1) Stay outside of your comfort zone.
Of course, this is much easier said that done, but can make all the difference. James Torres from JHL Constructors said it perfectly in a recent Q&A:
I think that’s the biggest thing – constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone and with that the goods things come in return.
Unfamiliar with something? Take time to get familiar with the tool you want to learn how to use or platform you want to adopt.
Maybe you’re a PM with the goal of becoming a Director of Construction. Look at job postings, highlight the key responsibilities, and focus on implementing them week over week in your current position to ready yourself for what’s next.
Think about other exemplary PMs you’ve had the chance to work with – they left a lasting impression because not only did they do their job to the best of their ability, but they’re always striving to get better.
2) Stay in the know.
The best way to stay current is to ensure that you’re in the mix. Reach out to your other colleagues in the field, get feedback on their projects, and learn about what is and isn’t working for them.
What processes have they implemented that are saving them time?
How do they handle X issue(s) on site when they arise?
What technology have they adopted to automate their day-to-day tasks?
What are the pros and cons of doing X?
What are they doing to maximize in-field adoption for X tool?
What tools are they using for closeout?
At the end of the day, you are all PMs with one goal in mind – finishing the project on time and on budget, as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Looking for other ways to stay in tune with your local community and peers related to construction? Host an informal meet-up for PMs, or attend local construction trade shows or conferences.
3) Test, test, and test some more.
We hear it time and time again: the construction industry is slow at adopting technology. That’s no longer the case.
The industry is catching up with new tools, technologies, and practices emerging to get the job done.
Testing out new tools in order to streamline and automate current processes is what will set you apart from the competition. Playing it safe will only leave you behind.
If you truly believe a new process or piece of tech can positively impact your project, take that chance.
If it’s a success, then optimize it. Whether it’s optimizing the process next month or on the next project. If it helped you 2X your ROI, challenge yourself to 3X your ROI going forward.
If it’s not a home run, you’re still bound to learn something. Maybe that process you thought would work for your current project may be better suited for something else down the line.
Be sure that if technology plays a role in your test, that you have a clear strategy in place to integrate that tech on your project.
4) Get your staff off the job.
… Yes, you read that right. But, we mean it in the best way possible. Your main role as a Project Manager is to confirm that projects finish both on time and on budget. The longer your staff are on a project, the longer you accrue labor costs.
The objective is you’re trying to get your staff off the job. So ultimately, it’s just managing the closeout throughout the entire duration of the project and in turn, hopefully closing out sooner than you expected. – James Torres
This shouldn’t just be your objective near the project’s closeout. The whole process needs to work towards getting your project done on time, so that you can save labor costs and, hopefully, finish on budget.
This post on the 6 Super Helpful Tips to Avoid Common Construction Delays said it best:
“You can often trace out-of-control construction project costs back to one thing: an inability to finish on time.”
Want to hear how James Torres – Senior Project Manager at JHL Constructors – became a PM superstar and won PM of the Year? Watch the full interview here.
Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.
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