Blogs

Continuous Improvement: What We Can Learn From Project Personalities

It is interesting how each project develops its own personality.

Some projects have a very positive personality. Communications are great. The project chemistry is great. Everyone on the project seems to click. Other projects are sleepers. They just seem to get done without anyone who is not involved noticing. Then, other projects have more challenges to them. They demand the attention and focus of management and other resources beyond the normal project team.

The Benefits of Unplugging

Quitting something “cold turkey” is very difficult to do, unless the thing you are quitting is no longer available. There are 168 hours in a week. If we get an average of 7 hours of sleep per night, that leaves 119 waking hours. So, if we are working 40 hours per week, it is one-third of our waking hours.

A Lean Approach: How Planning and Understanding Provide Customer Value

I attended a seminar this past week on Lean strategies. The speaker pointed out that while Lean is often thought of as a manufacturing strategy, it is applicable to any series of tasks that make up a process. So any such process, whether it is the manufacturing process, the process for running a loan application through a financial institution, or the process for designing and building a building, is a candidate for applying Lean principles.

One-Time Impact Fees: The Multiplier Effect, Part 2

By: Jonathan Gemmen, Senior Location Consultant with Austin Consulting

Last month, we discussed the concept of impact fees and the steps that expanding firms can take to avoid them. This month, we will focus on the significant cost implications that water and wastewater (sanitary sewer) impact fees can have on new industrial operations, especially those using a significant amount of water and discharging a significant amount of wastewater.

There’s No Place Like Home: Creating a Desirable Business Culture

Two unrelated news stories this week have me thinking about what they have in common.

These stories both have to do with Cleveland and show how this town is on the upswing. The Republican National Convention will be held here in 2016, and LeBron James is coming back to Cleveland. In both cases, there is an underlying statement that this area is growing and has a lot to offer. It is, simply said, a desirable place.

How Upfront Project Planning and a Design-Build Approach Benefits the Customer

The most recent issue of Engineering News Record (ENR) featured two articles that referenced improvements being introduced into the planning of projects. The first article noted changes in the AIA family of contracts, which include terms and conditions that are “designed to protect the Owner’s criteria for a project; [and] enhance the design in design-build, including a requirement for preliminary design by the design builder…”

It's All About the Fundamentals

 

Recently, an experienced sales professional told me he was focusing on making connections and he wasn’t going to go out on any “milk runs” until he had a live prospect. Email and networking on the phone was his strategy for connecting and prequalifying leads.

Reading for Continuous Improvement and Business Growth

For a long time, I have made it a habit to always read one or two books at the same time. My personal formula is a non-fiction book on history, especially biographies, and a business book of some sort. For many reasons, I fell out of this practice the first six months of this year. I had been reading a book on organizational lifecycles that, while very interesting, read like a text book.

Project Communications: Writing with Empathy

Several recent communication issues with some clients have surfaced that have caused me to think about the common link between them. What I have found is that written communications take place with more focus on communicating what the writer wants to say, rather than being empathetic to how the intended reader will interpret the message.

One-Time Impact Fees: The Multiplier Effect, Part 1

By: Jonathan Gemmen, Location Consultant with Austin Consulting

Whether it’s a “shop fee” charged at the car repair center or “process and handling” charges on a mail-order or internet purchase, retail and distribution outlets have found ways of passing on their fixed and operating costs to their customers. Similarly, local governments and municipal utilities providers have found one-time, up-front ‘impacts fees’ to be an efficient way of raising municipal revenues.

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