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Project Management Practice and Its Effects on Project Success


Statista.co predicts that 2025, worldwide construction spending will reach 14 Trillion dollars, making the construction industry one of the biggest businesses in the world. In front we see beautiful houses and towering skyscrapers, but at the back of every successful project, there is an immense amount of construction management planning involved – from the moment the plans are drawn up, up to the actual construction and completion, people in the form of project managers coordinate every movement like a conductor and project management practice as the notes of a well-played orchestra.

But, is this really true, or is something made up by construction project management firms to drum up more business? Let’s find out. 

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT: A DEFINITION

 For us to understand this, let’s first define what Project Management is. Project Management Institute defines project management as the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time quality, and participating objectives. This definition can be extended to the construction setting where a project manager uses the same concepts to achieve the same objectives.

Modern project management started in the ’50s during the Manhattan project, but the concept of project management certainly started way before, even during the time of the ancient pyramids. Construction Project management today is made easier and more effective with the help of project management software for construction companies. If this is something of interest to you, there are a lot of construction project management software programs out there in the market, as well as construction project management software reviews on websites like Capterra and Finance online to help you in your search. 

PROJECT MANAGERS

Who are the construction project managers? Construction Project Managers are the people who shoulder the responsibilities of keeping the construction project moving according to the plan. Their goal is to manage the project so that it finishes on time and within the specified budget while meeting building codes, plans, and specifications as well as client satisfaction.

With all of these, construction project managers certainly have a lot of things to juggle with every construction project that they take – from conducting meetings, to accounting, tracking change orders, hiring crews, down to managing client expectations. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to manage large crews and multiple projects error free without the help of a web project management software to automate time-consuming tasks.  

LINK BETWEEN PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND PROJECT SUCCESS

Is there a link between using project management techniques and project success? The answer is yes. In a study done by Assem Al-Hajj and Mario M. Zraunig which was published on the International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, Vol 9 on February 2018, they did a thorough literature review on several respected authors like Ashley, Nguyen, Rohaniyati et.al demonstrated that project management practices combined with several other factors influence project success, and although project success is not all attributed to project management, all the project utilized basic project management practices.

Project Management Practice and Its Effects on Project Success

Screengrab from http://www.ijimt.org/vol9/781-MP1005.pdf

If you are curious and want to get into the nitty-gritty of things, you can take a quick look at the table above that shows the summary of the all the books by respected authors about their research and study about the factors that influence project success. It clearly shows that project management practices play a part in how successful a project is.

FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE PROJECT SUCCESS

A construction project is considered a success if it meets the following criteria:

  1. Quality of Project Management
  2. It is finished within the time
  3. It is finished within budget
  4. It is finished within a specified quality
  5. It is within specified service quality
  6. The project stakeholders are satisfied
  7. User Satisfaction
  8. It has net benefits

So with the criteria for project success in place, we will go to the study conducted by Assem Al-Hajj and Mario M. Zraunig where they interviewed 142 project managers coming from different backgrounds and living in different areas in the world, and the results show the following factors that influence how successful a project is.

  1. The project was delivered above stakeholder’s satisfaction. In the study, respondents especially those from the Asian region considered a construction project a success if they delivered the project above and beyond what was expected. Asian people generally consider a good client relationship above time, cost and quality.
  1. Project Manager’s Competence. Competence is one of the traits that a good project manager has to have and can have a huge influence on the success of a construction project. And, the way a project manager leads his team can have a big impact on how it turns out.
  1.  Project Management TraitsAlthough it is ideal that a project manager should have proper training and certification, 60 % of the respondents of this study stated that they don’t have proper training and certification. In the real world, construction professionals that gaining competence as a project manager can be achieved thru real-world experience, something that experts like Turner and Muller disagreed saying that the title Project Manager will only be given to people who have gotten a professional certificate. This just goes to show that what’s, in theory, might not really apply to the real world.  
  1. Use of Tools and TechniquesIn the study, it showed that the use of project management tools and techniques like project planning, project control, Critical Path Method, Work Breakdown Structure among many things are crucial to project success. Of all these, the project managers who participated in the study. 

And so, in the end, project management tools and techniques does play a big role in ensuring that the construction project is a success whichever way success will be determined. And, with technology today in the form of project management software packages, and the automation of construction processes, project success is easier to reach.

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