The efficiency and efficacy of your engineering firm’s project management strategies and practices are one of the primary determinants of the success of your engineering firm. How can you optimize your firm’s project management skills?
Sound project management practices are essential for the long-term financial viability of your firm. Image Credit: Nick Youngson, Alpha Stock Images via The Blue Diamond Gallery
If you are looking for ways to optimize your clients’ satisfaction with your firm’s work and reduce staff turnover to optimize the profitability, then take the time to assess the project management practices of your engineering business. According to a recent article on the website Civil and Structural Engineering, the training and skills of project managers in engineering firms is directly correlated to client satisfaction. In addition, the same article cited research from the Project Management Institute that found 43% of engineering projects ran over budget, thus reducing the profitability of the project. How can you pinpoint and rectify issues with your firm’s project management practices?
Assessing the Efficacy of Project Management Practices
Reviewing your firm’s project management practices on a regular basis helps prevent costly mistakes and ensures optimal client satisfaction. Image Credit: The Digital Artist via Pixabay
According to a post on Civil and Structural Engineering, a regular review of your project management practices should be integrated into the overall strategic plan for your business. This period review helps identify small issues before they cause larger problems. Some examples of the areas to include in an assessment of your firm’s project management practices include the following:
- Determine the current level of performance of your firm’s project management practices by reviewing:
- Current and past clients’ satisfaction with your firm’s work
- Whether the project stayed within budget
- The level of turnover in project managers and other staff
- The timeliness of information during the life of the project
- Compare your project management plan with the best practices for engineering project management to identify potential areas of weakness.
- Review the goals and objectives of your project management plan to ensure they are defined, attainable, and time-limited.
- By using the information gathered during your review, develop and document clear and simple actions to address any weaknesses in your firm’s project management practices. Once completed, this plans needs to be communicated to all the staff in your firm.
- The next step involves implementing the action plan under the leadership of a planning committee.
It is important to remember that the plan for guiding your firm’s project management practices is a living document and as such, it will change and evolve as your firm grows.
Maximizing the Profitability of Engineering Projects
Efficient and effective project management practices are the key to maximizing the profits generated from each project your engineering firm completes. Image Credit: Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay
By ensuring your engineering firm’s project managers are well-trained and provided timely performance information about projects during the course of their work, you can ensure the project stays within budget to optimize profits. Some of the best practices for engineering project management to avoid budget overruns include the following:
- Ensure your project managers have ongoing continuing education addressing the latest and best practices in the engineering industry.
- When bidding on projects, steer clear of super thin budgets and underestimating the time required to complete projects.
- Use historical data from successfully completed projects to establish budget and staffing needs for future projects.
- Establish and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) during the life of a project. The project team should agree on clearly defined objectives and discreet benchmarks to measure the progress of the project. In addition, the team also needs to develop an operational definition of success. Accounting software can facilitate tracking KPIs in real time.
- Project managers need to be aware of the potential of scope creep in their projects and have contingency plans in the event the client wants modifications to the original plan. In addition, the project manager needs to have a clear understanding of the reasoning underlying the client’s requested changes. Furthermore, any changes should be approved by the senior management and the firm’s principal partners.
- Lines of communication must be kept open and frequently used among the staff working on the project as well as with the client.
How does your firm’s project management practices measure up?