Construction projects are risky, costly and time-consuming endeavors, and the more complex a project is, the more potential there is for potential problems to arise, including scope creep, budget overruns and schedule delays. To achieve maximum results with a building project, it is crucial for businesses to enlist a project manager who can lead and help integrate all elements of a building project — from planning to design and engineering to construction and commissioning.
An effective project manager serves as the owner’s trusted advisor, providing a single source of responsibility and accountability for performance throughout the entire process. By ensuring that everyone is in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things, a good project manager can help clients avoid redundancies, extra work and costly mistakes. There are a number of tangible benefits to hiring a project manager:
1. A project manager will save time
Managing a project takes a lot of time and a great deal of focus that a client engaged in running its business may not be able to provide. There are many components to managing a project: juggling multiple vendors and stakeholders, organizing and implementing a timeline, and managing risk and quality control. A project manager will assume complete ownership of the project — from start to finish — freeing the client to focus on its day-to-day responsibilities.
2. A project manager will save money
A good project manager develops strong relationships with best-in-class vendors that they can leverage on their client’s behalf. They have also gained extensive knowledge and experience to ensure optimal and consistent service is delivered to the client day in and day out.
3. A project manager will manage risk
Every project has a certain amount of risk, but should a problem threaten to derail a project in the middle of it, a good project manager has a clearly defined plan in order to make timely decisions to resolve the problem or mitigate the potential risks. According to 2015 Project Management Institute Pulse of the Profession, project management helps manage risk — 73 percent of firms that use risk management practices met their original business goals.
4. A project manager will prevent scope creep
Whether it is time or money, or both, eating away at the success of a project, both can be the result of scope creep. Successful project management controls the flow of a project and keeps team members focused on and working within the original scope of work.
5. A project manager will deliver optimal results
A project manager is a highly skilled professional, trained to lead a project from start to finish, on time and on budget. They will analyze a client’s needs and provide the right resources to ensure the deliverable is of the highest quality. A skilled project manager also knows there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all-solution, but instead brings a customized approach for the specific needs and preferences of each client. By quickly scaling up or down in size to match changing requirements of the project, a project manager can ensure optimal project results. According to the 2015 Project Management Institute Pulse of the Profession, organizations that incorporate optimal project management practices meet their goals 2 1⁄2 times more often than those in low-performing organizations (90 percent vs. 36 percent).
Corporate real estate executives considering a construction project may question why a project cannot be managed either internally by someone on their own staff or by the project’s architect or contractor since they are already familiar with the project. While this may seem like a good idea at first, it comes down to expertise, focus and time.
All too often, the internal delegate assigned to the project lacks either adequate training or proven experience to effectively manage all aspects of an expensive development or building project. The project may be an addition to their ongoing responsibilities, reducing the amount of attention they can devote to the project.
While architects and contractors may be very capable at their individual specialties, they can fall short as effective project managers. Their responsibilities are limited to only one component of the entire project, while a project manager is involved in the entire scope from the start, helping develop a clear project vision and strategy based on client focused objectives — always with their client’s best interests in mind. Since architects and contractors are often charged with specific responsibilities, it can be more difficult for them to take a step-removed strategic view of the building as it may relate to other buildings in the owner’s portfolio.
A good project manager will deliver optimal results, saving an organization real time and money in the process. With so much at stake, including a business’ reputation, it cannot afford to make mistakes. The best thing for a business considering a construction project may be to sit back, relax and leave the juggling and headaches to the pros.
Richard Neuman is Vice President in JLL’s Northeast region Project and Development Services group. The views expressed in this blog are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer.
This article was written for the April 2016 edition of The Reporter, a monthly publication of the Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island. http://hia-li.org/uploadfiles/AprilPaper.pdf Page 40.