We’re lucky to have a diverse client base almost all of whom refer to themselves as property developers. They have very different approaches, levels of involvement and delivery requirements so, whilst the range of services they need is consistent, the service level can differ remarkably.
We’ve developed a profiling tool to help us identify how they operate; ensure we ask the right questions and provide them with the right level of service. It’s not a sophisticated psychometric testing system but it does help us determine if we’re dealing with:
- A Chairman
- A Director or
- A Manager
As developers, none of these are better or worse, however, they do have very different needs, so which one are you?
This person is big-picture and strategic in the way they approach development. Investors often fall into this category as they can have several projects running simultaneously and don’t have time for fluff or general detail but don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re uninformed or detached. They see everything and from this high perch, they’re particularly good at seeing the gaps. They want a clear overview, facts, specific answers to specific questions and honesty. This relationship is trust focused so if the answer to a question isn’t known, say so, then tell them how and when you will get the answer. If there are problems, don’t hide them but come up with solutions. All developers are cost and risk-aware, but the chairman needs to base decisions on the information provided by the project team. On this basis having the right team and the right information is of high importance and the cost of this will be built into the project appraisal. The chairman needs to know the project is being directed competently, that the project lead is across the details and that every event, every risk, is planned and managed. The chairman may, or may not have technical competence, but is time-poor so needs the fullest level of support from the project team. If you believe you can deliver a development project in a few hours a week, You’re a chairman.
Often, but not always, an experienced developer with a degree of technical knowledge, but also an awareness of what skills need to be provided by the project team. Directors can have more than one project running simultaneously but they will tend to lead them, and the project teams, themselves. Unlike the chairman, they will want detailed and technical information and are more likely to make decisions themselves. Unlikely to be site-based or get too involved with the day-to-day, but they will be involved and regularly present on-site. They will define the level of support they want from their project team. The project team is an important element for the director however their role is more supportive. Providing technical information, perspective, and guidance on risk for the director to lead. Depending on the scale, If you have 2-3 days a week to dedicate to a project, and you see value in a project team, then you’re a director.
This type of developer will be emersed in a single project, for the majority of the delivery program at least, and will probably be very delivery-focused. Often a contractor, the project teams tend to have a lesser role as the manager is more involved and often sees less value. The development risks are no less here however, the manager often feels competent to identify, assess and mitigate these directly. The service levels for a managing developer tend to be around statutory requirements such as planning, engineering or building regulations.
Which one are you?
These are produced as rough profiles sitting at different points on a spectrum. The three profiles used give a bottom, middle and top end as reference points but of course, people are likely to sit somewhere in between and may well move on this line as projects and relationships develop.
Why not get in touch and let us know your thoughts on our profiling, let us know what sort of developer you are. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org