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Project Management Principles 101: The Essential Guide

At Southwest and Midwest Design & Construction, our team has been in the game since 1980. Throughout that time, we’ve developed a guide of basic project management principles that are key to remember - no matter the construction project. 

1. Set Goals and Objectives

One of the first project management principles is to identify the goals and objectives of the project you’re about to start working on. 

This may seem silly, as it seems like the goal of the construction project, is to just complete the construction project. While that is obviously the end goal, general contractors should also make goals and objectives based on the client’s wishes and the skillsets they have on hand. 

For example, what is the date that you are the client would like to have the project completed? Are you striving to complete the project before the deadline? Do you want to complete it within a certain budget? Do you want to have certain stages of the project done by certain dates? 

Write down any goals and objectives you have for the project. These goals and objectives make it easier to abide by the next project management principle on our list. 

2. Make a Plan

Having a plan for each and every stage of the construction plan is critical to making sure that the project is on schedule and on budget. By having every aspect of the project laid out, including a schedule - project managers are able to assess where the project falls on the schedule, and make adjustments to the necessary services and resources as appropriate. 

Plans are also a helpful tool to keep your team accountable. Let them know what the schedule looks like and what the goals and objectives are for each stage of the project. 

3. Determine Resource Allocation in Advance

Figuring out what you’re going to need for resources earlier on in the project will save you a lot of headaches and delays later. Having a plan, as mentioned above, will help to ensure you know where you need what resources and when. 

For example, if there is a specialized piece of machinery you need for the project, schedule it early. As you move through the stages of the project - determine if you may need to try to rebook the machinery for earlier or later to ensure that you can keep the momentum of the project going. 

Being proactive about resource decisions will allow you to avoid delays that could significantly postpone the project and waste resources in the form of time and money. 

4. Plan For Delays/Adapt

Did we just talk about avoiding delays? Yes. But it is not always possible to completely avoid delays when it comes to construction projects. They are frequently weather dependent and as we all know the weather can be frequently temperamental. 

The best way to not be heavily impacted by unplanned project delays is to plan for them. 

Working them into the project’s schedule and budget makes them not as big of a deal in the long run because if you plan for them, chances are you can still keep the project on schedule and within the budget. 

If you are delayed for any reason, be it weather or resource issues, be adaptable by thinking about what other tasks could be done given the current circumstances with the resources you have. 

5. Communicate

Communication is easily one of the most critical project management principles in this list as it is absolutely essential when it comes to a project manager’s ability to properly complete their project successfully. 

First of all, they need to be talking to the client for who they are building the project - getting a sense of their goals and vision. This communication should be present for the entirety of the project, with the project manager giving the client frequent updates. The frequent communication makes sure that the project manager has a solid understanding of what the client wants at all stages of the project, and builds up goodwill with the client - which makes it easier in the event that the project does get delayed. 

The project manager also needs to communicate with their crew - making sure that they know what the goals are and what they need to be doing to achieve them. 


Construction general contractors should always make every decision they make based on these principles of project management - as they’re the key to any successful construction project that’s adaptable and proactive. 

Want to get in touch with our team of expert project managers and construction general contractors? Contact Southwest and Midwest Design & Construction today.