Owners benefit from project management skills at every level

“Project management is a key driver of my company success,” says Michael McCutcheon, owner of McCutcheon Construction Inc., based in Berkeley, Calif.

Not surprising—considering he employs eight Certified Remodeler Project Managers (CRPM) at his remodeling company.

McCutcheon believes in the power of investing in training and education as a way to boost employee morale, but in the end, investing in the CRPM is a business investment. McCutcheon not only invested financially, but as the owner, he also invested his time.

“I sat in nearly all of the classes alongside my employees,” he says. “And following the course, we engaged in 30 minute discussions about that week’s material and how it can be customized and applied to our current operations.”

McCutcheon says the internal review and customization process was the most valuable aspect of the course and certification. It was also valuable in strengthening McCutcheon’s connection with his employees because it got the conversation started about ways to fine-tune the company operations.

With so many employees in the course, McCutcheon found these discussions even more imperative, as all of them had slightly different management roles. Half of those participating in the course worked in the office; the other half typically lead onsite—a system which pairs different project managers to project size.

Still, no project manager is more important than any other, and all of them are the primary contact on projects from beginning to end.

“Project management is the front line of our company—both with the clients and the wider community of professionals who we work with on a daily basis,” McCutcheon explains. “Efficient project management is the interaction we have with others, and that sets our reputation.”

As owner, McCutcheon sees the benefit in this training beyond the nuts and bolts of maintaining budgets, schedules, change orders etc. He has a holistic view on how management makes his company more successful.

“At the end of the day, people need to use their best judgment,” McCutcheon says. “It’s not about rules and guidelines; training needs to occur, and someone needs to express good judgment when they are on the battlefield.”

The CRPM, he says, allows key employees to have a big-picture perspective on the client, project and company so they are therefore better able to make the right decisions and exercise good judgment on a daily basis.

With a company that juggles 15 to 20 projects at one time, McCutcheon has been far from the project details for some time, yet as owner, those details are just as important to his job. In that respect, the CRPM makes McCutcheon’s job easier.

“The course has allowed us as a company to refocus everyone on the need to manage projects well. And, I feel more confident in my employees and reassured in the direction that we are headed in the future,” he says.

The training didn’t just stop because the exam was passed.  McCutcheon and the vice president of operations continue the conversation and reinforce many of the CRPM principles. By emphasizing follow-through of the training well after the class ended, he believes he will see progress in project success and business growth.

“With the help of the CRPM training, I feel more growth potential in hiring more employees and having a way to qualify them, and at the same time, those existing employees who have gone through the course have the potential to grow professionally within my company and move into a production managerial role,” he says. –Morgan Zenner

The next CRPM course starts Oct. 25, 2012, and runs every Thursday from 5-7 p.m. Central for eight weeks. Visit http://www.nari.org/certify/crpm/ for more information about the course and to download enrollment forms.

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