Strategic Planning

In 2013, FM began an in-depth Strategic Planning Initiative, partnered with HighBar Consulting to ensure the plan was successful and impactful for our customers. Five strategic priorities were created, to be used as goals for performance. They are:
Customer Experience
Work in collaboration with our customers to provide superior quality, cost competitive and timely service, and solutions that exceed client expectations.

Develop and foster thought-leading ideas, practices, and technologies to further FM’s strategy and the mission and vision of the University.

Organization and Talent
Attract, grow, and retain great talent by offering challenging and meaningful work within and integrated, high-performing organization with a culture built on leadership, teamwork, mutual trust, respect, empowerment, diversity, and integrity.

Establish and cultivate on-going partnerships with Northwestern constituents, surrounding communities, academic peers, and business partners.


Plan, design, build, operate, and maintain an outstanding and sustainable physical environment. Manage NU’s physical assets by balancing the preservation of its history, the enhancement of its natural and built environment, sustainability, and fiscal responsibility.

FM is now activating a five-year project phase based on this strategic plan. Twenty-two “first-tier” projects are approved to proceed. The remaining “second-tier” projects will be scheduled later during the five-year plan through a staged deployment of staff and revenue resources.


Project #104: Create/Renovate Work Spaces to promote Creativity and Collaboration 
Create a Planning and Design Team that will review each shop space to identify both short term improvements and long term plans that maximize creativity and collaboration. The team may select consultants to help with the analysis and recommendation.
[Click for details.]

Update: March 2015
The team has identified the various spaces on both campuses out of which FM shop personnel work.  In addition to mapping the locations and providing field-measured drawings they are surveying users with regard to their experience in the spaces. They’ll analyze the data to look at deficiencies, inefficiencies, issues related to location, quality, room capacity, travel times, comfort, security and any other workspace-related problems that may impact daily efforts.

Project #508: Implement a mandatory onboarding process for the 1st year
Improve the existing onboarding process by updating the New Employee Onboarding Checklist and creating resource manual where information and status is maintained in a workflow/archiving application that provides an automated employee/manager follow up process. This will be added to the manger's responsiblities and performance objectives.
[Click for details.]

Update: March 2015
A detailed onboarding checklist has been developed to guide managers and new staff through the onboarding process.  This front end is backed up by a growing collection of resources that will be available via the FM website.  The program is being piloted with new employees as opportunities arise.  Next efforts will be directed at comprehensive program execution including training on how to use the program, creation and maintenance of new documentation, and management and publication of onboarding documentation.  

Project #410: FM Ally Program [COMPLETED]
The FM Ally Program will partner with schools and central administrative units by providing a primary FM contact who serves as a coordinator for projects and source of information for FM policies, protocols, and various facilities‐related issues. The Ally will communicate planned work and other issues and will bring customer concerns and potential projects to the awareness of FM.
[Click for details.]

Project #201: NU Employee Orientation [COMPLETED]
Broaden campus‐wide understanding of FM by creating a presence and explanation of core business processes at the NU New Employee Orientation Part One.

Facilities content is now a part of NU New Employee Orientation Part 1, and may be viewed here:

Project #209: Customer Feedback Program
Design and implement a consistent program to survey all customer feedback using a variety of proven survey methodology. Develop a process for acting upon survey results and incorporating findings into FM business processes.

The charter and scope of this project is currently being developed by Robert Whittier and Steven Kindrick.

Update: March 2015
Discussion are underway with the Office of Change Management who has helped in the past to develop FM customer feedback tools.  FM staff will have the opportunity to volunteer or nominate others to work on this project in the future.  The timing of project start is dependent on when this project might fit into Change Management’s workflow.

Project Team Members: TBD

Project #213: Project Management Software
Assess, identify, and implement a robust project management software that links FM projects to NU Financials while providing visibility and access to customers.

Bonnie Humphrey and Lizabeth Schaps are developing the initial charter for this project.

Update: March 2015
A preliminary FM team is working with NUIT (FFRA) for on a short term solution of improving Projecto’s interface with NUFinancials: improved information financial data. The first round of interface review is underway with FMIT and FFRA. The short term solution is focused on 90% of the projects in Projecto. This include all the capital projects that start with fund 812. The project charter is available here.
[Click for details.]

Project Team Members: TBD

Project #516: Recruiting Resource Guide
Create a comprehensive list of local and non‐local sources for recruiting employees. This will include such things as technical schools, architectural firms, known recruiters, and various industry trade publications.

Steven Kindrick is compiling the initial list of resources.

Project #404 & 405: Facilities Advisory Committee
Establish an NU Committee that will provide a forum to review processes, procedures and policies related to facilities, space, and Facilities Management. 
[Click for details]