In the construction industry, projects are navigated to work between architects, landscapers, interior designers and engineers; as well as countless alternative parties that configure the process. The importance of project management is the value of building strategies and processes, in order to complete the acquired task to the highest quality result, the project manager needs to establish and evaluate construction schedules, estimate project costs and coordinating the site, just to name a few. In this essay, I will determine an opinion on the importance of project management through professionalism and knowledge of the industry and the requirements necessary to lead a project through risk analysis. Hypothetical scenarios will be attained throughout this context to ensure a deeper understanding of the role required from a project managers perspective. This will be reviewed by values and strategies that are competently used in the industry to ensure the success and timely application of a project.
Relevant definitions of the managerial role in a project needs to be appropriately defined to understand the scope of this paper. “Practical Construction Management” allows a unique process for a project manager to “Plan, direct, coordinate, or budget, usually through subordinate supervisory personnel, activities concerned with the construction and maintenance of structures, facilities and systems. Participate in the conceptual development of a construction project and oversee its organisation, scheduling and implementation”. In order to meet time restraints, three critical conventions can be derived from this definition. According to Albert Lester project management comprises of “the individual or body with authority, accountability and responsibility for managing a project to achieve specific objectives”. Lester states the importance of final success of a project, prioritising all objectives and ensuring the client is complacent with the standard of the project.
Depriving a project development without project management, would resign in a disorderly manner. Creating the first argument towards project management importance. Thus, introducing the manageable aspects of triple constraints as shown in Figure 1 below. Randal Wilson masters project time management, cost control and quality management by introducing the statement of “An important aspect of managing time, cost and quality for a project work activities is the interconnection of these three element. Any change to one of these elements has an effect on one or both of the others”. Cost management, time management and quality management are the defining elements, as it is the development of what deliverables are necessary in order to complete the work required. A project manager breaks down the elements of the triple constraints.
Figure 1: Triple Constraints. Retrieved from: Wilson, R. (2015). Mastering Project Time Management, Cost Control, and Quality Management: Proven Methods for Controlling Three Elements that Define Project Deliverables. FT Press.
After developing a knowledge through Krishnaphani;s, The Four Pillars of Project Management scope, time and quality, I have enhanced the understanding of triple constraints valuing them as the following:
Time references the start, duration and end of a project, which directly links to the
number of required elements that are compulsory at the end (scope) and the number of services and aids allotted to the project (cost).
Cost is the estimated sum that is acquired in order to complete the project. Cost has a
vast recourses consisting of risk analysis, bills, materials, sub-contractors, contractors
and other potential resources; just to name a few.
Quality makes up the end deliverables of a project and is measured for scope upon
delivery of the final stages of the project.
Defining goals at an early stage are ground breaking in a project. Goals are the core principles for everyone involved and is knowledgeable of the job that needs to be done, how long the activity will take until completion, resources available and whom they should speak to if encountering a problem throughout the duration of the project. Vladimir Cordier discusses projects without project managers and how having a project manager professional is added value before the project is underestimates by a manager, by stating; “How many times have you heard: ‘we don’t need to hire a project manager, it costs money Bill will do! And off you go, within seconds the outcome of your project has been decided”. Vladimir Cordier deliberates his opinion by stating that ‘Bill’ and the rest of his team undertaking the project would have undetermined critical path milestones, risks, issues, cost, criteria for the project and the list could go on. Thus. leading to many unrealistic targets and scheduling.
Vladimir Cordier also helps determine the importance of a project manager professional in the role by stating that “If your project is not too complex, and Bill (a ‘manager’ turned occasional project manager) has got good project manager skills, then you might get away with it. However if you are looking at a complex project which spans than one department, includes third party providers. Outsourcing/insourcing, and has a lot of unknowns from the start … the lack of a professional project manager leading them, is what caused most of the issues in the first place” going on to say that “Even big cooperation’s still put their senior executives in charge of leading big transformation and change endeavours, when their core skills, qualifications and experience are not in project management. Don’t get me wrong, most of them are excellent managers, but not project managers”.
Project managers aren’t just on site to plan, direct and coordinate as directed by “Practical Construction Management” ; it is a project managers duty to have the knowledge of nation-wide health and safety programs in action to ensure the contractual obligations are enforced before the work can commence. “The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015” is cordoned in New Zealand with the main purpose of the act to “provide for a balanced framework to secure health and safety of workers by – Protecting working and other persons against harm to their health, safety, and welfare by eliminating or minimising risks arising from work or from prescribed high risk plant”. According to “Level Authority on Sustainable Buildings” , trades workers have had the highest accident compensation corporation claims since 2007. Alleging that most of the injuries are a result from falling objects or the use of power tools. Although other hazardous materials can be responsible for respiratory and alternative health related issues. An example derived from “WorkSafe” states “An architect that designs a building has duties under the HSWA to ensure health and safety, and must also ensure the design complies with the Building Act. Under HSWA the requirements of the Building Act will be taken into account in determining what is required to comply with the architects HSWA duties”. Therefore the second argument is developed from the components of site supervision and the necessary consents that need to be implemented.
Individuals that are conducting the skills and experience to enter the project management profession are generally required to have a bachelor’s degree in preferentially business and management orientated education or equivalent. When developing your project management skills through your tertiary education two key acts to follow according to the “Department of Building and Housing” are the Resource Management Act 1991 and The Building Act 2014. These laws define the processes and what you need to get them completed, which is vital in the success of a project. The Resource Management Act 1991 protects the land and the environment recognising the interests of the community. The Resource Management Act 1991 is divided into regional councils and city or district councils. Both councils are reliable for different aspects of land. The regional councils centralise plans that focus on air, water, land and soil. Whereas city or district councils prepare plans that affect the environment; for example the “Department of Building and Housing” claims “that the focus on managing aspects of subdivision and land use that can affect the environment such as the height, appearance and location of buildings and signs, and the noise, glare and odour associated with the activities that take place around buildings”. Noting that every district or regional plan differs and is determined by the desires of the community in the specified area. The Building Act 2004, being another key act to follow when managing a project, involves the construction, alterations, demolition and maintenance of a new or existing building. The Building Act sets out the minimum expected requirements for building work to “ensure buildings are safe, healthy, and built right the first time. It covers how work can be done, who can do it, and when it needs to be consented and inspected” as disclosed by the “Department of Building and Housing”. All project managers need to know these Acts in order to complete a successful project.
Figure 2: A Beginner’s guide to resource and building consent. Retrieved from: Department of Building and Housing . (n.d.). A beginner’s guide to resource and building consent processes under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Building Actc 2004. The Ministry for the Enviornment and Department of Building and Housing.
As shown above in Figure 2, several steps need to be implemented and completed before a building can start its construction phase. The more knowledge a project manager has of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, The Resource Management Act 1991 and The Building Act 2004 the easier it will be to plan, direct and coordinate the site and additional professionals on the project to oversee the scope of the work.
Firstly, defining milestones which is discussed by Tricia Hussung , she determines key milestones by using strategies for successful project management, stating that “It is important to define key milestones throughout the lifecycle of the project. A good way to get started is by including four main phases: initiation, planning, execution, and closure. Then you can perform an evaluation after each phase and know your team is doing by examining deliverables. This process keeps you informed about any problems that arise while ensuring that each phase of the project is completed successfully”. An informative and efficient way of presenting a projects key milestones is a Gantt Chart.
Figure 3: Exemplar of a Gantt Chart. Retrieved from: Anderson, B. (2016). What is the purpose of a Gantt Chart. Successful Projects.
According to Brett Anderson “A Gantt Chart is a timeline that is used as a project management tool to illustrate how the project will run. You can view individual tasks, their durations and sequencing of these tasks. View the overall timeline of the project and the expected completion date. As the project moves forward with actual performance updated, the Gantt Chart will adjust simultaneously displaying an up-to-date project schedule with new start and finish dates for incomplete tasks and record the original baseline of your plan”. Shown above, in Figure 3 is an exemplar of a construction project’s design milestones displayed through a Gantt Chart. The milestones are a key part to success as it indicates the relevant responsibilities for the involvement of team members. Milestones need to be accomplished by the finish dates in order to complete the project in junction with the time frame given by the client or necessary superiors.
The second strategy is for project management risk analysis. The most common types of risks in project management are cost; typically due to a lack of accuracy in estimation of costs, scheduling; the risk that milestones have a prolonged completion which can increase the cost of the project, and performance; the risk of the construction team not producing an outcome satisfactory to the project specifications. There are also several potential risks when undergoing a project, that is just the nature of the business. Thus, a risk mitigation strategy will be implemented within the project to help reduce threats.
Figure 4: Risk Mitigation Fundamental Steps. Retrieved from: MITRE. (n.d.). Risk Mitigation Planning, Implementation, and Progress Monitoring. Systems Engineering Guide.
MITRE states that “Risk mitigation planning is the process of developing options and actions to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to project objectives. Risk mitigation implementation is the process of executing risk mitigation actions. Risk mitigation progress monitoring includes tracking identified risks, identifying new risks, and evaluating risk process effectiveness throughout the project”. Shown above, in Figure 4 is the fundamental steps in risk mitigation to avoid and reduce risks in a project. A Gantt Chart also helps reduce Risks, as it helps track start and finish dates. If a milestone is taking longer than expected, this could delay other milestones in the Gantt Chart. Therefore, a risk mitigation strategy will take place, as shown above in Figure 4.
This paper summarises the importance of project management through professionalism and knowledge of the industry and the requirements necessary to lead a project through risk analysis. Sometimes on smaller projects architects can take the role as a project manager. Although on larger-scaled projects this is not smart, due to the countless factors which have been determined. Mulcahy states; “Every Project manager wants to be successful, yet there are many definitions of success”. Therefore, a deep understanding of the industry needs to be demonstrated to undergo the role of a project manager which is stated in this paper, including management importance, values and strategies.
In conclusion, project management is extremely important to projects as it navigates work between architects, landscapers, interior designers and engineers; as well as countless alternative parties that configure the process. Without this navigation from a project manager professional a whole project can turn backwords if the correct leadership skills are not set in play. Mulcahy mentions that what makes a project successful debating that “We all have too much to do and need to handle as much work as possible. However, the best project managers conform that what they think they know is actually correct…The best project managers are able to get their heads out of the sand to see the whole big picture and how the project, themselves, problems and the team fit into it”. The importance of project management was determined through hypothetical scenarios which lead to believe a deeper understanding of the role required from a project managers. This was reviewed by values and strategies that are competently used in the industry to ensure the successes timely application. Moreover, it is distinctively apparent that in order to complete a project you need a capable project manager with the superlative skills and experience.