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Running a Project is Like Building a House

Construction Worker Building Timber Frame In New HomeI built my first ever house a few years ago. In fact, it is likely to be the only house construction I ever oversee, as it was a real nightmare to get it done.  

Anyone who has ever had their own house built is sure to tell you that it is a stressful time full of hassles but in what ways does it resemble a project?

Get the Foundations Right

It is an exciting moment when the builders start to put down the foundations of your new home. This is when the idea that you are really going to do this starts to fully sink in. It still isn’t too late to back out but you are now at a point in which things are starting to happen and you are committing a lot of time and money to get jobs carried out. The closest equivalent in the project world is probably the stage in which you need you need to get the plan arranged. This is what forms the foundations of your project and it is only once this is in place that you will start to see more clearly how  you are going to proceed.

Organize the Team  

Building a house means getting a rather large team of builders, plumbers, electricians, architects and all sorts of other people to do their jobs. Getting them all to do what needs done at the right time is one of the hardest aspects of the whole operation. I tried doing a project style plan to let me make sure that everything was organised and that the electrician wasn’t left sitting around waiting for the plumber to finish something before he got started or that the builders didn’t have to wait for something which should have been done before they arrived. In the end I found that there were too many variables to take into account and too many gaps in my knowledge to do this right. However, when it comes to your project there is no excuse for not organizing the team well in this way.

Know the End Target

Before we started building our house I didn’t really have a clear vision of a couple of the details. For example, I wanted a balcony jutting out from the main bedroom but I didn’t how big it would be or what style it would be. I left this and a couple of other points to one side until later on and never really resolved them. This is why I now have a tiny, useless little balcony and some other parts of the house which I don’t really like. I know that to get these things right I had to take control of the construction early on and make sure that I knew exactly what was going to happen. The same can easily happen with projects, can’t it? If you don’t know what the end target is then how are you going to achieve it? If you have any doubts at all in your mind then you need to clear these up before it is too late, even if it means asking a question which you worry that other people might consider silly.

Come Up with Solutions

Of course, when you are in the middle of a self build construction lots of unexpected things happen. You might not be able to get some of the materials you need and have to make some sort of compromise, you might find that the budget is running out of control or maybe the builders come across an unexpected problem which halts work until you can find the way forward. All of these things needs solutions found for them and you are person who is ultimately responsible for finding them. The project manager role will also expose you to a lot of situations in which you need to find solutions. In fact, it can see some of the time as though you are just fire fighting and trying to get the whole piece of work back under control again. Once you get into the habit of resolving issues and coming up with solutions it will become a lot easier for you but if you aren’t used to doing this then it could be a real struggle for you. Perhaps the key for you to do this well will be in choosing the right moment to do it instead of trying to rush through the process of problem solving too quickly each time something crops up.

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