[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s a writer and editor professionally, I never really considered myself a project manager until my husband, Anthony and I recently assumed the role of project managers earlier this year after finding out we were expecting – unexpectedly – last November. We rushed into action to build the addition we had been talking about for years.
First we had to build our team. We hired a contractor, which was no small feat: We live in a log home, so our atypical building project required someone with specialized skills and experience. After extensive research we settled on a small, family operated log-home builder out of Lancaster County.
Next, we had to consider budget and timing. Because we had a baby on the way, we had a very firm deadline and budget. It was surprisingly easy to stay on track, because the builders were here every day and saw my belly getting bigger and bigger (and bigger). I doubt any of them wanted to still be here working when “the time” came. To stay the line financially, we made thoughtful, researched decisions and did some work ourselves.
We discovered that successfully orchestrating a project of this size required us to be flexible. We had a plan, but it was revised, tweaked and adjusted many times over the course of the building process. We could have dug in our heels, but that would have cost more time and money.
During the building process, one or both of us interacted with the contractors every day. We did walk-throughs to check out the progress, asked questions, flagged issues and kept lists of what still needed to be done. We took pictures daily not only to document the process from start to finish, but also to identify potential problems and solutions. Sometimes there were things – from keeping the site neat and clean to helping install pine paneling on the walls – that we had to undertake ourselves to keep the ball rolling.
Real World – Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
In the business world, organizational skills like these can be indispensable. Without the ability to stay on track, projects are likely to miss their marks and their deadlines, and sometimes you just have to get in there and lend a hand.
And, of course, to-do lists are a project manager’s best friend.
Since we were organized, reasonable, flexible and goal-oriented, and because we used some elbow grease of our own, our addition was completed on time, and within budget. If you’ve ever been involved in a similar process you probably know how rare that is.
Our PROFIT Communications team members are account and project-management experts. We live by the motto, “Plan your work, and work your plan.” Check out PROFIT’s planning and management processes here. We use research, action, communication and evaluation (RACE) to ensure we meet your project and program objectives, timeline and budget. We also believe that personal and professional expertise go hand-in-hand.