CPM Mechanics: Must Reading for Construction Project Managers and Field Superintendents

If you are a Field Superintendent (aka, Construction Site Manager), you most likely work for a General Contractor. If you are a Project Manager, you could work for an Owner, a General Contractor, a Construction Manager, an Owner’s Representative, or an Architect or Engineer. Since each different employer typically has a different set of expectations for the role of Project Manager, you will want to be flexible in your interpretation of what you read below.

While there is anything but universal agreement on what these two labels refer to, the general understanding is that Field Superintendents spend 90% of their day out in the field and 10% in the job site trailer, whereas Projects Managers spend 90% of their day in the job site trailer, and maybe 10% out in the field.

Where this distinction makes sense, Project Manager responsibilities mainly include overseeing the entire project; liaising with the “suits” (Contractor’s Home Office Management, Owner and its agents, Design Professionals, government entities, etc.), and handling all of the paperwork that the project generates. By contrast, the Field Superintendent “minds the store;” that is, he gets the job built!

You Both Depend On a Quality Project Schedule

Neither of you can do your job, properly or effectively, without the aid of a coherent, credible, and responsive Project Schedule. We know this because the two of you work hand-in-hand, tied to the hip as you are … and your collective and unrelenting assignment (construction supervision) entails: Collaboration, Coordination, Cooperation, and Communication

You need the Project Schedule to do each one of these things.

Across the other pages of this website you will learn a lot more about how the two of you should work, and why all too often you are not allowed to be managing a project as you see fit  … because of the way your mother organizations have been calling the shots.

Why CPM Mechanics is Important Reading for YOU!

And so, on this page where we wish to encourage you to read CPM Mechanics, we divide our pitch into two throws:

  • We respectfully assert that the contents of CPM Mechanics will help you to be a better Project Manager and Field Superintendent, by showing you how you can do your Project and Construction Management jobs better.
  • We also respectfully assert that your employers could do a far better job of setting the project conditions and parameters for your good work, if only they would better understand how Project Ecology assists or obstructs Project Time Management efforts, and Project Management achievement more generally. They can acquire this better understanding by reading CPM Mechanics.

Logically, then, we would encourage each of you to read the pages directed toward your employers. If you work for a General Contractor, read what we have to say to them. If you work for an Owner, read what we have said to them. In fact, you might want to read all of those pages, as each one says something different, and are clearly germane to what you do for a living.

Information: the Lifeblood of Project time Management

For credible, timely, useful, and accessible information is the lifeblood of the project: of Project Management and of Project Time Management. That is why both Project Coordinator and Project Executor are so intimately involved in the creation and use of the Project Schedule. For, at the end of the day, the Project Schedule is also the ever-essential Project Execution Strategy.

Project Managers Create Vastly More Schedules Than Do Schedulers

That’s a fact! It is estimated that 80% of all Project Schedules are produced by Project Managers or General Superintendents, the rest crafted by Schedulers or others. Unfortunately, it is also estimated that 90% of all Project Managers have no formal training in how to design, develop, or maintain Project Schedules. But don’t feel bad: neither do most “professional” Planners and Schedulers.

When training is acquired, it typically comes from one of five places:

  • A single course as part of some broader four-year college degree.
  • A one-week seminar hosted by a scheduling software company or their licensed trainers.
  • A short, one-day or two-day workshop presented by a claims consultant, and aimed at showing how to make your schedule bullet-proof in court.
  • Short courses aimed at preparing you for a credentialing exam
  • An assortment of random textbooks, each written by a different author with a different way to skin the cat.

CPM Mechanics is Essential Reading!

Not only is CPM Mechanics the first book in the Dominant Project Management Series, it is also the first book in the entire ICS-Compendium, which means that the Cognitive Project Management Series is predicated on it as well. So it all comes down to this: do you want to improve the outcome of your projects?

If you do, then you must understand why you are in the best position to make that happen. You can make unilateral changes in how you organize, deploy, administer and execute your projects. And … you can have a tremendous influence on the Owners you work with, to help them understand and learn about ways that they can improve the outcome of their projects.

One thing is certain:  you cannot bring about improvements by doing the same things that have proven ineffective to date. You need to learn what is good in the current Project Management model, and what could stand changing. Begin by educating yourself. Wipe away the confusion about the technical stuff that has alluded you all along. In so doing, expose the flaws in the current model. Learn what works … and what does not

There is much more to Construction Project Time Management than traditional construction scheduling. Your project management professional training need to take you beyond expand beyond basic project planning and scheduling steps, techniques, or processes. It needs to take you to a mostly-unaddressed aspect of Project Time Management: information usage.

CPM Mechanics is required reading … if you really want to change your Project Management track record.