Understand the Decision-Making Structure

All in-sourced and outsourced team members need to understand the politics of the organization and how major and minor decisions will be made. Understanding this structure will help the team members to understand the project goals, objectives and priorities. It will also give the team members an idea on who must be pleased with the final results and what those results should be. It creates a “filter” that affects decision-making from the start to the completion of the project.

Effective Information Gathering Techniques

A project charter, or a project objectives statement, should be prepared that describes the project, the justification for the project, the project goals and objectives and addresses the conceptual budget and schedule. Once management, or the board of directors, has blessed the project, it is time to start the top-down programming process.

With larger, more complex projects, it always helps to hold a “visioning” session with the key organizational decision-makers. The facilitator will walk the participants through a number of key, open-ended questions which should elicit a description of the ideal outcomes and project success metrics. Many times, this session includes a mind-mapping exercise that produces a free-flowing graphic depiction of what project success looks like.

Also with larger projects, conducting a kick-off meeting with the selected internal team members, who will be representing all the functional group stakeholders, will give you an opportunity to introduce the internal and external team members and review the project goals and objectives as well as orient the team members to the programming, or information gathering, process that they will be a part of. Distributing and reviewing a “Pre-programming Questionnaire” will make the programming interviews much more productive.

When conducting the interviews, it is important for the manager to attend all the sessions to help screen the information being received for validity and adherence to acceptable standards. The interviewer should use open-ended (who, what, why, where and how) questions to gather the richest information. Make sure that current, or future, space standards have been updated and validated before starting the interviews. The unit per usable square feet standards will be used in conjunction with the headcount by level and by department in order to arrive at the assignable and usable square footage figures.

Checklist for Project Start-Ups:

  • My CEO or President has signed off on a project charter or project objectives statement
  • A realistic, conceptual budget and schedule has been developed and approved by upper management
  • I have the right mix and number of internal management team members and qualified outsourced consultants on the team
  • I have developed updated space standards and have gotten management approval for the new space standards
  • If we are incorporating a telework strategy, we have determined the ratio of staff to dedicated office space, shared office space and hoteling space is needed to meet our telework objectives