Importance of Project Management

In so many areas of our lives, we use project management without even realizing it. Whether it's going through your morning routine at home or building a megawatt-scale solar installation, we all use project management everyday.

When it comes to solar energy installations, every project, large or small, requires some knowledge and expertise to complete. Initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and closing every project requires the project manager to stay diligent in order to get things done in a timely and efficient manner.

Effective project management can push a project to the fullest of its potential and creates work that surpasses the wildest of expectations. On the other hand, poor project management can stall productivity, stifle creativity, or kill a project entirely. Hope is not a strategy and nor should it be the strategy used by your contractor when installing solar for your home or business.

Why Project Management Matters

Just like organizing your morning routine to maximize the efficacy of your time, companies who embrace and build onto their project management frameworks will also be more efficient and cost-effective while maintaining excellent craftsmanship. More and more companies are discovering that as their project management framework matures, the business value derived from it also increases. Just stop and think about it for a second. A company that has a dialed project framework will complete a project with minimal hiccups and with fluency, whereas a company without a framework may run into more problems than desired by most customers. If a contractor does not provide a basic project framework then perhaps it might be better to find a different solar contractor.

Clear Communication

Good project management involves no shortage of dialogue between team members, customers, and anyone else that should be in the loop. It is invaluable for the contractor to be honest and clarify any problem that may arise. If a contractor welcomes constructive criticism, it’s likely they have a strong project management system in place. After all, strong project management is flexible and your constructive criticism is just that: constructive. It gives the contractor insight into how to adapt their well-managed system to your unique needs. Without a project management process, your feedback could well be useless.

With all that said, clear communication is a two-way street meaning both the solar contractor and the customer need to make expectations clear at the beginning of the project and continue to update one another on changing demands from start to close. Changes will be made and both parties should expect this as it is not uncommon to happen during the project's lifetime. Keeping communication open and honest will only derive value for both the customer and the contractor.

Record Keeping

While clear communication is essential, detailed record keeping is also necessary for preventing costly delays and annoying follow-up visits. We all have been a witness to this. Whether it's at your office or in your children's room, working in a messy environment leads to stress and stress can lead to errors.

With the proliferation of online hosting solutions there are countless new programs to test and explore. Contractors must do their own due diligence and make a decision on just one online program to use to maintain proper records. Programs like Dropbox and Google Drive are both cheap and simple solutions for contractors to explore. Programs of this kind allow for instant and collaborative access, which prevents loss of paperwork, saves times by enabling a search function for all your documents. It is always a sound practice to keep a second copy on hand, just in case.

Learning From Mistakes

Good project management doesn't end when a project is complete. Evaluating the results of the completed project is an integral step in the process. The key to having a success grow upon itself is for the contractors to take time to evaluate themselves and build upon lessons learned. An effective way to do this is through customers and project team surveys to ask questions pertaining to lessons learned and what could be done better next time.

At Sunbridge Solar we ask our crew leads to fill out an exit survey that asks these sort of questions and then once the project is complete we all sit down to discuss who over-achieved, what went wrong, what went right, and how can we improve. This small and mostly forgotten step in itself has provided us with valuable insight that has helped us learn from mistakes so the next project will run even more smoothly.

Hope Is Not A Strategy

‘Hope’ as a strategy is not project management. It can lead to repeated errors, inefficient timing and headaches start-to-finish. Be sure to be that contractor that has learned from their mistakes and remains at the wheel of a well-oiled project-management machine! Your customers deserve nothing less. A happier customer will translate into more profits for your company.

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