project management

E441: Ask Coach – Choosing The Right Project Management System

Deciding what project management system to use takes some careful consideration.


Q: How do I know which project management system if right for my company?

A: The one you will use and fits your needs.


  1. The most important thing is to have a system to use
    1. This is how we organize our projects
    2. They can create time
    3. Create processes that work for you
  2. Figure out what you want then compare what is available
    1. What do you want to improve?
    2. How do you want to use it? What functions do you want to accomplish?
    3. How will you use it? Mobile? Tablet? Computer?
    4. How will clients use it? Will they use it?
    5. Make a list of the things you want so you can compare the different systems
  3. Now that you have chosen a system the work is just getting started – or maybe several systems
    1. If you don’t use the system then it’s a waste of time
    2. Create policies and provide education on using the new system
    3. Start small, maybe just one or two modules or aspects like drawing management
    4. Then add additional items as people get used to the system
    5. Inspect the work – if you want people to use it then you need to verify they are

E388: Managing Small Project Expenses

Those minor expenses on your projects can really add up if not monitored properly.


  1. Small charges – those little charges under $1,000 for things needed on your projects
    1. They are often not monitored well because of the effort needed
    2. These are the little charges for misc. materials, small tools, cleaning supplies, surveying (second time), etc.
    3. They don’t fall into a specific category or sub so they go un-noticed
  2. Budgeting for these is a real challenge
    1. How do you know upfront how many signs you might need, how many drills will go bad
    2. Typically these things are covered with a plug number based on historical data or absorbed into overhead (I don’t recommend the later)
    3. These things need to be watched carefully
      1. I worked with a client that spent over $200K on these charges
      2. We found that almost half was wasted expenses
  3. Proactively managing these costs
    1. Create a procedure for buying these small items
      1. I used to require pre-approval for materials over $200 and tools over $100
    2. Add part of the savings into a bonus pool – it buys lunch for the crews
    3. Manage tools centrally to get the most out of the buying power of multiple units
      1. We used to buy small tools twice a year – you get great prices when buying 50 shovels at once

E386: Ask Coach – Speed Up Project Closeout

Project closeout can drag your project down if not handled properly.


Q: Can you give me some ideas on how to speed up the closeout of a project?

A: Allow for it in your original schedule and make it a priority.


  1. Project closeout
    1. The finish of the work
    2. The completion of the punchlist and inspections
    3. Submission of final paperwork
  2. Make closeout a priority
    1. Put closeout in your baseline schedule
      1. Then create a separate schedule when you start closing out
    2. Give closeout as much effort as you do with the planning in the beginning
      1. Start at 50% planning your cloeout
    3. Get a focused team effort
  3. Some things that will help
    1. Create a special schedule for the final bit of work and the closeout
    2. Perform pre-punch mock-ups
      1. Have the client review a finished product and give their feedback
    3. Start collecting the paperwork early


E148: Field Tracking

“What tools do you use to keep track of things in the field?”

Today we look at tracking field issues.

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E143: Estimate Reviews

“Conduct a thorough estimate review during your project planning.”

Are you conducting an estimate review during the project planning process?

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Episode 123 – Project Team Priorities

“Create a Focus Priority to help guide your project teams to success.”

On today’s Coachcast we talk about setting project team priorities.

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Episode 118 – Client Satisfaction

“Do you know how your customers really feel about your level of service?”

Today we review customer satisfaction.

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Episode 93 – Follow Up

“When delegating and leading others be sure to follow-up. If you expect it, inspect it.”

Today we discuss the importance of follow-up.

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