The Role of Facility Managers in Project Management

While project management is a unique discipline, it is very closely related to facilities management. A facility manager or maintenance manager can, and usually lead as a project manager, overseeing single or multiple projects simultaneously. However, a project manager cannot be a facility or maintenance manager.

It is not unusual for a company, whether manufacturing or real estate, to have multiple projects running concurrently, requiring the facility manager to assume the role of the project manager.

The Role of Facility Managers in Project Management

Experienced facility managers already possess good project management skills and are intelligent enough to accommodate a reasonable level of project management workloads. However, people who are new to this discipline might find it difficult and daunting to lead even a single project, let alone multiple projects at once.

As a market analyst, I have had the pleasure to chat with few successful managers to gain insights into how they handle projects.

In this article, I will outline a few simple strategies that many successful managers follow.

Data Organization

Organized and accurate data is essential to completing a project successfully. Experienced facility managers define the scope of the project and determine the specifications and deliveries. They constantly monitor progress throughout the project. Experienced managers clearly understand the project and know what to expect.

Project Planning

Proficient facility managers plan the project ahead of time. This includes developing a timeline with dates milestones, and resources. Managers that are inexperienced in this discipline often undermine how critical this step is. Another useful strategy is to identify a project’s SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By identifying these crucial aspects of a project, managers can better address areas that need improvement. In some cases, like in large construction projects, a pest or pestle (political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental) analysis is done to help managers make better decisions.

Gathering the right people

The next step that experienced managers do is build a team of people with different sets of skills and expertise required to accomplish a project. The team and the supporting resources are essential components of a manager’s success. Experienced managers understand the strengths and weaknesses of a project. These pieces of information help managers to build a team that compliments those traits.

Obtain the right tools

The advent of various project management tools has helped managers drive success at a higher level. Many progressive facility management leaders utilize computerized maintenance management systems or facility management software to streamline their tasks. These solutions come with features to help managers document activities, build a timeline, identify resources, and track milestones that ensure the project remain on schedule and track.

Character traits of a leader

Successful facility managers do not take on jobs for the sole purpose of completing a project. These managers are role models for many and know how to motivate and encourage the rest of the team members. Their jobs are very similar to managing a department.

PDCA

PDCA stands for plan, do, check, and adjust. It is an iterative four-step management method used for the control and continuous improvement of processes. This is exactly what most successful managers do, and this should sound familiar if you are a manager. Successful managers plan the work, execute the plan, check to ensure that everything is in order, and finally make adjustments if necessary.

Following up

The final step is the follow-up that many managers still fail to do. It is essential to review what went well, what did not, what could be improved to make the process easier next time.

Wrapping up

Modern facilities management has evolved to include CMMS, facility management software, advanced analytics, AI, risk management, and more technology to streamline the process. As maintenance and facility managers undertake more responsibilities related to people and projects, they will need to keep in mind the goal of each organization – using the right tools and valuable resources as efficiently as possible.

Author Bio: Riyan N. Alam is a digital marketing analyst at CloudApper, a supplier of mobile ERP solutions, including HIPAA compliance software, facility management software, and CMMS.

The Role of Facility Managers in Project Management

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