Does anything ever go according to plan? When we go to the grocery store, we never write cookies on the list. Yet, somehow, they always end up in the basket. In project planning, we don’t start with the change orders or delays, but, inevitably, stuff happens.
It’s part of the A/E industry and the day-to-day of being an A/E project manager. It’s why we so greatly value experience. Experience helps us avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. But, here’s the kicker – we lost a lot of that project experience in something no one could have planned for.
We are coming up on a decade since the housing crisis. This affected all walks of life, and particularly so in A/E. The professionals we historically relied on as senior project managers, and emerging leaders at our firms, aren’t in the industry anymore. A lot of them left, but we still need to deliver projects – on time and within budget.
These valuable people that we lost, are the folks that would, right now, be training new recruits right out of school. Helping college grads learn the ins-and-outs of the industry and instilling the culture that makes your firm special. All too often, however, the veterans aren’t here or don’t have the time to help new employees learn the ropes. So, that begs the question:
How are you building your firm’s future? Planifi wants to help.
Time and again, we see a successful career path in A/E. New recruit to project manager to associate to principal. The titles may change, but the path remains the same. We want to help those new recruits and junior PMs with a guide for planning and estimating they can use without relying on the “gut instinct” that only comes with experience.
Start by defining the goals of the project and a go-to source for project data.
Project planning can become convoluted fast, have a higher goal in mind. This can be as simple as driving revenue or winning future work.
We have talked about the risks of using spreadsheets in the past. All too often multiple spreadsheets and reports come into play, which leads to wasted time or worse - mismatching data.
Build a schedule and estimate how much time/money it takes to get the work done.
Estimating is tricky for those new to the workforce, and getting more accurate only comes with practice and discussion. Build out that first plan and set up sessions to review with senior PMs to improve. This is an invaluable skill as junior PMs build relationships with clients and win new work for the firm.
These are just a few examples of the 60+ items we have included in the Planifi Estimating and Planning Checklist. We want to help A/E firms become more profitable and efficient organizations and that starts with better planning.