IMAGINE THE DAY WHEN ALL THE STARS LINE UP TO FORM A PERFECT PROJECT AND THEN IT TURNS INTO A NIGHTMARE.
Picture if you can inviting 3,000 people to a Congress and then realising that your Convention Centre is not large enough.......... so you build a new one, cost is no obstacle and you can pick from amongst the best contractors, architects and specialists in the world.
This perfect project was actually too good to be true. We were invited to assist in the development of a new hotel and convention centre in which we were faced with,
- No pre-determined architectural design.
- No Ego. This is a country thing, nothing personal.
- No budget restriction. Right! Just name your price.
- No delays. Give me a Budget in 3 months & complete it in 24 months.
Yes, it happens more often than one would think. They have invited people to a Congress and they needed a place to hold it. Two to three thousand people and all of them important, rich, influential and demanding. They are determined to build an international Five Star Facility.
They have to have it in 24 months, which is not unreasonable but they need a top-ranked world-class team and a world class organisation. There are of course many contenders and those with solid proposals represent the biggest and best in the world. How can this possibly go wrong?
Well, here are the Top Ten of the biggest darn mistakes that were all very avoidable ! Almost a perfect list of DO NOTs,
- Experienced Team. Take plenty of time to assemble a team that has no similar experience and then give them Carte Blanche. Fire the architect on Day Two and replace with a part-time architect cum part-time university professor. Ensure he collaborates with no-one. Allow him to threaten to quit monthly.
- Leadership. Appoint a part-time Project Manager with a murderous international travel schedule. Move him to an area where he will have difficulty communicating & whip him publicly every day.
- Budget Accurately. Postpone finding and contracting a team of specialists until budgets are made and their input is impossible to incorporate, then with-hold payments for all specialists.
- Special Interests. Choose the wrong team and then provide the suppliers themselves with the full authority but half the scope.
- Tools of the Trade. Order half the operating equipment & eliminate the other half........ and keep that secret. Specify good interior design and knock off cheap duplicates in China.
- Teamwork. Forbid teamwork...........in writing! Fire those that collaborate with others. Avoid at all costs any requests from the international operators.
- Organisation. Plan the installation of 200 tons of furniture without elevators and without methodology. Install room furniture before completion of construction. Forbid delegation of responsibilities and ensure lies are well-communicated.
- Local Integration. Import 100% of the staff from other countries, postpone application for Construction Permit until the 11th hour and avoid Fire Marshall approval until the final few weeks.........approval with-held!
- Project Planning. Repeatedly and consistently avoid the creation of any Project Planning Schedule that integrates all components of the design/build/equip plan into one document.
- Real Dates of Completion & Handover. Avoid all requests for final dates of handover and estimates of potential dates for the opening of the hotel and facilities.
It is hard to imagine a project that was so right for this region and so poised for success that was so mis-handled. It is also difficult to imagine how difficult this is and has been for the many fine professionals who have been forced to toe the line from within this team.
As the final weeks click away and the opening date approaches, two minor details require attention. An application is made for a Construction Permit and the still incomplete architectural plans are sent to the Fire Marshall for approval, two fundamental requests that should have been executed 18 months ago and that could have prevented the Congress from proceeding as planned.
It is my earnest belief that a small team of high school students left alone, from your average school anywhere in the world would have planned, designed and executed this project in time and with a budget that would have saved over one hundred million euros.
However, most of the major meeting facilities were more or less completed in time for the congress ....................but then the Alaskan Volcano erupted and the resulting dust clouds prevented most of the conventioneers or speakers from travelling there as planned.
Even a well planned project could not have foreseen that little glitch!!