Why Hire a Project Manager
It all comes down to expertise, focus and time
There’s no question about it, construction projects are risky, costly and time-consuming. And the more complex a project is, the more potential there is for issues to arise, including scope creep, budget overruns and schedule delays.
Unless, of course, you have a good Project Manager (PM) at the helm.
A good PM will lead and help integrate all elements of a building project—from planning to design and engineering to construction and commissioning—for maximum overall results. They serve as the owner’s trusted advisor and single source of responsibility and accountability for project performance throughout the entire process, so you don’t have to.
But corporate real estate (CRE) executives sometimes ponder whether the benefits of hiring a PM justify the expense. The answer is a resounding “yes.” By ensuring everyone is in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things, a good PM will help you avoid redundancies, rework and costly mistakes.
Top 5 benefits of hiring a good PM
But why hire a Project Manager instead of…
Many CREs wonder why their project can’t be managed either internally by someone on their own staff or simply by the project’s architect or contractor since they’re already familiar with the project. While this may seem like a good idea at first, it all comes down to expertise, focus and time.
Project Manager versus internal staff
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. And in many cases, the project is in addition to their ongoing responsibilities, reducing the amount of attention they can devote to the project. Unless internal candidates have extensive experience and are empowered to commit the required time necessary, they may not be able to provide the appropriate and timely direction to ensure project success.
Project Manager versus architects and contractors
Architects and contractors may be very capable at their individual specialties, but they can fall short as effective PMs. Unlike PMs, their responsibilities are limited to only one component of the entire project, while a PM 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. In addition, 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.
Hire the RIGHT Project Manager
You’re convinced. You realize you need a good PM. But how do you hire the right one for your project and your business?
Here are eight questions to ask during the interview process:
Do the candidate’s skills and experience match your needs?
Has the PM successfully managed projects comparable to yours in scope, building type and industry group? A good PM candidate should be able to provide solid references from organizations they have served successfully.
Is there an assurance of continuity for your project?
Projects can suffer potential slowdowns and information gaps from an influx of different PMs. Make sure there is one lead PM assigned for the duration of the project.
Can the candidate successfully instill a collaborative process to obtain best results?
A PM must be able to facilitate a collaborative process amongst not only architects and contractors, but other project contributors such as technology and furnishings planners, as well as other stakeholders ranging from internal review boards to public interest groups and regulatory bodies.
Does the PM’s favorable reputation extend to architects, contractors and other vendors?
While these professionals are not expected to agree with all of the PM’s decisions, they should respect the PM’s regard for quality, fairness and willingness to consider all sides of the issues. If a PM has a reputation for lowering costs by unfairly “squeezing” suppliers, they most likely won’t be respected or trusted.
Does the PM emphasize a thorough design and pre- construction process?
The best time to add value to a project is early in the process. After helping the owner define his goals for the project, a good PM should initiate a front-end process including team-brainstorming sessions with the owner, architect, designer, suppliers and stakeholders.
Is there flexibility in the solution they have offered?
A good PM doesn’t enter a new project with a one-size-fits-all solution, but knowledge and expertise to customize an optimal approach for the client’s specific needs. A PM should be expected to assimilate with the client and its culture, not vice versa. They should also be able to quickly scale up or down in size to match changing project requirements.
How can you be assured of optimal PM performance?
The role of PM is to ensure all project contributors are delivering optimal results, but who’s overseeing the PM? A good PM typically has a program that reviews the PM’s performance, providing recommendations for improvement when necessary.
Does the Project Manager guarantee 100% ROI?
A good PM should always have skin in the game in order to motivate and incentivize them. Guaranteeing 100% or better ROI creates a strong incentive to meet and exceed expectations.
If you’re looking for real results, ‘Why hire a Project Manager?’ isn’t the question you should be asking yourself, but rather ‘How can you afford NOT to hire a Project Manager?’ Not only will a good PM make sure everyone is in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things, but a good PM will deliver optimal results, saving your organization real time and money in the process.
With so much at stake, including your reputation, you can’t afford to make mistakes. So, sit back, relax and leave the juggling and headaches to the pros.