One of the key elements of project success is an effective leader that has the ability to turn a group of individuals into a well-functioning team. However, managing a design and engineering team is no easy task. From assigning the workload, budgeting out time and costs, and gaining the proper sign-offs, the responsibilities are endless. It is understandably difficult to juggle all these tasks, while still maintaining workmanship quality throughout the process.
A good management strategy is not a "one size fits all" solution. While there is no perfect formula to being a great manager, there are several ways you can be proactive in the way you manage that will produce positive outcomes for the project. The right team members make a difference from the beginning of the project, but a good leader will be able to leverage their skills in a way that will benefit the team as a whole. Besides project skills and experience, the ability to foster working relationships and support one another is critical. Following these tips will allow you to be a more effective manager, minimize risks, and produce better results for your clients.
Tip #1: Participation
It starts with everyone understanding the scope of work and the accountability. The team generally consists of a designer, project lead, engineer, trade contractor and administrative support. The purpose of the first meeting is to review the team’s functions in relation to the construction project. This is business and discussion is about the project goals. Topics cover construction options, design changes or engineering add-ons. Don't assume everyone is on the same page until you have a meeting.
Here the team begins to bond by sharing their industry and project experience and knowledge. It helps to encourage each member to participate in the meeting. Individual participation serves two purposes. The first ensures that the basics are included in the build plans. The second is to consider any current updates in technology that may enhance to the project without altering the approved budget. Generally, this first meeting leads to group decision making on what needs to be done to start construction:
List of project changes
Approved final blueprints and specifications
Authorizing procurement to start ordering
Proper monitoring is key to a successful project. Ensure workmanship quality and proper building department sign-offs in each step of the way.
Tip #2: Delegation
It’s time to delegate the work assignments to start construction. Delegation is important for the project’s efficiency and progress, and it also develops the dynamics within the group. These experts in different fields have an opportunity to encourage each other. The support actually energizes the team’s success. They begin to share knowledge and at the same time they gain new experiences for the next project. As the project advances the team needs to be ready to make the necessary decisions to prevent delays. As difficult as it may sound, the team’s frame of mind needs to remain upbeat and optimistic, especially during conflicts, setbacks or project changes.
Time should be taken in meetings to recognize the skills of each member. Just be sure everyone receives equal recognition. The goal of recognition is to develop a willingness among the team to transfer tasks to another with better matched skills at various phases of the project. It also influences how the team makes decisions based on the collective. The benefit of delegation to the project is less stress. As the team manages the construction activities the project lead can plan ahead. The tasks delegated include:
Tip #3: Communications
This is where the team comes together again joining forces, experiences and skills. Open discussions about what is working and what is not happens when the team follows up on their own. These regular and informal conversations keep communications open, and ensure specified guidelines and behavioral boundaries keep the activities aligned with the project. Communications should always be a two-way interaction. Exchanging ideas and developing new insights is a natural process for successful project communications. It’s been proven that teams who share common communication skills are more production. The technical expertise is the additive. The goal is for provide everyone with information to work together effectively. It also helps to avoid a potential problem down the road. For most people this is the "ah ha" experience. These moments are vital to preventing serious project downtime. Team communications take on several activities:
Preventing bottlenecks and project delays
Saving time through better coordination
Keeps the project running smoothly
Tip #4: Assessments
Construction projects are measured on timelines contained in documents and charts. These are the tools of the trade. Charts display milestones, resource performances and time constraints to the project schedules. More important these charts sum up the efforts of each team member as a group. This information is an integral part of the construction project planning and decision making process. From the business aspect the review charts allow the team to centralize the project’s information and status.
Just as important, these assessments celebrate the success of the team, boosting confidence and motivation. They also identify the areas that could use some improvement. Construction problems do happen at any time. The best method for managing problems is to cite the cause and effect. It’s an operational approach to reinforce the team’s focus on the goal. These formative assessments ensure the project goals throughout the construction process:
Assurance of meeting project specifications
Elimination of project risks and monitor project changes
Alignment to quality and expectations
Alerts to continuing problems
Tip #5: Endurance
Like the building under construction, the team’s effort is built to last. As the project approaches completion, the team’s focus is on the final remaining activities. The last actions on the punch list or open items need to be finished. The team’s been proactive and moved forward, while dealing with the unexpected. They’ve applied the best practices and mitigated risks throughout the entire construction process. The experiences learned from the project will minimize the future project challenges, and this newfound group dynamic will maximize new project successes. The team's endurance maintains the project’s performance:
Project delivered on time
Been accountable to the results
Stayed on budget
Met industry standards and client expectations
The two significant factors in executing a team approach are timeliness and reliability. In an industry like construction, uncertainty is always part of the process. Assembling a team of enthusiastic professionals is the major piece of the puzzle. However, a good leader is a key to making good teams become great. Managing an engineer's design and construction team is no easy task, but these tips will go a long way in creating a cohesive, collaborative team that will produce successful outcomes for the project:
- Participation throughout the project timeline to ensure everyone is on the same page
- Taking the time to know each team member allows you leverage their strengths when delegating work assignments
- Keep the lines of communication open throughout the project
- Taking the time to assess the project after completion gives team members the opportunity to reflect on what they've done well or could improve upon
There is a lot that goes into managing a great team. If you want your team to be the very best, our construction administration service oversees the entire project, ensuring every step is done properly, efficiently, and produces quality outcomes. For more information on the service, or to request a consultation, contact us today.