Beginning a development project in the private sector can be daunting, exciting, and overwhelming all at the same time.  It helps to have a focused framework from which to operate, because the first few months can set the tone for the remainder of the project.  Based on more than 30 years of practice, here are 5 things we have observed that consistently result in more vibrant and more successful developments in the private sector.

  1. Capitalize on the Project Kickoff
    The beginning of a project is a sacred time.  Project team members are excited and ready to become engaged in their work, and their perspectives are still relatively unclouded by the nitty gritty details.  Seize this moment – it is a unique opportunity to make considerable progress and create positive momentum that will carry on throughout the project.
  2. Create Buy-In Early
    Be attentive to all of the project stakeholders from the very beginning and include them in the project kickoff if possible.  This includes representatives from planning, engineering, traffic, hydrology, and other key disciplines, as well as representatives from funding sources and end user groups.  Involving stakeholders in the visioning process fosters personal involvement and commitment, and helps reduce the potential for future conflict.
  3. Invest in Research
    Understanding the buyer and the market is essential.  Market Research and Consumer Research will help you go beyond simple demographics, with insights such as current absorption rates and detailed buyer profiles.  This important information should be used to inform many future decisions about marketing and design of the project.
  4. Invest in Marketing
    The development of a marketing strategy based on sound market and consumer research can greatly impact the success of a project.  Don’t skimp on the details here.  Public relations, branding, collateral, and web presence are important factors to consider when undertaking a new development project.
  5. Communicate
    Keep all team members updated, engaged, and involved beyond the initial project kickoff.  A successful project team does not operate in silos, but instead promotes inclusiveness and collaboration.  Frequent team meetings, effective use of email, and open dialogue are important tools to use in creating successful lines of communication.