Sunday, January 27, 2013

Smarter, Faster

It seems like everyone’s asking the question: They want it when?! Clients want to see the results of their investment as quickly as possible, and in our quest to meet increasing demands for shorter and shorter project schedules, it sometimes seems like we’re innovating on the fly. But when we pause to catch our breath, some practical lessons learned come to the fore.

Once a client decides to fund a project, it’s all hands on deck. We’ve found it best to align our team early, even before the project is funded and launched. This allows the team–design firm, project management firm, construction company, manufacturer and dealer–to create timeline scenarios and “rules of engagement” that clearly state what is necessary for success. As in most things, communication is key.

Another essential: the "huddle.” It allows us to collectively identify who is doing what and establish expectations and point persons for information and decisions. Working together to develop a plan of attack also helps to build the mutual trust and respect that allows everyone to bring their strengths to the table.

For example, on a recent project we brought together our programming team and wall systems specialists to anticipate the best design approach for the client, so we could act quickly once funding was approved. Another time, our role focused on developing a flexible kit of parts that could be ordered before space planning and design decisions were fully resolved.

When everyone is invested in the same goal—delivering a great project on schedule—the team can better adapt on the fly to unexpected obstacles and opportunities. I won't say it’s easy, but we try to make it look that way.

- Sandi Jacobs


About the Author:
Sandi Jacobs, President, joined SideMark in 1989, soon acquiring experience in every aspect of commercial interiors projects. Her excellent communication skills, great energy and enthusiasm, and innate customer-focused approach make her entirely too popular. Macro or micro, she oversees all with grace and aplomb. To contact Sandi, email her at

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