HOW ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS COPE WITH THE DANGERS OF PROJECT CREEP
Ever had a project where the brief changed regularly, hiking up costs and leading to missed deadlines?
You’ve experienced project creep.
Hiring an experienced consultant engineering project manager is one of the best ways to avoid it in the future.
What are the dangers of project creep?
Spiralling costs – if costs have been fixed beforehand, the contractors could face paying them. Or, if costs haven’t been fixed, your client could find themselves out of funds before completion.
It becomes more and more difficult to meet deadlines – and depending on the contract you’ve signed, your company could face financial penalties for missed deadlines.
Damage to your reputation – even though the changing client brief may be the root cause of the problems, your reputation could still be affected.
Some delays are to be expected on major projects – but a good consultant project manager could keep those delays to a minimum.
A consultant engineering project manager with experience of dealing with clients will have several strategies to copy with project creep.
They also have the personal skills to keep people on board – they are tactful and diplomatic, have excellent communication and organisational skills, and have a clear over view of the project and why changes could be difficult.
A good project manager will:
- Manage client expectations and explain the consequences of changing track mid-project.
- Get a clear timeline for all parts of the project – including a clear timeline for decisions. Being firm with clients up front about decision-making is one of the best ways to prevent the sort of changing brief which can cause major problems.
- Build flexibility into the project timescale to allow for any small changes or setbacks which might happen during the process.
- Communicate with clients effectively.
- Brief clients regularly, taking on board any worries or ideas which arise.
Experienced project managers will also know that they need to get clear decisions from the client.
Rather than allowing clients to ‘kick the can down the road’ when it comes to the key decisions in a project, they will be both tactful and persistent in getting clients to a firm decision.
They also never forget that, ultimately, it’s the client’s project.
Here are some other things companies can do:
Track emails – it’s important to keep track of who told the client what, and when, and what the client said to various members of the team. This is especially important when large teams are involved.
Develop a transparent client portal – allow them to keep track of their project with real-time updates.