What Makes A Great Construction Project Manager?

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Evеrу соnѕtruсtіоn task іѕ detailed аnd it mіght be соnfuѕіng. Whеthеr уоu аrе buіldіng a ѕmаll home оr a lаrgе ѕkуѕсrареr there are certain jоbѕ tо bе finished аnd роіntѕ tо bе wоrkеd оut. Thіѕ will mаkе іt hаrd for thе соnѕtruсtіоn mаnаgеr to kеер trасk оf еvеrуthіng thаt is hарреnіng. It аѕѕіѕtѕ tо have ѕоmеthіng thаt will make it ѕіmрlеr.

Nowadays mаnу Cоnѕtruсtіоn іnduѕtrіеѕ uѕе project mаnаgеmеnt ѕоftwаrе fоr managing and maintaining their рrоjесtѕ. Cоnѕtruсtіоn Project Mаnаgеmеnt Software uses techniques аnd lаtеѕt tооlѕ tо рlаn, mоnіtоr аnd to execute a сеrtаіn project within thе аgrееd tіmе, соѕt аnd ԛuаlіtу. It aggregates all rеlеvаnt dаtа аnd hоldѕ it аvаіlаblе оn a common іnfоrmаtіоn рlаtfоrm. In Cоnѕtruсtіоn industry projects includes many рrосеѕѕеѕ like one іѕ оrdеrіng material, lаbоr іѕѕuеѕ, dосumеntѕ related issues аnd mаnу оthеrѕ fасtоrѕ

Uѕіng Construction Project Mаnаgеmеnt Software is bеnеfісіаl to аnу соnѕtruсtіоn organization. Because, it eventually translates tо a grеаt ѕаvіngѕ in соѕtѕ in terms of tіmе and еnеrgу and іnсrеаѕеѕ the еffісіеnсу of ѕtаff аnd thе рrоjесt in gеnеrаl аnd it аlѕо rеduсеѕ chances of human еrrоr. Cоnѕtruсtіоn budgeting, Tіmе lіnе ѕсhеdulіng, Documentation and Admіnіѕtrаtіоn funсtіоnѕ, Chаngе order mаnаgеmеnt, Sub- Cоntrасtоr mаnаgеmеnt, Rероrtіng аnd Anаlуѕіѕ аrе аll vеrу important funсtіоnѕ fоr аnу оrgаnіzаtіоn. Sо thіѕ ѕоftwаrе manages аnd mаіntаіnѕ аll thеѕе functions for thе dеvеlорmеnt оf Construction Induѕtrу. By uѕіng this ѕоftwаrе уоur соmраnу’ѕ productivity іnсrеаѕеѕ and аt thе ѕаmе tіmе уоur Company’s ореrаtіng costs dесrеаѕеѕ. Thіѕ software іѕ uѕеd tо mаkе рlаnѕ fоr рrоjесtѕ аnd provide many nеw аnd dіffеrеnt ideas аnd bеttеr соnсерtѕ fоr сlіеntѕ. That means you рrоvіdе more offer tо уоur clients and this will dеfіnіtеlу run уоur buѕіnеѕѕ more еffесtіvеlу, efficiently and quickly.

Thе best tool thаt thеу саn utіlіzе іѕ a соnѕtruсtіоn рrоjесt management ѕоftwаrе. You wіll be able tо ѕреnd a соuрlе hundrеd dollars оn thіѕ wеb bаѕеd рrоgrаm – but іt іѕ wоrth іt еасh tіmе. Wіth this уоu will hаvе thе аbіlіtу to set uр ѕрrеаdѕhееtѕ, trасk thе billing, аnd put tоgеthеr appointments. All thіngѕ thаt we may fоrgеt.

It wіll аѕѕіѕt to keep trасk оf all of the dауѕ that thе provisions аrе being delivered аnd will rеmіnd уоu hоw muсh уоu ѕhоuld pay them. Whеn уоu have thеm all раіd іt is able to ѕubtrасt іt from the budget and tеll you hоw muсh there іѕ lеft. In thіѕ wау you wіll mаkе ѕurе that уоu dо nоt spend mоrе than whаt уоu hаvе tо utilize.

Thеrе are a fеw thаt аrе ѕо еlеvаtеd that thеу саn аіd уоu tо kеер trасk оf whаt vendor is соmіng to put іn thіngѕ аnd thе ԛuаntіtу оf individuals thаt wіll be coming to work еасh day. Thіѕ іѕ аn еmрlоуее scheduling software thаt hаѕ thе аbіlіtу tо соmе іn hаndу аnd make things ѕо muсh easier for уоu аnd the рrоjесt.

Thе greatest thing аbоut thіѕ ѕоftwаrе is thаt іt іѕ simple tо use. When ѕоmеbоdу оn the tеаm makes аn alteration tо іt уоu саn bе nоtіfіеd automatically thrоugh e-mail оr іnѕtаnt messenger. Nоw you don’t need tо kеер up with lоаdѕ of paperwork anymore!

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Construction Management software- what is it, and how can it help you?

Construction management software is the umbrella term for the types of computer systems and applications that are available to construction managers, project managers in construction and other personnel. Under this umbrella, construction management software can be further classified into construction project management software and capital project management software.

Construction Management software

This software helps construction managers control, plan and manage the way in which construction of property or other buildings are done. This software can also hold vast amounts of data, calculations, documentation and analytics to either make a calculation of the budget, make a blueprint drawing or predict how the building or property will look like.

Construction Project Management software

This is a further division of the abovementioned Construction Management Software and specializes more with the project handling of constructions rather than the general aspect of one construction. This will be useful for those who may be handling several constructions and need it all electronically documented.

Companies that develop Construction Management Software

According to Capterra, a software comparison website, and Software Advice, the biggest names in the construction management software industry include Procore, BIM 360 by Autodesk and Aconex. Find out more information in this site : http://www.builderstorm.com

Procore

It was founded by Tooey Courtemanche in 2003 who discovered a gap in the market in construction planning. He found a lot of inefficiencies within communication, and so began Procore adapted on a Microsoft Project schedule tool.

Procore’s software offering has four main functions, Drawings & Document, Field and Quality, Financial and Technology. Since 2010, it has grown from strength to strength, seeing its revenue double since 2012 when it was at $4.8 million. It has also seen $20 million in total funding. It is estimated to be worth around $500 million.

BIM 360 by Autodesk

It is part of the software giant Autodesk’s Construction software solutions. BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and deals more with creating a digital prototype of building and places. Their main products include ‘Glue/Layout’, ‘Field’ and ‘Plan’.

Aconex

Aconex is an Australian construction management software company who have facilitated more than $1 trillion’s worth of construction projects in more than 70 countries, and have over 400 employees. It was started in 2000 by Leigh Jasper and Robert Phillpot. It was initially an online collaboration service to streamline construction services. Click here!

It began expanding into the UK in 2004 and South East Asia soon after. It won the 2006 Emerging Exporter Award at the 2006 Australian Export Awards. It then acquired $107 million in funding in 2008.

It has 5 core values: Equal access to all, Cloud & Mobile, One Project wide platform, unlimited access and support.

Conclusion:

Construction management software is an excellent way for a business in the construction or property industry to organize and collaborate their blueprints, measurements and plans onto one system. This also allows various people in the project to instantly receive updates and completions of phases to the construction project. With many software companies like Aconex, Autodesk and Procore deigning cutting-edge technology, it will be no problem for many businesses today.

Construction Project Management

Top 5 Construction Project Management Software

What is Construction Project Management (CPM) Software?

A Construction Project Management Software is a construction project software that is designed for construction projects. These construction projects can be of any type, agricultural, commercial, industrial, environmental, domestic, and heavy civil and residential.visit our homepage!
The construction project software helps the project manager with administrative tasks, estimation and billing, planning and making up schedules, manage centralized documents and promote communications and other issues resolution.
The best construction project management softwares that are available include the following construction project management softwares,

  1. Procore
    This is a cloud-based CPM software that is particularly created for the constructions industry. This software is owned by Procore Technologies. It is a simple yet very secure application that uses a one-page project dashboard where the project manager can see and manage more than one projects. He can check the status and the progress of the construction projects. Features like a drawing managing tool and a change order system are a basic part of this software.
  2. WorkflowMax
    If I say that this construction project software is a “multi-talented” software, it would not go wrong. It not only helps the project manager manage time and job but it also maintains the invoice for you.This software is very helpful from the planning of the project to the close-out and billing stages. Depending on the company’s workload, pricing is done on a user per month basis. Architects, surveyors and engineers prefer this software. With Xero accounting software, WorkflowMax works really well.
  3. BuildTools
    It is an internet based platform for construction management. It manages communication, scheduling, budget, documents, planning and much, much more. Best for custom builders and remodelers. You can access it on any device that has an internet connection.If there are any conflicts in the schedule, the project manager is immediately notified. It is available at a flat price per month.
  4. Co-construct
    This software is also one of the best constructions project management softwares you could find in the market.It is a mobile software that is made especially for remodelers and design-build firms. It is also a web-based application. It is a solution to many problems that project managers have to face. To make sure all the deadlines are met and schedules are maintained, this software has a calendar feature too. There’s a comments option too. It was created in 2005. Its per month fee starts from $99.

Construction Project Management

  1. BuilderTREND
    Last but not the least construction software, BuilderTREND is also a cloud-based project management software. It is an award winning software that has many useful features like scheduling, time sheets and to-do lists for the user. It also supports messaging. It has many customer management functions too. There are no contracts or registration fees. Starting at $99 per month, the fee increases when more and more projects are added.

 

These construction softwares have proved to be really useful to construction professionals, engineers, surveyors and architects. In the coming years, the use of these applications and softwares would become essential to handle multiple projects.

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Manage Your Project Life-Cycle Effectively with a Construction Management Solution

If you are a project manager looking for a good construction project management software, in order to ensure the project is complicated based on time constraints and the budget. Regardless of the project size, it would be the project manager’s duty and responsibility to keep the plan organized. However, you may face issues such as scheduling complications, reporting problems, data management issues and phase and time management. To solve the problems on your construction site you would need to find better ways of using construction management tools. Hence, by using this you can get the necessary information in the construction industry successfully.

Use the dashboard

All the necessary information will be summarized on the dashboard of any good construction management software. This includes, but not limited to the billing, labor, cost, materials, orders, purchase orders, or change orders, profits, and much more. You can easily view the details from this dashboard. Main feature that any project manager would look for is the ability to report and it can be easily done with the information available on the dashboard.This collaboration tool will help to report all your business needs today.

Document management facility

When you need to keep your documents well organized, you would need this facility in your construction project management software. However, if some of this information is stored in the digital format, it is much easier to maintain things effectively. Also, the approval process is quite easy. You can easily automate the routine process and store all the documents in a centralized location accessible to all and at any time. This way you can easily move without any delays and hiccups. More explained here.

Scheduling

These project management construction software ensures that the projects are scheduled based on its success in the previous releases or based on the priorities. However, if you are not properly scheduling it, you could easily lose track of what task needs to be done, which one is complete or even what materials are being used there. Tools like the ProjectScheduler can give project managers a totally new perspective to every project. Also, managers can schedule resources such as contractors, employees or even equipment that can be seen in the timeline view that shows the start and the finish dates. You can even configure to view the critical activities and the expenses involved. This will let you know few other details such as the relationship with the predecessors with the help of graphs like the Gantt chart that displays what activities are scheduled and progress as well as different phases it is going through.

You can make your work life pretty much easier when you have all the widgets fully functional and provide the exact information that you need in order to pursue with your project management for construction software. Budget is equally important. The more budget you have, you can include better planning for the future projects. On the contrary, if you have good projects you can increase the revenue and hence you can invest in higher budget projects for future.

Read this post for more info: http://www.sixsigmais.com/effective-cost-control-with-construction-management-software/

Effective Cost Control with Construction Management Software

Effective Cost Control with Construction Management Software

In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever to be careful with a project’s budget, and any help you can get from management construction software will be welcome. As a contractor, it is thus your responsibility to use cost control procedures to ensure that projects are completed without going over the predetermined budget or sacrificing quality. With the use of project management software, it won’t be difficult to effectively carry this out.

Creating Detailed Preliminary Estimations

Before work even begins on a project, you will need to create a detailed preliminary estimate that shows how long it will take to complete, and how much it will cost to accomplish this. Management software for construction project will speed up this step by helping you take into account all the factors that could affect an estimate. You will be able to input the project’s design, pertinent information about your team and resources, and your client’s goals in order to come up with a realistic number.

Tracking Your Sources of Funding

It isn’t unusual for a single project to have several sources of funding. A good management app should help you keep track of the money going into your project, and where it is coming from. This is especially important if you have credit lines to consider, in addition to payouts from clients and investors. Savvy use of your funding options will allow you to cut credit interest rates from your project costs unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Effective Cost Control with Construction Management Software

Monitoring Your Budget

Construction project management software allows contractors to monitor a job’s progress. Using such a program will help you see if certain milestones are reached on schedule. You will also be able to monitor and document the spending done at each step to make sure that the money is moving according to plan.

Predicting Future Costs

One of the most significant areas where a construction management program can help with budget control is the prediction of a project’s future costs. This is especially important if you encounter problems that set back scheduled activities or incur extra spending. You need to know exactly how such issues will impact the budget of a project so that you can implement measures to minimize the potential damage.

Making Changes in Real Time

The best construction project management software allows its users to make and receive important updates in real time. You can take advantage of this feature to implement cost control measures in real time. By immediately notifying your team and your clients about the changes that have to be made to recover from unexpected overspending, you’ll be able to deal with budgetary problems before they get out of hand.

There are many project management programs to choose from. To find the right one for you, go over the reviews from independent users to see how certain apps perform in real life situations. It’s also a good idea to take advantage of the free demos offered by some construction project management software companies before taking out a paid subscription for their products.

Quality Based Construction Software for Your Business

If you are looking for Construction Project Management Software, you will be spoilt for choice if you look for such a service online. These will be able to look into all your electronic requirements as well as any other logistics such as plumbing and air conditioning your business establishment. You might not have realized the need for such software yet, but you will soon find out that the advantages of this are indeed numerous. From making your business more efficient and productive to handling your customers in a better way, using the services of this kind of software can do wonders for your business.

What are its advantages?

  • The biggest feature of this kind of software is its ability to automate most of the aspects of your business. Good quality software will be able to integrate all the data that the different departments of your business process, into one system. This can be accessed and used at any time by your employees through a secure system. Not only will it keep all this data secure, but it will also save your employees a lot of time and thus make them more efficient.
  • A Management Construction Software also ensures that you are able to maintain a solid and updated inventory. Through its integrated network, it will make it very simple for your business to update its inventory list and keep you on track on requirements.
  • Your customers will be happy as well. By providing this system and keeping your inventory and processes simple; your customers will find it quick and easy to use the given software to do business with you.

Quality Based Construction Software for Your Business

How to select the right software provider

There are several software companies now that provide the service of installing this for your business, but you should look out for a reasonably priced and reliable one. There are certain standards of service that you should look out for, for instance:

  • The company installing the software for your business should also provide your employees with some level of training on how to operate the software. This is the best way to ensure that the software is used correctly and is being utilized well.
  • Their interface should be simple and easy to use. The more complicated the software’s interface is, the more the chances are of mistakes being committed by your employees. The best software’s are those that get the job done without looking complicated and are easy to train new employees on.
  • They should also be providing you with routine software This is another great way to ensure that your business is up to date with the current software trends.

While there are numerous companies that provide such Construction project management Software’s, it is important to pick one which is reliable and can provide the service to you in a cost efficient manner. While this might seem to be a big one-time investment for your business, the long-term benefits are numerous and will help you in a large way.

 

Project Management Software for Construction

Project Management Software for Construction

What you need to know about Project Management Software for Construction

Getting a management software for constructions projects seems like a ludicrous, and frankly, an expensive idea. However, once you start using it, it may just turn out to be the best decision you ever make.

Project Management Software for Construction

What are the advantages of a project management software?

There was a time when each new project in a company came with its own mountain of paperwork. There needed to be updates, entries, and whatnot to keep track of all the progress made in the project.

Today, thankfully, the transition from paper to digital platforms has been made incredibly easy due to the internet and the presence of numerous management software. One of the best things about the same is its custom interface for every profession: whether it is HR, statistics, or even a field as varied as construction, each company’s project management software will be unique and tailored according to its own interests.

How can a management software for construction help you?

  • A construction project management software will reduce the amount of paperwork you have to a significant less.
  • The software will make it easier for you to enter new entries, modify old ones, update details about ongoing projects, and make changes to the structure of the job on the whole.
  • Additionally, any details related to the project will be saved separately and will be unique to the kind of project you are pursuing. This means that you will have to struggle much less with huge files when looking for detail A in sub-category B.
  • Most importantly, the software will make it incredibly easy for you to maintain contact with your client, and update them on the progress of the work.

Some special features of management software for construction projects:

As mentioned above, many software have special chatroom type interfaces to facilitate communication between the client and yourself. This ensures constant contact between the two parties, as well as complete confidentiality with respect to the updates and details of the project. Thus, they are discreet as well as stable.

Furthermore, these interfaces are usually dynamic in terms of usage of media, which means that you can use numerous ways to keep in touch with the client. These include videos, pictures, and even scans of the construction work that you can upload into the chats.

What should you check for before getting a management software?

  • Usability: Since the cost of such complex software varies according to the features available, it is better to make a comprehensible list of all that you need managed before you buy such
  • Equipment: Of course, digitizing all your files and processes will require a certain amount of equipment, but it is still better to make note of exactly what kind so you avoid any overhead charges.
  • Cost: If yours is a small business, you may be better off with a less complex, cheaper software. It is only huge businesses that go for complex, heavy software that require constant maintenance.

It is understandable that you feel apprehensive about suddenly digitizing all your files and uploading them online. However, understand that this might be the best decision you ever make since a management software for construction projects will not only make your work faster and more efficient, but do wonders for your managerial capabilities.

 

 

A Day in the Life of a Construction Manager

A Day in the Life of a Construction Manager

The construction manager has a very busy schedule every day that is the reason they rely on management construction software programs to help with their daily tasks. The software programs help them to schedule the things that they need to be done in the logical process. It is vital to dispatch the workers, order materials, keep up with the budget, and make sure that all permits are in compliance.

Construction Manager Daily Tasks

One of the first objectives for a Construction Manager is to put together a schedule for the day in logical steps so that they are able to budget time in order to meet deadlines for the day and the whole of the project. When the scheduling is complete, the Construction Manager must then dispatch the workers to all the construction sites making sure that every site is covered. The use of the best construction project management software package will enable the manager to keep everything in order for each and every project.

A Day in the Life of a Construction Manager

Construction Manager Must have the Ability to Negotiate

The safety codes and regulations are very important on any Construction Site the manager is held responsible for each site. The Construction Manager must be able to communicate and interpret the plans along with contract terms to administrative staff, workers, and interested clients. The Construction Manager must be able to Prepare contracts and negotiate revisions along with making changes to the agreements. They are the ones who negotiate with the architects, clients, consultants, subcontractors, and suppliers. Along with their ability to negotiate they must also be able to get all the necessary permits and licenses required for each scheduled job.

Construction Manager Continuing Daily Duties

The Construction Manager uses the Construction Project Management Software in order to do the necessary daily tasks as well as the major tasks at hand for the whole of the projects. Even though they are involved in the process of getting permits, negotiating and maintaining schedules often they must supervise the workers. They are best able to do this when they have studied the job specs to determine the correct methods for the job at hand. After the job is underway, they usually will hire overseers to finish the specific projects at hand. They often have to contract outside people like plumbers, electricians, and painters to help with the completion of the construction job. It is necessary for the manager to order all the supplies and materials for each construction job that meets the budget. They must be able to track the jobs cost and issue reports to the appropriate people. That is where the Best Construction Project Management Software is important.

Conclusion

The Construction Manager is held accountable for just about every aspect of the construction job. Quality Control, budget, negotiating, handle complaints, dealing with the workers and the upper management are all a major part of the duties required by the Construction Manager. Many of the duties require the use of a computer and the Best Construction Project Management Software package available.

 

 

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Project management system

The project management revolution started a few years back, with Basecamp. Many people swore that it would be just a fad. However, the revolution continued and today we are in a world with many, many project management systems which offer endless features and advancements. Today, Basecamp (especially in its new, rewritten version) tends to pale when compared to its many competitors which are quickly grabbing huge chinks of the project management software market.

All these competitors tend to offer a lot of features — and, obviously, a lot of them overlap. When choosing which system to use, it’s easy to get quickly lost with so many offerings. If you are looking for your perfect project management system, you will probably soon feel lost. You can more about Project management system by Clicking Here.

So, what are the features that everybody has, and (more importantly) the features that differentiate each product?

What (nearly) every product has

  •  Tasks. Every single project management system out there has the concept of tasks: they are the backbone of every project. In fact, it can be said that any project management system is a glorified, shared TODO list where each task can be assigned to a person.
  • Projects. Again, every project management system allows you to create “projects”, and assign one or more tasks to these projects. Users will generally be given access to specific projects.
  • Multiple users. Having a project management system that lives online basically implies that it can, and should, be a multi-user system. Every single project management system out there will have the concept of “user”, and the ability to grant access to the project to different users.
  • Email integration. Email integration is an absolute standard in project management systems. Pretty much every system will have a degree of email integration, where the most basic (and also most important) level is when users are able to reply to an email in order to add a comment to a task, without having to login.
  • File uploads. Again, every single system out there will allow you to upload files to the system, and attach them to projects and tasks.
  • SSL. Every program out there will allow you to connect using SSL. You should avoid using any system that doesn’t, since any information (private or not) you exchange will travel unencrypted (and therefore readable) on the network. (And information travels a long way when it does).
  • Data export. Every system out there allows you to export your data in a meaningful format.

The differences

  • API. Not every system out there provides an API to access the system without using a GUI. If project management systems don’t provide an API, it means that you won’t be able to access your data except than using the provided GUI. Having an API also tells you that the software is solidly written.u0-neu-d1-0d74a4b393684d11d652a4d1a25a5a70^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr
  • Integration with other software. This is the ability of your software to access other software’s API and integrate with them. For example, a project management system could give you the option to interface with Freshbooks and create an invoice automatically for all the time entries that are marked as “not billed” — and obviously mark them as billed.
  • Recurrent tasks. Recurrent tasks are only offered by some project management software. Their availability is not crucial for your work. In fact, a project should be seen as an atomic bunch of tasks, and having recurring tasks might break the basic concepts behind them.
  • One page applications (no page reload, desktop feel). Modern applications use AJAX extensively. The aim is not to get the user to wait for a full page reload every time a TODO item is added, for example. The more AJAX the application uses, the better. The very top is with one-page applications, where reloading never happens.
  • Task dependency. Not every product out there allows task dependencies. Task dependencies can be tricky to have, in terms of UI; however, they do have a lot of potential..
  • GANTT chart. If a program have task dependencies and task duration estimates, it will also be able to generate GANTT charts, which will give you an overview on your project’s development.
  • CRM. Most project management systems don’t provide CRM features (Customer Relationship Management); however, CRM features can be very useful, especially in terms of project management.
  • Multiple users for a task. Most systems don’t allow more than one person assigned to a task. This means that each task can only be assigned to a single worker. Having two or more people assigned to a task might seem like a great feature; however, in some cases it’s best to have only one person assigned to one task, as it’s possible to “bounce” that tasks amongst users who are meant to be working on it. Go to http://www.sixsigmais.com/how-project-management-can-be-like-playing-cards/ to know that how can project management be like playing cards.
  • Permissions. Permission models vary wildly between programs. Make sure you check what the permission abilities of the programs you pick, and keep in mind that “simple is good”. Having a permission model that is too complicated tends to lead to more bugs ad management issues.
  • Time Management. While time management is supported by most software out there, implementations vary wildly. Features like interactive timers, billable/billed flags for time entries, and integration with invoicing software are all features that might become deal breakers for you.

Seeing is believe it

Deciding which project management system to use is tricky at best. Deciding the feature set you need to have for each one is a path that you might not want to take, as you might end up excluding every single project management system.
In order to chose the best project management system is to:

  • Do your research, and have a nice shortlist
  • Try briefly each one, to check if you “click” with them
  • Pick three projects management systems, and actually use them for small projects. This will obviously need to be an internal project; however, it’s the best way to figure out if a product actually works for you.

Also, remember to take your time and give yourself (and your company) time to make the perfect decision for you.

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How Project Management Can Be Like Playing Cards

So much happens in a project manager’s day that sometimes it’s easy to get distracted from what’s important. In hindsight, the distractions are often no more than things that create a false sense of busy-ness. If you’ve ever been frustrated by feeling busy but not actually getting the important stuff done, the following article is for you. It highlights areas we get distracted by and calls out areas that a successful project manager should be focused on. To get more information about How Project Management Can Be Like Playing Cards Click Here.

The end of the year is a great time for family and friends to get together, and our house is no exception. Each room is filled with people visiting from near and far, and while adults don’t mind sitting around for hours and talking, there are always those moments when one of the kids will say, “Hey, who wants to play Spoons?”u0-neu-d3-3ed20b45d9d694a6c0dcac36af811a03^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

A pile of spoons is put in the middle of the table, exactly one less than the number of players. Each person is dealt four cards, and the rest are placed in a stack. The goal of the game is to be the first person who has four of a kind. The dealer picks up the first card from the pile, and decides if he wants to keep it or send it on to the next player. Players keep taking turns until one player has four of a kind.

The moment a player has four of a kind, that’s when the real game begins. He grabs a spoon, the signal for everyone else to grab a spoon as well—and quickly. Remember, there is one less spoon than there are players, so the person that doesn’t have a spoon in their hand is out. Yelling is only half the chaos of the game in our home; nails have scratched the table, spoons have flown across the room and people jump out of their chairs. The game continues until it comes down to the winner, the last player left holding a spoon.

In between hands, people will share their strategies for winning. Some think it’s all about the cards. Some swear that keeping their hands placed strategically near the spoons is the best strategy. Others use a multi-card approach that allows them to scan a ton of cards at the same time. One man doesn’t even pay attention to the cards at all…he is focused on the spoons so that his reaction is instantaneous. He knows that what really matters isn’t so much what is in his hand, but what’s on the table.

Brilliant! To him, the cards were an unnecessary distraction and he focused on what was important. Not surprisingly, he did well throughout the evening.

How often do we focus on the wrong things while engaged in project management? The following are some of the rules of the game that can keep us very busy, but aren’t as important as we think.

The Wrong Things We Focus On

Quite a few project management activities are wrapped in the pseudo-importance of tools and processes. These are activities that feel important but, in the grand scheme of things, really aren’t.

  • E-mail – How much time do you spend on email each day? I bet a lot—at least a couple of hours. Admit it; it feels good to come to work and see all the messages that came in overnight. We audibly complain about the mountain of email we have to sift through, but deep inside we’re thrilled. It allows us to sit at our desk, sip our coffee, look busy, and feel a shallow sense of accomplishment. “Ahh, that’s better, I just clicked through 102 emails. That was some pretty tough work,” we tell ourselves. It’s like the sugar rush you receive after eating a lot of candy. It gives us a whole lot of energy for a little while and then leaves us feeling empty.
  • Paperwork and Administrivia – A close second to email is getting bogged down with paperwork and administrative tasks. These include submitting reports, filling in timesheets, completing expense reports, and other non-value add activities that sometimes expand to take up inordinate amounts of time. We’re not saying that these activities aren’t important. You need to get reimbursed for what you spent on behalf of the company. Just don’t let these activities suck too much time out of your day and delude you into thinking you’ve done something productive.
  • Meetings – Some companies are what I call meeting happy. It’s as if one person can’t make a decision without dragging five or six other people into a meeting to discuss it. Not only do meetings cost the company time, they are literally expensive. For argument’s sake, let’s say the average salary of everyone that attends a meeting is $70K. That’s roughly $35/hour. If you have an hour-long meeting with five people, it costs the company $210. Could you have made that decision on your own and let everyone else spend their time more productively elsewhere?
  • Process Overkill – Another area that can distract us from what’s really important is undue and unnecessary processes. These may be processes that someone else set up, or they may be self-inflicted. Sometimes people, departments, and even companies will follow process blindly for process’ sake, losing sight of the very reason the processes were started.

It reminds me of a lady that always cut two inches off each side of a beef roast before putting it in the pan. Someone asked her why she did this and she really didn’t know. It was something her mother had done, and her mother’s mother. When they dug a little deeper, it was determined that the grandmother made the roast smaller because she couldn’t afford a pan big enough to fit the entire roast! Times and circumstances changed, but this process endured through generations.

Email, meetings, paperwork and process can keep us very busy if we are not focused and sensible about the time they consume. They can ultimately distract us from what is really important…the spoons!

The Right Things To Focus On

  • What you should really focus on is what’s going on with the spoons in the middle of the table. Whose deliverable is inching closer to completion? Who is shifting their schedule to free up time for other projects? Who is fidgeting when you ask for a status report? Focus on the following spoons as a project manager and you’ll find yourself a winner every time.
  •  Is the Project On-Time? Rather than reading email in between every possible task and attending unnecessary meetings, head out to the front lines of the project. Meet with the people responsible for executing on the deliverables. Get a real feel for the status of the project. Ask them what obstacles are preventing them from delivering on time and spend your time removing those obstacles.
  • Is the Project Within Budget? Review the project’s financial reports. Is it proceeding according to plan? Are you on track as it relates to labor hours and expenses charged against the project? If not, this is an important area to focus your time and attention and reign things back in.
  • Is the Project Still Relevant? You should always keep focused on whether or not the project is still relevant within your company. Projects that take a long time to complete sometimes fall out of grace. Company strategy changes in the middle of the year and a project that takes a year to complete may no longer be the golden child. It’s not that the project shouldn’t be completed eventually; it’s just that you may need to be reminded of how important it is to the company at this moment in time. Your attention may need to shift towards the next great thing the company is working on.
  • Are the Stakeholder’s Happy and Informed? Happy and informed are mutually exclusive. You may have stakeholders that are happy, and those that are not happy, but they are informed. It’s your job to make sure your stakeholders are up to speed with all aspects of what is going on with the project, including bad news. The last thing you want is to surprise someone with bad news and have them say that this is the first time they heard of such a thing. If you want to know the project management system completely visit http://www.sixsigmais.com/project-management-system/
    The game of Spoons is a lot of fun as long as you stay focused amid the chaos and friendly competition. Project management can also be a blast as long as you don’t get distracted by all the moving parts around you. Stay focused on those things that really make a difference!