Staying on track
Ajay Malhan, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, Gurgaon, India
Ajay Malhan is facing some pretty stiff headwinds: a turbulent global economy, spiking costs for construction materials in India and a dearth of project talent. But the senior vice president of project and development service for Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj is out to help his clients stay on track, meet deadlines and keep within budget.
How do he and the company do it? The global provider of real estate finance, investment management and other financial services relies on a clearly defined project management methodology that leverages up-front risk management and aggressive tracking from start to finish.
“Project management is all about managing client expectations,” Mr. Malhan says. “We understand that we have to manage cost, time and quality throughout the entire life cycle of the project to deliver agreed-upon end-results.”
What is Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj's project management strategy?
Our process begins with the formulation of a project process matrix to establish a clear demarcation of roles and responsibilities across different stakeholders and a well-defined escalation process. Once the project begins, we aggressively track progress through weekly team meetings and progress reports to clients.
These reports are stored in a data-management platform the clients can access at any time so they can track the project in real time along with us.
From the most junior team member to the project lead, we believe the exchange of ideas is the best way to mitigate risks.
How do you minimize project risks?
We identify and articulate possible risks well in advance of their occurrence, and advise clients on how to prepare for those risks. Through team meetings, architects, engineers and project team members all work together and offer valuable advice on how to achieve the goals of the projects and minimize risks. From the most junior team member to the project lead, we believe the exchange of ideas is the best way to mitigate risks. That advice is then consolidated and shared with the client through the project leader to ensure a consistent communication flow.
For example, to avoid too many design changes, which can affect budget and timeline goals, we advise the client to set a date to finalize all decisions. On that date, the team gets a sign-off to move forward.
Has the economy changed your approach?
Definitely. For example, before an investor deploys a major development, we conduct a feasibility study to produce a realistic profile of project outcomes and risks. In this economy, that may include extended timelines due to manpower issues and costs inflated out of proportion. We also carry out third-party impartial project audits across the life cycle of the project.
What's unique or different about the way Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj approaches project management?
We have a strong network of teams whose job is to collate and benchmark project outcomes across the entire organization in a knowledge database that every Jones Lang LaSalle team member has access to. They can use this data, knowledge and best practices to make quality decisions aligned to the clients’ overall business objectives.
What would you say about the value of project management?
With increased competition and higher demand for returns, there is renewed focus on how efficient project management can save project costs and shorten project timelines. Our focus is on adding value to clients in a changing world through implementation of various best practices. PM
JANUARY 2009 PM NETWORK