Project – What you must know
There are 10 project killers and 8 essentials to master in this real life look at project work. Almost anything can be turned into a successful project, for example something as ordinary as to how to keep your room well organised for homework through to how to be the greatest football player.
It is not the extraordinary things we do that sets us apart but the ordinary things done extra-ordinarily well that make a real impact. There are still over 1.3m hits on the internet a year on the famous school project title of ‘Pay It Forward’, so whether you are ‘Learner’ or ‘Earner’ you should extract some useful nuggets which you can weave into your life and stack the odds in your favour.
Imagine being one of the first ever aviators. Not only did you probably build the aircraft, you are now going to take your life in your hands and fly it too! if you have never considered the necessity of understanding the subtle difference between involvement and commitment, now is probably a good time to reflect. Take the time to have a McDonalds or a cafe breakfast and tuck into a hearty bacon and egg sandwich and a hot mug of tea, and just before you take your first mouthful of your bacon and egg sandwich ask yourself “what has the pig got that the hen lacks” Well the pig is in your sandwich and the hen isn’t, so I guess you won’t get much more commitment than that. The hen is involved and is of course welcome to an opinion, the pig however does not have that luxury any more he has become the fact.
There is a big difference between fact and truth. A fact is a result and devoid of all emotion, truth however is subjective and alive with emotions When you start a project you are the filling in the middle, many others can be involved but you are the fact, and so are your other team members. Being part of any project, whether it is the school play, or the run into a big match, or exams, remember this one thing “your opinion will kill any project stone dead”. Opinions are frequently laced with a lethal cocktail of emotions and that is what will torpedo your project because it evokes attitudes which will derail the purpose.
Do what is next
We can all have theories on what will fly and what won’t but until you get it airborne it is worthless. People who are committed need to be mentally structured for success, attitude is the key. Projects are always brimming full of ideas, desires, requirements and intentions. Just stop for a second and work out a journey plan. To do this you need an objective, a time frame, knowledge and resource or in other words what do you want, when do you want it and what needs to be done to do it? This applies to every project and is fundamental to the outcome.
You will create either an ordinary outcome or an “Extra” ordinary outcome by getting one thing right – your attitude. Anyone can fly, become a football hero, save lives, be the leader of their nation, they just need the right attitude. Landing a plane requires practice to achieve the right attitude. If you are in charge you can’t back out, lean on others or order them, without warning, to sort out your mess. You need to practice because the first essential is confidence and like riding a bike, it is better done in a controlled environment and not in Piccadilly Circus for the first attempt. School is that controlled environment, practice is the job. Skills in leadership are what come out of knowing the route so well you can safely take others along it too. In a project you must assemble this information factually and quickly and often for the first time, so being clear on the project objective is essential otherwise you will climb the wrong mountain.
The Three Degree Rule
The 3 degree rule states that your angle of approach (to the runway ) must be three degrees. Too low and you bury the nose and too high you plant the tail plane. In project terms this simply means a determination to see the task through and make a job of it, always bearing in mind you will have plenty of self opinionated hens to deal with but any worthwhile use of your time will make you a better person for the experience. So the 3 degree rule is ‘adopt the right attitude ‘ which is the first thing you want if you are to succeed with the project. Below are some examples of the sorts of things that have to be dealt with in an engineering project relative to building new factories and warehouses.
Material Handling Equipment and Storage Systems Projects
With over 35 years experience in the Material Handling Equipment and Storage Systems Industry, I list below 10 of the main ‘Project Killers’ to be avoided or sorted so that your project is finished on time and within budget. Let me help you to avoid some of the most common pitfalls when starting a project.
10 Project Killers
- Environmental issues
- Regulation Contradictions
- Over Ambitious Scheduling
- New Buildings Steel Framed
- Mezzanine Floors
- Racking and Shelving Systems
- Material Handling Projects
- Equipment Design
- Fitting Out and Servicing
- Ground Works Co-ordination
- Planning Applications
- Building Regulations
- Health and Safety
4 Reasons to Choose Professional Project Management:-
- The net asset value of their work should outperform cost.
- Good budget control.
- Problem Solving.
- Contacts and Resources.
8 Essentials of Project Management
- Knowledge is power: The No. 1 Skill – For small project work your project manager must have exceptional general knowledge and contacts, otherwise he or she will be incapable of responding to your needs or recognising serious problems before they start. Literally millions of pounds are saved as a result of these core attributes.
- Look for some Grey Hair: Flair for the job is important but so is someone with long service, experience, and many successfully concluded projects. A family history in engineering is often a good sign with hundreds of trusted contacts which consist of trusted supply sources and manufacturing facilities and no learning curve.
- Improvisation: Creativity – Catalogues are useful, good product literature is always helpful, but improvisation is a mandatory skill much valued in all project situations. The fewer borders or boundaries to solving key problems the better. If your solution is not there you have to be able to design or develop one, test it and supply it, ready to use or move into.
- The Law is the Law: Understanding statutory rules and obligations, most of which are implemented at the insistence of engineers in the first place, is an essential qualification for any project management partner.
- Resources, who you know not what you know: Patent agents, local authorities, planning officials, building control engineers, chartered surveyors, funding experts and many other specialists such as design engineers, equipment specialists, warehouse experts, geo-technical engineers, consulting engineers, environmental engineers and other professionals have to be expertly guided on to the exact project tasks to avoid hours of case study work and tens of thousands of pounds trying to recruit the specialist required. If you don’t know this then find someone who does.
- Expect the unexpected and plan for it; How? Budget! 50% for a novice, 25% of a new build where you are going to handle some aspects (because you will change your mind), 15% for managed works and 5% if this is the 50th identical time you have done it. I have never been involved in an industrial project where the ten killers were neutralised first time or fully understood by the people for whom the instructions were being carried out. Projects led by non-technical managers or who lack the team skills face shortfalls and learning curves which produce unbudgeted costs. Seek out and detect the project killers. The above 10 are an abridged version of a list ten times longer, so make provision for them.
- Time: Cannot be retrospectively purchased at any price, so avoid liquidated damages, penalty clauses and setting silly deadlines, spend a long time planning and a short time building – never the other way round, unless you have a magic delete button that puts money back into your bank account after the wrong goods turn up on site!
- Qualifications – By experience or by academic achievement. Avoid learning curves, they always carry a price tag.