Honestly, I don’t know if it is an algorithm I am looking for. It might be a formula, I am not sure. Anyone who is in business knows that some projects go great and some not so great. If you could predict which jobs will go which way what a great tool. I think in order to figure that out you need some variables and an algorithm (or formula) to run those through. First, what are the variables? That part seems pretty easy. I think that there are 3 factors that can be reviewed. Let me say these factors apply to us here at Three Elements Timberworks. The factors may be different for you and your company. Here are three factors that are important to us. First off (in no particular order) is the “Cool” factor. We love to build interesting projects that push the limits of innovative design. If the project ranks high on the cool factor that is a good indicator that this could be a good project for us. The second variable is the “People” factor. In a past post I talked about how important relationships are to us when it comes to business. We need to have a common goal. There needs to be mutual respect in order to work cooperatively on the project. If the people we work with share a similar philosophy that is another good indicator that this will be a good project for us. The third variable is the “Money” factor. We are all in business to make money. Our business can’t survive if we don’t make money. We can’t do a good job on the project if we aren’t making money. It is a simple fact.
So we have our three variables/inputs. Now what? I still haven’t figured that part out. I do know that the function (hmm, maybe it is a function?) is non-lineal, meaning that some of the variables have a greater influence than others.
For example: If the money factor is moderate (we cover our expenses and maybe a little bit of profit), but it is high on the cool factor and high on the people factor that has been shown in our past to be a good project. We have had projects that were moderate on the cool factor, moderate on the money factor and high on the people factor, that also was a good project. We looked at a project for a couple retiring from New York and building a small retirement home in Estes Park. They wanted 2 trusses in their great room. Nothing fancy, just 2 simple king post trusses. It was a small job to say the least. Here are how their variables added up. Very low on the cool factor. They were not wanting any fancy joinery, just straight cuts and bolted together. It could have gotten cut on the job-site by some competent framers. Very low on the money factor, due to the simplicity and the small scope of work we would barely cover our expenses. We met with the owners for about an hour. They were so nice and so excited about these simple, easy, little trusses in their house. They were great, off the chart on the people factor. I want to build these trusses for them. An example of how the function is non-linear. The off the chart people factor overwhelms the low ranking on the cool and money factor.
I probably will never come up with a rock solid algorithm/formula/function. However, knowing the variables and rating them should help us make a reasonable decision about whether or not we should take the job.