Board Training: Immediate Benefits

Oakmont got its first glimpse into how the OVA Board’s new project oversight process approved in June could be applied when community members addressed the future of the Oakmont Golf Club.

The first two hours of a board meeting March 5 was dedicated to a Training Workshop presented by Tom Kendrick, board vice president who is author of several books on managing project risks, and Jim Ouimette, a resident who is a former Chevron project manager.

A “project” doesn’t have to involve construction, according to the presenters. It comes into play any time the community confronts the prospect of paying more.

They outlined a five-step process expected to help a new project start well, clarify what needs to be done in each phase, provide board members more confidence in their decision-making and enhance communication with residents.

Kendrick said the board can have the most influence during initial steps when selecting a project team, a project leader and a board liaison. The team defines the opportunity (what are we trying to do), assesses the strategic fit, identifies and weighs various alternatives, gets input from stakeholders and addresses project risks and uncertainties.  A project report with estimated costs is sent to the board so it can decide if there is sufficient information to proceed.

The best alternative that emerges from the project team’s work may not represent an option all board members can support, according to Kendrick. “You may need to cycle back before making a final decision.” Ouimette cautioned about being pushed into a decision that doesn’t look right to you. It is perfectly acceptable to say “I just don’t feel good about this.”

“Risks are important for Oakmont because you don’t know what you’re going to find once construction starts,” Kendrick said. “We tend to do reasonably well in Phases 3 and 4 when detailed specifications are prepared and the project is being executed.” Both presenters acknowledged Oakmont hasn’t done as good a job in Phase 5, which calls for documenting the process after the project is completed.

Reaction from board members was positive,with Marianne Neufeld expressing the hope Kendrick would remain in Oakmont to see results of the training. “I’m not going anywhere,” he responded.