12 CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS OWNER DECEMBER 2013 S econds remain as the clock ticks away. A steady rain pounds the field, muddying any sense of progress and fatiguing weary players. The last play will define the game. This dramatic scene unfolds at professional and collegiate football fields every au- tumn. Defined by some as choreographed brutality, football captivates audiences with its physicality and competitive spirit. Not open to debate is the sports standing as one of the greatest business enterprises. Interestingly, the average football game lasts just 11 to 13 minutes. Actual game play ac- counts for only a small portion of the time the teams occupy the field, but preparation for the game begins long before the coin toss. In the weeks leading up to a game, coaches and play- ers draft plays, screen game film and run drills. By the start of the game, coaches and players have invested hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hours in planning for a mere 12 minutes of football. Football has morphed from a simple game of short duration into a multi-billion dollar business enterprise in which the teams that plan and prepare the best win. So, why do construction firms not follow this same principle? Many construction contractors fail to do a fraction of the planning that football teams do in order to reach the desired outcome. Planning in football is not radically different from the planning that should take place on con- struction projects. The difference lies in the results. The razor-thin margins or losses that con- struction firms yield through poor planning and execution compares poorly to organized foot- balls profitability. Proactive planning and communication are the fundamental building blocks of construction projects, just as great blocking and tackling make the difference in football. PROJECT PLAYBOOK Gregg M. Schoppman is a consultant with FMI, management consultants and investment bankers for the construction industry. Schoppman specializes in the areas of productivity and project management. He also leads FMIs project management consulting practice. Prior to joining FMI, Schoppman served as a senior project manager for a general contracting firm in central Florida. He has completed complex construction projects in the medical, pharmaceutical, office, heavy civil, industrial, manufacturing and multi- family markets. Furthermore, Schoppman has expertise in numerous contract delivery methods as well as knowledge of many geographical markets. For more information, visit fminet.com, or email Schoppman at gschoppman@ fminet.com. THE EXPERT BY GREGG M. SCHOPPMAN Are You Ready for Construction? Construction companies should plan for projects like football teams prepare for gridiron battle.