This past year Jeff Bezos and the Amazon team announced one of, if not, the biggest expansion projects of this generation. Amazon HQ2 will be Amazon’s second headquarters with an expected investment of over $5 Billion dollars in construction (yes you read that correctly) and could include as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. In addition to its direct hiring, construction and ongoing operations of HQ2 are expected to also generate tens of thousands of additional jobs in the encompassing community. Taking on such an enormous endeavor that will affect millions of people and generate tens of billions of dollars is no easy task. Project managers have to be on top of their game if they want to successfully build and operate this new base.
Amazon is still in the early Planning stage of this project, currently narrowing down their search for the best potential location. The first proposal for the core requirements needed for the possible area was revealed in September of 2017. (If you would like to read the actual requirements and submission request you can find it here —> https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4112684-Amazon-Requirements.html) They have yet to set a timeline for construction, seeing as they are waiting to select the final location, but they have confirmed the construction model. The initial build out is rumored to begin in 2019 and take place in three phases. $300-600 million will be spent during Phase 1 on 500,000 to 1 million square feet of offices and by Phase 3 it will be 2-3 million square feet. Phase 4 and beyond are stated to “grow organically” with the full build-out exceeding 8 million square feet.
238 proposals were submitted for HQ2 and on January 18 this list was narrowed down to a mere 20 finalist for the bidding process (shoutout to one of my neighboring cities Raleigh, NC for making the list). Candidates spared no expense when it came to their promotional campaigns for the the future headquarters. Tucson, Arizona sent a 21-foot cactus to Amazon, Georgia voted to de-annex a section of land, and Birmingham, Alabama set up several giant Amazon boxes and dash buttons around public areas, all in an attempt to promote their city’s bid. Although these wacky stunts have caught executive’s attention, the company stands firm in taking a data-driven approach to site selection.
After Bezos chooses the permanent site, management will work to finalize start and finish times which will be done by analyzing historical information and making informed estimates. They will then be able to create network diagrams for costs and activity length. Finding the best angle of approach and being able to stay on track throughout the project is crucial for Amazon. Any wasted time or setbacks on tasks in HQ2’s Critical Path could lead to a full project delay, costing huge amounts money and consuming valuable time. To avoid these mistakes Amazon will need to monitor the risks involved and plan for any additional resources that may be needed in case anything does go wrong.
That leaves me to ask these final questions. What do you guys believe will be the most difficult or time consuming aspect of HQ2’s project and which phase should they increase efforts in for the most successful outcome? Can you identify any risks that are already prevalent?
*If you want some humor* –https://youtu.be/Xop8ug07KS8