Below are a few simple suggestions for project managers/site managers which will add immeasurably to the project’s success without requiring much extra effort.
1. Safety – we not only have a responsibility to ensure our workers return home uninjured at the end of the day but accidents also cost time and money. Some simple actions include:
1.1. Lead by example – obey the safety rules on site and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
1.2. Never pass an unsafe act by without correcting it and explaining to those responsible why it was unsafe.
1.3. Ensure project inductions are appropriate and address the project risks.
2. Quality – poor quality costs time and money to rectify and negatively impacts both you and your company’s reputation. Therefore:
2.1. Don’t accept poor quality and as you walk the site look with a keen eye to ensure work is done correctly.
2.2. Ensure the project team understands the quality requirements and also that poor quality work won’t be tolerated.
2.3. Check that completed work isn’t damaged by follow on work.
3. Subcontractors – on some projects subcontractors play an important role.
3.1. Pay them on time and treat them fairly. They’ll be more likely to give your project the importance it deserves.
3.2. Put instructions in writing addressed to the responsible person. Many errors and disputes arise because of miscommunication or misunderstandings.
3.3. Let them know immediately when you notice their quality isn’t to the required standard, they are falling behind schedule or they aren’t working safely.
4. Develop your team – the stronger your team the stronger you will be.
4.1. Provide feedback – both positive and negative.
4.2. Use their strengths and support their weaknesses.
4.3. Send them on appropriate training courses.
5. Look for opportunities for further work – project managers are usually well positioned to market the company and to find new leads for further work for the company.
5.1. The best advertisement for any company is to deliver a quality project on time with the least inconvenience to the client, neighbours and the public.
5.2. Talk to the client, the client’s team (their engineers, project managers and architects), subcontractors and the local planning authorities to find out what new projects they are working on and how your company can get involved. Pass these leads onto people within your company who can follow them up.
5.3. Always have sufficient business cards and company brochures available to give out to prospective clients.
6. Develop yourself.
6.1. Always look out for new and better ways of doing things.
6.2. Attend courses – especially those aimed at the softer skills. Some suggestions include the art of negotiation, being a better delegator and time management.
7. Manage your time more effectively.
7.1. Learn to delegate.
7.2. Carry a notebook (paper or electronic) to make notes of tasks and questions that come up in the course of the day.
7.3. Don’t be distracted by incoming emails – read them only when you have time to deal with them.
7.4. Ensure both you and the project has an ordered filing system. Time is wasted searching for mislaid documents.
8. Spend quality time with your family.
8.1. Unfortunately sometimes working late is unavoidable but don’t let it become a habit.
8.2. Take time off to attend important family events like school functions and sporting events.
8.3. Don’t let work phone calls or emails interrupt family time – especially meal times.
8.4. Take vacations or have a weekend away during the year. You aren’t indispensable and the time away from work helps you recharge for the challenges ahead.
9. Look at ways to improve productivity on the project. Even small improvements can yield a big difference to the bottom line.
9.1 In your travels around the construction site check that people and equipment are being utilised efficiently.
9.2. Always ask if there’s a better solution or way of doing a task. Don’t accept the first method that springs to mind.
10. Ensure the company is paid for completed work. The project manager should:
10.1. Ensure all work is claimed in valuations and that they are submitted in accordance with the contract.
10.2. Follow up to ensure the client pays the invoice.
(For more great practical advice read 'Successful Construction Project Management - The Practical Guide' and 'Building a Successful Construction Company - The Practical Guide' by Paul Netscher)