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5 Keys to Delivering Better AEC Projects

Neil Holmes
19 Jan, 2022

In my many years working within the professional services world, and AEC specifically, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is: “How can we win more projects?” I wish the answer were something as simple as “invest more in marketing and sales”, or “cast a wider net”. Instead, my answer to this question is always a bit more complicated.

You see, winning more projects starts with nailing those you already have. Crazy, right? Winning more work starts with knocking your current work out of the ballpark. The more successful projects you can deliver to your current clients, the more likely they are to come back to you or tell a peer about their experience with your firm. That networking goes a long way toward winning future AEC projects.

Naturally, the next big question is: “How can we deliver better projects to our clients?”

Again, this isn’t a simple question to answer. There are many different factors that impact project delivery that it’s impossible to identify one to focus on. Fortunately, after speaking with countless firms and analyzing what they each do best, I’ve been able to identify what I see as the top 5 keys to delivering better projects and have written a series to explain the significance of each.

The top 5 keys to delivering better AEC projects

When reviewing each key, consider your own firm’s current project operations. How is your firm run? Is there room for improvement? Are these things you haven’t even considered? Chances are, by focusing on these five keys, you may be able to improve project outcomes – and win future business because of it. While we will detail each key over the course of several articles, here is an overview of what we have identified as the top 5 keys to delivering better AEC projects:
  • 1

    Build Accurate Service Estimates

    Project success starts from the moment you bid on a job – the more accurate your initial service assessment and projected cost/revenue analysis, the more likely you are to deliver on time and within budget.

    Accurate service estimates are crucial to the success of any project, and in turn, the success of your AEC firm. If you haven’t already moved your service estimate process to a digital tool, it’s time to do so. The streamlined estimates and enhanced accuracy these tools provide are well worth the investment.

  • 2

    Track Project Progress

    Everyone tracks the progress of a project, right? After all, you need to know when the project will be complete and how much revenue your firm stands to gain. Tracking project progress just makes sense.

    While it may seem straightforward, progress means different things to different roles. For example, a project manager may view progress as the percentage of work that has been completed on the project to date. Your accounting team will likely view progress as the percentage of the contract that has been billed, or the percentage of the contract that has been recognized as revenue. Harmonizing these views of project progress helps keep everyone on the same page.

  • 3

    Maximize Project Collaboration and Communication

    It’s no secret or shocking revelation that collaboration and communication are critical to the success of any project. However, when dealing with the complexities of AEC projects, collaboration and communication are even more important.

    Providing individuals and teams the tools needed to exchange ideas and share information in real-time is vital to the success of your projects. The more team members can collaborate, both internally and with the client, the more likely you are to achieve successful project delivery.

  • 4

    Optimize Utilization of Your Firm’s Resources

    Maximizing valuable resources is one of the main goals of any business. For AEC firms, no resource is more valuable than the expert staff members. Maximizing the skills and time of your professional services staff is critical to the success of any project, as well as the satisfaction of team members.

    Tracking and managing employee utilization before, during and after projects can help maximize the effectiveness of individual staff members and the entire project team. Effective resource allocation can also improve billable labor, help to manage workload, and identify opportunities for proactive training or skills enhancements.

  • 5

    Empower Stakeholders with Insights

    Keeping all stakeholders informed of the current and future status of a project can be difficult. The challenge is compounded when each stakeholder has a different perspective of the project and relies on different metrics to determine success.

    Sharing information in a way that each stakeholder group can understand and utilize is critical to empowering teams to do their best work.

5 keys to deliver better AEC projects

Read more in our blog series

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