Okay, so whose idea was it to do an office move over the Christmas period? From a work perspective, managers may view this as the ideal ‘quiet time’ of the year – in our personal lives, it is anything but! Still, we managed to put down our mince pies and launch into this new phase of our Zupa journey, with the usual gusto and drive! We are already enjoying the benefits and rewards of our new home.
I’m sure the professionals will disagree, but I think there is no fine art to managing a project such as an office move – who knew over a decade of working within software development could generate so much stuff! – but I can provide some key factors that helped immensely throughout our experience.
Five steps to consider
- Firstly, list out your tasks. Lists, lists and more lists. Thankfully, I am the queen of ‘to do’ lists. A trait I got from my Mum, who still hits me with lists of questions and queries every time I go to visit – out comes the pen and paper and there I sit attentively answering ‘Yes Mum’, ‘No Mum, ‘Done’ and ‘Thanks for reminding me’! But I have come to learn that brainstorming all of the ‘to do’s is the first part of any effective plan
. Onceyou have your list, the next part would be the ‘when?’ Timing is a very important part of any action plan and I would suggest that if you have a finite date, such as we did (7th Jan) to move by, then you take that end date and work backwards, filling in all the strategic dates to work to.
- Third, and most key to the whole plan is the ‘Who’. The Team around you is critical to the success of any project, but never more so than when your plan needs a mixture of skills and has constantly moving parts. Bribes of pizza, fun, promises of a good opportunity for team bonding and a physical workout may cut it for some, so sell it like you mean it and see who puts their hand up to volunteer – you’ll be surprised who wants to be involved.
- Suppliers are next and that is always a challenge. Getting the right removals company and finding the right vendor to supply you with your new furniture, partitions, signage and, let’s face it, people to help measure the office space for you, as you only got a C in Maths (on your 3rd try). This was eased by writing up exactly what we wanted (more lists!), when we wanted it by, and putting it out to tender, and making them aware of the competition. In my opinion, this is always the best process for this kind of project. It doesn’t just come down to money, it gives a great insight into how suppliers work, how much they want your business and how accommodating they will be to your needs. The results are that you can then pick the people you want to work with and who you know will go above and beyond and really understand your needs – it’s a great way to engage and a bit of healthy competition is good for us all.
- Finally, build your Plan and ensure that it is shared with your Team and Suppliers, then they are on board and engaged and can’t get away with claiming that they ‘didn’t know’. Ensure that each task has a name assigned to it and that they have autonomy to be able to flex on certain aspects, should the action deviate slightly from the plan (because it will).
And there you have it. This, and many discussions with a well-known internet and communications provider later, and we have a fully functioning office.
Our new home is located just outside Southampton Airport. We have settled in well and our new innovation spaces are helping us make the most of our Agile project management structure!