Successfully delivering projects is not always easy. In fact, the numbers can be staggeringly disappointing. More than half of projects fail when it comes to completing projects on time, on budget, and within parameters.
Design firms face unique challenges when it comes to competition, raw materials, regulations, and global issues. The key to success is for design firms to recognize the operational challenges faced and to implement strategic plans that allow them to meet those challenges head-on.
Here are a few challenges we have encountered when moving too fast and how we put on the breaks to ensure we have measures in place to mitigate them.
#1: Poorly Defined Project Goals
Many project managers are faced with the challenge of not knowing exactly what is expected from the project. Some project managers do not have clearly defined project goals and objectives that explain the details of a project that can be communicated to the team. Without these answers, it is impossible to make a plan for success.
Solution: Hold a Kickoff Meeting
We hold kickoff meetings internally and with the client to ensure everyone is on the same page. During this meeting, a project management plan is developed that clearly defines the goals and objectives of the project as well as the role and responsibility of each team member.
Our team begins to plan what it will take to achieve each goal. This will give an idea of how to keep the project on schedule and budget.
#2: Unreasonable Project Deadlines
Let’s be honest, some clients wish the project was done before it even gets started.
The problem with unrealistic expectations is that not only will the project not meet the expected timeline, but it can cause other issues as well and ultimately affect the quality and the deliverable.
Solution: Project Schedule at the Start
Project managers need to take charge of deadlines and related issues at the very beginning. Developing a schedule at the onset of a project and charting the milestones that will occur during the design and construction phases is critical. The schedule needs to be tracked and communicated to the team as well as the client, so if things percolate that could potentially affect the schedule it does not come as a surprise to anyone.
Our team utilizes MS Project to keep everything on track and show real-time progress.
#3: Poor Communication
As mentioned above, communication is key to effective project management. Unfortunately, poor communication is one of the most common failings. If firms are not effective at giving instructions, seeking information, asking questions, and discussing issues the project has a high likelihood of failure. In fact, 57% of projects fail due to a breakdown in communications.
Solution: Consider Collaboration Software
Determine proper communication flows at the start of the project. Decide the best way to communicate with project members and to keep members in the loop. A project website is a great way to ensure everyone is up to date on all information that pertains to a particular project.
#4: Lack of Senior Management
One-third of projects fail because of the lack of senior management involvement. A team is only as competent as all of its members. Without senior management buy-in and expertise, firms risk a lack of accountability, disagreements, and an inability to complete the task as described. Firms also risk poor project performance, not enough resources, and lack of timeliness.
Solution: Principal-in-Charge/Peer Review
We have found that having a senior-level executive on the team at the set of projects providing quality assurance and control and putting a peer-review process in place as a quality control measure leads to a positive outcome for our team and client.
Learn More about VIP Structures
Our company specializes in architecture, engineering, construction, and development as a fully integrated design-build firm to help organizations with building needs all across Upstate New York.
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