The other members of your project team undoubtedly have skills and knowledge that you don’t (PROJECT MANAGEMENT TIPS: USE WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW), but are you tapping all the other sources of useful insight when it comes to planning and executing projects? There may be more repositories of information waiting out there for Project Managers willing to expand their horizons.
Past contractors. These folks can offer candid, actionable feedback on previous projects, and provide suggestions for avoiding problems on the next one. Ask them about things such as any operational issues you should address and the quality and timeliness of your team’s communication. Contractors are commonly included in routine project meetings, but an informal lunch may yield additional information on ways to streamline your team’s processes.
Suppliers. The companies that provide materials for your projects may be able to offer information on alternatives that are lower cost or have shorter lead times. They can also be a valuable resource during the planning phase, as they’re likely to have all available information on material shortages as well as the latest installation and maintenance recommendations.
Inspectors. Anyone from a regulatory body who will be evaluating a portion of your project for compliance can offer tremendous insight on how to avoid common problems. Consider picking their brain when you do not have a project going that will require their attention—you’ll be able to focus on broad process-related issues instead of just what’s on the immediate task list.
Support departments. Hopefully you’re in regular contact with other departments in your organization about how the project process is flowing, but it may also be a good idea to bring folks together occasionally for a more general review. Find out if there are ways your Project Team could tweak its practices to be a better partner (and streamline the project process at the same time).