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    How Real Estate Development Project Managers Earn Stakeholder Trust

    Stakeholder trust plays a critical role in the success or failure of a real estate development project manager. Senior leadership must have faith in their project manager’s competence and capabilities from the design phase to the end of construction.

    But because trust is built in drops and lost in buckets, PMs must realize that earning stakeholder trust is an ongoing task. Ideally, these relationships should be sustained over several years and result in multiple successful projects. To achieve that outcome, you need to make it a priority to be strategic, knowledgeable, accessible, and honest.

    Built Confidence by Being Prepared

    Since complex commercial real estate projects can involve $500 million investments, stakeholders will have high expectations of their partners, which means real estate project managers should expect to be challenged. You will have your methodologies, expenditures, schedules, and overall strategy questioned on a regular basis. And you need to remember that not having the answers to those questions could derail the entire project.

    Developers must be confident when interacting with stakeholders to affirm their leadership ability. They also need to be able to see the future. Performing granular analysis of numerous data points in real-time enables project managers to generate reliable forecasts that allow for proactive risk mitigation. By taking a forward-looking approach, you can make smarter, data-driven decisions without hesitation, leading to better and more predictable outcomes.

    To do that, development teams need to embrace cloud-based solutions that enable seamless workflows.

    These solutions unlock the ability to see if your vendors are trending over their commitments. You can make budget adjustments to keep your project running smoothly by anticipating cost overruns before they happen. And you will avoid wasting time tracking down information stored in different departmental data silos.

    Real estate developers can establish trust with their stakeholders by being confident, focused, and well-organized.

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    Communicate Clearly, Frequently, and Accurately to Cultivate Trust

    Building and sustaining a robust developer-stakeholder relationship also depends on cultivating strong lines of communication.

    Development teams regularly interacting with their stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle is a mission-critical responsibility. It would be a mistake to believe that sending monthly cost reports is enough. With millions of dollars on the line, it’s imperative that you make sure your partners know how their money is being spent. One effective way of doing that is by sharing real-time dashboards with your stakeholders. By using the right real estate dashboard, you’ll increase your partners' engagement and build goodwill by providing greater project transparency. 

    Real estate developers should also establish themselves as a point of contact. Being available to your stakeholders lets them know that they are a priority. And dealing with them directly as opposed to delegating their concerns to a subordinate lets them know you’re serious. It’s imperative to keep your backers in the loop at every stage of the project to ensure their concerns don't become a loss of confidence.

    Another important element of stakeholder relationship management is producing reports that are easy to understand. Draw request reports can span thousands of pages with big projects, but stakeholders don’t have the time or inclination to sort through the details. That’s why real estate developers should attach a comprehensive but succinct executive summary to their cost reports.

    On that note, it’s a good idea for developers to store and collate their project data using an automated real estate management platform. Next-generation project management solutions can be integrated into your company’s email-based workflows to expedite the reporting process and eliminate confidence eroding data-entry errors.

    Providing your stakeholders with accurate, easily digestible information is a good way to prove that their trust in you isn’t misplaced.

    Create a Lasting Relationship by Being Transparent and Accountable

    In addition to being confident and maintaining open lines of communication, real estate developers need to prioritize transparency and accountability.

    Ideally, major commercial real estate projects will come to fruition without any significant hiccups. Unfortunately, multi-year developments involving architects, designers, general contractors, and government officials are rarely seamless. 

    When problems arise – and they absolutely will – project managers need to respond and resolve them as quickly as possible. Once that’s done, you’ll need to explain your decisions to your stakeholders, and having data readily available to validate your choices is a good strategy.

    For instance, let's say a critical vendor goes out of business during the pre-development process. Thinking quickly, you access your company's historical data and find a replacement who has performed well on similar projects in the past. If executed correctly, that change can be made with a minimal impact on the overall budget. When discussing the matter with a stakeholder, you can show them documents proving the new vendor has a history of completing tasks on time and on budget.

    Presenting a problem and its data-driven solution at the same time is a lot more convincing than pitching the quality of your gut instincts.

    Consistently making the right decisions will show your stakeholders that they invested their time and money with the right real estate project manager. Once established, that rock-solid trust can be the foundation for a partnership that spans multiple projects over several years.

    Download  How to Cut Real Estate Development Costs by 2 to 6% today to learn more ways to build lasting trust with your stakeholders. 

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