Project management: size doesn’t matter

I am a member of the sandwich generation, meaning that I have children at home and retired parents living nearby.  My mother and father are closing in on their 80th birthdays, and are thankfully hale and hardy.  They have me handle all of the details of any project having to do with their townhouse, and I am going to tell you about their upcoming project to replace their wall to wall carpeting.

It is a two story townhouse and they have an Acorn Stairlift to get to the bedrooms on the top floor.  The entire house is carpeted except for the entry hall and the kitchen and bathrooms.  This means as well as moving all of the furniture around as we remove and then lay the new carpet, we also need to remove and then replace the Stairlift as the stairs are being re carpeted as well.

Seniors want one person in charge of the entire project, it lessens their stress and makes them feel comfortable with any “issues” as they arise.  This means that I will be dealing with three separate contractors:  the carpet wholesaler, the carpet installer, and the Stairlift maintenance staff.  The potential for challenges are several, the biggest being unable to get the Stairlift back in working order quickly, which has a very serious impact on my parents’ quality of life.

It is going to be a three day process from start to finish.  A non exhaustive list of challenges is:  carpet not precut correctly, missing pieces of carpet, contractors showing up late, potential finger pointing exercises due to a contractor not having their “normal working conditions”.  A project manager (who needs to be a very effective communicator) is responsible for handling all of these situations and to ensure the work meets industry standards and is delivered on time and on budget.

In terms of all of the projects that I have dealt with over the years, this one is very small.  But it needs to be remembered that as far as the clients are concerned, it is very big, and will be the focus of their lives for the entire three days while the work is going on.  A skilled project manager will make it all go smoothly and on budget.

Because in project management, size doesn’t matter.

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