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  • Matthew Klinefelter

Use The Right Tool For The Job. Do You Need a Hammer Or A Nail Gun?


Ok so this doesn't actually have anything to do with the correct hammer selection although I'm sure that would make a thrilling read if that was your thing.


I use this analogy as I was recently doing some DIY at home and found myself taking a bit longer because I didn't quite have the right tool. Now for me it wasn't really necessary to go out and get something expensive as it was a small job and I don't do it very often but that got me thinking.


How often in business do we muddle along making do without the right key skills, knowledge, tools, software whatever for the job? I would say that if you really thought about it; a bit more often than at first thought.


Now what I'm going to focus on is within construction and surrounding programmes as after all that's what we do at KCES Limited.


How often is price the main focus of a tender... Too often, yes its important but can be catastrophic if you only price the design and don't price the programme, contract or take consideration of the site constraints.


How often are Project Managers very optimistic about being able to turn around programme slippage or how often works will take when assessing changes to scope...


How often do smaller business owners try and become masters of everything taking on operations, commercial, business development etc... because they don't have the resources of a Tier 1 contractor when in fact they know little about the roles they don't specialise in but simply cant afford the full time staff to do it so they improvise.


Now I'm not knocking anyone here, tendering is a very competitive game but the jobs you win need to be deliverable for the price. Going in keen will work for a while, you may be able to get enough change to make the job profitable but its a dangerous strategy and probably wont last long.


Project Managers have enough on their plate, juggling responsibilities while trying to keep client relations up. They have to wear many hats and one of them is often that of planner. Project Managers are ultimately responsible for project delivery but most aren't planners and would really benefit from the assistance. This may be for delivery, monitoring or change assessments.


Not everyone has the resources to be able to have departments forcing many smaller contractors to become a jack of all trades (and we all know how the rest of that saying goes....). There are many people out there offering assistance that isn't full time whether its Commercial, Health & Safety or Quality. For those that don't have the budget these services provide the knowledge and skills of a specialist for assistance without the commitments of a full time resource.


So this beings me back to my original analogy of a hammer and a nail gun. Are you confident you always use the right tool for the right job? From a planning perspective are you tendering the programme and the contract? Are your Project Managers skilled planners and do they have the time to plan the job aswell as deliver it? If you don't have planning resource then are you confident that support wouldn't improve your business?


It may be possible to muddle along with the tools you have, after all that's exactly what I did with my DIY work. If it wasn't for the Covid-19 lockdown then I could have hired a nail gun.


Now for clarity we don't do nail guns but if you want help with any aspect of construction programme management then contact us.

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