Driving efficiency

Mar 25, 2019

Implementing a tailor-made set of processes for your tailor-made firm will increase your chances of success, regardless of the space in which you compete.

Regardless of the niche your firm has found, if you Google “project execution methodology,” you will find about 55.1 million results in 0.59 seconds. Ask 10 different project management professionals what type of project execution methodology is best and you will likely get 10 different answers. With all the options available, it can be difficult to decide what makes the most sense for your firm. So, why not develop your own?

At Gateway Engineers, we engage in many projects each year. Approximately 5,500 of them for more than 630 clients in 2018. While our average project size – approximately $16,000 – is modest in comparison to the industry, we can profitably execute such a high volume based on one of our core operating philosophies – efficiency. Efficiency is so important that the goal of our project management system is to “efficiently” execute projects. Being efficient is synonymous with being focused and organized. It’s a win-win for our clients and company. So, with this systematic mindset we developed and continue to improve, we drive efficiency gains.

During the development of the methodology, we set out to answer the complex question of, “How do we execute projects?” Meaning, what actions do we take? What fundamentals are involved? What systems, tools, and processes are available to help us? What reports can we review or monitor to help us? What concepts and philosophies can guide us? What can we do on current projects to help us on future projects? Furthermore, we wanted our methodology to be applicable to all projects, regardless of their attributes. When applied to a project, even in different ways or with varying intensity, the chance of project success increases exponentially.

With these key thoughts and objectives in place, we developed four principles that are the cornerstones of Gateway Engineers’ Project Execution Methodology.

  • The project life cycle. The methodology loosely follows the project lifecycle. However, it is not a one-way flowchart or top-down checklist. Gateway views the project lifecycle in broad terms, including activities associated with selling and closing projects. This adheres closely to our strong belief in, and use of, the seller/doer model and allows our project managers to more thoroughly plan their selling and closing efforts.
  • Project management fundamentals. Our PEM depicts project management fundamentals. It visually represents the relationship among individual fundamentals and how they fit within our way of executing projects.
  • The flexibility principle. The methodology is designed as a framework applicable to all projects. It allows project managers to pick and choose any or all parts of the methodology best suited for each project. The framework design is flexible so projects of all types, sizes, clients, and disciplines could use what is necessary to increase the likelihood of success.
  • The framework. Our PEM works best when our project management systems, tools, and processes are used in conjunction with one another. Not all elements require the same amount of time or attention, so it is up to project managers (see The flexibility principle) to determine the most effective use of the methodology to satisfy clients and maximize efficiency.

Gateway’s Project Execution Methodology is a collection of project management fundamentals, systems, tools, processes, concepts, and philosophies. Instead of adhering to an off-the-shelf execution methodology, we tailored something unique to our own business. One of our niches is small projects. We do a lot of them and we seek to do them very efficiently! With this systematic approach, it has helped us win in a space where other companies find hardship.

Ryan Hayes is the director of business development with Gateway Engineers headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. Contact him at rhayes@gatewayengineers.com.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.