Construction, Engineering, Thought Leadership

Do you deliver ALL your AEC projects to a consistent high standard? Why this matters and how to ensure you do …

Why this matters …

As our recent e-book was in final draft, we were in conversation with one of our senior clients – a senior programme advisory leader in a globally respected AEC firm. He explained what kept him, and his senior colleagues, awake at night:

“With growth and success, we are increasingly a very complicated business; there are multiple client- projects and our delivery team has grown significantly. There are now so many interactions, and process touch points, that we are starting to lose control. We fear – as such – that dreaded phone call! A phone call that realises our worst fears of a maverick project that has gone drastically wrong.”

These fears are rational, and common, especially so in a sector with increasing legislative requirement. Addressing the connected assurance challenge is, however, not just one of sleeping easy; it is, in the context of delivery-service ambition, also at the core of high-performance generally.

The context …

Firstly, some context.

Whilst AEC companies invariably operate against a backdrop of technical and regulatory complexity, it is also fair to say that most AEC projects follow very repeatable project form; for example, as following the RIBA Plan of Work stages. Experienced senior project directors often talk to the Pareto nature of this i.e. with claim that even the most technically demanding and esoteric client projects are 80-90% the same as a project type delivered many times before. The contingently unique 10-20% variance matters – but – you can only focus on this if the common aspects are delivered with consistent excellence.

Yet, even as set against this operational reality, too many companies suffer a very common challenge …

The challenge …

The (very common) challenge within this context is to ensure that all your end-client engagements deliver to a consistent level of professional diligence and quality. At a certain point of scale – and as exacerbated by staff growth/churn – many AEC companies can suffer significant variance in this regard. In worse case, with the absence of a clear, methodical ‘way of working’ the project results will be solely contingent on the actual staff members resourced – and their respective working preferences and prior experience.

From an end-client perspective, this can introduce an unwelcome quality lottery; they expect – fairly – service-excellence consistency from their professional advisors. It is, therefore, not good enough to get it right ‘most times’ because you will soon suffer the reputation of type of provision in the market. Rather, if you are seeking to scale an AEC professional advisory practice, you have first and foremost to ensure that there is a base level of methodological quality built into a common way of working.

The prize …

Embedding professional consistency requires work – hence why a lot of mediocre firms suffer the pain of inconsistency; for example, you need to build the methodological resources that define your best-practice approach, you need to keep these updated (as based on actual delivery experience), you need to communicate the standards, you need to train staff in the approach and, finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need leaders who ‘lead by example’ and ensure that the base level of compliance is embedded into the firm’s expected mode of behaviour.

If this all entails work then the prize – consistent delivery – has to matter.

It does; service consistency has to be one of the most determinant characteristics of valuable brands/firms. Get this aspect right and you will see immense gains with respect to: improved win rates (future work), reduced costs (less re-work) but also a far less complicated and stressful management experience. Consistent service frameworks are the bedrock on which AEC professional advisory firms can easily scale – easy to train new staff, coordinate professional communities of practice, collaboratively share and accrete knowledge etc. Service consistency – critically – is not some imposition on professional flair and individual innovation; conversely, it is only when the common 80% of your services are delivered with repetitive excellence that the contingently-unique 20% of your commission can be met with your team’s full professional attention.

How we can help …

Method Grid is a unique platform, designed for AEC companies, that integrates the core features of: knowledge/project/task and audit management. We call this amalgamated practice: connected assurance. Our professional service team works with client counterparts to build out your company’s service frameworks/toolbox (as based on our library of industry best-practice also) and to support the embedment of an enhanced connected assurance capability generally.

If you are interested in discussing how we can support your company’s objectives in this critical area, we would love to share our experiences with you.

 

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