Have You Sharpened Your Axe?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016Vince Catania

Abraham Lincoln was well known for his energy, prudence, and sharp intellect – leadership qualities that are optimal for progress and productivity. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abe’s mantra reflects how Rolyn addresses project managment and improves profitability.

Construction materials’ costs can and always do change. Rolyn’s team understands the importance of project pre-planning. Remediation work comes with a certain amount of inherent, uncontrollable risks. These factors affect the correlation between project management and profit maximization.

There a various reasons a project can exceed the initial budget, most of which we can control. Scoping and estimating miscalculations can sabotage profit even before the project begins. Mathematical mistakes, incomplete specifications, or incorrect information can all be the culprit. It is essential to have a planning meeting to identify the following:

  1. -Establish a scope of work to verify and/or modify task items
  2. -Specific project tasks
  3. -Previous/historical costs
  4. -Lessons learned from similar projects
  5. -Uncertainties and risks


It’s tough to change the course of action once a project is under way. Proactive time and material management increases profit margins, while achieving project goals on time and staying within budget. After the project is complete, analyze the outcome. How effective were the resources used, schedules, change orders, subcontractors, etc.? It is equally vital to keep your scope and estimating documents up-to-date with costs incurred versus those projected, and to take note of any major change orders so you have a clear understanding of any cost overruns.

Our project managers spend a great deal of time in the field during the disaster response and remediation phase. Being able to communicate real-time information from the site to the office administrators is also important for accountability. The risks associated with these projects can never be completely eliminated, but trying to effectively manage the factors you can control will result in reducing extraneous costs. Having access to metrics and project performance logs after the project is complete will aid in reconciling project costs for accounting purposes.

From the executive level standpoint, it’s all about profit margin. The reality is profit margin is as difficult to realize as is project success. Stay on top of these points before and during the project and you are likely to maintain and hopefully increase your profit margins. Just remember, don’t get busy trying to cut down the most amount of trees. Stop often to sharpen your axe!


About the Author

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Vince Catania
Chief Financial Officer and General Manager

In a crisis, you need rapid response from a company with the skills and experience required to handle any type of disaster.

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