EMG Perspective – Fall 2017

Speed to Market – Reducing Time to Implementation for Projects & Programs

Don’t let your project become infamous. In construction project management, Sagrada Familia Gaudithere isn’t usually the luxury of an ever-extending timeline and budget for remodels, refreshes, or new store builds. Guadi’s (in)famous Sagrada Familia in Spain has been under construction for over 130 years. This wouldn’t work on a rebranding project for a high-profile retail chain, no matter how intricate the façade work. At EMG, we find that taking the time to do more upfront planning, drives on-time projects. Slow down your planning to speed up your construction and lower or eliminate change orders. Following the K.I.S.S. principle, we recommend the following simple planning tips:

Setting a Tone of Accountability
Setting an expectation of accountability upfront is key to on-time delivery. In fact, one of EMG’s Core Values, is being “crazy accountable.” Teams that own their responsibilities and deadlines will never have to deal with finger pointing.
REDUCE If a key team member must step away from the project or program, you must be able to move on seamlessly by having other team members step-up.

When assigning roles during the planning stage of a construction project, consider each member of the team’s levels of training, years of experience, vertical market experience, and pockets of expertise (from technical to hands-on acumen).

Determine who can approve changes to a plan vs. only recommending a change. Keep in mind that basing roles on the tenure of team members doesn’t always work well. Eliminate roadblocks by considering personalities and how the team will mesh.
REDUCEShorten the chain of communication for efficiency of time and processes. Get rid of the Bobs (did you catch the Office Space reference?)

Quantify Risks: Identify and Assess
Your Crazy Accountable team has identified risks early in the project. From weather (Hurricane Harvey or Irma anyone?), to location issues (remote sites), to staffing changes, material cost fluctuations, and more. The ability of your team to assess these risks should they become real-life issues is key to keeping projects moving with little loss in momentum. A seasoned project manager knows that there is never enough time or money to act against every risk that is identified. Be ready for those that have the highest probability of popping up.
REDUCE Speed up via team experience

Using Project Management Professional (PMP®) Processes for Documented Process Flow and Outcome
If you’re lucky enough to have a certified PMP® on your team, you already have a short-cut to efficiency. But don’t worry; a PMP® isn’t necessary in determining which processes result in the most waste. Projects have five essential areas: 1) Initiating, 2) Planning, 3) Executing, 4) Monitoring/Controlling, and 5) Closing. Of these, Planning is the largest process group with approximately 20 elements that range from defining scope to estimating resources, durations, costs, and identifying risks. Can you effectively run lean during the planning phase to reduce the overall time to implementation?
REDUCEPare down or eliminate elements without affecting the integrity of the overall project or program.

Identify Resource Requirements (Internal, Vendor Partners and Materials)
Do the people on your team realistically have the time to deliver what is expected? If not, think about shifting workloads among staff, hiring additional full-time or part-time project managers or project coordinators, changing vendors, or even outsourcing to a project management consulting company with a proven track record for reliable, accurate, consistent, and timely performance. Read more from our Spring 2016 Perspective.
REDUCEShift workloads, hire differently, change vendors, outsource.

Testing the Waters
Setting interim milestones will allow for easier course correction along the way. Consider running a test/pilot on your new project or program, if practical. If you’re introducing a new, innovative concept to enhance the customer experience at stores across the nation, a pilot program lowers the risk and enables you to work out the kinks.

Remember that money talks. Results can and will be measured by tracking the bottom line. Don’t forget to track estimated vs. actual costs.
REDUCETest, correct/adjust, move forward.

Reporting Tools
If a collaborative online project management tool is to be used to chart progress, choose a user friendly, intuitive one that requires minimal training and that is best suited for project size and type. It should be accessible via computer, tablet, and phone 24/7, by anyone on the project. Don’t opt for a complicated piece of software when a simple spreadsheet will work just as well. If you won’t be using a collaborative tool, determine an alternative method for documenting and communicating progress that allows you to stay on track with data management and analytics.

Make sure your reporting tools have an executive dashboard, or a way to display current statuses without all the noise. Your reporting tool should easily show risks as well as results.
REDUCEChoose an intuitive, user friendly, online tool that is available by all team members 24/7.

Increase your speed to market to maintain the competitive advantage by incorporating some or all of these simple planning tips. Keep your projects on-time and avoid letting them become infamous. I invite you to revisit our 8 Step Plan to Avoid Project Failure to further fast-track your projects and programs with time-tested guidance, pushing you toward greater success.

Featured Project Manager: EMG’s Own IRONMAN Caroline Chamoun

Introducing athlete, project manager, and mom extraordinaire, EMG’s Caroline Caroline Chamoun_IRONMAN 2017Chamoun. She lives by our motto “Work Seriously & Live Playfully.” Excelling at life and work, Caroline has been a member of the EMG family since 2015. She launched her EMG career in our Asset Management division and is now excelling as a project manager in our Project Management division. Before joining EMG, Caroline worked as a senior analyst at a REIT. This experience enabled her to hit the ground running in managing programs to exceed our clients’ expectations.

Her favorite project to date is with EMG client AHOLD upgrading the front end of grocery stores across 325 locations. Caroline describes the complexities of her job in three words: Trust, Time, and Opportunities. The three meld together for the perfect project management chess game that allow her to shine and deliver on time.

Caroline has a dual Masters Degree in business and project management. Additionally, she is multi-lingual (French, Spanish, Portuguese, English). She believes this has helped her communicate with some of the contractors on projects, and has added that “Je ne sais quoi” [that little something] to the relationship we build with clients who are also multi-lingual.

Outside of work she enjoys any outdoor activity with her three smart, beautiful, and active daughters.  Her love of running, swimming, and cycling culminated in her completion of the Chattanooga IRONMAN on 9/24/17. We’re proud and lucky to have Caroline on the EMG team.

Featured Project: McDonald’s Create Your Taste™

McDonald’s needed a trusted, full-service Project Management company when it came to the test marketing and continued rollout of their “Create Your Taste™” (CYT) “Experience of The Future” (EOTF) technology driven, self-serve kiosks with hand-delivery. They turned to EMG. The initial test markets – Salt Lake City, Utah and Amarillo, Texas – introduced the program, allowing customers to order their own food, build a burger with more selection and customization, and have it presented at their table or ready at the counter, to go.

The remodels affected three key areas while stores remained open: the dining room, the kitchen, and the front counter. Completion time was approximately five days per location. The all-interior work also incorporated new signage. The initial test markets were successfully completed—25 locations in Salt Lake City, Utah, and 19 locations in Amarillo, Texas. McDonald’s plans to continue to use EMG’s Project Management services for 100+ locations in Florida.

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