If you’ve ever been involved in a Value Engineering process as an end user, you likely have a sour taste in your mouth. Despite all the good words and intents, it usually boils down to cutting program, quality, and cost, and it usually comes well after these decisions should have been made. Project Optimization on the other hand, seeks to homogenize project deliverables and expectations from the start of design all the way through occupancy.
Benchmarking has been around a long time, one sign of its value and importance. It is helpful when engaged with processes as diverse as business intelligence analysis and process design, and can be done internally or externally. The purpose of benchmarking is to quanitfy and analyze business processes to understand performance, inform strategy, help justify investment decisions, and enable tactical planning and change management.
Recently, I saw a facility management article that suggested ways facility managers can put budget excesses to good use. I can’t recall that I’ve ever had that problem. In my experience, facility managers are always juggling resources, be it money, people, technology, or time. If your experience is like mine, then you understand the importance of choosing the right investments.
Strategic planning has long been a core part of the Facilities Management set of deliverables. As the planning environment becomes ever more ambiguous, the utility of scenario planning increases. Including scenario planning as a part of your strategic planning process allows you to plan for a range of environmental conditions and establish signposts that will help you understand the journey as it progresses. Understanding, you can then anticipate and adjust along the way.
When development project program requirements run up against project budget constraints you can expect Value Engineering and program modification to occur in short order. When done correctly these activities can be beneficial, resulting in program adjustments that fine tune the project without sacrificing important program elements or operational requirements. That is not always the outcome, however.
Avoiding strategic planning landmines is as important as developing vision, developing measurable goals, and aligning strategy across the enterprise. Do all of that well and you are on your way, but you must avoid traps that complicate or doom your strategic plan.
Two of the biggest challenges in strategic planning are lack of focus and discipline. Both mitigate against drawing hard lines when the time comes to decide what can and cannot be included in the plan. Just because you can or hope to do something does not mean you should. Strategic planning is about one thing at its core; developing direction and momentum guided by strategic focus. Do not let that focus be diluted by distraction or lesser priorities. If it is not compelling enough to be part of the strategic focus, then it is not compelling enough. Period.
Corporate workplace professionals are busy figuring out what their new normal should be and how to get there. Some have done the work, have a clear roadmap, and are ready to make their move. Others still have work to do to decide what the new work environment should be, or don’t yet have a clear roadmap. For these, temporizing actions may be the most appropriate immediate strategy.
Our grandchildren visited for a few days recently, and we did what families do. We talked, ate, played games, and got in a bit of outdoor activity. I am teaching the older ones a couple of family-safe card games, they are teaching me poker. Go figure. They were here several days and through it all it seemed someone was always telling a story.