Eradicate “that wasn’t part of my job” from your projects

Eradicate “that wasn’t part of my job” from your projects

When a company undertakes a project, it is common to divide up operations and accounting where project managers are responsible for running the projects, and finance is responsible for tallying up the profits and the losses. However when taking on a new project we’ve discovered a better result and outcome happens when project managers have complete ownership of every aspect of a project from start to finish, including tracking financial progress. The Project Management for Profit system makes project managers responsible for planning, initiating, executing, and delivering profit from their projects. They’re in charge of knowing where a project stands financially at any given time throughout the course of the venture.

But how on earth can an ordinary human being take on all these responsibilities and accomplish all these tasks? One essential key to successful performance is good information available at all times. Most businesses need much of the same data to track the progress of a project as well as the financial status of their efforts. Two key items are generally 1) materials and 2) labor costs. How these data are collected isn’t important, as long as it suits your business and your budget. What’s important is the accuracy of the data, and that you can capture and report it in a timely manner.

Of course, every situation has different requirements. Whatever system you use, the following are the bare-minimum conditions:

  • The system must be able to accurately accrue and report labor hours applied to specific projects.
  • The system must be able to accurately accrue and report materials costs for specific projects.
  • All this data must be available in as close to real time as possible.
  • The data must be accurate and trustworthy. If it’s not, none of your project metrics will be useful.

If your data system can deliver on those four requirements, you will have all of the information you need to implement the Project Management for Profit system.

Giving a project manager complete ownership of every aspect of their project is equivalent to making them a helmsman on a ship- he or she controls the direction of the vessel. And like a helmsman steering a ship through the North Atlantic, project managers can’t always control where the icebergs will be. Arming them with good information available at all times gives them an early-warning system that tells when they are in danger of running into one, enabling them to make course corrections sooner.

Source: Project Management for Profit by Roger Thomas, Joe Knight and Brad Angus, together with Joe Cornwell and Joe Van Den Berge from Setpoint Inc. Setpoint has a 25-year history of successfully designing and implementing custom rides and attractions for the top amusement and theme parks in the world.

Manuscript info:

  • Page 26-27: Principle #1: The buck stops with the project manager
  • Page 27-28: Principle #2: Project managers need accurate, timely information
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