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The Five Steps for Developing a Real Estate Project Delivery Process

By Dayna Shatraw

Companies come in all shapes and sizes; each organization has its own internal culture and level of sophistication. Some organizations have been established for many years and have a mature process for managing capital projects. Others are in the early growth stages and just starting to find ways to execute multiple projects. For those companies in the “sweet spot” – between small company with one facilities person and growing company building out a facilities team – engaging a consultant can provide exceptional value.

Developing a project delivery process to manage capital projects can help organizations to be more efficient in their project execution, ensure project goals are consistently met and help manage capital budgets. Whether you have one individual or a team of people executing your projects, understanding key decision making and identifying project goals is the foundation for success.

As advisors to owners, Hereva can help develop a capital project process. We have identified five steps for developing an efficient real estate capital project process for our clients.

1.  Leverage what already exists.

All projects follow the same basic steps, whether it’s adding a piece of equipment to a lab or executing a new lease and relocating your entire organization to a new facility. The purpose of your capital project process is to identify all decision points along the way.

In this day and age, one rarely needs to start anything from scratch. One option is to take an existing process template and tweak it to fit your needs. Your process will need to take into consideration how you will define success. What are your measures for success? It is meeting your schedule, staying on budget, or ensuring customer satisfaction?

Any successful project requires more than one person’s input. Define the key stakeholders in your organization – anyone who has a vested interest in the outcome (IT, Customer Groups, CFO, etc.). Make sure to include these stakeholders in contributing to this process.

Identify any approvals, processes or forms currently in use. There are likely elements of your process that you follow today that can be your starting point for developing a new, fully integrated capital project process.

2. Boil it down…

To fully understand the components of your capital project delivery process, it’s important to boil it down to the minutia. One option is to host a brainstorming session with the project stakeholders to create an open dialogue and clearly define what happens at every stage. Each stage can then be defined, key decisions or milestones identified, and nuances tailored to your specific needs.

This can be likened to that exercise you may have performed as a child where you had to write down how to make a peanut butter sandwich; you start by going to the drawer to get a knife, then you unscrew the top of the peanut butter jar… and on and on.

These steps can then be documented. It’s important to ensure your plan includes all decision points, meetings required, stakeholder review, and any associated forms or templates. A fully integrated project process has been known to highlight over 100 actions that will be taken during the course of a project.

3. And then build it back up…

Once you have distilled this down to your high-level process map, take the individual parts and pieces and build them into your fully integrated capital project delivery plan. At this point take a step back and make sure you have not missed anything along the way. Also, re-engage key stakeholders to ensure that your plan is comprehensive and that you have consensus.

Now you are ready to develop standard forms and templates. Sample forms can include project initiation form, project cost report, monthly executive update, project charter, etc. In some cases, we have created more than 10 templates that can be used by the client to gather information, gain formal approval and document decisions.

Make sure that your process is now in a readable format, which may differ depending on your audience.

4. Get your plan approved

In order to execute your plan, you’ll need approval. Build a presentation to showcase your message.  Successful presentations understand the audience – you may need to tweak your message accordingly. Successful presenters become good at reading their audience and understanding their personality types, idiosyncrasies and main concerns. Anticipate what questions your audience will ask and come prepared with answers. A typical framework for presenting a process would be:

i. Purpose
ii. Overview Visual
iii. Description of each Stage and how to move the next Stage
iv. Implementation Plan and Timeline
v. Include an “Ask”- are you looking for someone’s approval, a decision? What do you need from your audience to proceed with rolling this out?

5. Execute your plan

You now have a plan that you can begin to execute. Plan a kick-off meeting, re-engage your stakeholders and identify anyone who may need to be trained in this plan. It’s important to reconnect with your team at key intervals and determine if anything in your plan needs to be adjusted. You can expand upon your list of templates and forms and begin to document best practices and lessons learned.

Sometimes, a project may not be immediately implemented. But, if you have followed these five steps, you can be confident in knowing that you have delivered a solid piece of work that someone could pick up and execute in the future.

Dayna is a Project Manager with extensive experience across all aspects of project delivery and an in-depth understanding of program creation and process improvement. She works with Hereva’s clients to maximize efficiencies and cost savings, bringing strong financial reporting and tracking skills to every stage of project execution. To read more about Dayna, click here.

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