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September 19, 2005 8:40 AM CDT

Know Your Opponent

By

Construction is a lot like sports. Today's winning sports franchises and best-managed projects succeed because of teamwork. Project Manager teams are not just the PMs from the general contractor (GC) and subcontractors. The PM team also includes PMs from the owner, designer and construction manager (CM).

The designer has documented the owner's vision into plans and specs, then handed the ball off to the constructors. Because a project's PM team is composed of diverse people with different personalities, different backgrounds and different agendas, it often feels like "the opponent" is one of the team members: the designer, the CM, the owner, even a sub.

And while it's true that sometimes we encounter conflict with other strong personalities, we need to keep in mind the other teammates are definitely not the opponent. We're just experiencing a "Shaq-Kobe" moment.

So who's the opponent?

It's the project itself! The project is the thing that sits there lifeless at mobilization. The project presents all the demands and all the constraints ? tight schedule, tight budget, delayed inspections, differing site conditions and burdensome but vital safety procedures. The project wants to take too long. The project wants to duck, dive, turn and throw right past you. It wants to make you look bad and make the team look bad. The project wants to waste the owner's money and the project can be the enemy of cash flow for the subs and GC.

The PM team needs a coach to help draw up plays, adapt to new offenses and defenses the opponent throws at you and to encourage everyone on the team to keep working together to overcome that pesky project every day until victory.


About the Author

Contact Dan Fauchier at dan@projectrealign.com. Learn more about methods that will keep you out of court and get you paid faster by going to www.projectrealign.com.

 

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