Challenges with Modern Infrastructure Development

Modern infrastructure development continues to grow more complex. Stakeholders and partners can come from local, state, and federal governments, and the new technologies are often held by universities and other institutions not historically involved in the built environment. Finding ways to successfully navigate through the increasing complexity is one of the roles of modern business.

When considering bidding on a project that has a number of decision-makers, spend time understanding these stakeholders and what they are going to bring to the table. The issues of responsibility and time-lines are especially critical for large, multi-year projects. For projects with several government agencies involved, a flow-chart of what each agency is going to be responsible for, and who has leadership over the government stakeholders, is important to keep from working at cross-purposes. Government stakeholders can be especially helpful in issues of regulatory compliance, environmental assessments, and community input.

Industry and university research and development departments are increasingly holding patents and proprietary technology, and are becoming leadership partners in large development projects. These groups may have less experience with the depth and breadth of a massive construction project, and the complex layers of responsibility that a successful project takes. It may be worth encouraging universities and new tech startups to bring interns on board who can work through a large project with their managers. Interns are going to be business leaders in a very few years, and helping them navigate the challenging waters of an infrastructure development projects will be seeds well sown.

In many companies, a point-person is responsible for interface. For a large and complex project, a three person team may be an agile alternative to a single leader. When working with a multi-organization project, it is of particular importance to make sure legal, regulatory compliance, and environmental assessments are on target.


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