TZL 931

w w w . t h e z w e i g l e t t e r . c o m

HR | FINANCE S U P P L E M E N T S Pages 9 - 12

O c t o b e r 1 7, 2 0 11 , I s s u e 9 3 1

E D I T O R I A L

T R E N D L I N E S

Talking profit

Practical PM improvement Mark Zweig offers eight steps that should be on everyone’s mind. W e are talking more and more about the importance of good project management in boardrooms these days. There isn’t much more you can do to increase your profitability and reduce your risk than improve the quality of your PM efforts. So what can you do – now – in your firm to improve your project management effectiveness? Here are my thoughts: 1) Track and report PM performance metrics firm-wide. Why aren’t you doing this now? What are you afraid of? Show project multiplier to contracted multiplier, average collection period, client satisfaction scores, total dollar value of work being managed, extra services sold, and more, by PM. And send this to everyone in the firm.

$25,000

This way, the best PMs will be recognized, and the worst shamed. 2) Do continuous client satisfaction monitoring and report it firm-wide. Ask specific questions about how the PM is doing from the client’s perspective. Again, by sharing this information with all, the

$20,000

$15,000

$10,000

Mark Zweig

$5,000

$0

All firms

Fast-growth firms

Very high-profit firms

best PMs will get accolades and the weakest will be embarrassed. That’s good. 3) Narrow down the list of who gets to be a PM. Most firms in this business have people assigned to the PM role who have absolutely no business being there. Even though most have absolutely no training, but perform well, some people simply have no aptitude for PM. So, why have them do it? It’s really silly and seems obvious to me they shouldn’t be PMs. We need to concentrate our PM responsibilities in fewer, better project managers. 4) Provide really good training in how to write as well as in-house assistance with writing. So much of project management is about writing! I was talking to a fellow at our recent Principals Academy in Kansas City who told me that his firm actually hired his

Per total staff

Per professional/technical staff

F I R M I N D E X ADD Inc.................................................................. 5 ARORA Engineers.................................................. 3 Bioengineering Group............................................ 5 FPM Group, Ltd...................................................... 5 KARN CHARUHAS CHAPMAN & TWOHEY.......... 8 Langan Engineering & Environmental Services.... 6 MSA Professional Services................................. 11 STAFFELBACH........................................................ 5 TLC Engineering for Architecture.......................... 5 T.Y. Lin International ........................................... 11 Woodard & Curran................................................. 4 While the A/E industry still feels the effects of the recent economic downturn, there is a segment that continues to show very high profits. By definition, very high-profit firms are more profitable than the industry overall, and so it is no surprise that this segment reports a median pre- tax, pre-bonus profit/loss per technical and professional staff of $23,769, according to the 2011-12 Successful Firm Survey. Meanwhile, fast-growth firms reported a median pre-tax, pre- bonus profit/loss per technical and professional staff of $12,631, equal to the overall sample. The median for the overall firm sample is also $12,631, an increase from $12,101 in 2010. – Margot Suydam, Survey Manager

See Mark Zweig, page 2

Most firms in this business have people assigned to the PM role who have absolutely no business being there. Even though most have absolutely no training, but perform well, some people simply have no aptitude for PM. So, why have them do it? It’s really silly and seems obvious to me they shouldn’t be PMs.

Gender roles melding inside firms

I N S I D E

xz top player: Attitude and teamwork mark success. Page 3 xz hr: The best places to work in the A/E industry. Page 9 xz finance: Rewarding teams an essential tool. Page 11

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