Jazz Group or Big Band?

musiciansEvery day I speak to owners or project managers at construction companies of various sizes. It’s my job to speak to these people and discover some of their pain points and issues regarding their project management system–if they even have one. On many occasions, I wind up speaking to small companies that do rather small projects. Most of the time, these companies either have no system in place or are using a series of stand-alone documents, emails and spreadsheets stored on a server so everyone has access. Since these are small companies, most of their projects get done, but not with real efficiency, nor without problems and mistakes.

As a musician, I’ve played in small jazz groups as well as concert, big bands and small orchestras. Truth be told, I much prefer to sit in with a small jazz group and just “make music.” When playing in larger groups, it’s just not as much fun! The reason I like the smaller group is that it’s usually just a few people sitting across from each other at a “gig,” with their personal musical abilities and all the rules governing how music is made…internalized. That’s what allows improvisation to happen and what helps to create the spontaneity and excitement in the music. Moreover, it’s fun.

However, if I want to play in larger groups and be able to repeat the performance again and again, I know that I need to have a system in place to permit that to happen. In the case of music, it’s the score or orchestration that permits everyone to know when and how to play along with other instruments; to place the right emotion into the performance; and to stay “on the same page.” This method, along with a skilled conductor to interpret the score and lead the large group, leads to performances of very intricate music, again and again, with success.

When I speak to people working in smaller construction companies, I find out that they are just like the small jazz groups. Everyone “thinks” there is true communication, and to some degree, this is true. The small projects get done and the work might even be fun. But companies like these struggle to improve margins, work efficiently, and get those larger projects that grow businesses. In order to get to the next level, such companies need to have everyone working together and sharing information with efficiency and confidence. That is why comprehensive project management software, such as the Spitfire Project Management System, can help grow small companies to the next level and then the next!

If you’re happy playing in that “small jazz group,” keep doing it, but know that that’s all you’ll keep doing as time goes on. If and when you are wanting to play in the “big band,” find the system to help you get there. It’s up to you to take the initiative and get to that next level, be it in your personal life or in your professional life.