Maxwell Stephens

Facilities Manager or Project Manager?

When we speak of job roles we tend to think of them as synonymous. However, now more than ever before, job roles are overlapping and responsibilities are expanding. I personally believe this is a symptom of the financial crisis, as employees were forced to fill the gaps redundancies left behind. Of course, the economy has drastically recovered, but the approach to the fluidity of job roles seems to be here to stay.


I for one do not think that is a bad thing, as it allows individuals to expand their area of expertise and to pick up new skills along the way. From a Facilities Management perspective, many of those in the industry now take on responsibility for running projects, whereas perhaps in the past there would have been a dedicated Project Manager.


Don’t feel daunted by the buzz words


There are lots of Project Management buzz words that are good to know but might have you in a spin at first. We have pulled together a whistle stop glossary of the ones to keep front of mind when managing a project.




1. Assumptions – Since you can’t know everything about the environment in which your project operates, assumptions allow you to set the context along with estimates for those assumptions.

2. Constraints – There are limitations which are outside of the control of the project team. An example would be a resource constraint.

3. Critical Path – This is the core sequence of events that need to be completed to deliver the project.

4. Deliverable – These are outcomes that will be produced by the project. An example might be a signed contract in place with a third party supplier.

5. Gantt Chart – These are pictorial ways to show the project timeline, deliverables, and resources. They are often constructed in Microsoft Project, but there are other tools available.

6. Issue – A problem which may impact upon delivery of the project.

7. Project Definition – Before a project is commenced a project definition should be written which outlines the objectives, scope, deliverables, risks, and assumptions. This document is usually signed off by the Project Sponsor.

8. Project Phase – Larger projects may be broken down into phases.

9. Requirements – These are descriptions of what the product or service should deliver. For example, if the project was for the replacement of the CCTV cameras, a requirement might be that the new model is 50% smaller than the currently installed cameras.

10. Risk – A risk is something that could negatively impact the project if it were to happen, i.e. if it were to become an issue. Usually you would look at the probability of it occurring, and the potential impact if it did happen. You can then decide if any action such as mitigation needs to be taken.

11. Scope – This is the boundaries of the project, i.e. what you will be working on, and what you won’t be. In the CCTV example, in scope might be building floors 1-10, but 11-20 are out of scope. This allows you to avoid project creep which could impact delivery of the critical path. 




There are many more concepts and terms within Project Management, but this should have given you a good introduction. Some Facilities Managers do decide to undertake a qualification such as Prince 2, and this could be something worth investigating if you enjoy that side of the role.

If you have any questions about Facilities Management or the services that we offer, please do contact one of our team on 0207 118 48 48 or

Peter Forshaw – Managing Director, Maxwell Stephens

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