Let’s face it, the success (or failure) of your firm’s projects are dependent on the very capable hands of your project managers. After all, the Project Manager is the one asked to wear many hats throughout the project lifecycle.

They are also the ones that often don’t have the tools they need to be successful, so they make up for it with extra manual effort by working late into the night or on weekends.

What is it that they do? Well, let’s make a list:

  • Lead the project team
  • Prepare and monitor the project schedule and budget
  • Administer construction contracts
  • Organize, communicate, and participate in progress meetings
  • Negotiate contracts with clients and conflicts between staff
  • Take notes in various meetings
  • Monitor the process, quality, and staff
  • Direct and coordinate the work of staff and consultants
  • Review project accounting
  • Win new projects for the firm

Wow, did you catch all that? To simplify, Project Managers are asked to make sure the project is completed on time, on (or under) budget, and to client satisfaction. All three factors are critical for our most successful projects.

That’s a lot to take on, so where do we start? Project Managers need a roadmap - create a project plan and budget, understand staffing across disciplines, and coordinate with other PMs to confirm availability. And, believe it or not, a vast majority of PMs are trying to do it all in spreadsheets. See the problem yet?

In addition, they are often required to track their plan against project actuals (actuals = hours or dollars charged to the job) with their boss watching profitability like a hawk. Add another spreadsheet.

Then, when the project goes off the rails (spoiler: it always does), PMs need to invest unplanned time to get everything back on track. This part is key, as it takes away from the core focus of project management, client satisfaction, and winning more work.

Can you imagine juggling all of this without dedicated tools? Endless hunting and pecking for information, cross-referencing multiple spreadsheets, reports, and sources to ensure accuracy because (again) they are responsible for performance. And, on top of it all, they need to maintain client relationships and sell new work for the firm.

Since every project is unique, it is often difficult for the Project Manager to have a single source of truth to rely on. Way too much time is wasted searching for information in spreadsheets or other data repositories, looking for (and verifying) up-to-date information on the project schedule and resource availability.

Much like the keystone supports the masonry arch, and it cannot be self-supporting without the keystone in place, the Project Manager is the keystone to the A/E firm in supporting successful project delivery.

How can A/E firms support their Project Managers, their “keystones?”

Luckily, there are solutions available like Planifi Project Analyzer and Project Visualizer. We make it easy for Project Managers to drop the disconnected spreadsheets. Allow Project Managers to quickly schedule, budget and staff projects. Provide a single comprehensive view where they have the ability to plan and manage projects to profitability.

Learn how Planifi can help your firm’s Project Managers, schedule time to learn more with a Planifi Advisor.

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