Planning & Running A Project
Planning and Running a Project is something that Paul Simpson is very familiar with as he has worked as Project Manager. Paul is also a student on our Business Coaching course. He has written an excellent article on project management and we would like to share this with you.
[Planning and running a project] ... was a fairly simple task for me, as I have not only completed a Prince2 Project Management Course, but have also worked as a Project Manager.
The process really starts by reading through the initial documentation to get a full picture of the project or task you are about to undertake. This could have been priced or negotiated by somebody else within the Business, so you need to understand what was presented, what questions have already been asked (usually in the form of a RFI Schedule - request for information), what answers have been received, what inclusion or exclusions were agreed, the project agreed cost, the budget available to complete the works, a breakdown of the material costs, labour costs, equipment hire, logistics, etc.
Once you have a full understanding, then you enter the ‘better buy’ process. Here you try and agree better terms and prices with the suppliers, sub-contractors, etc., to get the best prices available, which would be no worse than what was agreed during the tendering process. The more money you can save here, makes the build/delivery process a whole lot easier.
It is always best to have a meeting pre start of the contract with the Client. Here you want to clarify that what has been tendered, will in fact deliver an end product that they have asked for. So you should go through the design, plans, materials, project timeline, etc. It is important to look at external elements that may or could cause delays or problems to yourself, when trying to deliver your project. Make these items aware to the client and make sure you log these in writing and that the client has signed or responded to you about these, usually a follow up email is the best for logging everything discussed, but make sure you put something in the mail, so the client has to reply to that mail, then you have evidence that they have read the mail.
Delivering the project now. This is the area where you need to make sure that deliveries are made on time, sufficient labour is resourced to complete the project. Attending the site on a regular basis to make sure there are no problems or hold ups. Discuss problems or potential problems and come up with solutions for these. And importantly, make sure the Client is happy with the progress and the works to date.
Project Management relies on a lot of procedures and communication, therefore you will need a structured reporting system in place, so you get weekly reports from site, details of any delays, any changes or alterations, any near misses, accidents or problems. A lot of this information can be used to make the process better the next time you start a similar project.
Keeping a close eye on the finances and where there are increased costs, find out why, is it chargeable, or what could be done next time, to make sure these don’t happen again. The biggest cost to any project, is usually at the end. This generally is due to poor workmanship, falling behind schedule and having to add extra labour to complete the project, or materials, lost, stolen or forgotten. Keep a close eye on these, as some of these may not have been in the original cost, so could be chargeable. That is why it is important to have everything logged and filed for reference.
If project managed correctly, you should now have a completed project that has been completed on time, on budget and to the clients’ wishes. You will find that you may have saved in some areas, but have had to pay more in other areas, but overall, you should have hit your profit margins.
There are 2 further areas to Project Management that are just as important, but are usually forgotten. Firstly, make contact with the Client and walk them through the job if possible. Make sure they are happy. Record any problems, concerns or issues the Client may have had. By leaving the Client happy, you have the potential to get repeat Business. And lastly, you should look at all the issues, problems and concerns throughout the project. Here you need to make judgements on whether it could be done better if done a different way, could you get a better service using somebody different, are there certain people in your labour force that do not pull their weight or cause problems. By constantly reviewing these points after every project, you will eventually get to a point where you can deliver a perfect project. We live in hope!
Business Coaching Student
Please note that all views and information expressed in this article are those of the writer.
If you would are interested in Business Coaching or Planning, take a look at the links to the course information lower down this page.
If you have any questions, or would like to know more about these or any of our business courses, get in touch with our Business And Management tutors today - they are highly experienced and knowledgeable, and will be pleased to hear from you.
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