5 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Task
Project Managers can empower their project team to stay on track with these five questions.
1. What are the requirements?
The first question addresses quality management. Review the requirements breakdown structure and the design drawings to understand what requirements apply to this task. If the crew performing the task has questions about the requirements, then involve the subject matter experts to address the questions. If site conditions have changed or there appear to be constructability issues, then involve the project manager to address potential changes.
2. What am I about to do?
The second question addresses scope management. Review the work breakdown structure to verify that the activities are well defined and understood. Review the sequence of work and activity dependencies to confirm the process logic makes sense. Mark up the process documents, if warranted, to reflect process improvements. Communicate these process improvements to the project manager.
3. How much time do I have?
The third question addresses schedule management. Review the activity durations to understand time constraints. Discuss time constraints with crew members to identify potential bottlenecks in process steps. Brainstorm and implement solutions to resolve potential bottlenecks. Communicate these solutions to the project manager.
4. How many resources are budgeted?
The fourth question addresses cost management. The resources budget includes labor hours, equipment hours, and materials budgeted for the task. Knowing the resources budget and time constraints makes it possible to calculate resource productivity rates. Discuss productivity rates with crew members to identify potential barriers to achieving those productivity rates. Implement tools for tracking use of resources. Tools could include timesheets for labor hours, run-time meters for equipment, or expense logs for materials.
5. What could go wrong?
The fifth question addresses risk management. Risks could include, for instance, safety hazards, changing site conditions, equipment breakdowns, or delayed delivery of materials. Depending on the likelihood and potential severity of the risk, design and implement mitigation strategies to minimize the impacts of risks.
Project Managers who take the time to train their project team members on these five questions will reap a significant return on investment for their time.