Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do You Have a Council of Advisors?

In today’s world of AEC project management, a proven track record of “on time, on budget” work is no longer enough. Clients (and firm leaders) are expecting project managers to have an in-depth knowledge of their specific markets or sectors—a proven expert who knows the ins and outs of their work.

Yet, as you may already know, it is almost impossible to become an expert in everything. No matter how much knowledge or experience you have with a client base, project type, etc., there will always be something that you don’t know or are unsure of. Additionally, your expertise in one area of work may hinder your ability to see the bigger picture of what needs to be done to complete a successful project. An efficient PM should have an ability to synthesize the information given to them, but they don’t need to be specialists to handle the information or make decisions.

So how can you ensure that your clients are always getting expert knowledge from you without you always having to be an expert? Develop a council of advisors. Whether it is a formal group that you assemble for a specific project, or a network of contacts who are willing to offer advice within their area of expertise, forming a council of advisors (and sharing them with your clients) will show that you are willing to take the extra step to guarantee that all elements of the project are completed to the best of your ability.

How it works:

1. Assess the project. Before you can determine the members you need within your council, you must review the details of the project to determine the key areas where you may need additional input of expertise. This is your opportunity to identify any skill or knowledge gaps within your project team, and should be done before the work is won because the cost of the council should be considered when preparing the project budget. A council of advisors may be suitable for large projects or those with complex/unique concerns.

2. Assemble the council. Once you have determined the key areas where the project (and client) would benefit from the input of experts, search your network (and those of your team and firm members) to identify potential expert advisors. Stay away from consultants form outside of the industry and focus on practitioners. While their participation will likely cost money, for complex projects, the added credibility will be worth the investment.

3. Meet regularly. Schedule regular meeting with the council throughout the course of the project (i.e. quarterly; at key milestones). You may consider having advisors at the kick-off meeting. These meeting will create an opportunity for your firm (or client) to ask questions on key concerns before making critical decisions.

While a council of advisors may not be suitable for every project, expanding your team of experts for unique or complex projects will add credibility to your work and support trust with your clients

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quite helpful post. And moreover I mean it all

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