One of the basics of project management is identifying, sequencing and scheduling your project activities in a logical manner. It’s not that difficult and you don’t need any sort of Project Management qualification to do this; it’s common sense mostly.
Things only start to get hairy when you begin to manage resources, time and cost, but even here it requires some skill and a whole lot of luck. I know this because I’ve been in the business for a long time.
I’m writing this because I watched in amazement today, a contractor installing a simple water drainage system at the side of a building in my office block, just weeks after another contractor had just finished painting and renovating that very same building. It was actually amusing to watch these guys mess up that freshly painted wall with unsightly splotches of wet cement.
Now I’m pretty sure that the facilities management company that manages the place, employs project management principles, but for the life of me can’t understand how or why they got the sequencing of their activities so wrong.
I remember around 20 years ago thinking the exact same thing when I was a supervisor of a team installing telecommunications cabling infrastructure in a newly developed town. We’d get to the site, admiring freshly tarred roads separating the blocks of nicely demarcated plots of vacant land, and commence to dig up that road to lay our cables. While still busy with this project we’d watch in sequence as other utilities owners arrived on site to dig up the same roads which we’d only just resurfaced, to install water, sewer and electrical reticulation.
What were the town planning and development guys thinking not getting all these services installed before tarring the roads? It only requires a little bit of project planning to get things done in the right sequence.
I’m not sure if that still happens with new town planning as I’ve moved on and haven’t seen the like since. But I’m still a project manager and I do see it happen with other types of projects in the data networking environment I’m in.
It all comes down to communication and we’re really bad at it, even with the sophisticated tools we have at our disposal.