Managing complex projects
So how do we improve this hypothetical situation? The most important thing is communication—early and often. Start by managing the client's expectations to make sure he understands how important it is to keep us in the information loop. Next, have a pre-construction meeting to clearly outline everyone's scope and responsibilities. It's essential that everyone with whom we interact understands the importance of keeping us updated concerning any changes. When something does go wrong, get the general contractor on our side to ensure he or she understands that open, two-way communication is necessary for the successful completion of the project.
To smooth out the rest of the installation process, I would suggest all parties attend monthly job-site meetings with an agenda that includes due dates, action items and an on-going punch list. When the project is getting close to the pre-wire and trim phases, I would schedule the meetings at least every week.
Furthermore, we must insist that we're present at all job site walk-through meetings for any system that interfaces with one of ours. Detailed minutes of the meetings must be taken and shared with the general contractor, the sub-contractors and the client. This will help eliminate misunderstandings and give everyone the opportunity to make corrections before any problems arise. A set of drawings should be marked up during these meetings. When we're ready to start the pre-wire phase, we'll use them to issue a set of new working drawings to the subcontractors.