There are so many elements to a cinema or media room installation. It is important that everyone in the team has the latest information to enable them to do their job without having to repeat a process or step due to incorrect or outdated information. Not only does this save time, it can also help avoid making potentially expensive mistakes too.
Open discussion and conversation keep projects moving forward. Collaborating internally is easier for smaller teams, but it is also easier to get it wrong or ignore it. In this article we’ll look at some features, tools and templates that can be used to help collaborate better as a business. Ensuring the whole team is rowing in the same direction.
All projects should start with a kick-off meeting. No matter how small the room might be an internal kick-off meeting per project can help get everyone aligned and on the same page.
Designing a template to follow that works for your company helps avoid missing important points and spending time talking about things that can take the meeting off track. Key areas to consider for the template would be; roles and responsibilities, key dates and end date, procurement strategy and schedule and how regularly you’ll need to meet to follow through up to completion of the project.
The more often these meetings are held the more efficient and better they will get. It can feel awkward implementing a new procedure, especially when previously internal project specific meetings aren’t something that your company did before. Stick with it. They can produce some of the best ideas. Here’s our list of things we find handy to have in any meeting:
- Introduction/Overview of the project
- Pricing considerations and commercial aspect of the project
- Flag any immediate issues and solve them
- Immediate to-dos
All team members should leave the meeting having a complete understanding of what the project is, when it should be delivered by, what their level of involvement is and project specific challenges that need to be overcome.
Tools & Software
During the course of the project it is important to keep all members of the team up to date with progress. The way this is done really depends on the complexity of the project and also the length of time it is due to take to complete. For a smaller project of a few weeks it’s likely that a lot of collaboration will happen directly on site. Worth considering is how the design engineer in the office or project manager is kept up to date with progress and any alterations that might have occurred. There are so many different pieces of software available to use to help with this. The simplest is phone calls and setting up a WhatsApp group to keep everyone in the loop. But there are some limitations to this, and it can be difficult to keep track of past conversations and document history. Dedicated tools exist for collaboration and conversation such as Slack and also Microsoft Teams. The latter allows users to set up and configure conversations, calls as well as plugging in other pieces of software that the business maybe using.
Using industry specific tools that can help with collaboration on site. Jetbuilt, the tool developed for quoting and estimating now has a project management feature that gives users a management task list to create an enhanced visualisation of steps, conversation, photos and documents between project managers and technicians. Users can comment on individual tasks from the Desktop software or with the JetbuiltGO app, enabling two-way communication between sales, engineers, project managers and technicians in the field. As a task is created, users can create notes and upload photos, documents and drawings. A project manager can optionally require a photo in order to complete a task, enabling a visual verification.
Design Through to Handover & Keeping it Simple
Although more common in bigger companies there is always the risk of the design work not properly being explained and discussed between the designer and the engineers on site doing the installation. Getting the design right as early as possible in the process will ensure the project runs much smoother. Designing the detail and how the room goes together can make or break a project. Involvement from engineers, project manager and even the person who sold the system to the Client should all be involved at different levels of the sign off. Each team member will look at the design from a different perspective and will be able to advise if something has been missed. It is important to note that the purpose of this collaboration isn’t to make more unnecessary work. It is to ensure that the design meets the brief and is on the right path to delivering what the Client asked for.
As the project progresses and in the system is being installed regular feedback by engineers on what would work better next time or ways to improve efficiency should be encouraged. Usually through whichever channel you’ve opted to use in terms of software. On-site technicians can upload pictures and video for feedback and sign off from senior members of the team. Posting pictures of great looking work is also morale boosting for the whole team too. everybody likes to see excellent installation work.
As the installation draws to a close this is the point where the person responsible for handing over the system should be working with the engineer in charge of commissioning and finishing the project. it provides the opportunity for them to fully understand what’s been installed and how it all works, and any unique features of the system. Before meeting with the Client to handover, the person responsible should be 100% confident in the operation and features of the system.
Management of the Project & Team Members
The Client should have a single point of contact within the company that all questions and requests go to. In reality this might not happen, and questions do get asked on site. If the project is being run correctly, the engineer who’s been asked has his day and tasks mapped out for him so should not be dropping everything to deal with an immediate request. Listening, taking note and advising that they’ll pass onto the person running the project to look after is the best course of action. This helps avoid so many problems, along with managing the Client’s expectations that the matter is in hand.
It’s the project managers responsibility to set the tone for the project. This includes showing the team how to collaborate by taking the lead, asking the right people and using the right methods and tools that have been put in place to make everyone’s life easier. The tools shouldn’t make it any more difficult or unnecessarily time consuming for work to get done, but the benefit should be clearly and continuously put across to all members of the team by acting in the way that they expect the rest of the team to behave. Act as a busy person who cuts corners, and the team are likely to respond and act the same way. Best to lead by example.