When it is time to think laterally on your big project


The golden rule of project management is that you should be able to deliver a project on time, on budget and according to specification. Many seasoned project managers will tell you that it is never possible to achieve all three of these things. They maintain that you can have two out of the three, but never the full house. Of course, this isn’t the case and it is absolutely possible to have all three. Sometimes the project manager just needs to think a little outside the box. Here are some ideas to help you get thinking along the right lines.


Lots of time in the day

As soon as you realize that time on the project is becoming tight, then look to buy yourself time by extending the hours that you work. Most projects only operate for eight or ten hours a day. Obviously, this depends on the type of project. But even if it is a major construction project that is happening outside there are ways to work after dark. Look at hiring a bank of LED lighting towers. They are bright and cheap to hire, and they can suddenly give you a whole lot more time in which to operate. There are plenty of examples of these types of workarounds you just have to be looking for them. And naturally, your initial budget needs to have built-in some scope for contingency spending.

Don’t stray from spec

This is key. One of the biggest issues with delivering projects is when the people doing the work either fail to follow the instructions or they think that they can do something better and more impressive than the spec requires. This is a good initiative but if it is not something that the person who is paying for the project wants, and it ends up causing delays, costs or issues down the line, then you will look bad and be held accountable for missing the target. Monitor the project closely and do not, under any circumstances stray from the specification. And if you do, make sure that it is done in consultation with the person who has commissioned the work and that in agreeing to the change of scope they also know what the adjusted timeframes and costs are going to be.


Always look to incentivize the people working on the business project with you. Once the job has been quoted and you are starting to deliver, let them know that there are bonuses to be had if they come in under cost and on time. These don’t have to be huge bonuses but let them share in the upside as well. It certainly shouldn’t translate into cutting corners and delivering a substandard product, the client should always get what they pay for. But if you have quoted by the hour and you can get through the work in quicker than expected time, make sure that your people still feel the benefit of this. Don’t however hold back on key materials just to save money. That is the type of action that can have fatal consequences.

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