Recently I watched a live stage show which had lots of special effects and cost heaps of money to produce. But the show was disappointing. The music was too loud and the singers had to shout to be heard. In fact, the singers generally seemed to lack ability. The show was overly complicated and tried to stitch songs together and introduce complex scenes and many scene changes, which made the show disjointed – it just didn’t flow. Also, the dancers were given few opportunities to show their talents.
In fact, recently I’ve watched a number of live performances where the music drowned out the singer. Performances where aging singers didn’t live up to their reputation or the hype, and where the entertainment experience didn’t justify the huge expense.
In contrast, I’ve watched other much simpler productions, with a couple of talented singers and a handful of good dancers, which have been much more enjoyable and entertaining. They didn’t have to rely on special effects to entertain. They didn’t require loud music to hide a dearth of talent. Music, stories, and scenes supported the actors, singers, and dancers, all working together to achieve an enjoyable performance.
I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences. Frequently the big blockbuster movies which cost millions to make and are packed with special effects are overly complicated and disappointing. While simpler movies with a good storyline and a few talented actors are often much more entertaining. Shows with rising stars and new talent are often much more rewarding than some hyped-up overpaid star who has passed their sell-by date.
So what’s this got to do with construction?
Is your construction project overly complicated and dramatic?
Well, some project managers make their projects seem overly dramatic. There’s often lots of shouting, high drama as problems are resolved. But why were there problems? Sometimes these problems could have been avoided with more forethought and planning. While sometimes problems are made bigger than they actually are – making the proverbial molehill into a mountain. But all this shouting and drama takes effort and energy away from managing the project. It often hides the real problems.
Sometimes overly complicated systems are used to manage and construct projects. These complicated systems often don’t help the project, they don’t compensate for a lack of talent, and in fact, they often divert energy from where the project really needs it. Ultimately there are big production costs, sometimes large costs, but a poor end result.
Poor talent is frequently hidden behind smoke, mirrors, and noise of these dramas and complex systems. It’s amazing how some project managers always have dramas on their projects! Their projects are the only ones that seem to have difficult clients, mistakes with the estimate, poor weather, equipment failures, and endless problems. You don’t have to be working on the project to hear of the issues, they’re repeated loudly across the company.
Then there are other construction projects that employ a few good people. Talents are allowed to shine through. Special methods, systems, and expensive equipment are used sparingly and only when they’re needed. These projects have less drama, fewer fireworks, and less noise. Yet, in all of this, the project is successfully completed with a satisfied client. It’s not necessarily because these projects are simple, rather, it’s because a few talented people have quietly got on with the project. They’ve made the project as simple as possible. They’ve used methods less likely to have problems. They’ve prevented some problems from occurring. They’ve solved other problems that have arisen, knowing that problems are inevitable on construction projects and each issue has to be dealt with. They know that noise, drama, and fireworks aren’t necessary for a successful project. Shouting and blame don’t build a project.
Conclusion – don’t be fooled by dramas and fireworks on your construction project
No construction system and method can replace talented, experienced construction professionals. But, the right construction systems and methods used in the right application will support and help good construction professionals make construction projects successful. Don’t be sucked in by budget breaking expensive systems or unproven promises. Remember all the hype of the special effects of the new blockbuster movie often results in disappointment.
Don’t let the noise and dramas on your construction projects divert energy and attention away from solving the real problems. Don’t let noise and drama cover for a lack of talent. It often pays to keep projects simple and let a few talented people quietly get on with construction. Talented people should be allowed to show their talents and not be constrained by ridged systems and rules.
In construction, boring is often good and produces the most successful projects.