One of the keys to turning a profit on Pennsylvania real estate deals is to manage each project you undertake efficiently. Good project management eliminates many of the bottlenecks and snafus that can tie your project up and delay its eventual sale.
As you might expect, project management on a big real estate deal is a little like herding cats. You have to be able to wrangle multiple people and tasks, doing what you can to ensure that each member of your team pulls their weight and delivers things on schedule.
Nobody ever claimed it was easy, but fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep things running smoothly.
Project Management Tip #1: Setting Deadlines
A good project manager needs to know how long it takes to get things done. They must also be familiar with each team member’s schedule and capabilities so they can take those into account.
That’s especially true in real estate when each step of a renovation or build is dependent upon the previous step being completed. You can’t have the painters come in before the electrician—that’s why proper deadlines are essential.
It’s natural to want to get your project done as quickly as possible, but you also have to be realistic and knowledgeable about common delays. When you’re scheduling something that relies on the weather, for example, you must consider the possibility of delays.
Project Management Tip #2: Scheduling Meetings
When it comes to real estate investing, meetings are a necessary evil. Nobody really likes them, but you have to have them sometimes to keep things running smoothly.
If you want to manage a project effectively, do what you can to minimize meetings and schedule them at times when they’re convenient for your team. If you insist on scheduling them on your schedule—or at the last minute—you risk alienating people.
It’s also a good idea to keep meetings as short and streamlined as possible. Let your team know that you won’t tolerate politicking. They should make a point once and then move on.
And, of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t schedule a meeting if an email or a phone call will do.
Project Management Tip #3: Conveying Your Expectations
One of the trickiest things to do in any project is to set reasonable expectations for your team. You need to have a clear vision of what you want before you give directions to the people who work with you.
However, it’s not enough to have expectations. You also have to be able to convey them to your team—clearly, and without any ambiguity.
If you’ve been working with the same group for a long time, then you may have a kind of shorthand that allows you to communicate efficiently. But, if you have new team members, then you need to make sure not to assume anything.
The best project managers are those who don’t beat around the bush. They use direct language and set clear guidelines so that the entire team knows what’s expected of them and when it’s expected.
When necessary, put things in writing. It’s best to document all of the important elements of your plan so that there’s no confusion—and so you have something to refer back to if needed.
Project Management Tip #4: Keeping Communication Open
The final thing you can do is to determine the best forms of communication to use for your team and then stick to them as much as possible.
For example, some people greatly prefer email and hate to be interrupted by a phone call. Others may be inclined to use Skype. You’ll have to figure out the best and most efficient means to communicate with your team to minimize irritation and maximize understanding.
Ultimately, the methods you use to convey your expectations are just as important as the expectations themselves. You don’t have to kowtow to each team member’s needs, but you do need to make sure that you get your point across.
The bottom line is…
Effective project management is the key to finishing a project on time and within your budget. You can’t expect your team to meet your expectations if you don’t do a good job of setting them—and conveying what you need and want in a way they can understand.