An Inside Look: An Outsider's Perspective on Project Management
Mike Anderson, Senior Project Manager, Bureau Veritas, has a unique point of view when it comes to delivering value to Starbucks as a strategic partner. He has worked on large-scale Starbucks programs as an outside project manager at Bureau Veritas. And Mike also led Starbucks programs as an in-house employee for four years. I sat down with Mike to learn more about his experiences on both sides of the house and what it takes to be a valued Starbucks vendor.
BV: How did your relationship with Starbucks begin?
Mike: My relationship with Starbucks started when I was a Project Manager with QPM, prior to its merger with EMG. The coffee giant engaged QPM for a large program roll-out called La Boulange. Starbucks had bought a handful of La Boulange sites/bakeries and wanted to incorporate the concept into Starbucks stores, which involved thousands of sites across the nation.
QPM was scoped for North America, which consisted of approximately 4,000 stores. Our team was tasked with surveying each store for space requirements and onsite equipment, putting together design plans and leading the approval process through Starbucks. We managed the construction of all store projects across the country. The timeline was very tight!
BV: What was important to Starbucks in hiring an outside partner?
Mike: There were different types of vendors involved in this large project. Starbucks wanted all parties to function as a cohesive team. For the La Boulange project, we seamlessly integrated with and led a team of architects, GC’s, and logistical companies. QPM was the lead for that team. We also had a very close relationship with our counterparts at Starbucks.
BV: What inspired you to work at Starbucks?
Mike: After La Boulange, we worked on other projects for Starbucks. I had a lot of admiration for the professionalism of the company and their executives. Starbucks asked me to join the Program Management Organization (PMO) which directed strategic initiatives. I was specifically hired to lead the “evenings” program and stayed at the company for four years. I led all the design and construction teams for the program just as I did as an external vendor but this time as an internal employee. I was also in charge of hiring vendors to conduct site surveys and create designs.
BV: Did you drink a lot of coffee?
Mike: Oh, my goodness! Yes, I drank more coffee than you know. My body is now addicted to it. I’m a coffee connoisseur throughout the day. I made a caramel latte with caramel sauce, no whip—EVERY DAY! Starbucks teaches every employee about coffee. You get to know the whole lifecycle of the coffee bean. I literally became a barista and a coffee master. It was a lot of fun!
BV: As an internal employee of Starbucks, what was most important in choosing a project management vendor?
Mike: The vendor had to be a solution provider – one talking head, one source, one point of contact for everything under their umbrella. We didn’t want to have to deal with an architect on the design, a survey company to complete the survey and provide it to the architects, and architects to do the design and send it over to the GC to do the install. That’s too many handoffs to manage. We wanted an all-encompassing solution provider, but how they accomplished the multiple steps was up to them. Scalability, reach, price, and quality were also very important. Lastly, we valued vendors that had Starbucks experience.
BV: Now that you are back, what would you want Starbucks’ facility and construction folks to know about Bureau Veritas?
Mike: We fit Starbucks in many ways, especially our on-site visit and punch walk offerings, which is extremely valuable for them. And we know Starbucks business very well. For many folks who knew us a few years ago, I’d like them to better understand BV today, which is a much bigger company with more offerings that tie very well together throughout the real estate life cycle.