For years, I was an executive at a sign manufacturing company. We specialized in massive projects—from a million-dollar scoreboard at a pro football stadium to a multistate bank branding change involving hundreds of locations.
The keys to our success were both the personnel and the systems—enabling us to manage large-scale projects.
Of course, many of our customers were nervous. I remember bidding on one college stadium where the president of a general contractor was having problems convincing his key staff that we could handle the job.
To allay their fears, he flew some of these folks out to see our shop. After a brief tour and meeting, the president asked his staff to raise their hands if they thought our sign company could handle the contract.
Most of the hands went up, but a few still looked worried. “And who thinks we can handle the job ourselves?” he asked his minions.
Note: Awkward moments are often priceless ones.
For good project management in any situation, there are two choices. Either you:
Being seasoned, experienced, and thoughtful credit union people, most of my colleagues probably opt for No. 2: the amazon.com option (priced at $14.95, including super-saver shipping). This, apparently, is what subcontractors love to see, too. After all, they can step in later to finish things up properly for a nice paycheck.
So for those who plan to invest less than $20, here are key project management tips to keep in mind:
Complicated projects require people with the skills to manage them—people who aren’t flustered by setbacks, but who see them as part of the process. These folks are unique, driven, and “nuts.” Due to their particular abilities, great project managers will save you a lot of time, money, and anguish.
If you still don’t know whether you need a project manager, ask your staff, “Who thinks we can handle this job?”
That awkward moment will make it obvious.
JAMES COLLINS is president/CEO at O Bee CU, Tumwater, Wash. Contact him at 360-943-0740.