Our Account Project Manager’s philosophy, not that they are philosophical…
The APM makes every effort to keep our clients informed as to the progress of their project and uphold the integrity of the client’s design concepts and vision. Constant contact is encouraged via telephone, fax, and e-mail, along with electronic images and onsite inspections to track progress. Finish samples are routinely submitted to help insure we are meeting the expectations of our clients. In addition to our weekly production meetings, ad hoc meetings are held throughout the course of the project to resolve issues and keep staff current on immediate problem solving discussions.
We know that clean and concise communication, both internally and with our clients, is at the heart of a well-run project. It is always our goal to establish a well articulated scope of work up-front to minimize misunderstandings later in the project life-cycle. When problems do crop up (and let’s face it, they do!) our objective is to work proactively with our clients to resolve the issue with minimal disruptions to both the contracted scope of work, budget and ultimately the schedule.
Ultimately, everybody has a budget…
Critical to the success of any project is a clear understanding of the aesthetic and contractual parameters. At the core of this understanding is defining the management criterion; budget, schedule and scope.
Our projects typically take one of two forms; build to scope projects and design-build projects. Build to scope traditionally means our client has a clear understanding of what they want us to do and we’re either provided with a budget or asked to competitively bid their work.
Design-Build projects frequently involve developing a design to a budget target provided to us. This scenario allows much more flexibility with the design and allows our client to participate in the development of the idea to specifically suit their needs.
In either case, once the design is advanced to the point it can be defined, a detailed budget, tied to a defined scope of work is the heart of the agreement and forms the basis of the contractual relationship. To the degree that we can accurately describe the budget and scope, we can avoid misunderstandings as the project develops.
Just think of it as “Time Management”.
Scheduling involves defining tasks, their duration, and their relationship to other tasks that lead to a completed job. At Dillon Works we start by understanding our client’s significant milestones and deliverable dates first, we then develop an internal design and production schedule that identifies critical dates, long lead items, outside resources, etc. and further defines the plan to meet those goals.
Our experience tells us that scheduling should be done with contingency planning and running what-if scenarios to insure that any disruptions to the schedule can be met with a solid work-around plan. We also include client approvals in our planning to allow sufficient time for our clients to review their work, make comments and generally be a contributing member of the team.
As we are typically producing multiple projects simultaneously, it is important to overall company planning that an all-Dillon Works design and production schedule is developed and maintained. This master schedule sets the plan to orchestrate and coordinate the many multi-disciplinary tasks of the internal and external resources needed to accomplish project and company goals.
Sometimes it’s a lot like herding kittens…
Coordinating the various internal and external project activities and related trades is a common practice for the Project Managers at Dillon Works. We do this as a service to our client, but also to insure that the project moves forward to a successful completion with a minimum of disruptions.
At Dillon Works we recognize that some of the project activities are often best performed by outside tradesmen and specialists.
We also recognize that external resources can often be a source of problems without a strong quarterback, or project manager, coordinating the many integrated activities.
Let’s just say that in order to be a great Project Manager, you need to be very coordinated . . .