New projects are exciting and new business is necessary for survival. If you don’t take the time to scope the project and price it right, you’ll lose more than profit. Can your firm afford to lose its good reputation, be known for providing poor service and, thus, create low staff morale?
A lesson I learned early on in my engineering career was the consequences of accepting a project from a partner who knew it was a money loser. “Getting a foot in the door” was the excuse. A year later, with a way over budget project, I had my performance review. “Too bad your project lost so much money.” “What the F!?” Not too much later I changed jobs. I realized I could not obtain a high reputation in a firm like that.
This experience was one of many that supported my extreme discipline of making sure my budgets were adequate and projects were completed with top level profits. Over the course of my career, this performance contributed to me being elected shareholder at two firms and I regularly was the most profitable project manager. I learned that making money led to good things.
Howard Birnberg, Executive Director of the Association for Project Managers, touches on several of the skills I mastered that made me successful. In his piece on CSNews, failure to adequately assess your firm’s capabilities, to have good contract language and secure an adequate budget, could result in big problems. Learn, apply, and stay disciplined.