Hurrying—it’s an easy trap to fall into for contractors. You rush from job to job without slowing down to take stock of what went right or wrong on the last project. It may seem rather tedious to review the fine details of the project just completed, especially when you’re off and running to the next one.

There’s nothing wrong with being busy. But without a consistent post-project review system, contractors may end up repeating errors made on the last job. Instead, they should always seek to apply lessons learned from one project to the next. This allows you to build on your knowledge and make adjustments to work in progress.

No Skipping the P&L Statement

Are you guilty of thinking of projects as linear rather than circular? Start by closing the loop—from the office to the field. For example, a concrete subcontractor may specialize and focus on delivering quality, decorative concrete. But if they fail to complete each job with a P&L (profit and loss) statement, they may risk making every job as profitable as the last one.

For starters, contractors need user-friendly software. Not only can this help to more accurately track progress against original estimates, you can also more accurately predict just how long it will take to complete the next job. Takeoff software can also be used to jump-start your next project by saving historical calculations. Let’s not forget how cloud-based software applications improve communications so crew members are no longer tied to one server back at the office.

Create a Solid Review Process

No doubt, a good post-project plan is to meet one-on-one with the customer to discuss the job just completed. Not only can you document just how well expectations were met, you can also take their temperature when it comes to overall satisfaction.

You can then apply this feedback when you sit down for your internal post-project review. This meeting should include senior managers, estimators, project managers, the superintendent, the job foreman, and the director of operations. Allowing them to provide input will help you evaluate everything from job safety to project scheduling. A few more ways to build a strong post-project strategy: 

  • Make sure your estimator receives positive or corrective feedback from the project management group for future bids
  • Capture before, during, and after photos to illustrate what worked and didn’t work
  • Take lots of photos and notes from your team lead to create a top 10 strength’s story and also identify your top 10 weaknesses

Post-Project Reviews Build Teamwork

It’s never too late to create a post-project review system. What’s key is to keep working at it until it becomes second nature. Applying post-project takeaways from one job to the next is a winning strategy that can improve teamwork and help to reduce potential issues for the next project.

Sure, it is easy to get caught up rushing to win lots of work—without taking a step back to assess why and what you are bidding. Let On Center Software show you how to bid what you do best and lessen your risk. Get our whitepaper, Overcoming the Pitfalls of Estimating, for more winning strategies.

Allen Crowley, is director of business development for On Center Software.