In my experience working in professional services world, and AEC specifically, I quite often am asked, “How can we win more projects?” The answer to that question is complicated; it’s not something as simple as “invest more in marketing and sales,” or “cast a wider net.” The key to winning more projects is successful AEC project delivery--you must start with successfully completing the projects you already have. Probably hadn’t thought of that, right? Winning more work starts with nailing your current work. Delivering more successful projects to your current clients, means you’ll be more likely to get repeat business or tell a peer about their experience with your firm. Networking like that goes a long way toward winning future AEC projects.
The next looming question is, “How can we deliver better projects to our clients?”
Again, there is no simple answer to this question. There are many unique factors that can affect project delivery which makes it a challenge to identify one to focus on. The good news is that after speaking with a staggering number of firms and analyzing what they each do best, I’ve been able to pinpoint what I see as the top 5 keys to delivering better projects and decided to write a series to explain the significance of each.
As you review each key, take into consideration your own firm’s current project operations. How is your firm run? Could there be improvements? By focusing on the following five keys, you can gain the ability to improve the outcomes of your projects – and win future business. Each key will be detailed over the course of several articles, but we’ll start with an overview of each:
AEC project delivery key #1: Build accurate service measurements
Project success begins the moment you bid on a job – if your initial service assessment and projected cost/revenue analysis is more accurate, odds are you will deliver on time and within budget.
Accurate service estimates are critical to the success of any project, and in turn, the success of your AEC firm. If you haven’t upgraded your service estimate process to a digital tool, the time is now. The streamlined estimates and enhanced accuracy provided by these tools are well worth the investment.
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Key #2: Track project progress
The truth is, everyone tracks project progress , right? After all, you need to know when the project will be finished and how much revenue your firm is on track to earn. Tracking project progress simply makes sense.
While it might seem clear cut, progress has a different meaning to different roles. For example, progress to a project manager may mean the percentage of completed work on the project to date. Progress to your accounting team will likely mean the percentage of the contract billed, or the percentage of the contract that has been recognized as revenue. Syncing these different meanings of project progress will help keep everyone on the same page.
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Key #3: Maximize project collaboration and communication
It won’t come as a big shock that collaboration and communication are imperative to the success of any project. However, when it comes to the complexities of AEC projects, collaboration and communication are even more essential.
If individuals and teams are provided the tools needed to exchange ideas, both internally and with the client and share information in real-time, you’re one step closer to a successful project.
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Key #4: Optimize utilization of your firm’s resources
Making the most of valuable resources is one of the central goals of any business. For AEC firms, that resource is expert staff members. The skills and time of your professional services staff must be maximized for the success of any project, as well as the satisfaction of team members.
Before, during, and after projects, tracking and managing employee utilization can help maximize the effectiveness of both individual staff members and the entire project team. With effective resource allocation, you can also improve billable labor, manage workload better, and identify training opportunities or skills enhancements.
Key #5: Empower stakeholders with insights
One of the most difficult challenges with any project is keeping all your stakeholders informed of status. The challenge is intensified when stakeholders have a distinct perspective of the project and they rely on different metrics to determine success.
Information sharing, done in a way that each stakeholder group can comprehend and employ, is critical to inspiring teams and encouraging them to do their best work.
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Successful AEC project delivery could depend on these five keys. Be sure to keep an eye out for the next article in the series. In the meantime, learn more about the tools and processes your AEC firm can adopt to better your project delivery, by