|Posted on February 19, 2014 at 12:25 AM|
If you’ve followed any of my posts on our company’s Mega Job so far, you’ll know that we’re neck deep in the largest project we’ve ever done. (The finish line is actually almost in sight...we delivered all the racks of gear this week!) One of the things that I’ve really learned from our Mega Job is that these large projects are very fluid and amorphous and being successful means staying on top of the schedule and managing time both on and away from the job.
As much as you might want to tunnel-vision focus solely on the big job – and think how nice it would be to sweep the calendar clear of all other work and tell other people, “I’m sorry, but I’m dealing with a project that is just much more important than yours right now, so unless you are looking to spend a hundred grand or more, you’ll need to wait” – you can’t. (Well, I guess you *could* but then you’d probably have nothing left to do after you finished your big job.) The reality is the phone keeps ringing, other jobs will have issues that need addressing, existing clients will demand your attention and you can’t abandon everything else in favor of one project.
Here are seven things that helped me to keep our Mega Job – and every job – on track while balancing everything else.
Communication is Key
On large projects, there are so many different trades in place, and often so many people working each day, that things are constantly changing and happening. During prewire, you might walk out of a room and return a bit later to find that a new wall has been framed up and nailed into place. Where you can (hopefully) count on a builder to (sometimes) keep you informed on changes or when things need to be done on a smaller job, on a massive project the builder will have his plate full with so many other things that the onus of staying on top of things often falls on you. I’ve tried to keep in contact with the builder early and often on this job to make sure that we don’t find ourselves behind the proverbial 8-ball. My business partner and I decided early in the job that one of us would stop by the site once a week just to walk through and see what was happening. This helped us stay on top of things like cut wires, boxes that had been sheetrocked over, moved/added light cans, etc. If there is something where you are dependent on another trade to accomplish – say core drilling a hole through a massive section of pressure treated concrete or getting conduit to a gate control location – make sure you are on top of this and constantly asking about it or checking up on it.
In addition to communicating with the builder, we’ve really befriended the electrician – who worked so closely with us on the Lutron HomeWorks system – cabinet installer and the painting crew. These trades are often at the job every day and have another angle on the schedule, and we’ll often reach out to them directly to ask about scheduling. Building this relationship also helped when we needed them to work with us on something, such as additional power locations or our specific cabinet needs. Further with them understanding our side of the project a little better and the big picture of what we were trying to accomplish, it helped them to see how their work meshed with ours.
Do What You Can When You Can
One of the difficulties/challenges with being involved in a big job is there are long periods where nothing is happening interspersed with days/weeks where you need all the manpower you can muster and have more work than you can possibly handle. To help cut down on these frantic periods of so much work you feel like you’re trying to drink from a fire hose, be sure to get done whatever you can, when you can. On lots of jobs it is easy to start compiling lists of small things you’ll get to as some point, but on a big job, there are *tons* of these “small things” and they can add up to days of work. We did as much work offsite at our store as possible to cut down on what had to be done at the job. When you have holes in your schedule, fill them with work on the big job.