Management and Finances, Policies and Training

How to Overcome Security Project Management Pitfalls: Tips from the Experts

Ready to take your security projects—and career—to the next level? More than just knowing the technology, successful security project management involves budgeting, client management, timeline execution, and more.

The Security Industry Association’s (SIA’s) Security Project Management (SPM) training course is an essential learning experience that can help you increase profit margin through more accurate estimations, deliver projects on time and within budget, apply the five phases of security project management, enhance customer satisfaction, and increase return business. The SPM training program is offered as a 20-hour advanced seminar, a 10-hour basics course, and a virtual on-demand option.

We asked our expert SPM instructors to share some insights on the top challenges and pitfalls security project managers run into and how to overcome them. These tips include some key takeaways from SIA’s SPM training programs.

Kick Things Off Right

“During the project initiation phase, it is essential for project managers to host a kickoff meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the scope of work, clarify roles and responsibilities, and define a project timeline,” said Brendan McFall, technical engineering manager at Northland Controls. “It may sound simple, but establishing open lines of communication from the get-go will end up saving time and money as the project progresses and challenges or roadblocks arise; it helps the project manager create an agile work style to pivot as needed based on the mutual agreements put in place at the start of a project.” 

Monitor Projects Throughout

“Security projects require continuous monitoring and assessment to keep things moving on schedule and within budget. Change orders are routine on most jobs,” said J. Kelly Stewart, managing director and CEO of Newcastle Consulting. “Security project managers must perform their due diligence to practice quality assurance by monitoring for variances, which requires a high degree of skill in the execution phase in terms of proper documentation, communication, and effective teamwork.” 

Consider Project Closing from the Beginning

“Project closing begins in the planning phase and is iterative throughout the project life cycle. This aspect of security project management holds considerable weight in terms of customer satisfaction,” said Steve Oplinger, senior integration consultant at Star Asset. “A high-performing security project manager will not only ensure that all deliverables are met and accepted by the customer, but they will also ensure the client is positioned for success by conducting training, providing additional resources, and recommending support services that are of value to the end user. This is a key success factor that is too often overlooked.”

Keep Learning

“Being a security project manager means that you will always be learning—this is one of the best aspects of the SPM career,” said Tracy Larson, president of WeSuite LLC. “The industry, technologies, and projects continually evolve with ever-changing security needs. Establishing excellence in project management process is key. The complexity of projects delivered by security project managers is high. Being vigilant throughout each project in aligning process, building and improving communication, management and integration knowledge skill sets enable you to deliver on time, on budget and with complete scope. The best security project managers want to be legendary—their reputations in both the client and integrator world precede them because of their discipline and attention and to the process.”

Keep these tips and guidelines in mind to help your security projects stay on target. Want even more knowledge on this topic? Check out SIA’s SPM course offerings here.

Dr. Elli Voorhees is director of learning and development at the Security Industry Association, and
Kara Klein is manager of communications at the organization.

Editor’s note: Total Security Advisor’s parent company, BLR, is proud to officially join the Security Industry Association and be part of the leading trade group. Please check out our new SIA member profile here.