Does your school building project seem to be dragging on? Are you having meetings about meetings, and not seeing any progress?
Tom Sampson, Partner at Bidwells, suggests perhaps it’s time to crack the whip on your project team.
Here’s his five top tips on what you should be demanding from your project manager.
1. Communication that gives you confidence
Who’s chasing whom to complete actions? A proactive project manager will give you the confidence that they are fully engaged and in control. Whether by phone, email, Zoom, or carrier pigeon, you should be hearing from them – a lot.
2. Personality that delivers
Many school projects last for two years or more, so it helps if you get on with your team. Ask for testimonials and conduct a thorough interview to get a sense of individuals’ personalities. Do you like them? You need good listeners to fully grasp your needs, and an energetic leader with an effective management style you can trust get the job done. A harmonious team will work more productively.
3. The right skills for your school
You wouldn’t employ an English teacher who had never read a book, so your PM should also have the right experience to deliver your project. Ask them to fully explain how their past schools project experience will help to deliver yours. They should have key skills in leading multi-disciplinary teams and robust reporting procedures.
Ensure your appointed team has sufficient resource, at the right level, to manage the project to completion. What are their contingency plans for holidays and sickness? Get the key partner to confirm they will stay involved for the duration of the project, and not disappear after being appointed for the work.
5. If it’s not working, change it
Rushed tender processes often lead to poor choices of project team. If you find yourself in this situation, and your project is stalling, don’t be afraid to make short-term tough decisions for long-term gain. In other words, if your team won’t change – it’s time to change your team!
“Thank you to the Bidwells Project Management team for their help, guidance, patience and management given to, what we can all agree, is an exciting project. To date, the process has been smooth and this is due in no small part to the personal touch that the Bidwells team has offered.” Headmaster, Cokethorpe School, Oxford
Bidwells’ independent schools specialists offer consultancy on estate strategy, funding, surveying, planning and project management for new build, extension, repurposing and refurbishment projects across the South East.
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