8. Project management and communication

8.1 External project management 

Project management should be included as part of consulting services for office fitout projects. Frequently, design and documentation consultants can offer this service for small to medium sized projects but larger fitout projects generally require specialised project management skills in order to: 

  • monitor all project activities 
  • prepare and review project programs 
  • coordinate multiple consultants 
  • certify compliance and performance 
  • liaise with the client agency's project team/ steering committee 
  • resolve disputes 
  • authorise appropriate progress payments. 

The Department of Housing and Public Works (HPW) can provide advice on the appropriate level of project management required for various projects and can provide project management services as a consultancy service. Please contact HPW for further information and scope of services. 

8.2 Internal project management 

In addition to the appointment of an external consultant project manager (who could also be the design and documentation consultant), agencies need to implement internal project management to keep the project on schedule, within scope and to keep all stakeholders fully informed. Internal project management can be achieved through a series of meetings for smaller projects but larger projects might require a dedicated project management resource and a steering committee structure with formal communication and reporting responsibilities. In certain circumstances, secondment of resources from HPW to undertake an agency's internal project management role is possible. 

8.3 Communication 

Effective communication among all project stakeholders is a key factor in successfully managed office fitout projects. The development and implementation of formal communication plans (for use within agencies and with consultants) avoid uncertainty and ambiguity and contribute to best practice project management. 

Change management is closely linked to project management and involves: 

  • identifying the people who will be affected by the project 
  • analysing how they will be affected  
  • designing ways to encourage participation and reduce resistance.  

Communication initiatives that promote effective change management include: 

  • establishing cross-functional teams to 'decentralise' communication and distribute information 
  • developing and disseminating the case for change and clearly identifying benefits to individuals 
  • developing a communication program and communication vehicles (e.g. face-to-face, email, newsletters, presentations, working lunches) 
  • incorporating a feedback mechanism and acknowledging concerns 
  • creating, managing and delivering expectations 
  • introducing ownership and accountability. 

The post-occupancy review process facilitates feedback and is a logical extension of project management communication and change management communication. Post-occupancy review is addressed in Guideline 4: Occupancy.