George Anderson recently stepped into the role of Director of Project Management. George will now use his experience, which includes over twenty years in project management and preconstruction, to lend a guiding hand to HB project teams. We sat down to talk with George about his new role.
What does your role now consist of?
My goal is to be an advocate for Project Managers at HB , who can then turn around and advocate for all of our project teams. To sum it up, I listen to project challenges and see how I can help them. So just functionally, we meet weekly and go through a scorecard for every project. We have 15 metrics of project success that we discuss and respond to. We also document lessons learned and identify best practices on every project.
That’s the functional side. The spirit of the role is to ensure our project managers have every resource they need to not only do their job, but also have a high quality of life. That’s what drives me personally.
So mentorship is a part of your role?
I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as traditional mentorship, but that does happen at times. We bounce ideas off of one another, and then we come to a solution. There’s a lot of learning on both sides. It’s really a two-way mentorship. We have A LOT of smart people in this company who know what they are doing, it’s a privilege to be a part of that knowledge base.
You mentioned Lessons Learned. How do those get communicated out?
We document them and make them available to everyone, but we’ve realized that the best way to communicate lessons learned and best practices is through one-on-one communication. Person to person communication, which allows for further discussion and troubleshooting, is critical to communicating a best practice or a specific solution.
What would be your best practice for communicating with Project Owners and Architects?
Defining expectations upfront is one thing I focus on. Whether its an owner, owner’s representative, architect, or trade partner, my focus has been to define expectations from each individual as soon as possible. Once you do define expectations and get people to sign off, you now manage these expectations. The trick is to revisit them on a regular basis. You have to continually reaffirm commitments, whether it’s a decision or a delivery date.
What’s one piece of advice you would give people starting out in project management?
It’s simple. Be human – be kind. You can make anyone’s day, you can even change their life, just by knowing their name and truly caring when you ask them how they’re doing. It’s the right thing to do on its own, but there’s an added benefit that you end up developing relationships that are deeper and more resilient during times of adversity. You build human capital that is invaluable when you need help.
On the most recent project I was involved with, we started every meeting with a health check. I found out so much about the people I was working with and where they were coming from, all in a quick check-in. This set the stage for greater understanding and team success.