The end of winter finds me getting ready to facilitate peer group meetings for Remodelers Advantage. I ran my first meeting in 2000, which seems like a long time ago!

Like running a remodeling project, facilitating a R.A. Roundtables meeting involves prep. How is the preparation similar?

The More You Do It, the More You Need the Prep
Given that I have been running meetings for 16 years, can’t I slide on the prep? The meeting format is basically the same. I can wing it if something has changed.

That mindset is dangerous. I go through all the meeting materials with a highlighter for every meeting I run.

Getting ready to run a remodeling project must be approached the same way. Build it in your head as you read the plans and the project manual. Make a list of questions. Get them answered before proceeding.

Do this no matter how many similar projects you have run and you will feel in control.

Expect the Unexpected
When I show up at the hotel where the meeting is taking place, I always check on the box of meeting materials that was to be shipped there. Sometimes no one can find it! More often than not it is there.

I like to see the meeting room the night before the meeting starts. Is the setup correct? If not, I can do something about it before the meeting starts.

When preparing to run a project it is best to visit the site. My experience was that it was good to be walked through it by someone familiar with the project. Then I wanted time there by myself. I would envision the remodel occurring, trying to imagine what could go wrong.

Part of my prep included creating a list of tools needed and a material list. Gathering the tools the day before the project helped me anticipate what might other pop up as a problem the next day.

Stay Focused
Like many people on a given day, I usually do many different things. I might be preparing to run a meeting while doing consulting calls or writing a column or wrapping up another meeting.

Whatever I am doing, I stay focused on that one thing until it is done or reaches a desired level of completion.

A project manager/lead carpenter is usually wrapping one job while getting ready to run a new one. Often the current job runs longer than expected.

If this happens reset the start-date for the new project. Both the current project and the new project will be more successful because you did this.

You are not a magician. You must stay focused. One thing well done beats two things screwed up.

Most of life involves project management. The projects are different depending on one’s profession.

To make your projects more successful, do the needed prep. There are no shortcuts to success.