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5 Keys to Successful Project Planning
Every construction project requires coordination and planning to achieve success. Whether a small, simple installation or a longer more complex project, every activity must fit into an overall plan that integrates with all other required activities. Communication is the critical element to all planning – but for a team to properly communicate, they must know details, understand responsibilities, and trust one another. And throughout the project, plans must be monitored and adjusted as needed to meet project and customer expectations.
- Ambiguity is the enemy. Clarity is an absolute necessity, but is often difficult to establish at the beginning of a project. To establish clarity, project teams must have complete communication on all issues and clear lines of responsibility for everything that needs to be done. Teams must strive to be objective, solve issues within the team when they arise, and work to improve the project.
- Credibility requires detail. Construction projects are a jumble of thousands of activities and details, and teams must thoroughly plan and understand those details to make a project successful. Planning that lacks detail cannot, and should not, be believed. Plans without communication and collaboration of the team or with insufficient detail have a higher likelihood of failure because the full extent of the work is often unknown. To be credible to customers, people need to know the details.
- Trust is paramount. Trust must be gained across the team for there to be success. If members of the project team don’t trust each other to get things done and do their part, projects stumble and communication fails. There will likely always be problems, and they must be dealt with in a timely manner, before trust breaks down.
- Plans are not reality. Plans are views of the future as we see them at a moment in time, with the information we have at that time. Planning is an ongoing function because changes occur and that triggers changes to the plan. An experienced project team will almost always expose risks and allow contingencies to be formulated. But again, that requires collaboration and questioning.
- Success is not guaranteed. The project team must be always vigilant of progress, and potential problems. A strong starting plan is important but will not guarantee success. Planning and communication must be a constant and ongoing effort throughout the project.
A strong project team will communicate with each other and with all other parties at every step throughout the project. While there will inevitably be bumps in the road, clear communication will allow the job to continue through to a successful end!