By Jack W. Williams
Call me old fashioned. I still create a 3-ring binder for each remodeling project that JW Williams Construction, Inc. designs and builds, as I have for the past 20 years. Actually, two binders: one for the client and one for me. Maybe it’s because we build real -- not virtual – environments. I take comfort in the ability to sit at your kitchen table or in my truck, flip through the physical pages and know that everything is right there.
That doesn’t mean I’m a Luddite who is down on new technology. I carry two smart phones and one of my ear canals probably is a bit wider than the other because of the plantronics Bluetooth earpiece that usually is embedded there as I work and drive. Still, the binder is my trusty project bible. Contractors stick with what they know works so they don't let anyone down. I trust the binder.
Binders Before Notion
I read an article this week about Notion, a fancy new smartphone app that enables you to create a central portal that pulls together vital information from all of the other cyberspace sources you use to manage your life. It reminded me a lot of my project binders.
Our binders' utility starts right on the cover with the names and phone number of all the trade partners who will work on the project. Between the covers, you’ll find the plans, contract, weekly meeting agendas, calendar, budget, documentation for additional work, etc.
I suppose if we ran a dozen jobs simultaneously we would need sophisticated project management software. Fortunately, I prefer to focus on just two or three projects at a time so each gets my personal attention. When you remodel homes through good times and bad, you learn that bigger isn’t always better. Keeping it simple feels just right for us and our clients.