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9 Important Rules Interior Design Project Managers Must Follow

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Working as a professional interior designer for many decades, I've been involved in design-and-build residential building projects.


If you are a new project manager working in the interior design industry (or one who already works in building construction) and you are looking for ways to improve on your project management skills, here are nine golden rules to follow.

These ideas, which can also be regarded as the top guidelines required for project managers, will help ensure you manage your building construction project with ease. It’s best you make an effort to adhere to them.

These rules will not only help to improve on your project deliverables, but they will also make you approach your project management tasks in a more professional manner.

Golden Rules of Project Management

1. Use Teamwork

You must adopt the practice of teamwork. For successful project implementation, you need to approach issues through a variety of perspectives.

As a project manager, you must realise that what you see visually is different from what you think in your mind. With teamwork, you will find that what you may miss may be observed by others.

Endeavour to make it a habit to find out what others see that you may miss.

2. Have a Good Relationship With Your Clients

It is important to stay close to your clients and be aware of their feelings about the project. If you can, over-deliver to allay their reservations, fears, or concerns which may be major or minor. And because their concerns may continue to evolve through the course of the project, take advantage of that to give more than what is expected of you.

Once you are in tune with your customers and stay in constant contact, they will see you as a gem.

3. Have a Good Relationship With Your Project Team

The members of your team are important—almost as important as your clients are. You can't have a great relationship with your clients if you ignore your construction project team. With the right mindset, it should not be a challenge to achieve a form of camaraderie-ship with team members.

Yes, there are some decisions you may take on behalf of the whole team, but for a wonderful working relationship, taking care of each team member as the individual that he/she is, is important.

4. Keep Your Project Promises

This is a top golden rule for project managers. Project management in the building industry can be challenging at times because it is easy to lose sight of what you are doing, especially if it is a large project. It is also easy to go off-track if you don’t pay attention to the details.

You have to keep to your project promises and constantly remind your team of all promises made, plan on how to work them, and plan how to fulfil them.

5. Coordinate Methodically

You must pay attention to critical details and discussions. Remember that a construction project is an ever-evolving network of obligations. To avoid a drift from the very important issues, make sure that contractors, sub-contractors, and craftsmen/artisans are clear about their requests in writing, give you pledges that have completion dates, and share with you their opinions that advance the purpose of the project.

6. Work and Learn

Couple your action with learning because working on a construction project is a wonderful opportunity to learn more. It’s like learning on a job because each project has its own peculiarities. Inculcate the art of incorporating actions with learning in all your projects, large or small, and encourage the members of your team to learn as they work. They will appreciate this concern for their own good.

While your clients will benefit from your smart insights, it will also make your job easier to accomplish.

7. Always Expect the Unexpected

A professional project manager must embrace the uncertainty that’s rife in the building of structures. It is not always smooth sailing—far from it! Issues do rear their head while on a project, and you’ll find that there is far more that you don't and can't know than what is expected. You must learn to be resilient to any unexpected occurrence and know that you and the members of your team will learn something new about tackling challenging issues.

There may be changes in promises to clients, altering of agreed concepts, or price changes, for instance, but what is important is how you solve them so you can still deliver on your promises.

8. Collaborate

Collaborate fully with all people and performers of the building construction project. Make this one of your golden rules. Waiting for the project to get to a critical stage without working in collaboration will result in disaster. Carry all along and don't wait until the project has gone south to get their contributions.

Start the collaboration process from the onset and continue through the course of the project. This will guarantee that everyone has a focused purpose and will ensure a successfully implemented project.

9. Be a Listener

Whenever someone on the project has something to say, as a project manager, you must listen attentively. This doesn’t mean you don’t have your own ideas or impressions, but listening is a quality that those you work with will appreciate. Some people are only able to say what they can in flash of a moment with suggestions that are well-intended, so, take the time to listen.

Ask them questions and engage them. At times, seek others' opinions on matters pertaining to the project.

Bonus Tips

  • Project managers in whatever field must build relationships between themselves and whoever they work with. At the onset, team members come together as strangers, so, to do great work together, be innovative, and collaborate with one another, you must endeavour to like each other.
  • Plan continuously. Things may change along the course of the building project so you will have to make a habit of constantly checking and planning.
  • Every project manager must make use of project management templates because every construction manager and leader, needs them. There are step-by-step project management templates that will give you project documents to manage different types and sizes of projects from inception to completion.
  • Project managers must also embrace the use of automated reporting systems. Now that the business world has witnessed rapid technological advancements, there are computerised tools designed to enhance and take project management services to higher levels.

Project Management Software Versus Human Skills

Today’s technology may have made available project management software or a methodology procedure, but there is no software program that will deliver any building construction project on time while also keeping strictly to the budget, no matter how advanced it may be.

So, despite the use of software or methodology which is only as responsive as the project manager that’s using it and what he or she feeds into it, you will still require human interactive skills that are key to your success. So, if you follow the golden rules above, your chances of becoming a competent and professional project manager in the building industry will quadruple.

© 2019 viryabo


viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on July 26, 2020:

Thank you Sp.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on July 25, 2020:

Great article. I found it interesting to read the challenges and difficulties people working in this sector face.