By ROBERT LEIGH
What is an Independent Project Manager? What do they do?
These are some of the everyday questions that we are asked when educating clients on the role of an Independent Project Manager during their office relocation project. And just before you convince your alter ego into pondering plausible, yet aloof, responses to the last question, Independent Project Managers do not come from dark feral corners of the earth, no matter how much the right side of your brain may have you believe. Well, not all of them anyway!
Independent Project Managers perform a technical and skilled role in the project process. They’re usually the first, or one of the first, professional consultants to be engaged by clients who are seeking advice on the implementation of their new office space. They act as a central pivot between the client and the stakeholders, consulting team, suppliers, contractors and others who perform a duty on the project. This position at the lynch pin means the Project Manager has the central function to coordinate the project, keeping all parties informed of the project’s health at every stage in the process. They can caution against risk, realise opportunities, maximise value and minimise loss, which provides real time benefits and tangible outcomes.
The blend of hard and soft skills that transformational projects demand, makes an Independent Project Manager the ideal candidate to pull together the project and bind the team in a single vision. Companies associate a Project Manager with the key project aspects of the programme, time and costs. This is highly important in the selection process and helps decide on the project manager’s brief and mandate.
Let us consider a few other areas that a project manager will provide expert advice; the briefing process, project methodology, procurement strategy, design team selection, vendor profiling, selection communication channels and approval process.
Without a Project Manager, these tasks are implemented with little or no basis for rationale and are poorly executed due to unskilled management or when managed in tandem with alternative functions that are not in relation to project management.
‘Do we really need an Independent Project Manager’?
Well let’s not forget that these are the people that are responsible for delivering success across many projects from infrastructure to manufacturing and financial services to IT. Every industry is alive to the results to be gained with an Independent Project Management function on either finite or rolling projects.
Businesses need to ask –
There is a reason that all types of businesses choose project management as a route to successful delivery. Previously available resources were ill equipped to deal with demand across change management whilst ensuring business continuity, which resulted in project failure by definition of poor outcome, cost overrun and the end product not matching expectations.
In 2014 , PWC cited the three reasons for project failure as poor estimates in planning, change in scope mid project and insufficient resources. These are all too familiar occurrences which result in a negative impact, at a time when businesses require maximum effect when relocating.
The most talked about office projects are delivered by Project Managers – from Google’s latest office to the next unicorn business out of Silicon valley, all the way through to global corporate office occupiers.This in turn affects the way they occupy their working space and the environment workers crave to be part of.
Independent Project Managers ensure a value add service by asking the questions that are missed during the project process.
For example, how many people does your organisation wish to expand to? How many people use the office on a daily basis? How can the design of the building lend itself to an efficient programme and cost effective design solution?
You, of course, expect the normal questions of “budget and time-frame” but these vitally important questions can only be truly answered with a wider awareness of the businesses objectives for moving / relocating or transforming your existing office.
Independent Project Managers have the core competencies to deliver change. When they are integrated into a project at the right time, they realise opportunities and maximise results.
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