By Jim Morrison, Dignity Health
Jim Morrison has been an Area Manager in the Design, Planning and Construction department of Dignity Health for over 12 years. Prior to that, he served as the Director of Architecture and Construction for Miami Children’s Hospital for 2 years, Architecture and Construction Manager at Scripps Medical Center in San Diego for 5 years, and a Design and Construction Manager at Maine Medical in Portland, Maine for 3 years. Prior to life as an Owner/manager, he was a healthcare architect for 15 years.
Jim’s years of experience managing large construction projects has taught him to look for potential problems and address them immediately.
Listening to the project team is crucial. As questions or concerns arise, make sure they are addressed. Work with the team to think them through and identify the consequences – ‘If This, then That’ approach. Each project should have a Decision Matrix. Projects span years of design, construction, close-out and occupancy, and staffing changes. You need to be able to refer back to why decisions were made early on.
The most important thing is to pick the right people. Not just the firm, but the people who will actually be on your project – the boots on the ground. It’s critical to build a strong team in the beginning of the project and develop trust that each member will do their job. Leading a good project is all about listening to those you trust. If you are not an expert on a particular subject, talk to someone who is and let their suggestions and experience guide you. Let people do their jobs – it’s your job to make sure they can do the work they have been hired to do. Let the architect be the architect, the engineer be the engineer, and the transition planner be the transition planner.
If there is a technical issue, a problem with a member on the team, communication conflicts, or any other issue, you must react quickly and resolve it. And you must be fair. Issues will come up on any project regardless of the greatness of your team. The greatest teams resolve them quickly and fairly.