What I Learned on a $1 Billion Project

Photo by Marc Barnes

What I learned on the nearly $1 billion hospital project:

1. It takes a lot of people, coordination, and collaboration to make this project work.

2. You can get lost in the shuffle.

3. There is always an opportunity to work on the most complex problems.

4. Leaders always rise to the occasion.

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I started out as a scheduling project manager working on fragnets (small schedules inside the master schedule) on an over 38,000 activity schedule. It was complex. You had to know all about the change order and then find the place in the schedule most appropriate for the work. The schedule was cost and resource loaded. This means what you put in the schedule will impact the monthly billing for the project. I chose to cover the MEP systems, well I might have been volunteered. It was the systems no one wanted to touch because of the complexity and the amount of people involved to get answers.

I loved working on the changes, analyzing the schedule, working with the superintendents to get the answers I needed, and to see how the project was billed every 30 days. Quickly, I started to run change order/scheduling meetings. It was a lot of work but I felt good.

US Army Corps of Engineers, Owner’s Representative came to me and asked me if I would oversee the progress of work and to walk each payment application with them prior to approval. This was great. I would schedule meetings with each superintendent to walk the area of the project they were responsible for and would sit down and update percent complete in addition to my scheduling responsibilities. There were 8 superintendents. I put a process in place to be more efficient and effective to: 1) provide timely and efficient meetings 2) schedule walk-thrus multiple times throughout the month 3) create thoughtful agendas for all meetings to maximize the time with each group.

This is just one of my many projects and experiences. I always take on the most complex situations because problem solving creates maximum learning opportunities.

I’ve put the process I used, along with the 30+ projects I’ve been on in the past 21 years into an online course: Effective Tools for Successful Construction Managers. For a limited time, this course will be offered for $199. Use coupon code: dardengroup at checkout. Course link: courses.dardengroupllc.com.

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