Projects are the mainstay of business in the security industry, whether you’re installing a 260-zone security system, a smart home security system with lighting and HVAC automation/control, a 16-camera installation or an access control system. To achieve the desired result of a project, the most essential element of making it happen is project management.
By definition, project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time. Be aware though — project management is different than business as usual, the ongoing process of operations management. Projects are temporary with a defined time period and have a start (closing the sale) and an end (final payment).
The goals of project management are meeting the performance and quality standards, delivering the project on time and finishing the project within budget. These three things should always be defined up front in a clearly written document called the project scope. Similar to a road map, it defines the lay of the land and will get you to where you are going, and along with good project management, will ensure your project is on budget, on time and meets specified standards.
Why make project management a priority? It helps everyone involved in the project: the customer, the builder, other subcontractors and most importantly, your firm. Project management offers organization, increases efficiency, improves accuracy, enhances communication, provides a record of the journey, dramatically increases success and ultimately increases profits.
Specific tools to use for support during a project include forms, documents, processes and procedures. In addition, there may be distinct technical skills and communication/management styles that are critical to a project. Specific project management tools to help get the job done include documented information on the client and other involved parties, floor plans marked with industry standardized symbols, a cable schedule identifying every wire to be pulled, equipment block diagrams, wiring/connection schematics and cabinet/rack layout. Good project management also includes documents such as work orders, change orders and punch lists.
Each project is unique, though there may be similarities between projects given a business might have a focus such as fire detection, security or access control. Remember: to the client, their project is unique and they expect it to be managed and delivered on time, to performance and quality standards and within budget. Verify your company utilizes the project management tools outlined here and technicians have the needed skills to perform the work. Get everyone on the same page by sharing start-to-finish flow charts of a project, defined processes and procedures to be followed and documentation tools. Drop me an email and I am happy to share VISIO files of flow charts that you can edit, because project management is paramount.