’s execution.

4. Constraints:

Identifying constraints within the project scope is also important. Constraints may include limitations in terms of time, budget, resources, technology, or any other factor that may impact the project’s execution.

 

Managing Scope Changes:

In the course of a project, changes to the scope are inevitable due to various factors such as changes in requirements, stakeholder requests, or unforeseen circumstances. However, managing scope changes is crucial to prevent scope creep and ensure project success.

 

Here are some key steps to effectively manage scope changes:

1. Clearly communicate the change

When a scope change is proposed, it is important to transparently communicate the implications of the change to all stakeholders, including the project team, management, and clients. This ensures that everyone understands the impact of the change and can make informed decisions.

2. Assess the impact:

Project managers along with business analysts must assess the impact of the proposed scope change on the project timeline, budget, and resources. It is crucial to evaluate whether the change can be accommodated without significantly affecting the project’s objectives.

3. Obtain stakeholder agreement:

Before implementing any scope change, obtaining agreement from all relevant stakeholders is essential. This ensures that all parties are aligned with the proposed change and minimizes the chances of misunderstandings or conflicts.

4. Adjust project plan:

If the scope change is approved, the project plan, including the schedule, budget, and resource allocation, must be adjusted as mentioned in the scope document. Project managers should update the project documentation and communicate the changes to the team.

5. Monitor scope changes:

Throughout the project, it is important to monitor and control scope changes continuously. Project managers should regularly review the scope to identify any unauthorized changes and take appropriate actions to prevent scope creep.

In a nutshell, a well-defined project scope is vital for the successful execution of any project. It provides clarity, direction, and a framework for project stakeholders to understand the project objectives, deliverables, and boundaries. By effectively managing scope changes, project managers can ensure that projects stay on track, avoiding scope creep and delivering successful outcomes. Therefore, project managers and business analysts must invest time and effort in developing and maintaining a comprehensive project scope, right from the project’s initiation.

Three Attributes of Construction Sector PMs and Nine Important Concepts to Know

The role of an effective project manager has been studied and observed—scholarly researchers studying the managerial profiles of successful project managers (ref 3) observed common traits including extroversion, rational judging, and structured behaviors, for example. Another study from researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ref 1) found common traits of project managers to include openness to experience, surgency, adjustment, agreeableness, and compositeness.

 

I’ve previously written about how the construction industry needs more software project managers—particularly to address labor shortages (i.e., half a million, the ABC reported) as well as help absorb some of the displaced talent from big tech layoffs, I argued.

But what attributes might those PMs need entering the construction industry, and what are some of the important concepts construction PMs should know?

 

Three Traits that Make an Effective Construction PM

Certainly, the above-mentioned managerial profiles of project managers would be useful to have as a project manager in the construction industry.

If I had to choose just three traits needed of a construction project manager, they would be:

 

1. Adaptability

The construction ecosystem is one that is fragmented and requires a high degree of finesse from its practitioners. For example, did you know that the average home has 22 subcontractors working on it? Research from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB; ref 2) found that builders, on average, employ two dozen different subcontractors and subcontract out 84% of their construction costs in the typical home they build.

 

The job of a project manager, then, is one that requires synchronization of many moving parts and coordination through many more project stakeholders. It’s ever-critical for project managers in the construction sector to understand change management modalities, for when equipped with these, they will be able to dynamically guide customers, stakeholders, and cross-functional project delivery partners through:

  • Project kickoff and discovery to fully understand project scope.
  • Resource allocation, organizational commitments/dependencies (and possibly technical debt) to strategically facilitate project scheduling in a way that is faithful to organizational resources and customer needs.
  • Strong customer relationship management and project planning to ensure a high-quality customer experience while allowing for a dynamic response to (and also limiting the quantity of) change orders requested from customers.

 

2. Business Acumen

Forecasting construction projects properly is a mission-critical task that allows businesses to stay profitable, and it’s also a skill that requires business owners and important collaborators (e.g., project managers) to have great finesse.

A project manager might work in lockstep with a business analyst as well as an inventory manager, for example, to better calculate financial commitments annually through job costing, building financial reporting dashboards as well as project management dashboards, etc.

Seeking educational opportunities (e.g., understanding construction financial management) offered through the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) can help project managers strengthen these skillsets.

 

3. Collaboration

As hinted above, construction is a highly collaborative business sector that requires coordination (and cooperation) of a lot of critical cross-functional teams.

Above graphic credit: Fuks et al (ref a) via 4. Polančič (ref 4)

 

The best ways to achieve a higher degree of collaboration with fewer blind spots and information silos include:

  • Adopting cloud-based collaboration tools – Online collaboration (e-collaboration) have been studied by scholarly researchers (ref 4) and prove to deliver a “mutually beneficial relationship between at least two people, groups or organizations, who jointly design ways to work together to achieve related or common goals and who learn with and from each other, sharing responsibility, authority and accountability for achieving results.” Common advantages of cloud-based systems, the researchers highlight, include:
    • Usability – i.e., “SaaS should be easy to use, capable of providing faster and reliable services. User Experience Driven Design aims to maximize the usability, desirability and productivity of the application” (table 1).
    • Efficiency – SaaS, cloud-based solutions allow “computers [… to] be physically located in geographical areas that have access to cheap electricity whilst their computing power can be accessed over the Internet” (table 1).
    • Maintainability – “SaaS shifts the responsibility for developing, testing, and maintaining the software application to the vendor” (table 1).
  • Collaborating with IT and construction technologists to build interoperability of systems (e.g., standardization of change orders, quality control and consistency through the systemization of processes through industrialized construction, standardization of IoT deployment, etc.) as well as the implementation of advanced technology to drive greater real-time visibility and quality assurance (e.g., site-observational drones; robots to automate procedural tasks with a greater degree of consistency, while also removing humans from needlessly dangerous situations, etc.).

 

Nine Important Concepts Every Construction PM Should Know

Now that we’ve covered the common traits that would make a project manager successful in the construction sector, what are some of the important concepts PMs entering the construction industry should know?

 

Here are nine important concepts to know:

 

1. The Five Stages of Project Management

The five stages of project management are equally applicable to the construction industry, which include the following:

  1. Project Initiation – The start of a project, typically including documentation of responsibilities, proposed work, expectations – e.g.,
    1. Project goals
    2. Scope of work
    3. Project organization
    4. Business case
    5. Constraints
    6. Stakeholders
    7. Risks
    8. Project controls
    9. Reporting frameworks
    10. Project initiation signoff
    11. Summary
  2. Project Planning – The high-level planning and scheduling of scoped work via tools like Gantt charts, project management software (e.g., for the construction industry, cloud-based tools like Procore, Contractor Foreman, Autodesk Construction Cloud, Monday Construction, Houzz Pro, etc.). Typical deliverables may include:
    1. Work breakdown structure
    2. Activity network diagram
  3. Project Execution – The completion of scoped work
  4. Project Control – Measures to prevent scope creep (see in next section), cost overruns, etc.
  5. Project Close – The conclusion of the project.

 

2. Scope of Work, Scope Creep, and Scope Management

The scope of work is the documentation in which features and functions of a project, or the required work needed to finish a project, are defined, typically involving a discovery process during which information needed to start a project is gathered (e.g., stakeholder requirements).

Scope creep refers to the continuous and/or expanding work requirements past the project’s original scope, which can happen at any point after the project begins. Scope management is the process of defining and managing the scope of a project to ensure that it stays on track, within budget, and meets the expectations of stakeholders.

 

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3. Lean Project Management

Project managers and project leaders in manufacturing industries may be familiar with lean manufacturing principles – lean construction is an industrialized construction method whereby companies approach the business of building things more effectively and efficiently by minimizing waste and maximizing value for all stakeholders.

 

The approach centers around:

  • Minimizing waste.
  • Reducing expenses.
  • Boosting productivity.
  • Improving quality over time.
  • Increasing value for the customer.

 

Image SourceWikiCommons

Many resources exist for project managers looking to adopt lean construction – e.g., the Lean Construction Institute offers certifications, eLearning, whitepapers, membership, as well as a directory of lean practitioners, while the Lean Construction Blog offers a Lean Academy, conferences, webinars, and its industry-known podcast. Consider, for example, a recent interview I conducted with a Milwaukee Tool continuous improvement leader about lean management and industrialization as one additional resource to get started with IC and lean principles.

 

4. Project Management vs Program Management

Harris & Associates, a civil engineering and construction management company that ranks in Engineering News-Record’s Top 100 Construction, defines project management versus program management (i.e., project manager versus program manager) in the construction industry as follows:

  • Program management/program manager – management of large portfolios encompassing multiple projects on multiple sites (they provide the example of a K12 school district, where the program manager may be responsible for upward of 10 elementary schools, five middle schools, and two high schools).
  • Project management/project manager, meanwhile, will “manage work on one of the schools [… handling] the single project from cradle to grave: pre-design, design process, bid/award, construction and close-out.”

 

5. Project Management Triangle

The project management triangle is a model employed by project managers that dates back to the 1950s and it “contends” the following principles:

  1. The quality of work is constrained by the project’s budget, deadlines, and scope (features).
  2. The project manager can trade between constraints.
  3. Changes in one constraint necessitate changes in others to compensate or quality will suffer.

 

 

Image source: WikiCommons

 

6. Scrum

Project managers from the tech and software development industries may be well familiar to scrum, though its principles are equally useful for contractors. Scrum, simply put, is a framework that helps teams work together while empowering teams to learn through experiences, prioritizes self-organization while working through problems, and encourages ongoing reflection in the constant pursuit of continuous improvement.

 

7. SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a commonly used business tool and acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, described as a “framework used to evaluate a company’s competitive position and to develop strategic planning.”

 

Image Credit: swot-analyse.net via WikiCommons

 

8. Quality Management

Quality management (aka: total quality management or TQM) is defined as “the act of overseeing all activities and tasks that must be accomplished to maintain a desired level of excellence [… including] the determination of a quality policy, creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, and quality control and quality improvement.”.

Examples of quality management in the construction industry may include procurement managers assuring that materials to be used are not damaged; tools and equipment used to perform work are properly serviced, calibrated, and not out of specification; the right tools to drive the highest degree of quality are employed (e.g., consider, for example, how M18 FUEL™ Controlled Torque Impact Wrenches utilize proprietary sensors and machine learning algorithms to drive greater repeatability for solar installers).

 

9. Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is described as a “leadership style that prioritizes the growth, well-being, and empowerment of employees [… aiming] to foster an inclusive environment that enables everyone in the organization to thrive as their authentic self.” What’s more, Investopedia describes servant leadership as embodying “a decentralized organizational structure.”

The application of servant leadership in the construction industry has been studied by researchers for the SA Journal of Industrial Psychology and findings have “indicated”…

… job resources mediated a positive relationship between servant leadership and work engagement and a negative relationship between servant leadership and burnout. Servant leadership had a positive significant relationship with job resources and significantly explained a proportion of the variance in job resources. Job resources, in turn, significantly explained a proportion of increase in work engagement levels and a proportion of reduction in burnout levels. An insignificant relationship was found between job demands and servant leadership.

 

Final Word

The work of project managers in the construction industry shows great promise and represent continually important roles to maintain scope management, resource allocation, budgets, and schedules as the industry faces strong headwinds. For those entering the industry, your work will be highly valued, and you may find a fruitful career when shifting from more volatile industries. The above construction PM traits and industry concepts are intended to be useful in this transition. For project managers in (or entering) the construction industry, I’ve also prepared a more extensive List of Construction Project Management Terms.

 

References

  1. Henkel, T. G., Haley, G., Bourdeau, D. T., & Marion, J. (2019). An insight to project manager personality traits improving team project outcomes. Graziadio Business Review, 22(2). Retrieved from https://commons.erau.edu/publication/1353
  2. Emrath, E. (2020, 12). Average new home uses 24 different subcontractors [Data set]. National Association of Home Builders. https://www.nahb.org/-/media/NAHB/news-and-economics/docs/housing-economics-plus/special-studies/2020/special-study-average-new-home-uses-24-different-subcontractors.pdf
  3. Montequin, V.R, Nieto, A.G., Ortega, F, and Villanueva, J. (2015). Managerial style profiles of successful project managers: A Survey. Procedia Computer Science 64, 55-62, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2015.08.463
  4. Polančič, G., Jošt, G., and Hericko, M (2015, 02). An experimental investigation comparing individual and collaborative work productivity when using desktop and cloud modeling tools. Empirical Software Engineering 20(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10664-013-9280-x
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