Freedom to construct

Date: October 17, 2023
James Mcarthy -Freedom to construct

Ten months ago, I moved from a Tier One business to join Sweet Projects: a small and agile firm, yet with the experience of decades in the industry. I was excited by their appetite for innovation, the democratisation of decision-making, the refreshingly fast pace, and the freedom to build.

Ultimately, that’s the business we’re in: getting projects built in the time available for our clients.

At Sweet Projects, three key elements have empowered me and my team to get things done.
Firstly: the closeness of relationships with clients. Secondly: the ability to make quick decisions
when needed. Thirdly, and at the core of it all: trust. Trust between me and my team, trust
between Sweet Projects and the client, and trust between our senior leadership and site teams.

These three things enable us to do what we are doing at Sweet Projects at the rate we are doing it.
Our expertise and experience is listened to, and it’s having a great impact on projects.

Fit-for-purpose governance

Governance is by no means a bad word. I can think of worse ones I’ve heard on-site!

Yet traditionally, our industry has been characterised by its hierarchical structure and extensive
governance protocols. Large corporations, driven by the need for compliance and risk mitigation,
tend to have cumbersome decision-making processes. Multiple layers of bureaucracy can stifle
innovation, slow down projects, and create a disconnect between management and those working
on the ground.

Governance should never be one-size-fits-all. We call our approach fit-for-purpose governance.
This means ensuring that there are the right type of checks, due diligence and decision-making
processes for the situation at hand.

We tailor governance practices to the specific needs and scale of each project, ensuring that
oversight remains effective without being overly burdensome.

Empowering project directors and teams

We’re redefining how things run by giving project directors and teams the freedom to make
crucial decisions swiftly. The right amount of approvals, in a flatter structure, empowering
everyone across the business. A unique approach, I feel. This democratisation of authority creates
a sense of ownership, accountability, and innovation that has been a game-changer on the
construction projects I’ve worked on since moving over.

Trust is a key element within this approach. We have the trust of the senior team, and there is a
direct line for anyone to speak to them. If there is a decision to make fast, we make it. As a project
director, the freedom to go ahead and focus on the job at hand is incredibly refreshing.

Benefits of an agile approach

With increased costs and economic pressures on all parties, removing excessive layers of
bureaucracy, decentralising decision making and fostering a culture of empowerment and
collaboration are clear ways to help get time-sensitive and specialist construction projects
delivered, on-time and in-budget.

The Sweet Projects agile approach benefits include:

  • Faster decision-making: With project directors and teams empowered to make decisions, on-site delays and project pauses are minimised, allowing projects to progress more efficiently.
  • Enhanced innovation: When individuals on the ground have the authority to experiment with new methods and technologies to solve problems and navigate unexpected challenges, innovation thrives.
  • Improved communication: The removal of bureaucratic barriers encourages better communication between all stakeholders, clients, partners, and contractors, leading to more transparent and collaborative project engagement.
  • Cost efficiency: Our agility and empowered decision-making allows us to streamline processes, reduce waste, and optimise resource allocation, ultimately saving costs.
  • Increased client satisfaction: Clients benefit from projects that are delivered faster, on budget, and with greater flexibility to accommodate changes and evolving needs over the project timeline.

If you’d like to speak with us about some of the agile projects we’ve worked on, or how our fit-for-
purpose governance works, then please get in touch with the team.