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Project Management: The nature of projects and why project management is a challenging


Project Management is often focused on the delivery of projects on behalf of clients so that they meet the clients requirements in terms of schedule, budget and functional/business needs. This is a difficult task as is evidenced by the track record of project delivery in the UK Construction Sector.

Prepare a 4 page report in which you evaluate the nature of projects and consequently explain
why project management is a challenging profession.





Nature of projects

Studies reveal that the management of construction projects is among the most challenging undertaking in the modern economy (Barrie, Boyd & Paulson 1984, p.41). The ever- changing nature of the construction industry forces a good number of modern managers to further their education in order to understand emerging changes. Ideally, effective management of construction projects requires intensive knowledge on modern management mechanisms and detailed understanding on construction and design process. In most instances, construction projects involve the entire process of preparing and forming firm and strong building systems. In addition, construction projects start with designing, planning, financing, and the implementation of the action plan for constructing building systems (Barrie, Boyd & Paulson 1984, p.41).

Modern construction projects also involve human multi-tasking and teamwork among professionals from various academic backgrounds. Normally, projects managers have the main role of ensuring that the projects attain their intended goals. Other professionals who engage in the supervision of construction projects include project architects, construction engineers, design engineers, and construction managers. Therefore, in order to execute the construction project effectively, project managers have a core mandate of formulating practical planning mechanism. The available data also reveal some factors that projects managers should consider in the entire management process (Halpin & Ronald 1980, p.91). Ideally, external factors such as logistical issues, environmental factors, construction site safety, the availability of construction materials, and construction delays have a noticeable influence in determining the success of a project.  As a result, the knowledge on the nature of construction projects will be critical in helping project managers adopt effective management plan and operational mechanisms

Why project management is a challenging profession

Recent studies reveal that project management profession is among the most complicated and challenging management undertaking in the modern society (Barrie, Boyd & Paulson 1984, p.43). In an ideal situation, projects management involve a complex process of managing people, time, scope, and resources. The adoption of realistic and convincing plans for managing the identified project management elements encounters several challenges that complicate project management profession. The available data reveal that unrealistic schedule is a major challenge that complicates project management profession (Young-Hoon 2005, P. 67). The issue of unrealistic schedule emerges where projects managers are not involved in the formulation of the project implementation timeline. In such situation, projects manager implement plans that they do not understand. In most instances, executive management forces project managers to implement unrealistic schedule to meet a particular deadline. In most instances, the implementation of unrealistic schedule result to ineffective construction projects hence complicating project manager’s operations. Recent studies further reveal that projects managers have been facing a major operation challenge since they are not involved in the formulation of the implementation timeline. In their arguments, project managers claim that since it is their role to implement construction projects, they have the responsibility of formulating the entire implementation plans (Young-Hoon 2005, P. 67)

Undefined projects objectives are also other challenges that complicate project management profession. A good number of modern project managers reveal that most of the modern construction projects lack realistic and well-defined goals. Furthermore, studies reveal that some of the modern projects have unrealistic goals that are complicated to achieve (Young-Hoon 2005, P. 67). Therefore, in an ideal situation, projects managers encounter regrettable challenges in implementing the project with undefined objectives. Furthermore, projects management profession is complicated by emergence of unexpected changes in projects scope.  The challenge of change in scope emerges when clients decide to extend the project scope beyond its initial objectives. In most instances, changes in scope require critical alteration of timeline and budgets.  Studies further reveal that continuous changes in the timeline and budget complicate the project management responsibility. Therefore, in order to assist project managers attain their objective, construction projects should a have well-defined objective and scope (Martin 2002, p.46).

Ineffective integration among stakeholders has proved to be a regrettable aspect that challenges the project management profession. The success of modern complicated construction project requires systematic and effective teamwork among all professionals. In addition, projects team should involve professionals with expansive skills and knowledge on the modern and most reliable means of helping the project attain its intended goals. However, modern projects managers have been complaining of lack of skilled project implementation team. Lack of skilled and integrative team undermines the project’s ability to attain its intended goals. Furthermore, a good number of modern project managers lack the necessary skills to identify the required competence in a given project.

Lack of transparency and accountability among team members has also been a major challenge among construction project managers. In most instances, clients determine the competence of project managers by examining the accountability of other professionals in the project. Therefore, lack of accountability among other professionals in the construction project can undermine the credibility and competence of projects managers. Furthermore, lack of accountability among projects managers and other involved professionals can hinder a project from attaining its goal. Therefore, to enable construction project attain its goals, project managers need to have the power of ensuring accountability among all other professionals. Projects managers should as well have the role of identifying and recruiting the required skills to enable a project attains its intended goal (David & Roland 2006, p.123).

Dealing with unplanned risks largely complicates project management profession. In most instances, construction projects lack proper risk management plans. Improper risk management plans has been a major setback that hinders construction projects managers from executing their duties.  Normally, the knowledge on the most effective and applicable strategy for dealing with risks is paramount is supporting effective implementation of construction projects. However, most of the modern managers lack the necessary skills of managing risk hence undermining the credibility in project management. Furthermore, unqualified project managers lack the risk tolerance skills that help in the management of emerging risk. In addition, ambiguous plans also complicate project manager operation in complicated construction projects. In most instances, project managers have the mandate of offering reliable directions in unplanned scenarios. However, the existence of ambiguous contingency plans hinders projects managers’ ability of making critical management decisions (Bjarne 2007, P.97)

Communication and projects management challenges also pose a major threat to the success of project management profession. Usually, effective communication among all stakeholders is critical in enhancing smooth running and management of complicated construction projects. Additionally, effective communication is essential in reducing implementation time and resources. Therefore, poor communication among stakeholders undermines the necessary teamwork among stakeholders essential in enabling construction projects managers attain their objectives. In addition, lack of effective communication mechanisms undermines smooth flow of ideas from projects managers to other professionals. As a result, to succeed in helping modern project managers attain their goals, project management should offer training to educate stakeholders on the significant of oral and written communication. The adoption of effective and proper communication mechanism will as well be critical in advancing morale of project team members. The adoption of mechanisms that ensure that clients provide the necessary feedback is critical in minimising the witnessed project management challenges (Dennis 2004, P.97)

List of references

Barrie, D., Boyd C. & Paulson, J, 1984, “Professional Construction Management”, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company

Bjarne K., 2007, “Project Management –. Theory and practice”, New York, NY: Teknisk Forlag

Chan, A. P., & Chan, A. P., 2004, “Key performance indicators for measuring construction success”, Benchmarking: an international journal, 11(2), 203-221.

David I. C., & Roland G., 2006, “Global Project Management Handbook”, London: McGraw-Hill Professional

Dennis L., 2004, “Advanced project management: a structured approach”, New York, NY: Gower Publishing

Halpin, Daniel W. & Ronald W., 1980, “Construction Management,” London: John Wiley and Sons

Martin S., 2002, “Project Management Pathways. Association for Project Management”, New York, NY: APM Publishing Limited

Young-Hoon K., 2005, “A brief History of Project Management”. In: The story of managing projects”, New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group

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