The top consideration when looking to hire a project management company is quality of work: “Will this company do a good job?” But what does “doing a good job” look like for projects with increasing complexity and obstacles? In this article, we have compiled a list of seven important traits to consider when choosing a project management company, and how Baseline Controls excels in these areas.
- Technical Competence
- Industry Experience
- Level of Detail
- Project Experience
- Continuous Improvement
1. Technical Competence
Can They Run the Software?
Let’s start with the basics. Does the firm know how to run your preferred scheduling software? The days of scheduling in Microsoft Excel are over. The complexity of projects today requires software optimized for the occasion. Baseline Controls uses several tools for scheduling and reporting. Some of these include:
- Microsoft Project
- Primavera P6
Our project controls engineers are well versed in scheduling tools, giving our clients the freedom to choose the tool that best fits their needs and expectations.
Do They Have Excellent Communication Skills?
Communication is one of the most important elements for successful project management. Open dialogue with the project team is critical in every project phase. This facilitates input from the team and ultimately leads to a solution that everyone can understand, approve and support. In our previous blog post, Five Tips to Successful Project Management, we outlined the importance of communication.
At Baseline Controls, we understand that schedules for large projects can be daunting. Our consultants have significant industry knowledge and a deep understanding of what we are doing. We take great care to communicate this information in simple terms and plain language. We take ownership of the schedule and its management, giving our clients the freedom to focus on other priorities with the knowledge and confidence that the schedule is being managed.
“Baseline got down on our level so we could understand the information. They made it easy for us to do what we needed to do.” —Baseline Controls client
3. Industry Experience
Do They Understand What Needs to Get Done?
Most everyone agrees that scheduling is an important part of any project. Without a good schedule, it is almost impossible to push the project forward while abiding by the numerous other constraints that exist on large projects. Instead, lost time and slippage often occur. Good schedules are detailed and serve as an effective reference document. A typical schedule for a large project might contain more than 10,000 events. The only way that a project management company will be able to provide that level of detail is with industry experience.
Baseline Controls has a diverse portfolio of projects in several industries, including pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, high-tech production, food and beverage, industrial construction, energy and utilities, and IT systems. Our team’s expertise in facility startup and facility expansion — particularly in the pharmaceutical industry with its inherent complexity – positions us to expertly tackle other industries.
4. Level of Detail
Do They Deliver the Right Level of Detail?
As we highlighted above, a high level of detail is crucial to an effective schedule and a successful project. Project management companies with more industry and project experience will be better equipped to provide the optimal level of schedule detail. Since Baseline Controls was founded in 2010, we have completed more than 100 projects with quantities of activities ranging from the hundreds to the tens of thousands. From this experience, we have developed a database of schedule templates and insight into the details necessary for a project schedule to be a hard-working tool.
5. Project Experience
Do They Work on Similar Size Projects?
Within project management, lessons learned from one project can almost always be transferred to another project. Projects of similar size, similar timelines, or similar complexity can often be related to one another. Because of this, Baseline Controls improves with every project we manage, taking lessons and experiences from individual projects and incorporating them into our overall management methodology. We have managed small stand-alone capital expansion projects, large full-production campus startups, and every project size and complexity in between.
6. Continuous Improvement
Do They Strive for Continuous Improvement of the Schedule?
A project management company should consistently update and improve the project schedule. Project schedules are a crucial resource, but they are also living documents. Progress should be updated consistently, and events can be altered to accommodate the many obstacles that arise during a project. Beyond simply updating progress, the project management company should strive for continuous improvement. An on-time schedule can still be improved. Methodologies like Lean Six Sigma show us just how crucial continuous improvement is to growth and success. At Baseline Controls, some of our core values include being results-driven and continuously improving. We are always learning from our projects, and we tie that knowledge into our future best practices.
Can the Scheduler be Trusted?
Perhaps the most important thing to look for in a project management company is trust in the scheduler. At a minimum, you should be able to trust that the scheduler can manage the schedule. But more than that, the scheduler should add value beyond this minimum requirement. Does the scheduler truly understand what scheduling is about? Are they interested and excited about the success of the project? Can they provide valuable insight from their previous experiences that others cannot? These ideas are all reflected in the core values of Baseline Controls as well as in testimonials from our clients.
“The success of a project comes down to the people. Baseline Controls delivers on-time, and they are capable, smart communicators who bring innovative ideas to the table. They are a great company and team, and I love working with them.” —Baseline Controls client
Why Choose Baseline Controls?
In this article, we discussed seven key considerations when deciding to hire a project management company. This knowledge comes directly from conversations with our clients about their project management and schedule needs. Baseline Controls excels in these seven skill areas, which is why our clients keep coming back to us. There is no doubt in their minds when they ask the question, “Who will do a good job?” that the answer is Baseline Controls.
“I need people who I can trust will show up and won’t let me down. Baseline Controls certainly provides that, and I recommend them with no hesitation whatsoever.” —Baseline Controls client