Business Growth & Strategy

A Project Control Quiz

Project Quiz

This quiz builds on previous articles in this series.

The Situation

For a 1-year long internet and wireless technology procurement and installation project in a 20-floor office building, 4 months is allocated for setting up new equipment and software, testing, de-bugging.   Your company owns the building and is the major tenant, occupying 4 floors. During the 4-month installation, you have been constrained by upper management to save money by allocating 50% in-house labor, and 50% of labor contracted (as opposed to 100% external contractors).

  • What might be the likely issues during this 4 month period?
  • Give a brief description of the activities that you would perform as project controls for the 4-month installation period.

Suggested Solution

The most likely issues are related to: (1) the in-house employees finding sufficient time to perform these additional, short-term duties; (2) workers and supervisors from 2 different companies having problems communicating, and having disagreements over methods and quality of workmanship; (3) disruption of ongoing business operations on each of the 20 floors.

(I will assume you conducted detailed manpower planning early in the planning process. The appropriate supervisors estimated time required for both in-house and contract labor, by individual skill set [there will be several]. Hours per specific weeks per skill type were identified, and compared to in-house availability. This was the basis for deciding which skills to order by contract, and avoid bottlenecks during installation). During the project, control in-house labor availability by providing schedule updates to appropriate supervisors mid-week for the next week’s work, and require them to respond in affirmative the same day. If they wish to respond in the negative, require them to have approval from upper management, including a signed change order to pay for the additional external labor.

Control the issue of possible disputes by one or more of the following activities. Segregate crews by company if possible. If crews must be mixed, assign a crew leader from your own company for each crew. For each skill set, identify a lead quality control supervisor, who will answer questions and resolve technical concerns with materials and workmanship. Have the crew leaders, quality supervisors, task leaders, and the project manager report 30 minutes early every day (at first, and relax as appropriate) to discuss the previous day’s work and the upcoming work. Consider hiring qualified 3rd party inspectors to observe and approve critical portions of the work

Control disruption of ongoing business by surveying supervisors/managers on each floor to determine the best and worst times, days, weeks to be working on their floors. You might be able to schedule noisy, dusty work for evenings and weekends (if security issues can be addressed). Use your own 4 floors as the initial work zone, so that fine-tuning the work methods will be complete before working in tenant areas. Provide schedule updates to the workers on each upcoming floor several weeks before entering their areas..

About the Author

An engineer by training, Randy Klein has 30 years of consulting experience, 20 of which have included project management duties. His project management curriculum has been used by a variety of university continuing education departments and private resellers. He invites your questions and comments related to project management, quality assurance, and organizational improvement. Contact Randy at (801) 451-7872 or projects@streamlineut.com.

Category: Business Growth & Strategy

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Randy Klein About the Author: Randy Klein

Randy Klein is a project management expert, certified quality manager, and licensed professional engineer with 30 years of consulting and management experience.  Mr. Klein developed a project management seminar for universities in Utah, Wisc…

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