Communication Is Key, And Other Top Project Management Tips


To manage a high-value project that involves multiple stakeholders and numerous dependencies is a challenge for any business.

But effective project management is essential if a small project is to grow into larger contracts.

James Pomphrey, founder and director of 299 Lighting, has been managing large-scale, complex lighting projects for over 20 years, with projects ranging in value from four to six figures across multiple sectors.

He offers his project management top tips through hard-earned experience. Sharing advice on the importance of consistent communication, ongoing support and attention to detail for each project – no matter the size of the client.

Stay in touch

Prioritise consistent communication with your stakeholders and all involved parties. Both up and down the project chain. This isn’t just keeping project plans and details up to date – although this is important – it is even more crucial when you’re part of a project team with complex logistics and multiple stakeholders.

Communication and providing touch points with stakeholders is crucial to the ongoing health of any project and must be implemented from the start. It builds and bonds a project team together, ensuring that you are well-placed for any future projects and collaborations.

Creative brainstorming is part of any lighting project. We share creative visuals to facilitate communication, as we recognise certain terminology and jargon may not be understood. And a picture is worth a thousand words. This is especially important in technical industries and engineering.

Equally, there are non-negotiable, regulatory interiors features that must be included in all projects, such as adequate ventilation and emergency lighting. Making sure that these elements are communicated clearly from the outset is critical as it reflects our high standards as a lighting practitioner and ensures that the client is not surprised by additional cost or installation considerations.

Especially when it’s bad news

Not all projects are completed seamlessly. There may be delays, missing items or faulty products. It is always best to let other stakeholders know about the issue as soon as possible so that the team can start to resolve it. Honesty with your project team is of the utmost importance.

Go above and beyond

Any project is carefully costed and planned out. Often though a little extra support is needed, even after the job is complete. Quibbling over additional costs at the end of a project can cause needless negative feelings.

Ongoing support is part of our offering on any project undertaken by 299. Sometimes that little extra support is needed, even after the job is complete. Our project managers are happy to offer additional technical advice or carry out an onsite visit to check lighting components. We are always on hand to resolve any technical issues that may arise on a project and make sure all is in order when it is fully handed over to the client.

Ongoing support may also come in the form of offering additional value for continuous training and development. At 299, we are incredibly proud of the range of RIBA and CIBSE accredited CPD courses we offer, from workplace lighting design to emergency lighting design and more.

Educational resources such as these share our extensive knowledge with both clients and other industry professionals, while establishing authority and expertise.

Attention to detail

Realistically, bigger clients and their projects may require more time to get their project over the line. But each client, no matter their size or scale, is important and all must be treated equally.

It is critical to give each client an equitable amount of attention and to deliver their project seamlessly and to the highest quality standard possible. As a result, the client will receive peace of mind, safe in the knowledge their project is in good hands and this further strengthens your relationship with them. In turn, encouraging further collaboration, project commissions and a positive reputation.

In the 12 years since I founded 299 Lighting, I have learnt a lot about project management. These simple yet effective approaches have always worked for us and continue to deliver high-quality final projects and build our client relationships.

So much so that they have helped us expand the business into taking on lighting projects in the education, healthcare, technology and interiors sectors and to grow into a 15-person company.

James Pomphrey is the founder and managing director of 299 Lighting.

James Pomphrey
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