When it comes to construction, there’s a lot more to it than just building. Many elements are at play, including psychology and sociology and how it all relates to project management.

There are so many different things going on with project management, such as budgeting and scheduling. The only thing that’s really constant is that we can’t completely control any of it. As contractors, we can’t control the weather that might delay a project, and we can’t control financial considerations that might alter the budget. It doesn’t matter what the contract says, what agreements we’ve made or what people have said would happen.

The only thing we CAN control is how we react to things. Sometimes unexpected things just happen. For example, let’s say I have a cup of water in my hand. If I drop it, I’m 99.9999999% sure it will hit the floor. But I can’t know that with 100% certainty. Someone else could catch it or something could smash into it before it hit the ground. We are not in control, but again, we do control how we react to situations.

Another example would be someone getting upset over a contract. They thought it was going to go one way, but it actually goes in another direction they don’t like. From a project management standpoint, we need to plan for contingencies and, more importantly, focus on what lessons can be learned. If it happens once, shame on you, but if it happens again, shame on me.

We don’t plan for problems to pop up. But we can plan on how to deal with them. One strategy to combat unexpected problems is to prioritize problems/solutions and attack one issue at a time. Two great books I would recommend are Chapter 7 of Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink/Leif Babin and The One Thing by Gary Keller. These are great reads for more information on these topics.

But even if we don’t plan for them, problems will always arise. We try to remember that there’s no use in getting upset about things we can’t control. We just have to learn from them and put processes in place to help mitigate them.