Part 3 – By Ron Pestone
Many times the Project Manager must run interference for the Foreman. The Foreman is on the job all day long every day and the Project Manager isn’t so when the owner has to be told a serious no the Project Manager is the individual that must do it. In public he must back the Foreman no matter what and he must never let the owner or his reps divide them. A good Project Manager needs to make it clear to the office what the Foreman’s priorities are. A simple illustration of this is installation drawings. Each Foreman has a particular way he likes to see his installation drawings, drawn. They like to see their ups and downs displayed a certain way. The Project Manager needs to make sure the engineers in the office are complying with the Foreman’s wishes. He either needs to bring the engineer out to the field or the Foreman into the office to make sure this happens.
While there are a hundred and one things a Project Manager needs to be good at none is more important in my mind than billing. Contractors are not bankers and under no circumstances should they be funding any project. A Project Manager who is afraid to bill or doesn’t want to fight for what is rightfully the company’s because he wants to be seen as a good guy needs to find another line of work. Getting paid is like change orders, you only get it if you ask for it. And many times asking for it doesn’t do it, you need to fight for it. When you bill it represents what everybody broke their backs for, nobody should ever be afraid to not only ask for but if necessary to demand the money his company has rightfully coming. No matter where I worked or what the position was I always considered the company’s money like it was mine. Any Project Manager who does not feel this way in his gut is in the wrong business.
When you team up a great Foreman with a great Project Manager the job is going to be a winner. Only exception being a terrible estimate. When you are supervising you need to know how to team up the right personalities. Some guys are just not made to work together. Putting the right guys together is a little bit of an art form but it’s like buying new shoes. You are in the shoe store and you’ve tried on a half dozen pairs of shoes and while they didn’t feel bad they just weren’t right. Then you slipped on a pair and right then and there you knew. That’s the way it is teaming up guys.
I have spent many years in the business and know just how important the Foreman and Project Manager are on any project. How each is dependent upon the other and when the combo is right, how right it really is. In my book coming out in 2013, BOOK OF ELM, VOLUME 1, COMMON SENSE SUBCONTRACTING WITH ELM JOB COSTING & MORE I redefine some of the responsibilities of the Foreman and Project Manager and in doing so developed a simple, effective job costing system that delivers profits instead of excuses. What makes this system different is that the Foremen support it as well as the Project Manager. In the end this benefits everyone including the company.
Happy New Year Everyone
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