5 Key steps to Successful Project Management

Know and understand the scope

As a project manager, you must know your scope. The scope is typically described in the contract and illustrated with drawings. Before signing the contract, it is important that you go through all the drawings and make illustrations by marking with different colors what is included in the contractor’s scope of work and what is not. By making these illustrations, both parties agree on what needs to be done, and there is no room for errors or misunderstandings.

You should also know the rules of engagement or the contract documents very well. Every construction contract will say what your responsibilities are and what everyone else’s responsibilities are. These are things like claims, change orders, existing conditions, payments, retainage, and delays. The contract also lists all the documents that make up the contract. When you look at the contract, the contract documents, and the scope of the project as a whole, you get a full picture of the project.

 Know the participants and their roles.

 Not all of the participants are represented in the contract. Usually, the contract will describe your client’s position and responsibilities. But in projects, depending on your role, there will be architects, designers, clients, subcontractors, vendors, other project managers, supervisors, and the list can go on and on. It is very important for you as a project manager to understand all the participants with whom you will have to work. Some of the key participants if you are doing site work as a subcontractor are:

  1. Other subcontractors: Your work will be dependent on them; you will have to communicate with them about schedules, who comes first, what input will be needed, etc.

  2. Architects and designers: Before beginning any work, you may need to agree on the design and functionality details of how things will look when completed.

  3. Site manager: with a site manager, you will have to go through all your plans and schedule as he is the person who oversees the entire project, and he can be the first person to see whether changes are needed in your plans.

Develop and maintain a schedule.

Construction projects live and die by the schedule, so it is one of the most important aspects of construction management. You have to break down your scope into tasks, understand what the critical tasks are, and if possible, start with them. Why start with critical tasks? These tasks usually have the most uncertainty because they can take much longer or cost more than expected. Knowing well in advance if things go wrong will reduce your risks. A detailed schedule can then be represented by using PlanUpPro. There you can schedule your resources, track your daily progress, and know well in advance whether work will be completed on time. Maintaining the schedule is the most critical step in construction project management. Almost always, there are some changes in the construction works: there are missed deliveries, daily performance is not as planned, changes in job sequence, and so on. The great thing is that PlanUpPro will count them. PlanUpPro will adjust your actual site performance over time and figure out your actual performance and project deadline based on how well you keep track of daily performance.

Develop and maintain your project budget.

Cost estimation and budgeting are essential tools for planning in the construction industry and play a central role in both the preconstruction and construction phases of a project. Best practices dictate that a total project budget be developed as early in the project as possible. The budget usually consists of materials, salaries, outsourcing, and overhead expenses. For site work, the cost of labor can be tracked by using PlanUpPro. It gives you the ability to know what the planned budget will be, and when the work starts, it will calculate the expected total expenses.

Manage change

There are no sites in the world that don’t have any changes. Another critical task in project management is change management. Usually, the changes come from the architects, the client, or during construction. When an architect or client asks for changes, you must always see what the initial scope was since the changes can affect your budget and schedule. These changes can then be used to request additional budget and increase the schedule if necessary, or vice versa. Sometimes changes can occur during construction; these are usually the most expensive and time-consuming. These changes mainly come because something has been missed in the drawings or a deviation has been made by other subcontractors. Communication about change happens through requests for information (RFIs). RFI is a formal process for gathering information.

Another change can happen when the expected plan doesn’t meet the actual situation. In this case, you must break down the problem and analyze it.

Close the project.

The job won’t be done until the owner writes the last check and says it’s good. Closing the project is about a lot more than just a ceremony. It’s when systems are tested and approved, and a lot of mistakes in each task or activity are fixed. In this step, you’ll also put together and hand over all the paperwork that was used to build the project.

This is when you give the owner all the information they need to run the building for the rest of its life. This includes operating manuals for system parts and “as-built” drawings that show how changes affected the original plans. 

But you are already getting ready for the next project before you give the last payments to those who worked with you. You’re not just ending the project for the owner; you’re also ending it for yourself, which means writing down what you’ve learned. You kept track of how well you and your partners did throughout the project.

Now it’s time to make a list of all that information and figure out what it means. Some pieces of information, like the number of hours that crews spent on certain tasks, become new ways to multiply your estimates. Your subcontractor qualification process gets more information, like if a subcontractor put together something wrong. In short, this is where you learn from your mistakes and get ready to use what you’ve learned on the next project. This keeps you on the way to getting better all the time.