You can’t deliver anything without a robust project management division.
The management of expectations and being seen as a trusted source is what can make or break any project.
Last month the design team, here at Resolution Interiors, regarded their overall role as being the ‘forefront of a continual conversation.’ Let’s continue our ‘how it works’ series by focusing on the project management team where their role becomes the heartbeat of every project from communication, to trust and to promote a mutual understanding with those they work with.
Our conversation brings together: John Griffiths, Operations Director; Kathryn Blandford, Project Manager; Natascha Hague, Senior Project Coordinator; Ben Chislett, Project Coordinator and Lucia Otero, Designer.
So, if the design team see themselves as the ‘forefront of the conversation,’ how can the project management team define their overall role? John highlighted succinctly, “the PM is the center of someone else’s universe.”
“The reason is because everything has to go through a PM at some point during a project.”
“From design, health and safety, site management, project co-ordination and office support, everything has to feed through this team to deliver a project for a client. It is a discipline that is critical to the achievement of an outcome.’
How Have Things Changed?
If the project management function has been something that has gone hand in hand with store development for generations, how has this role changed over the past few years?
Natascha highlighted the biggest change is speed. “I have been with Resolution Interiors for six years. Not just for us, but for every company is the adaptation to being quicker. Businesses today are guided by email, rather than a resolute focus on a list that is in front of you. It is how we all adapt and change, technology and communication has helped, but it can also hinder.”
John continued this theme of change, “It is safe to say that there has been an overload of information. This means that expectations are heightened and we are all part of a world that requires instantaneous action. This has manifested into a reactive industry, where modern communication has lost the principals of organisation and planning.”
If the overload of information and speed now rules the landscape, how is this overcome, where projects are delivered and the client is ultimately happy?
“Managing expectations is key” claimed John.
“Expectations will always be more than can initially be achieved. What matters and becomes the crux of a successful project is the promotion of verbal spoken communication.”
Ben continued, “When it comes to briefing our supply chain, we can’t just fire off an email and consider it job done. For instance, a contractor might not fully understand the spec they have been sent. They may need time to interrogate, interpret and work through questions. It’s all too easy to overlook our own familiarity with a project, expecting others to get it straight away.”
Within different divisions, communication is always key, Lucia highlighted, “Everything has an effect on something else. The design team is always in conversation with the project management team, not always the client. When you have clear and concise communication channels, the design team can deliver a better outcome. It’s all centered on having an open and honest discussion.”
John highlighted an example from an international client. “A brand had delivered over 300 stores globally and whilst the expectations of a board are an eight week turnaround locally, regulations are invariably different around the world.”
“However, our task is to make things happen. Ultimately we have delivered stores for them in the timelines that were set. When you manage expectations and communication is encouraged you can unpick the lessons learnt from delivering a project, to make life better for everyone.”
“The whole project management team brings experience and knowledge, to help others deliver what they want. The objective is to accommodate the client’s wishes.”
Everything Is Different, Nothing Has Changed
To embrace the role of the project manager, it is clear that this isn’t a role for everyone. Ben highlighted, “To be a competent PM, a client needs someone who is technically competent, commercially aware and has the ability to understand people from different disciplines at various levels.”
Whilst we are part of a world where speed and quick responses call the shots, it was agreed from the group that a successful client and project management team dynamic is formed when a sense of trust is achieved promptly.
Natascha highlighted very simply, “The reason Resolution Interiors build long term trust with clients is because we manage difficulties, very quickly.”
Whilst technology and communication is changing, the ability to form and build trusting relationships has been the founding principles of the project management discipline. As John stated, “Everything is different, but nothing has changed. The alliances we build and the processes we have in place, have not altered. It is all about understanding the limitations of what you can achieve.”
John concluded what everything came down to. “Success is related to the appreciation of what both parties need to do, which is to deliver a project.”
Being the centre of someone else’s universe is what makes a project tick. Grounded within that universe is the ability to generate empathy and understanding. This can only come about through communication and trust.
The project management team represents the flow of interaction, communication and delivery.
People come to Resolution Interiors because we help people sell goods in their stores. When there is a team who make things happen simplicity and efficiency make good partners.