Five Signs a Branch Project is Headed for Trouble

By the time a problem manifests itself in a project it’s going to be difficult, time consuming, and expensive to fix. But with just about any problem that can occur during a project there are a number of red flags and warning signs that can be identified early enough to turn things around.

We’ve identified the five biggest warning signs below, along with the underlying problem associated with each and a possible solution. Read these quotes as if you’re describing your current project and evaluate whether each statement is true or false. If one or more is true, your project could be headed for trouble.

1. “We don’t know how we’re going to use the building and there’s no training plan for staff.”

Problem: The purpose of the project was simply to build a branch.

Solution: Before continuing with the project, you need to work with your internal team members to establish and communicate a guiding purpose for the project. A project should be driven by strategy developed to advance your organization’s objectives. Instead of a building as the outcome, a more holistic view is required. You should have a vision of what kind of member, customer, or employee experience is needed to deliver desired business outcomes, and design the building around those experiences. This level of planning goes beyond the design and construction team to your internal retail, human resources, IT, and operations teams. You can reconcile the work completed so far with the purpose of the project and determine any necessary course corrections.

2. “Revisions to the design seem never ending.”

Problem: Your team isn’t aligned, and reaching a consensus on the design is not going to happen.

Solution: Designing without a consensus on requirements is designing by trial and error. Take a step back and gather the stakeholders together to establish a clear set of requirements and goals that everyone can agree on. This can be done through alignment meetings and charrette sessions, meetings where your team works together with the designer and builder to make critical decisions and set the project on the right track. These requirements will give the designers a solid foundation to work off of, and they will be able to support an environment that delivers on your collective vision with minimal revisions.

3. “The architect is halfway through designing the branch, but we don’t have a start date or budget for construction.”

Problem: You’re looking at the design of the branch as step one, and you’ll likely face numerous and costly design changes and revisions when the construction estimates come in.

Solution: Put the project on hold and work with your internal team to outline your required delivery schedule and a sustainable investment level. Take this information to your project delivery partner and direct them to work out a schedule and rough order of magnitude (ROM) budget target for the project as a whole that can guide and focus the design phase.

4. “Our team is disengaged from the project.”

Problem: There are more pressing internal projects that they are working on.

Solution: Appoint a project manager who can account for your internal resources and assign responsibility appropriately, balancing the needs of the branch project with each person’s day-to-day responsibilities.

5. “There is limited communication between design and construction partners and internal team members.”

Problem: The single most important characteristic of a successful project is communication, and it is unlikely that your project is headed towards a successful outcome.

Solution: Do a quick audit and examine how communication currently takes place. Bring together key project stakeholders and set clear expectations around communication in terms of frequency, level of detail, continuity, and the tools you will use. Establish a point person who acts as a single point of contact between your internal team and external partners and facilitates and maintains open lines of communication.



To learn more about planning a successful project, whether to kick off your next project right or turn a struggling project around, download our Branch Transformation Planning Kit. It includes guides, activities, and templates that can take you from conceptual planning to putting together an RFP and kicking off your next project.

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