4 Project Management Rules You Need to Know

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September 13, 2021 | All

In a March, 2021 article, Forbes reported that 70% of businesses have had a project failure in the past year. Even if yours is not one of them, it never hurts to do some preemptive preparation for the next project. A project manager fulfills several roles, including defender of the schedule and budget, conflict referee, quality assurance, and site traffic controller. Following are four ways you can ensure your project has the best chance for success:

1. Actively track the schedule and budget.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but too often details can fall through the cracks when we get busy. A half-day’s delay here and there may seem insignificant, but when they accumulate, the resulting bottlenecks can mess up your well-laid plans. It’s a valuable practice to focus on the schedule ahead of time and see if materials deliveries or equipment rental timelines line up with labor timelines. The current supply chain issues are a good example of how a job’s budget and schedule can quickly get derailed through no fault of your own. Nonetheless, a good project manager can adapt and proactively resolve as many conflicts in the schedule or budget as possible on paper before they become a problem in the field.

2. Plan ahead for risks.

Risks exist on every job, and some can disrupt your project quickly. There are many things that may be out of your control on a construction project: employee or subcontractor conflicts, weather, supply chain problems, performance issues, sickness, inspection delays, or even changes to local building codes. So, it never hurts to have contingency plans. Stay attuned to conditions on the job and be ready to respond immediately when you sense trouble brewing. Procrastination is not your friend when it comes to handling risks.

3. Keep your backup in the loop.

You’ve heard the old adage, “No one is irreplaceable.” However, while a project is in full swing, project managers are close to irreplaceable. A job can suffer delays if someone is not covering for you when you are unexpectedly absent. Even the most serious micromanagers need to team up with someone and make sure they’re ready to perform as second-in-command. That person needs to know the details of the project well enough to make timely, effective decisions, whether it’s for a couple hours or a week.

4. Make your customers happy.

You can produce what you deem to be the best job of your career and still have it considered a failure if you do not deliver what the customer expected. The best way to make a customer happy is to learn about their motives and inspiration, then make sure the scope of work reflects their goals. The most important party to please on the project is the person paying for it. And don’t forget that your subcontractors can also be considered important stakeholders on a project. If they have done good work for you, and you want to work with them again, communicate schedule changes and pertinent project details with them to make their lives a little easier.

Using these four guidelines, you can give all your projects the best chance for success and add the title “premier project manager” to your portfolio.  


Looking for project management software to help you handle risks, track schedule and budget, collaborate effectively, and produce happy customers? Contact Applied Software today to talk about the right project management tools for your company.