How can Planning + Strategy help your organization prioritize facility spending, reduce risk and achieve long-term goals?

October 15th, 2018
master planning

Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” – Seth Godin

Planning is typically defined as a process of making plans for something, and arranging in advance.   But in the context of a building project, what does planning involve?  How can planning help deliver a successful project and support your organization in meeting its long-term goals?

For insight into these and other Planning+Strategy related questions, we turned to AE Work-er Tiffany Haile.  A Planning and Design Professional with over 15 years of experience, Tiffany has worked with multi-disciplinary teams and diverse stakeholder groups, including governments and elected officials, community groups and other regulating bodies to achieve consensus, approval, and implementation of projects across the US, Canada, and Europe.  As the Manager of AE Works’ Planning + Strategy services, Tiffany is focused on developing real estate strategy, long-term planning solutions, and action-oriented initiatives that align with business culture and goals for the future.

In this Q&A, Tiffany shares more about what Planning + Strategy means and how this service adds value throughout project life cycle.


Q:  What is Planning + Strategy?  And how does it support facility projects?

A. Organizations need physical environments that align with their culture, purpose and goals for the future. This is what AE Works’ Planning + Strategy team does. We craft roadmaps for the future, simplify project development and assist in prioritizing possibilities. Our work focuses on action and implementation.


Q. What are AE Works’ Planning and Strategy services?

A. We have four key services: Real Estate Analysis and Site Selection, Master Planning, Regulatory Compliance and Management, and Workplace Strategy.  

  • Real Estate Analysis and Site Selection translates business goals into an appropriate facility response for long-term value, reduced risk and prioritized capital spending. We analyze how buildings can enable the organization’s culture, core values and business strategy either within existing physical spaces or provide support for their change.  
  • Master Planning provides long-term frameworks for sites and buildings to guide future growth and development.  With an in-depth analysis of existing facilities – including location, capacity, utilization and condition, we develop recommendations and capital improvement plans that are appropriate now and sustainable over time to help an organization make sure that physical assets are being properly managed and utilized.
  • Regulatory Compliance and Management is focused on guiding projects through public review and approval processes.  Our capabilities include municipal review & approval, permitting, facilitation of internal company meetings and community meetings, and zoning and code consulting.
  • Workplace Strategy helps organizations maximize their physical spaces and create workplaces specific to their unique needs to express brand, enable work efficiencies and support retention and recruitment.


Q. Why is Planning + Strategy important?

A. Planning + Strategy develops solutions that are based in current realities, backed by data and focused on people.  Through listening and collaborating with clients, we develop solutions that help them achieve their goals.  


Q. During a project, when can Planning + Strategy add value?

A. There are so many areas we can support and make a positive impact.  From scope of work development to facility analysis and concept design through completion, Planning + Strategy can support our clients’ projects.

During pre-project planning, we can help develop the scope for a project and also complete analyses to shape its direction. Having an objective view to facilitate a process to even figure out what problem an organization is trying to solve is the critical first step.

Site selection is another important area we can support with analysis and our understanding of regulatory requirements.  Whether deciding on a site for a new building or considering renovation, we can help clients select the best option to achieve their business goals. Findings sites is one task, finding ones that work for current and future facility needs is where professionals with expertise in the built environment can really accelerate the process. We can record project requirements, translate them into spatial needs, and assist identifying sites that accommodate that need–versus only locate sites.

During design, we can help develop and evaluate options to determine the most creative, efficient and sustainable solution in terms of site planning and urban design.  Our capabilities in regulatory compliance and management guide a project through approval processes. Even after completion, Planning + Strategy services can support your project by completing post occupancy reviews to evaluate the success of design decisions, assess functionality of equipment and systems and inform future design standards and projects.


Q. What are important skills that a Planner needs in order to be successful?

A. Curiosity and empathy are embedded into a planner’s DNA. In order to develop plans that align with our client’s long-term goals and values, we need to have an in-depth understanding of their organization and their culture–not only the culture to be supported in the renovated or new built environment, but their current reality.  All action-based plans are based in reality as a starting point. Being able to ask great questions and listen to the responses is critical for success.

Q. What about Planning + Strategy gets you most excited?

A. Planning is always about people taking action and going after the future they want. It’s pretty awesome to think of how we can help an organization achieve their long-term goals by making sure they have a thoughtful, flexible, and culturally-relevant plan in place.

The ultimate bellwether for success is seeing a stakeholder explain a project and use visuals to communicate within their organization to make decisions. When you see this as a professional, it is hard not to smile from ear to ear. The organization owns the plan and is ultimately the author. When you see a client take the work and explain its’ relevance in their own way–it’s this agency that is the greatest translator to implementation and realization of the built result.


AE Works Manager of Planning + Strategy, Tiffany Haile, AICP and Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP, Security Risk Manager will present on this topic during an upcoming American Planning Association webinar (details will be shared on AE Works website)  Their session entitled Creating Safe Environments–Integrating Planning, Design & Physical Security will focus on how physical security and planning can be integrated to solve the challenges of today’s increasingly complex needs for built environments.

Have questions or interested in learning more now? Reach out to our team at

Read more about Planning and Strategy here.