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Topics: Construction, Consulting, Using PMI Standards
You are Project Manager in a Project Management Consultancy firm, your team member has made a mistake, which will cause the contractor time and cost, how will you manage the situation?
You are managing a construction project, your team member has approved a material not desirable by Client and you agree with the Client, this change will cost the contractor time and cost, in a Fixed Price Project, how will you manage this situation?
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We need to follow the contract. This will sometimes have consequential damages also.
If it is only " personal wish or desire " rather than technical requirement , by a good relationship we can have a give and take agreement.
If the material specification is signed off by client and yet not followed then it is Project Managers mistake and need to fix this problem at the earliest.
What is the authority level of the team member who has approved the material ?

Check with supplier if the material is not used can be exchanged with the approved make and amount need to be adjusted within the budget.
I'd look at using the project's contingency budget, it is there for situations like this, and get the project back on track as fast as possible. This will show positive action & should help to mend the relationship with the Client.
Better to correct the mistake. You may highlight a risk to the client and correct it.
Try to expedite the timelines and use contingency budget to bear cost.
I agree with what has been said up to this point, but the details you give a little vague. Most of the answers here are classifying this as a "mistake," which may not be the actual case. If there are signed-off material specifications and the material in question meets those specifications, then there may be room for a "change order" in relation to the client (and your own) preference. If there are no agreed upon material specifications then there is a possible process issue in relation to the project because material specs and drawings should be approved prior to most (if not all!) purchases (excluding long lead items, but those at least should have the material specs).

However, if there are approved material specs and the material ordered is not suitable, then the project needs to swallow the cost and determine methods for correction, either through working with the supplier to swap, purchasing new material and attempting to sell the incorrect material or by adjusting the design.

In addition, the project may need to find ways to address the contractor time. Can you adjust the sequence of events to address the delivery timetable of the new material? Perhaps other activities can occur earlier in the project plan to make use of the time? Can you "crash" the project with some temporary labor to pick-up the time? What type of buffers do you have in place? Considering this is construction, will it eat into your weather windows?

There are a lot of details to consider when dealing with an issue like this. At the very least, to keep it from happening again, you should probably sit down with the client and review material specifications, as well as work through a session to identify any other personal preferences which may impact your project and should be communicated to the project team. I wish you the best of luck!
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1 reply by Pavan Mandlik
Jul 01, 2022 5:11 AM
Pavan Mandlik
...
Good explanation.
Hi Mohammed Assim,
Here are my thoughts.
The solution ways of this kind of issues are to be initiated during the project early stages. As Tim PM mentions above, a well planned project must include contingency allowances for the estimated manhours, planning/scheduling and budget from the Project Charter definition, continue during the Scope of Work completion and explicitly defined in the contract.
In the kind of situation you describe , first thing I do is find out the root causes for the mistake to happen.
Was it:
- Lack of enough information. By whom?
- Poor communication. Between which parties?
- Insufficient attention. By which of the responsible party(ies)?
- Lack of knowledge/experience. By the person in charge?
and so on.
Based on the above I formulate my strategy to approach and solve the problem.
For instance:
- Schedule Fast Tracking
- Expediting the Procurement process
- Overlapping construction activities through revising the PERT
- Critical Path
among many other alternatives to speed-up and increasing cost efficiency.
An open discussion of my findings, opinions, conclusions and resolution path with all the individuals involved in the occurrence of the mistake, either one on one or collective meeting helps me clarify the what, when, who, how, where and when the problem originated and why it escalated to have an impact on the schedule and budget. During that discussion is the best time to request everyone to provide their input on causes, consequences and possible solutions.From my final analysis in light of the results obtained so far I will put together a Remedial Plan, contact the Client to disclose the problem found and present the proposed solution(s). If more than one option is available, clearly indicate the one I recommend and why, and ask for their feedback on how they prefer to have the issue resolved.
Only after that, it's time to talk about impact on schedule and budget. If the contingencies included in the contract allow to have the problem resolved within their boundaries, apply them. Otherwise try and negotiate with the client the best options to reach a mutually convenient agreement.
Then, get to work and have it done ASAP to the Client's complete satisfaction, or as close enough as practically possible.
A final round with the team on the Lessons Learned from the mishap and the ways to avoid future occurrences of similar situations should be held and recorded in writing for future use by the project and the Project Management Consulting firm as part of the corporate culture.
Personal responsibilities and potential liabilities assessment are to be initiated from the onset and the appropriate measures applied as deemed necessary be it at the beginning, during or after the corrective process is performed.
Even though it might seem like a very long time will be required to follow all the steps mentioned above, it doesn't have to be so. The process can and should be expedited as much as possible by the Project Manager himself with the participation of the Project Team and input and feed back from the Client representatives .
...
1 reply by Pavan Mandlik
Jul 01, 2022 5:15 AM
Pavan Mandlik
...
Well thought and practical answer.
Jun 13, 2017 10:12 AM
Replying to Matthew Morey
...
I agree with what has been said up to this point, but the details you give a little vague. Most of the answers here are classifying this as a "mistake," which may not be the actual case. If there are signed-off material specifications and the material in question meets those specifications, then there may be room for a "change order" in relation to the client (and your own) preference. If there are no agreed upon material specifications then there is a possible process issue in relation to the project because material specs and drawings should be approved prior to most (if not all!) purchases (excluding long lead items, but those at least should have the material specs).

However, if there are approved material specs and the material ordered is not suitable, then the project needs to swallow the cost and determine methods for correction, either through working with the supplier to swap, purchasing new material and attempting to sell the incorrect material or by adjusting the design.

In addition, the project may need to find ways to address the contractor time. Can you adjust the sequence of events to address the delivery timetable of the new material? Perhaps other activities can occur earlier in the project plan to make use of the time? Can you "crash" the project with some temporary labor to pick-up the time? What type of buffers do you have in place? Considering this is construction, will it eat into your weather windows?

There are a lot of details to consider when dealing with an issue like this. At the very least, to keep it from happening again, you should probably sit down with the client and review material specifications, as well as work through a session to identify any other personal preferences which may impact your project and should be communicated to the project team. I wish you the best of luck!
Good explanation.
Nov 16, 2020 4:14 PM
Replying to Emilio Reyes-Hernandez
...
Hi Mohammed Assim,
Here are my thoughts.
The solution ways of this kind of issues are to be initiated during the project early stages. As Tim PM mentions above, a well planned project must include contingency allowances for the estimated manhours, planning/scheduling and budget from the Project Charter definition, continue during the Scope of Work completion and explicitly defined in the contract.
In the kind of situation you describe , first thing I do is find out the root causes for the mistake to happen.
Was it:
- Lack of enough information. By whom?
- Poor communication. Between which parties?
- Insufficient attention. By which of the responsible party(ies)?
- Lack of knowledge/experience. By the person in charge?
and so on.
Based on the above I formulate my strategy to approach and solve the problem.
For instance:
- Schedule Fast Tracking
- Expediting the Procurement process
- Overlapping construction activities through revising the PERT
- Critical Path
among many other alternatives to speed-up and increasing cost efficiency.
An open discussion of my findings, opinions, conclusions and resolution path with all the individuals involved in the occurrence of the mistake, either one on one or collective meeting helps me clarify the what, when, who, how, where and when the problem originated and why it escalated to have an impact on the schedule and budget. During that discussion is the best time to request everyone to provide their input on causes, consequences and possible solutions.From my final analysis in light of the results obtained so far I will put together a Remedial Plan, contact the Client to disclose the problem found and present the proposed solution(s). If more than one option is available, clearly indicate the one I recommend and why, and ask for their feedback on how they prefer to have the issue resolved.
Only after that, it's time to talk about impact on schedule and budget. If the contingencies included in the contract allow to have the problem resolved within their boundaries, apply them. Otherwise try and negotiate with the client the best options to reach a mutually convenient agreement.
Then, get to work and have it done ASAP to the Client's complete satisfaction, or as close enough as practically possible.
A final round with the team on the Lessons Learned from the mishap and the ways to avoid future occurrences of similar situations should be held and recorded in writing for future use by the project and the Project Management Consulting firm as part of the corporate culture.
Personal responsibilities and potential liabilities assessment are to be initiated from the onset and the appropriate measures applied as deemed necessary be it at the beginning, during or after the corrective process is performed.
Even though it might seem like a very long time will be required to follow all the steps mentioned above, it doesn't have to be so. The process can and should be expedited as much as possible by the Project Manager himself with the participation of the Project Team and input and feed back from the Client representatives .
Well thought and practical answer.
You haven't provided enough information/details to get into specifics.

Your first obligation is to mitigate the impact on the project, second is to protect your client, third to be fair with the contractor and fourth to protect your firm. Last is to protect yourself.

I provide this order of actions wisely as the first, second and third will go a long way towards fourth and last.

The other issue is to consider who is at risk due to the error. What do the contracts read? what is available through insurance policies?

Thus, no quick answer. Systematically review the impact, the mitigation options, who will be damaged, legal obligations, corporate relationships, etc.
My way of working is in line with @Matthew comments above. Mainly to understand if there was a mistake or not.
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