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#159570 - 03/08/07 03:31 PM Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Hello all,

I would like to begin a series of discussion threads, oriented towards improving my skills in the Fields of Construction I deal with.

Through these discussions and examples, others may benefit by observation, so it _should_ do good overall.

Areas I would like to cover include:

  • Project Management,
  • Estimation,
  • Materials Logistics,
  • Education,
  • Project Designing,
  • Company Management,
  • Human Resources / Staff Coordinations.


I'll get the ball rolling with a "simple" starter concept:

What can I do to be a better Project Manager?

All comments are welcome - even flaming comments!

Scott35
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#159571 - 03/08/07 04:08 PM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions
mahlere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 514
Loc: New Jersey
scott,

what do you do now as a PM? then we can tell you how to do it better

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#159572 - 03/08/07 04:22 PM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions
macmikeman Offline
Member

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 718
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
Scott, I don't know if you are already familiar with PERT, "project evaluation review technique", but if not then study up on that. Learn it inside out, it really does help out a lot on larger projects to keep a handle on the time and money issues.

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#159573 - 03/09/07 08:16 AM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
How to become a better manager? I see three items often glossed over by "management" types. Indeed, some management program will teach the exact opposite of these three points. This is particularly ironic, in that two ofthese points are taught by the US Army in the very first course given to officer candidates.

1) Trade competence. You have to have at least a basic knowledge of the trades involved;

2) Lead by example. You set the tone. Do not ask folks to do what you cannot, or will not, do; and,

3) Remember that you are there to SERVE the others. It is your job to ensure that others can do theirs. This is the exact opposite of the 'me Chief, you Indians' attitude many in management seem to acquire.

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#159574 - 03/09/07 10:13 AM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions
LK Offline

Member

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1721
Loc: New Jersey
Project Management:

Another good skill might be the use of After Action Reports, get everyone on the project to review, what went right, and what went wrong on the project, this gives everyone information, on areas that need improvement.

We have a short meeting at days end, to review all jobs, it helps prevent repeating the things that don't work, and helps build your team, by working out problems together.

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#159575 - 03/12/07 01:04 PM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions
scameron81 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 80
Loc: Healdsburg, ca, USA
How many projects does everyone typically manage at one time? Also do you manage the projects you estimate or do you have dedicated estimators and PM's?

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#159576 - 03/13/07 05:08 PM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Excellent comments by everyone so far!

I want to get as many "Non-Biased" comments to these topics, so I may perform better and more efficiently.

Will toss in some additional comments in a few days - just taking an hour of "Lounge Time" right now, as I am online searching for Cut Sheets, spec's, getting some price quotes, and other fun stuff!
(In the middle of a very large Design / Build Project, whereas the conceptuals have been turned into a basic set for Plancheck - which have been accepted (finally!), now it's time to compile hundreds of Client Revisions!).

TIA!!!

Scott35
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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#166597 - 07/24/07 01:47 AM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions [Re: Scott35]
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and
Member

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Bouncing this topic back to life again.

In doing so, I would like to mention that "Reno's" post makes a lot of sense + covers points which many Persons in a Management Position neglect to acknowledge (P.M.s, Superintendents and Forepersons).

On this subject, I got to experience an extremely poor display of Professionalism by the General Contractor of a Project that was just recently completed (Close-Out Package submitted, final commissioning + Punch Lists completed, C.O. issued by Building Department).

The GC is a very large firm, operating all across the Country.
The Project - while complex in its entirety, was simple in nature... only driven to difficulty by the inept Superintendents on site.

No coordination, RFI's were answered after weeks of constant reminders, "New" Plansets would arrive with no notification to the Trades' P.M.s, and at times, attempts to "sneak" revisions in by "bullying" a Journeyman into performing the revised items, by trying to use scheduling issues - attempted to bypass me entirely (I had 4 crews on the Project, so I was always bouncing around).

On the good side, 2 very talented Subordinate Forepersons and 6 inspiring Journeypersons got to learn quite a bit about the Project Management, Electrical Designing and Code Compliance sides of Commercial Electrical Construction.
They also got to learn a few basic valuable "Recognizing BS from GCs" scenarios.

I was merely the Senior Electrical Foreman on this Project, which allowed me to just keep things in check, and act as the in-between onsite between the GC and the Office.

While all this was going on, I thought about this thread and some other "Training" items I would like to contribute at ECN, for those in the Trade.

Will discuss more later.

Scott
_________________________
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

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#166598 - 07/24/07 05:48 AM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions [Re: Scott35]
ITO Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 341
Loc: Texas
 Originally Posted By: Scott35
...The GC is a very large firm, operating all across the Country.
The Project - while complex in its entirety, was simple in nature... only driven to difficulty by the inept Superintendents on site.

No coordination, RFI's were answered after weeks of constant reminders, "New" Plansets would arrive with no notification to the Trades' P.M.s, and at times, attempts to "sneak" revisions in by "bullying" a Journeyman into performing the revised items, by trying to use scheduling issues - attempted to bypass me entirely (I had 4 crews on the Project, so I was always bouncing around)...


This is how it is on 80% of the bigger jobs. We have a real problem in the building industry, there is a distinct lack of leadership and know how. Many years ago the superintendents on big jobs got their start in one of the trades and worked their way into the superintendents position. However now the industry is full of people who don’t know how to build anything, and they are being managed by a PM on the job who graduated from Nebraska or Texas AM and don’t really know how to build anything either.

Stacking trades, schedules that are either so complicated you cant read them or are only for 3 weeks at a time, poor coordination, lack of building knowledge, failure to answer RFIs, lying, cheating and out right stealing… and yes lots of bullying.

My personal favorite is when they have a safety guy on the job who spends more time worrying about whether your crews have gloves, safety glasses, steal toe boots, safety vest, hard hats, lanyards and have attended the weekly hour long safety orientation than they do about how the job is going to get built in a safe and organized fashion.

I have said this several times here and at the risk of repeating myself… The most valuable asset we contractors can have is leadership. You have to have a good strong lead man running your crews. Somebody who does know how to build jobs, layout work and run men. Somebody who does not take being bullied. This kind of leadership is pure gold to me, and their pay reflects this.

The second part of the equation is your PM who also knows the trade to do your paperwork, and play CYA. Even if they don’t answer RFIs keep writing them and follow them up with delay letters, keep it all in writing and when they still don’t answer you can either submit shop drawings for approval (this usually gets them of high center) or start sending certified delay letters. Unfortunately it sometimes gets down to petty letter game playing, but in the past I have defended against liquidated damage claims with my mountain of letters and un-answered RFIs.

Here are few things that have worked well for me:

1) For now, get yourself a stamp that has your company logo and a changeable date. Start stamping all drawings that come through your office, they day your receive them with this dated stamp. Instruct all your crews that any plans without this stamp have not come through your office and are to be ignored until they do.

2) Give all your men a stack of business cards for your PM. Anytime the GC gets demanding or abusive, instruct the men to say, “I am unable to comply with your request until my employer directs me to do so, here is his card please give him a call so I can do as you have requested”. (My guys usually just laugh and say, “quit bothering me and call ITO”.) This drives the GC nuts but it puts a stop to the unauthorized field directives.

3) Don’t do anything on a verbal, put it all in writing.
_________________________
101° Rx = + /_\

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#166604 - 07/24/07 08:50 AM Re: Honing Skills By Examples And Discussions [Re: ITO]
Zapped Offline
Member

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 481
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Overall advise: Remain flexible.

Business, construction, and people are dynamic animals. Stress comes from being unable to cope with variables. Bad decisions are made under stress. Good ideas and solutions do not bloom from bad decisions.

Remain flexible.

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