Saturday, September 10, 2016

Construction PMO

I don't write about construction projects all that often, but lately that's been my thing: construction... roofing, HVAC, electrical, even some plumbing and floors, etc

The PMO construction extension to the PMBOK is pretty much a non-starter in my opinion.

The place to start is the AIA -- -- the American Institute of Architects. And, it's not just for architects: general contractors, contract managers, and PM's all find really good stuff.

And,you don't have to be an AIA member to take advantage of a lot of the stuff, including sample contract documents, of which they have dozens, if not several dozens. However, be watchful of the copyright claims

Here's the thing. There are these two important points to grasp:
  1. There are generally four players in construction: the architect (or engineer), general contractor, attorney, and owner (or buyer). Read any AIA contract template and you'll find "the architect shall...; the GC shall..., etc)
  2. Often, the owner and the general contractor (GC) both will have project managers, though sometimes the architect or the GC plays the role of PM for the owner. So, which one are you?
With four major players, you'd think the communication channels would be about 15 (using the N-squared minus 1 rule, where N is the number of communicators).

But no! My observation and experience is that communications in a construction environment is not a mesh; the communications architecture is hub-and-spoke.

And, guess who is at the hub; guess who is the risk manager managing all the sequences and buffers among players? Right! You are, if you are the PMO for the owners (or possibly the GC if the owner is contracting "turn key" with the GC)
  • It's almost childish the way the various independents and independent contractors insist on communicating through the hub. If a conference is needed, only the PM can call for it, it seems.
  • And, since most of the construction industry multiplexes the white space among many jobs, to maintain any kind of project schedule requires constant attention to sequences of who works when
  • And, did I mention the supply chain? Everyone seems to work "just in time", maintaining minimum inventory, and thereby pushing buffers and sequencing to the limit! 
Conclusion: the number one skill of a construction PMO is communication ... far and wide, and often!
  • Tell them what you are going to tell them
  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told them!

Read in the library at Square Peg Consulting about these books I've written
Buy them at any online book retailer!
Read my contribution to the Flashblog