How To Hire A Rockstar Project Manager For Office Moving
Organization is key to office moving projects when there are so many considerations and processes at hand. A multi-tasker and passionate project manager, Dani Djokic presently leads and heads office relocation projects for NYC start-ups and companies.
With years of experience spanning from managing sales in the Parisian office of Christian Dior, to overseeing the buying of retail inventory for Dream Downtown, Djokic is a poster child for organizing and managing business operations within time-crunched scenarios.
“As a project manager, you have to adapt and understand a company’s values and culture within a matter of hours.” The tiny details during the relocation process – from build-out, interior design, IT needs to the actual process of moving – add up to “represent [the company culture]”. It is part of her job – sweating the small stuff while keeping the big picture in mind.
The Big Picture. Communicating And Managing Expectations.
1. Know When To Hire A Project Manager
Djokic is hired “right after the initial meeting with the designer or architect of the space”, she says. On a rougher timeline, it usually takes three weeks before the companies file with the Department of Buildings (DOB) to hire a project manager. She added as an insight for companies and startups looking to hire a project manager for the process,
Hire a Project Manager as if you would hire them to work in your company. Look long term when you are hiring them.
2. Know How Long It Takes To Move Your Office
The process to move an office for a start-up and small business often takes an average of 4 months. Djokic shared, “The bigger and more complicated or custom the space is, the more susceptible they are to manufacture lead times.”
She added, a crucial factor that affects the office moving duration is dependent on when the current real estate lease is up. “Fast track, its about 3-4 months from the point I get involved.” When it comes to office relocation projects, it is labor-consuming and time-crunching. “Each company has trusted me to create not only a new home for them that represents them, but usually [the project’s deadline] is under a severe time crunch.”
As a project manager, where organization is key, having more control of a project allows the process and entire job to be smoother. “I manage 6-12 teams at any given time.” Djokic said, “So it is just better from an operations point if there is one person who delegates and has all the answers or knows how to get them.”
3. Know Who Should Be Involved In The Process
A smooth office moving process requires more than organization. It requires empathy and relationship building. She makes a point of establishing trust and friendly relationships with external and internal stakeholders in the office relocation process. Project managers work in tandem with interior design firm and consultant on a moving office project.
Having to juggle the project and having to work with stakeholders and external players is not an easy task. Djokic recalled from her past experiences, “It comes with a good amount of stress” and a standard 14-hour day. But even so it is exhilarating and rewarding when you get to execute visions and be part of new teams all the time, she says. “Organization is key, but I have that down to a pat. Charts, manpower and a dedicated IT team.”
Sweating The Small Details. The Traits Of A Rockstar Project Manager.
1. Budget Planning Skill
Start-ups and businesses looking to move their office should have a budget, specifically for their office relocation expenses and costs. Djokic shared her tips for ensuring smooth office relocation, “Have a budget.” A concrete budget helps project managers to allocate resources strategically and can help manage and understand how many moving parts there actually are. When asked what clients commonly perceive wrong about moving an office, she responds “overestimating the time and underestimating budget”.
2. Being Observant
Observing and understanding clients’ needs and wants is a crucial skill. Over time, it helps to empathize and create the necessary bond and relationship to ensure a smooth office-moving project. Through astute observations and systematic organization, Djokic draws inspiration from her clients. “I am always an extension of my clients. I represent them in all transactions during the whole process. So it is really important I understand what they are all about and the passion that drives them to do what they do every day.”
3. Being Curious
Heightened curiosity helps with her job. Knowing the internal processes of the company ensures a smooth project. Office moving affects the daily business operations. Similarly, when we interviewed Jensen, he shared an insight, “…there are challenges of trying not to interrupt the business. After all the business must still go on so the client has to manage continuity of their business.”
“So far all my clients have trusted to include me in confidential discussions about running their business so I am always soaking up information about different companies along the way.”
Being curious and having startups and businesses trust Djokic with their confidential information allows her to plan the office moving project in a way that would least affect the daily running of their business. “It is a huge perk of my job!” She chimed but added a disclaimer, “Unfortunately for everyone else, I keep it all to myself.”
On forethought, maybe empathy is equally as important to project management as organization is.
Parting Words – Tool of Her Trade
With her zest for life and passion for people, accompanied by her can do attitude and drive, she gets things done. But even the most invincible of a project manager needs a little office hack and tool to sustain their daily operations and their high work energy.
Keep a bottle of single malt at your desk, at some point you’ll thank me for that tip.