Defining the Ideal Project Process for the “Perfect” Project Outcome

A perfect project is often described as being completed on time and on budget. While that description is accurate, it also leaves out two key factors that contribute to the overall success of a project: communication and starting the process early. 

Recently I sat on a panel of project managers and general contractors to discuss best practices. Here are a few of the recurring themes from that conversation. 

Theme 1: Start the process early 

Having worked on projects with compressed schedules, I can tell you that starting the process early really does make all the difference. The sooner the project team is on board, the sooner the team can start providing value. This can include programming, visioning and design, getting the general contractor engaged to obtain construction pricing and getting a jump start on permit submissions material lead times, and subcontractor bids, not to mention ordering furniture. Assembling the team early means better planning and ultimately a smoother process.
Depending on the size and scope of the project I recommend selecting your broker two years in advance of lease expiration. Projects that once took 12 months are now taking nearly 18 to complete.  

Theme 2: Communicate expectations 

Starting the process early on allows me to better understand the client and their needs and get the project team on board with their vision and budget as early as possible. Value engineering starts with making sure the team understands the client’s expectations from the beginning of the project. I believe a good design team can provide a creative and interesting aesthetic AND design to a budget. We run into problems when the design and design materials are above the client’s budget and that typically occurs because the team didn’t fully understand the expectations. 

As a project manager, my ultimate goal is to make sure our clients are taken care of. But, it’s also my role to make sure that the project team works as a high functioning unit. Having great partners with our design teams and general contractors, makes the difference for Cresa to provide service to our clients in the best way possible.

Each project is unique because each client and their situations are unique; therefore, it is important for me not to force one type of process on the client, but rather to be flexible and adjust the process to meet their specific timeline, work-style and needs. The only reason I exist is to serve our clients.