Monday, December 5, 2011

What Is Project Management in The Construction Industry?

Managing a construction project is different from any other stream of management. High level of knowledge in advanced management techniques and the process of construction are required for the efficient management of a construction project. A project always has a well defined start and end date with a set of predefined objectives. The project is scrapped as soon as the goal is accomplished. The challenges and the targets of a construction project are specific. These projects are temporary in nature, and the management practices are different from that of repetitive business as usual activities. In spite of differences in procedures and technological requirements, a construction project has many similarities with projects in the filed of pharmaceuticals, energy, or aerospace sectors. Project Management Institute defines project management as a form of art that helps to reach a set of predefined goals in terms of scope, time, cost, satisfaction, and quality throughout the duration of the project with the use of advanced techniques of management and coordination of human, as well as material resources. The overall perspective of the management of a business or industry in general has a much wider scope and continuity. However, the principles of general management are widely used as effective project management tools because there are many similarities between the two.

Proper grasp of the advanced general management techniques and the specific domains relating to construction is considered to be imperative for successful project management. Knowledge of computer science and decision theory is also important in the context of efficient project management. Decision support systems and computer aided information systems were once considered to be no more than supporting tools in management. However, these are now the basic tools of any discipline of management. Other techniques of operations research like network analysis and linear programming have also become commonly practiced general management tools in the modern day management fraternity. Management of projects in the construction sector involves different types of conflict resolution. The operational objectives of a construction project get impacted heavily due to resource related constraints. Commonly conflicts take place due to constraints pertaining to manpower, finance and material resources. There can also be conflict between the different predetermined objectives of the project like quality, time, scope, and cost. It is extremely important to assess the chance of such conflict at the time of inception of the project so that proper agreements can be made without delaying the progress of the project.

Creating a blueprint of the project plan and the mission of the project is the foremost task of a project management team. This should involve selecting the project personnel, and clearly setting the performance standards for the project. Scheduling, budgeting, and clear demarcation of scope should also be a part of the blueprint. The project team must ensure efficient utilization of all resources by adhering to plan for the procurement of equipment, material, and labor. The team must be empowered within the organization to exercise control over the departments handling the project operations. The team must also develop a channel of communication across the departments for the resolution of conflict.

The Project Management Institute has pointed out some specific areas that require in depth knowledge for an efficient project manager. Management of project integration is important to ensure coordination between the different elements of the project. Time management of the project is also important for the scheduling of project. The potential risks for the progress of a project can be minimized by proper risk management. Different other faculties of management like human resource, procurement, quality, communication, etc are also highly recommended by the institute.

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