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Think Integrated

My wife is a PGA Golf Professional.  She’s also an adjunct distance-learning teacher at The Yost Household Kindergarten and Middle School for our 6 and 13-year-old’s, but that’s a story to be shared with other parents in the same boat…over one (or three) glasses of wine.   Her career as a golf professional is slightly different from that of the golf pro that runs a country club, who sets up tournaments, merchandises, and schmoozes members.  She chose long ago that her passion was to provide solutions to help golfers become better golfers.  She’s a golf instructor, a golf driving range owner, and the golf coach for the men’s and women’s teams at Fairmont State University in West Virginia, a small Division II school.

Now, why am I propping up my wife?...

No, it’s not because I’m looking for brownie points from her. Instead, it illustrates that she has created an integrated services offering, especially for her college golfers.

Golf_Image"She’s a one-stop-shop, and her student-athletes recognize the value in it…they Think Integrated! "

Student-athletes are recruited, and before they commit to playing for a program, they want to know the coach can help them achieve whatever goals they may have.  The Fairmont State golfers find it appealing to have a no-cost practice facility close to campus.  They’re excited to have a coach who can teach the golf swing (compliments of working for Nick Faldo and many other great teachers and not to mention playing professionally), to get them in tournaments with strong fields, to hold them accountable to make grades and ultimately to improve their scores.  Of course, if they didn't have this integrated type thought process, they could fundraise to pay for a facility, find a swing coach a couple of hours away, try to stay focused on the course with no help, and then…hop in the van with a coach who isn’t an expert at providing an integrated solution.

 

Let's compare the golf illustration to a linear right-of-way project.

Consider all the required activities leading up to construction – land (ownership research and acquisitions), non-environmental permitting, environmental permitting and studies, surveying, and engineering design.  Now think about how many times you’ve been part of a project team where multiple consultants were retained to perform these activities.  As you are aware, keeping multiple service firms aligned is no easy task and consumes a great deal of time.  You and your team need to make sure that:  all parties understand timelines, that the survey firm knows when the land firm has obtained permission to enter a property, that the environmental firm knows which properties will be affected so permits can be applied for and that the engineering firm is constantly updated, so procurement knows when to purchase materials.

How much time does your team spend sorting out issues between finger-pointing services firms who claim the other is at fault for missing a milestone?  Because the different service firms aren’t always singing from the same page in the choir book, does it result in delays, cost overruns, or a slower return on investment?

Maybe it’s time to hop out of that van with the coach who doesn’t provide integrated solutions and consider a coach, or better yet, partner, who does.

Just like how a college golfer benefits from a coach who provides an integrated solution, a company that is planning a project where land will be used to build infrastructure will also benefit from an integrated solution.  Our Environmental Support Services Manager, Ingrid Fairchild, is one of our team members who helps me champion effective communication and precise scheduling. Ingrid explains that in the same way my wife and her student-athletes set expectations for grades, practice, and compliant behavior, a professional integrated services company and its clients set expectations on responsibilities, meeting timelines, and staying within budget. Successful projects are the product of accurate scheduling and good communication.

Final thoughts:

  • Internal integrated services teams must communicate with one another during each phase of the project. Technology can be the glue to hold all this together, but frequent meetings of the project team should evaluate progress, timing, and cost.  It’s a heck of a lot more effective to do this if it’s one team that can hold each other accountable.
  • Schedule management will make or break a project. Generally, a construction date is known prior to the start of a project.  Consultants and clients set a timeline for pre-construction activities to be completed.  Schedules must contemplate what is involved during each phase of a project and set reasonable expectations for completion.  Effective schedule management can occur only if the entire project team understands what task each individual performs and how it applies to the overall project.  If a project team is truly a team, they will work together to meet deadlines.

Want to achieve successful on-time and on-budget projects with fewer headaches and one point of contact?  Then it’s time to Think Integrated with Percheron as your integrated solutions partner.  Give us a call and learn how we can customize a solution for your next project.

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Aaron YostWritten By: Aaron Yost, CPL, Managing Partner | Percheron

Aaron believes a human’s purpose in life is to be kind to others.  He believes a human’s purpose at Percheron is to communicate and meet scheduling deadlines effectively.  In his free time, he can often be found on the golf course FaceTiming his wife asking her to fix his swing.

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