Key Questions to ask.

Some things to ask of yourself and of others, mainly work related.

If you are aiming to improve things, how do you know and more importantly how can you demonstrate that you have indeed done so? Unless you are measuring NOW, then you are already failing.

Easy things to measure against a project. Track all hours, overtime, everything for all staff. It does not matter if the projects are comparable. Just see if your staff are working stupid amounts of (probably free) overtime or just the normal hours. If you do not know exactly how long tasks took to complete then how can you possibly predict how long something should take and if it took more or less time. Drilling down can be done at a later stage or right now, its up to you. It is also very positive for staff to know that long hours are NOT the norm. If lots of overtime is being done then that is bad management pure and simple.

Another easy metric is tracking all RFI’s. These should go down on a well managed and consistent process. See how many RFI’s you get sent and how many you send out. Track these accurately and this will give you another improvement measurement.

Profit measuring. Not as currency but as a percentage. Did you actually make money on a project. Also did the project costs escalate and if so why? One of the sicknesses of the construction industry is rampant over runs on cost!

Bid wins, track which ones lost and which you won. The why and how can come after, actually capturing the number lost and won is useful. You should also be able to track money/resources expended versus fee/profit return. If the former goes down and the latter goes up then you know something is going to plan. Unless you are capturing the data then you will never KNOW, you will be guessing.

Share your knowledge outside the firm. The current generation under 30 have no concept of not sharing, learning, improving, hacking and re-sharing. Deal with it and learn to ride that wave and encourage it. Your knowledge is your selling point and the outcomes thereof not just the output.

Sit down with your consultants, have an honest talk about what you need and what they need from you. Amazing how many do not have a clue and make guesses on historical “this  is the way we have always done it therefore thats the way we shall do it”. I wonder if the dinosaurs felt the same way. But balanced with that is a lot of really useful historical knowledge that should not be just dumped. Take the four year old’s approach and simply ask “Why?”.


About Shaun Farrell

I have been involved in the construction sector since 1986 and over the years I have seen things change dramatically. Much of the change has been directly as a result of technology. This blog will be about the key combinations of People, Process and Technology. Any views expressed here are strictly my own.
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