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As a builder it’s important to recognise and understand not only the construction process, but also the significance of the overall development progression and programming.

This article talks about Development Programming, as opposed to Construction Programming.  Potential risks could arise if a project does not have a suitable Development Programme in place that identifies all the key milestones, project risks, potential variants to timing, and key stakeholder requirements.

Time Slip

The most obvious risk is Time Slip, which can cause an increase in holding costs leading to poor long term outcomes.  But there are other key elements that can also create turmoil with a development project.   

Target Marketing

Programming is closely linked with Targeted Marketing, a critical component in longer term master planned projects moving through different stages of the property cycle.  There may be product variations in a Master Planned project as it progresses, depending on market demand at the time.  Poor programming or programming that does not take into account the changing property cycle, could result in achieving misleading outcomes for the marketing team and potentially promoting the wrong product in the market place at the wrong time.


Good programming should provide the project with all relevant links as well as pre and post required tasks.  Without this secure Linkage, disaster may be imminent. It’s important to keep in mind that linkage is not a “set and forget”.  When changes to a project occur, the impact on the program is seen through linkages.  A well-managed development will see adjustment to tasks, timing, and resource allocation to alleviate lost time in one area of the project by changing or improving in another.

Stakeholder Management

Another key element of successful development and project programming is Stakeholder Management. The programme is not only a tool to keep Stakeholders in the loop of their project, but it also manages their expectations as changes occur.  Correct programming allows the project manager the opportunity to show the impacts of an issue, but more importantly shows the Stakeholder how these impacts can be eased through various approaches as the project progresses.   This is the basis of pro-active development programming and management.

Live Document

It is important to ensure your programme is a “Live Document”.  It must be updated weekly and used as a key tool in reporting to stakeholders and directing participants.  Too often a program is set at the beginning of a job, which ends up in the bottom drawer and a “management by reaction” process takes over.  A development programme that is not current and is out of date, will result in poor time control and poor stakeholder management. 

Keep It Simple

Finally, the fundamental point to remember is to keep it simple.  The programme must be a useable document, not an intricate roadmap.  There is no point in spending countless hours on a programme that has too much detail and can’t be understood by anyone let alone yourself.  Remember that the aim is to put in place a successful programme that will continue to drive the project forward.

The key to a successful project - - Plan your project - Manage your program, resources and outcomes - Keep it simple

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