After a recent organizational restructure, Lone Star Communications decided to add a new layer of superintendent positions to its operations department. The creation of these positions also created the need for training.
“Originally, our superintendents and project managers were acting in a combined role of project manager,” explains Dan Hiett, senior vice president of operations for Lone Star Communications. “As a result, a lot of our project management duties weren’t being closely looked at. When things got busy, the project management role would understandably take a back seat, and our employees would concentrate instead on their superintendent roles.”
So job duties were separated, along with a reorganization of teams and departments, to establish defined superintendent and project management roles. After this change, Hiett wanted to make sure that everyone understood their purpose, and how the two new roles would interact.
He had seen Nadim Sawaya, principal at Enterprise Performance Consulting, an NSCA Member Advisory Councilmember, present in the past, and knew that his expertise spanned project management. So Hiett reached out to NSCA to learn more about how Sawaya might be able to help ease the transition for employees impacted by the restructuring.
How the Training Works
On the first day, staff members from a variety of departments were invited to join the training. Discussions were focused on the purpose of project management, the roles of project team members, and tips and advice to establish a successful career in project management. By including adjacent team members, such as IT, engineers, estimators, and warehouse employees, everyone had the chance to learn how project management fits into the big picture – and how it impacts everyone else’s roles and responsibilities.
“When we talked about some of these deeper subjects, like estimating, it was helpful to have everyone in the room together so we could all hear about the different aspects and considerations that go into estimating,” Hiett explains. “It was great for the employees to discuss estimating labor rates so they could see all the elements involved – not just basic employer costs. It was a conversation that most of them hadn’t had before, and it was eye-opening for them to discover why and how we come to the prices we do.”
On the second day of training, a smaller group of project management employees participated to focus on the functional aspects of their roles, including financials, metrics, negotiations, change orders, and working with subcontractors.
The Impact of Knowledgeable PMs
“Nadim brought stories to everything he taught, and they’re so easy to relate to,” says Hiett. “He has a huge amount of information that he loves to share. He’s absolutely an asset.”
As a result of Enterprise Performance Consulting’s training, Hiett has seen an increase in confidence from the company’s project managers. They now understand their responsibilities, and recognize how they impact others. The company’s new superintendents are also more confident in their roles as well.
“It’s hard to put a value on staff training like this,” says Hiett. “Having a better understanding of roles – not just for the people in them, but for the people around them – is a huge benefit. It helps improve the synergy of our company.”