Whether new construction or a “simple” remodel, projects of any scale can easily become more complex than initially thought. For owners who don’t spend their days managing design and construction projects, this is often a byproduct of “not knowing what you don’t know.” A good project manager (PM) provides value well before the actual physical construction of the project ever begins. Relying on the experience of someone who has “been there before” from the very beginning will ensure the team makes smart strategic decisions regarding site selection; engaging the right design and construction teams; and determining appropriate project scope, timelines, and budget. Each of these tasks can easily overwhelm an owner and strain company resources, distracting from other daily operations. Partnering with a project manager early in the process brings clarity and best practices to any project.
The right information
A strong PM uses their experience to offer strategic advice and synthesize vast quantities of information. Hiring a PM frees the owner from swimming in the project minutiae, allowing them to focus on other important business needs. The PM provides regular updates to keep owners informed and tracks key open decisions to maintain schedule. They are also well positioned to anticipate challenges and align resources for smooth transitions to each new phase of the project. Establishing a cadence for check-ins ensures that communication expectations are set in the beginning and permeate the project from start to finish.
Managing people and decisions
Every project will undoubtedly have many contributors. It is important to establish a hierarchy of stakeholders from the onset. Conflicting information from within the owner organization can quickly derail a project. It is up to the PM to ensure that the right stakeholders are engaged in the right decisions from the beginning and that all decisions are well documented for future reference. Whether collecting data from future users to establish the program or setting critical review milestones, the PM can bring order to this process. So much of the success of the project depends on the clarity and quality of information generated at the start of a project.
Industry connections and experience
Engaging an experienced PM early in the process will afford the project the benefits of deep industry knowledge and connections. Both are especially critical when reviewing early pricing, setting a budget, and selecting the project team. A PM should remain focused on project needs and constantly evaluate budget, schedule, and project requirements as they evolve. They can help avoid expensive missteps that can cost a project time and money. Past project experiences will help inform planning decisions and lend credibility to future problem solving.
There are countless reasons to establish a relationship with a PM from the earliest phases of a project, but those noted above each have a profound effect on project delivery. Establishing a solid foundation from which to build, a PM will guide your project to successful completion by providing dedicated support every step of the way.