O P I N I O N
Plan with a pencil
P roject management is a widely studied, often misunderstood field, especially in the AEC industry. An individual firm’s definition of the function and role can vary considerably depending on the firm’s structure, client base, market segment, and project size and type. A “best practice” in one firm might inhibit performance in another firm. Write your project goals in ink and your plan in pencil, because you’ll likely need to make some changes and adapt your plan as your project unfolds.
Justin Smith, P.E.
Last week, I wrote an article that commented on previous Zweig Group statistics concerning project manager training and development. In that article, I highlighted a disconnect between the training that firms provide to their project managers and the training firms believe their project managers need. To a degree, this makes sense. Firms do a great job of training their managers in the various procedural elements of project management. Firms also recognize the need for outside perspectives to enable additional skill development beyond their internal programs. Interestingly, one core competency was missing from both lists: flexibility. Research demonstrates that the leadership ability of the project manager is the most significant predictor of project success. Researchers that studied AEC
project performance lay out four pillars of project leadership that provide the foundation for successful projects across a wide range of AEC firm and project types: 1. Leadership and team development 2. People skills and trust-building 3. Verbal communication and listening 4. Expectations management, conflict resolution When you consider your successful project managers, the chances are good that they bring some or all of these skills to their projects. But what about flexibility?
See JUSTIN SMITH, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER MAY 16, 2022, ISSUE 1441
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