The Project Business

Did I mention that this is my last week with Atkins? Unfortunately, tomorrow marks my last day at the firm, and I know I am going to miss what has been an integral part of my summer of 2014.

But in my effort to gain an all-rounded experience during my time at Atkins, I ventured into Project Management last week, and no, even the Excel sheets and Venn diagrams could not turn me off.

Plan Design Enable chart I created for the bid.

Plan Design Enable process chart I created for the bid.

A deadline that costs :

Towards the end of last week, I was able to help my design manager work on a last-minute submission of a bid worth millions of Omani rials- and that’s when you realise the significance of working overtime for an urgent weekend deadline. Time is money!

So, just as you see people go, “One thousand”, “two thousand”, “five thousand”, “SOLD!” at an auction; well, projects in the real estate world work the same way- you bid for them! And so begun my first experience with bidding presentation- I helped two of the senior architects develop a package of bid documents thus managing the preparation of charts for-

  • USPs or keyword objectives for the Project vision
  • organisation of the Proposed Design Team
  • outline of design review stages
  • firm’s portfolio of Selected Works in similar projects
The Process. (I don't own this image).

The Process. (I don’t own this image).

This indeed gave me a clear understanding of how we employ external resources through outsourcing of other Atkins branches as well as sub-consultants to provide a wholesome end result.  Truly, this reminded of the combination of charrettes/design competitions and design jury in college; only this has a more real, more final touch. Winning work, is of course, necessary.

I also picked up on the basics of ‘staffing projections‘ in Resource management, while working with the Assistant Project Manager. This was an interesting task alright- as I got to individually meet with the Departmental Heads or Discipline Leads (structural/ mechanical /electrical/ architectural) and discuss with them how the taskforce under them were performing, who is expected to be working on what project and till when, how much is one person putting in per week,etc. Based on the compilation of this data, we were then able to generate productivity graphs for these human resources for up until December! Getting an in into how things run in a large consultancy like this, and how project budgets and resources are handled simultaneously, is always very helpful.  (The above also tells you why you must never fool around in the workplace- you’re being reported about, regularly by your Discipline Head) 😉

My ATKINS timelineline

My ATKINS timeline

I guess the last thing, Head Project Manager asked of me, in my last week here, was to orally and graphically present to the Discipline Heads as well as the Architectural team about my two-month stint with Atkins Oman- and so that happens tomorrow, on my last day here. For this purpose, I did prepare a project timeline (above) that shows the extent of projects (live jobs) and managerial tasks (project management) across the 3 separate disciplines (architecture, planning and management) that I had worked with, with the diameter of the circle representing the amount of time and work spent with the same.

Sometimes when one is so caught up designing and thinking of solutions, one must think of how these are enabled- what the property business is all really about, and how it is handled. Here’s where a superhero called Project Management comes to the rescue!