Innovation has become somewhat of a buzzword that gets tossed around by many professionals and organizations to describe their business and what sets them apart from others. While many project management pros I work with tout their innovative capabilities, I see many of them struggle to make strides because they are often afraid to take risks. Taking risks is the only true way to innovate and stay ahead of the game, especially in established industries such as construction project management.
Innovation Requires Adopting New Technologies
Innovation is not a one-and-done business practice or something you build into your company’s mission statement and ignore. It is a commitment to exploring new ways of operating and embracing how to improve upon existing practices.
Technology is a conduit for innovation in any modern business. However, it can be tough to keep up with the advancements, which often leaves companies lacking the software needed to take operations to the next level. Learning the ins and outs of industry software and utilizing it to work more efficiently allows project management firms to execute innovate solutions and demonstrate effectiveness to clients.
Having the tools to take a client on a 3D model tour of their new space or to create a punch list that simplifies and streamlines the project management process is invaluable. Utilizing cloud-based technologies is becoming essential, as it gives the project management team immediate access to information from anywhere at any time. Having updated information at your fingertips can make all the difference in getting critical details and action items communicated and addressed to keep a project on schedule.
A true innovator is someone who thinks creatively and considers what can be done to enhance the workflow and better connect and communicate with clients.
Taking Risks Fosters Growth
Business managers who are resistant to change are more likely to find their companies becoming stagnant. While there’s a lot to be said for playing it safe, to become a leader in any field or simply stay at the top of your game, it is essential to take risks. Taking risks shows confidence and leads to unforeseen opportunities.
Risk-taking helps us to learn; in turn, those lessons can take us on a personal journey and provide opportunities for internal and organizational growth. It can also lead us down a new path of business and inspire diversification.
Diversification is a key factor for growth. Expanding services offered or industries a company serves are two paths for diversifying and creating new opportunities within an established industry. Of course, with any expansion, there’s some risk involved. For example, you may take on a new client in an industry sector you have not worked with previously. While the project management process is largely the same, you will likely face an initial learning curve working with new people in a new market area. Breaking into a new market of industry may demand a different fee structure or other adaptations. In the end, your experience is what matters and a good project manager will have the ability to translate that to a new market segment.
Carving Your Path In An Established Industry
If you are new to construction project management and looking for innovative ways to establish yourself, it would be smart to consider the following:
• Look for opportunities to work with a general contractor before moving into project management. Learning how a general contractor works will help you gain a deeper understanding of what project management entails.
• Consider working for a big firm or on big projects that expose you to different stakeholders — it’s a good way to earn your stripes.
• Get involved in the industry; become a board member of your local construction alliance chapter. Developing relationships in the industry and creating opportunities for visibility helps build your network and credibility, which leads to trust and, in turn, new business.
• Remember to say thank you. It might just land you your next big project.
Be prepared and perform your due diligence before taking on a new client or project. A good project manager will perform a SWOT analysis to help mitigate risk and maximize results. Project management is about building good relationships with clients and vendors. The most successful outcomes have buy-in from all parties at the get-go, and it’s the project manager’s job to make this happen.