Project Management Masterclass: The Guaranteed Way to Improve Your Project without Sacrificing Quality or Budget

Making changes to a project that is already in progress can be difficult. You want to make sure that the project stays on track, while also making improvements that will benefit the client. Sometimes, this means sacrificing quality or spending more money. But there is a way to improve your project without doing either of those things – guaranteed! In this blog post, we will discuss how you can guarantee success for your project without the unintended consequences.

Keep the end product front of mind

Every customer wants to be proud of their final product. Creating a new website, brand identity, or hospitality interior is a major decision that will need many decisions, as well as providing lots of data and time for consideration. Project management is key to delivering a successful hospitality design project, no matter what the size or scope. By following these simple steps, you can guarantee success for your project without sacrificing quality or spending a penny more.

Essential elements of project management

Budget, quality, and time are the three most important elements that influence how a project is carried out by an experienced designer or project manager. Of these three, only two can be priorities. It doesn’t matter which two, but they will always adversely affect the third. Quick and cheap will sacrifice quality. Quick and high quality and cost control will go out of the window.

Budget (costs)

The project budget is set by the client and should not be exceeded without their agreement. It’s important to understand what the project entails and where costs can be saved without compromising on quality or time. A professional project manager will set a contingency budget to cover any unforeseen costs.


The project quality should be agreed upon by the client and project manager at the start of the project. It’s important to understand what the client wants and needs from their project, in order to set realistic expectations. Once expectations are set, it’s important to adhere to them in order to maintain project quality. In many cases, quality is more important than time or cost. This is especially true when working with high-end clients who are looking for a luxury product or customer experience. In these cases, it’s important to focus on the detail and not cut corners.


Project timelines are important to both the client and project manager. The project manager needs to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget, while the client wants to be kept up-to-date with project progress. It’s important to set realistic timelines at the start of the project and to communicate any changes to both the client and project manager.

Three points of a project triangle

The best way to understand how these three factors relate to each other is to consider them as points on a triangle. The basic premise is that there are three main factors in all decisions. You can have or control only two of them.

In theory, moving in one direction will have an effect on the other two – moving budget, quality or time in any direction is likely to have a negative impact on the client’s expectations for the project.

However there are ways of improving a project without spending extra money or sacrificing quality, which makes it possible for any client to feel completely happy with their new brand identity and website design.

Hospitality designers and project managers work with the seasons

We work with a number of seasonal firms that have a winter “off” season. This is really beneficial since you can make huge changes without impacting the business end of the year and, as a result, earnings. The disadvantage of this approach is that all resources are dedicated to day-to-day operations and short-term objectives, whereas medium or long term targets are frequently overlooked.

In project management, time is of the essence

Seasonal businesses (in many situations) will wait until the end of the peak season to implement changes for the following winter. It’s quite possible that the clock has already run out, and the opening date for the following season has been set. As a result, your time resource is now fixed, and as a result you’ll have either the budget or the quality as your only project elements that can be adjusted.

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A typical hospitality design project timeline

Lets look at a hypothetical project time line. In this example all the critical activity will occur at times of the year that either disrupt trade or require your input during busy periods.

The six stages of a hospitality design project

There are six stages to a typical hospitality design project:

  • Interview hospitality design team
  • Appoint hospitality design team
  • Hospitality design period
  • Procurement & approvals
  • Implementation Build
  • Training

gutxi Project Programme

Typical Project Phases

Every project will have periods where client input is critical and periods when your design team will be busy preparing information for you to approve, comment on or amend. In the example above stages 1 & 2 are driven by the client, Stage 3 will be periodic design approval meetings, Stage 4 the same, Stage 5 you will want to be closely involved and Stage 6 it is all about the client team making use of the new resource.

Seasonality matters

The example above would cause problems for any business with a busy summer trading period and waste most of the quiet season waiting for design information to implement. Disrupting the business in mid-season would not make any sense. So the options are postpone, lower the scope of the project or rush.

Let’s look at the remaining project elements that make up the 6 Stages and why it could take the time shown.

Stage 2 : Appoint Design Team

This will require the design team to present you with a fee proposal based on your known requirements and it is very likely there will be some negotiations and clarification. Many projects require more than one ‘design’ input and this may not be apparent until the detailed brief is agreed. In the case of a building project, structural, listed building consent and planning could all require additional advice. Web and digital projects may require specific coding knowledge, photography, or illustration for example.

As a client you will want to understand who is involved, what they will do and how much will it cost.

Stage 3 : Design Period

Whilst this stage is where the project starts to come to life, client involvement will only be required after work stages have been completed and are ready for presentation.

Stage 4 : Procurement & Approvals

This stage is all about pulling together all the elements to ‘build’ the finished product. Again this can take time and relies on others to receive and respond to requests for prices, approvals or technical information.

Note: Whilst both Stage 3 & 4 are critical they do not require long periods of client involvement.

Stage 5: Implementation

This is where the project takes it’s finished form and you as a client will want to be on hand to see it happen. In the case of a web project, content and data will be required. In the case of refurbishment, there will be disruption and relocation issues affecting staff and facilities. Without good communication with the client programmes can slow down at this stage.

Stage 6: Training & Launch

Even the if the project is delivered on time and without any visual or functional issues, staff and customers take time to adapt. Completing the project outside of the peak trading periods will reduce the levels of stress for staff, customers and most importantly, you the client.

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Managing the time element with a professional hospitality designer

This new timeline below starts the design appointment in April, when most of the close season work should be completed and the summer season has yet to get going. The frustrations of the unfinished projects should still be fresh in your mind and you can act on them. Give time to the design in the shoulder period and get the process well underway before the season takes over all your resources.

Managing your time with give you control of cost and quality

A well-considered project programme gives you and your design team the resource needed to keep control of costs and quality – time.

Project B is the same theoretical project timeline with a start date at the beginning of the summer season.

gutxi Project Programme B

Benefits of the new project timeline

  1. Tasks requiring Critical Client Input are outside the summer season. This means possible project delays are avoided and there is no disruption to the business in its busiest time.
  2. There is a dedicated soft launch and training period before the high season starts. Trying to get a project completed, handed over and everyone trained up whilst also running the business is a recipe for disaster.
  3. There is space for the end of season staff holidays and the Christmas break. This means your employee experience project, as well as your customer experience is being supported.

Putting you back in control of your hospitality design

An effective project time line puts you are in control of project timeline, which in turn means you have time to consider quality and costs. We hope this has given you some food for thought on how project time lines can impact the quality and cost of your project.

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Contact us for a free on-site consultation, where we will listen to you, and help you bring your pub refurbishment project to reality. Ring us on 01803 295959 or email us at for a same day response.