LEAN TO SUSTAINABLE: COMPLEX PROGRAM MANAGEMENT THAT CAN SCALE
Even as many employees are working from home, some global brands have maintained their aggressive real estate programs.
An increasingly complex and robust facilities program is the reality for our client, a technology giant ranked in Fortune’s 500 top-earning companies. As they expanded to establish more offices across the globe to accommodate the explosive growth in their workforce, they faced challenges with their internal real estate program that were difficult to foresee.
At the brink
Once a start-up tech company, it’s no surprise that our client’s internal real estate management approach mirrored the now iconic Silicon Valley garage strategy - extremely lean, scrappy and a bit gritty.
When we were hired, a single individual was responsible for multiple teams managing dozens of property developments across an entire hemisphere including North, Central and South America. They asked our team to become a much needed resource layer between this individual and project teams to help bolster their strained system.
We quickly discerned that the structure in place was stretched and would soon be overwhelmed. Quality standards and decision-making speed were suffering and the complexity of efficiently managing so many project details was becoming nearly impossible. Scaling this structure to accommodate the rate of their projected growth was not feasible.
A Moving Train
The initial step of providing a robust additional layer of external resources helped to stabilize the program and provide support to current project teams. Tools were also created to standardize and streamline reporting across the facilities program.
Integrating with their internal departments and understanding their current standards gave us perspective on the aspects of the program that were working well and a view to the additional elements required to accommodate the explosive trajectory the client envisioned.
The client’s real estate program was moving at the speed of a bullet train and they required an evolutionary solution adapted from our experiences managing similarly large and complex programs.
The client’s real estate program was moving at the speed of a bullet train and they required an evolutionary solution.
Envisioning a Sustainable Solution
We worked collaboratively with client teams to begin to identify a customized strategy to accommodate the current volume of work and also scale to meet the needs of the projects they were projecting. Initially, this involved putting more contingencies in place and adding additional reporting capacity. This step led to the envisioning a regional approach that divided the the client’s program into three disparate and more manageable regions.
This diversified approach inserted more oversight and a layer of accountability across their portfolio. Augmenting their staff with additional resources immediately began to alleviate bottlenecks and improve project delivery.
Augmenting their staff with additional resources immediately began to alleviate bottlenecks and improve project delivery,
Homogenization of deliverable services soon became a primary focus. Each project team had their own methods which made communication difficult. Best practices that reflected client priorities were developed and implemented across the real estate program including standardized design criteria, dashboards, reports, budgets and meeting minutes.
This step was critical because it created an opportunity to begin to build an institutional knowledge base designed to continually inform improved project quality and efficiency moving forward.
Sustainability Over Time
As the new structure enabled better project performance, we assisted the client in defining key positions and slowly hiring for these roles to bring more of the program management responsibilities internal.
Training new hires and outside vendors to support the higher standards and renewed deliverables configuration, while also providing oversight of other third party management firms, became a part of our scope to elevate continuity and consistency.
This took time and required a tremendous amount of agility in order to maintain optimal project management throughout different phases and across many projects.
This took time and required a tremendous amount of agility in order to maintain optimal project management throughout different phases and across many projects. Our fully integrated team grew from two people up to 20, flexing up and down repeatedly while also adapting to fill various roles as client needs evolved.
Creating and implementing a more efficient and scalable project management model has increased service levels and staff satisfaction across the company, from mid-level to C-suite. Improved transparency, enhanced communication and standardized tools and expectations are efficiently delivering cost savings as well as better quality projects.
The complexity and massive scope of this client’s program demanded an equally robust approach to project management and delivery, facilitating the opportunity for this company to realize their vision in a smooth and coherent manner.