“This is insane! How am I supposed to deliver on this?” is an all too familiar response from Project Managers on having successful marketing hand-over packs dumped on their desks by bid leaders who smugly turn and walk away knowing that they are even closer to their targets and associated bonuses while making the project delivery someone else’s problem.
The first issue is that most companies who are involved with delivering projects are not set up as ‘projectised’ companies with dedicated project management offices (PMO’s) and company structures to support project resources many still rely on the traditional line management functions. Secondly, the bid leaders compiling the bids are often not project oriented nor do they have any significant hands-on project management field experience while the real project managers are kept busy chasing cash flows containing the often illusive project profits. A bid leader’s motivation is also different given the quick lead times to bid submission measured in bids per month in contrast to the longer project time frames.
This brings with it the quick fix ‘cut and paste’ mentality that is rife with erroneous assumptions, void of insight into latent difficulties that site conditions bring which an experienced project manager would have instinctively identified. Vital stakeholder information is lost through sloppy marketing hand-overs from bid/contract award to project execution. Information such as clients’ business case, key stakeholders and decision makers, promises made by the bid leaders to clients which only surface later in the project.
A starting point to address this disconnect would be for bids to run as fast-track projects following best practice project management principles. Taking this further, aspiring project delivery companies could infuse project management as the basis for their business processes from business development through into project execution. This would apply the correct level of upfront risk management dictating whether a bid is a go or a no-go.
Bid leaders could be assigned as bid project managers with the relevant project support afforded the execution teams. The proper use of project charters by the bid team at marketing hand-over to define both the clients’ and the companies business cases as well as high level project information will go far to ensuring correct information is handed to the respective project manager and greatly enhancing the probability of project success. A basic project management plan compiled by the bid project team will also inform the project manager of pending dangers in project execution. Upfront disclosure of all project details at project kick-off could turn project managers’ potential nightmares into opportunistic dreams.
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