One of the biggest stresses of project management is sticking to a schedule. There are often too many variables to keep track of, so project managers get overwhelmed and deadlines are missed. But Setpoint, a company that builds roller coasters and factory automation systems, believes that obsessing over a timeline is unnecessary. They use a simple system based on open communication and flexibility to make sure projects are completed with integrity and without compromise. Here are three rules Setpoint always abides by when managing their multi-million dollar engineering projects:
- Track key variables. Keep a close eye on project milestones and factors that will affect profitability. Setpoint pays close attention to labor hours compared with budget, materials cost, change orders, and their subcontractors’ progress.
- Keep your team informed. Have weekly meetings with your project team to evaluate the key variables. Setpoint does this to make sure team members are being open about their progress, no matter if they are behind or on track.
- Update your stakeholders and customers. Even if a project isn’t being finished on time or on budget, keep your stakeholders informed along the way. If you know you’ll be late or you need more money, notify the customer as soon as possible so they’re not caught off guard by a last-minute change. Tell them early enough so by the end of the project, it seems like you’re right on time.
Takeaway: Tell your project managers not to be concerned about saving face. If a project needs more time–that’s okay. Just keep lines of communication open so there are no last-minute surprises.