I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I happen to be friends with someone else that has the same birthday as me (though I’m older than him). So we decided that we would try to play some golf as a mid-week birthday celebration.
It looked like all the factors were in our favor for a great day: the weather was fantastic, it was the middle of the week (meaning we were by far the youngest guys on the course), and we both hit enough good shots to make us want to play again soon. After the game, my beloved Chelsea FC was playing a match that if they had won (spoiler alert: they were defeated handily) they would have advanced to the most prestigious single soccer match outside of the World Cup. All in all, it was a great day. My wife even joined us to watch the game, so at least we had fun laughing and talking while Chelsea was being dominated.
In the days following, I kept thinking that I couldn’t remember having a more fun birthday . . . and it got me thinking about why it was great. Perfect weather? Check! Good friends? Check! Fun activities? You know it! I started wondering how I could equate the three key ingredients to a great birthday with construction practices – and wouldn’t you know it, I was able to string a few together! Here are my three key ingredients (though not the only ingredients) to a successful project:
- Accurate estimating. One thing I was struck by when I went to the International Builder’s Show in February was just how important the estimating process is to builders. No matter what you use to create your estimates, it is critically important to bid competitively enough to win work, while making sure there’s enough left over to protect profit margins.
- Budget and cost monitoring. Seems pretty simple, right? Track your costs . . . make sure you’re not overspending compared to your budget. You also should have a feel for your projected expenses. Without visibility to what is actually going on, you’re probably going to find yourself in some sort of trouble during your project. (Much like my golf swing finds me in trouble from time to time . . . but at least I get to see a lot more of the course, right?) There’s a whole host of information about how to increase visibility into your job performance on the Job Ready site. I’d recommend it for anyone.
- On-time completion. Now, there can be all sorts of reasons for delays to a project—weather, trouble getting materials, or something taking longer than the time you expected it to take. The key is to monitor scheduling risks in order to make quick decisions on how to mitigate their impact on the schedule.
What are your most important aspects to a project?