Planning Project Success (Tips and Tricks)


By Nicholas King

As parking professionals, we know the importance of proper project planning.  Whether for on-street, off-street, existing structures, new construction, rip and replace, or even simple relocation of parking assets or signage installations.  Improper planning, communication with vendors/contractors, or even team coordination can result in projects going south quickly and, in turn, cause additional time added to the project schedule, ultimately losing revenue for each day the completion of the project is not obtained.  Below are a few simple things to consider when planning any project, no matter how big or small.

Assigning the right Project Manager:

      • This sounds simple enough; however, each project manager has their strengths and weaknesses.  For example, if you appoint a Project Manager to a New Construction project that has always only performed projects in an existing structure setting or only ever performed “rip and replace” type projects, some items may be overlooked throughout the new construction project.  The PM would need to ensure proper site walks, communications with the GC or construction superintendent, layout and drawing reviews are done regularly to ensure the proper placement of conduit before concrete pouring, conduit routing, etc., are all accounted for properly and effectively to ensure nothing is missed.
      • One small oversight can seriously impact the project timeline due to the rework needed.  This also causes additional project costs to rework whatever was overlooked.  This can also cause revenue loss from the timeline push if the project cannot be completed by the anticipated go-live date originally projected.  Ensure the right PM is assigned for the project at hand to help prevent project hiccups throughout the process.

Creation of clear project goals and deliverables:

        • Creating key milestones within your project plan/timeline allows for sub-tasks within each milestone.  This helps clients/project stakeholders understand the key milestone and the tasks associated with completing that milestone within the project. This also helps stakeholders understand all tasks need to be completed in order to keep the project timeline on track.
        • Within this process, it is also very important to create an elaborate plan to help guide the project with all stakeholders, including the contractors.  Clear communication on the timelines and project goals is important for them to understand the needs throughout the project to keep things on track.

Project monitoring and change control:

        • Monitoring the project’s progress is extremely important to ensure no roadblocks create any issues for the projected project timeline.  It is important to ensure consistent updates are provided from all contractors involved, internal teams, and back to client stakeholders to ensure no surprises throughout the entire process.
        • Effectively managing the change control process during an active project is also very important to ensure the project stays on track with the projected timeline and to ensure delays do not come from a change within the scope.  Effectively engaging all parties needing to be involved in the process when a change occurs to ensure timely resolution is important.

Utilizing proper and effective Project Management software:

        • Utilization of effective Project management tools is important and efficient for managing the process to completion.  It can be very easy to lose track of an important part of the project if not properly documented and managed from beginning to end.
        • Some important things to consider when choosing a project management software platform are as follows:
          1. Task management
          2. Issue trackers
          3. Online proofing
          4. Time management
          5. Group chat features
          6. Reporting
          7. Budget and cost tracking

Of course, these are just some of the things that can be helpful in the successful planning and execution within a project.  Some additional tips can be:

      • Conduct internal and external discoveries (project kickoffs) when assigned a project to gather proper scope not only from the internal Sales team but also from the external client expectation as well.
      • Conduct regular cadence meetings throughout the project lifecycle to ensure stakeholders are aligned on current status.
      • Request RFQ’s from multiple sources for not just cost comparison but also to get the best timeline for project alignment.
      • While organization is extremely important, it is also helpful to have tools and proper teammates to facilitate the best results.

Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help!  Speak up if assistance is needed.

Nicholas King is a Senior Customer Experience Manager with FLASH Parking, and a member of IPMI’s Planning, Design, & Construction Committee.