Project Management

Construction Industry, Project Management

Pre Construction Stage in Projects

At this stage the project brief should be finalised, a preferred option agreed and the detailed design should be delivered within the identified parameters of cost, time and quality. Clear definition of the project is necessary in order to attain a successful outcome.
Previous Actions
Preconstruction encompasses the development of the detailed design, formulation of the tender documentation, undertaking the tender process and concluding the contract documentation. The choice of procurement route will determine how much of these stages overlap but by the start of this stage, a number of issues will have been addressed and actions taken, including the following:
Feasibility completed
LSC support for preferred option attained
Alternative site secured, disposals agreed
Surveys and statutory requirements concluded
Statutory authorities, utilities information concluded including consultation with the planning offices
Development cost plan prepared
Project team appointed. This should include main contractor representation as soon as is practical.
Project execution plan and programme established
Statutory Obligations
It is the duty of the design team to effect compliance with a statutory control and attain the appropriate consents e.g. consents for planning, Building Regulations, means of escape. Planning approvals can be a complex process and may require the appointment of specialist consultant to assist in attaining a successful approval.
Value Engineering
This is a process of examining the function of a building to ensure that it is delivered in the most cost effective way. It involves reviewing the design proposals at each stage of the design process to analyse whether client objectives have been achieved without over design or specification and at minimum cost. In major and complex projects this process may be best facilitated by a specialist in this field. In less complex projects this can be lead by the project manager.

At this stage the project brief should be finalised, a preferred option agreed and the detailed design should be delivered within the identified parameters of cost, time and quality. Clear definition of the project is necessary in order to attain a successful outcome. …

Procurement Management, Project Management

Tender Process

The tender process will be dictated by the choice of the procurement route. This will include short listing contractors including compliance with the European Union directives, issuing tender documentation, receiving tenders, tender interviews and selection. As an alternative to this competitive tendering process, tenders may be negotiated where this proves to be a better option for obtaining value for money. …

PMP Hints, Project Management

Project Kickoff

Projects don’t always go through an organized sequence of planning, approval and execution. Sometimes a project is in various stages at once. Before you know it, you can be executing the project and find that team members and stakeholders have varying levels of understanding about the purpose and status of the project. Just as a project should have a formal end-of-project meeting to signify that it is complete, it also makes sense to hold a formal kickoff meeting to start a project. …

Contract Administration, Project Management

Be careful when you terminate a contract

In the current economic climate, there is growing interest in whether a contract can be cancelled, if one party is no longer able to fulfil its obligations due to financial difficulties.

A basic principle of contract law is that the contracting parties must perform their obligations with good faith and in a manner consistent with the contract. However, subject to this basic principle, a party to a contract that is subject to UAE law, can seek to end the contract in one of three ways: …

PMP Hints, Project Management

Manage Political Problems as Issues

Manage Political Problems as Issues
The larger your project gets, the more you will find that the issues you encounter are more and more political in nature. The issues have to do with the use of resources, project direction, project deliverables, how the project should be run, how the project impacts people, etc. The resolution of these issues requires you to gain consensus among people that have differences of opinion. In other words, the resolution requires you to recognize and work in office politics.
Generally speaking, politics is all about interacting with people and influencing them to get things done. This can be a good thing, a bad thing, or a neutral thing, depending on the tactics people use. The behavior of people can make office politics good or bad. Let’s consider some examples of how utilizing political skills might be good, but can also be bad.
You are able to move your ideas forward in the organization and get people to act on them (good), by currying favor, suppressing other opposing ideas and taking credit for the ideas of your staff (bad).
You have an ability to reach consensus on complex matters with a number of different stakeholders (good), by working behind the scenes with people in power, making deals and destroying people who don’t get on board (bad).
You receive funding for projects that are important to you and to your organization (good), by misrepresenting the costs and benefits, and by going around the existing funding processes (bad).
You develop a reputation as someone who can get things done (good), by using legitimate and illegitimate tactics and by walking over people that get in your way (bad).
The point of the examples is to show that influencing people and getting things done in a company bureaucracy is a good thing and the general term of “office politics” can have good connotations or bad. However, the typical use of the term is used to describe the shady methods that are used to get things done in the company bureaucracy.
It is not uncommon for a project team to be impacted by office politics. This can occur when there is a difference of opinion on the project deliverables, requirements, scope change requests, risk perceptions, etc. Are these differences of opinion caused by office politics, or just a legitimate and valid difference of opinion between people who both think that they are representing the best interest of the company?
Dealing with office politics is not a standard project management process. However, once the politics start to impact the project adversely, the situation should be identified as an issue, since the resolution is outside the control of the project team. You can’t utilize a checklist to resolve political issues. Political problems are people-related and situational. What works for one person in one situation may not work for another person in the same situation because people, and their reactions, are different. Identifying the problem as an issue will bring visibility to the situation and hopefully get the proper people involved in the resolution.
Generally, project managers need to become good at identifying and trying to resolve political issues. There are three areas to work on.
Try to recognize situations and events where politics are most likely to be involved. This could include decision points, competition for budget and resources, and setting project direction and priorities.
In general, deal with people openly and honestly. When you provide an opinion or recommendation, express the pros and cons to provide a balanced view to other parties. Make sure you distinguish the facts from your opinions so the other parties know the difference. You should always try to communicate proactively with all stakeholders.
If you feel uncomfortable with what you are asked to do, get your sponsor or your functional manager involved. They tend to have more political savvy and positional authority, and they should be able to provide advice and cover for you.
If you feel good about what you are doing, how you are influencing and how you are getting things done, then you are probably handling office politics the right way. If you feel guilty about how you are treating people and if you have second thoughts about the methods you are using to get things done, you are probably practicing the dark side of office politics.
tenstep.com

The larger your project gets, the more you will find that the issues you encounter are more and more political in nature. The issues have to do with the use of resources, project direction, project deliverables, how the project should be run, how the project impacts people, etc. The resolution of these issues requires you to gain consensus among people that have differences of opinion. In other words, the resolution requires you to recognize and work in office politics. …

General Management, Project Management

Introduction and Implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management is a management approach that originated in the 1950’s and has steadily become more popular since the early 1980’s. Total Quality is a description of the culture, attitude and organization of a company that strives to provide customers with products and services that satisfy their needs. The culture requires quality in all aspects of the company’s operations, with processes being done right the first time and defects and waste eradicated from operations. …

PMP Hints, Project Management

Being a Client

A successful project requires a good client. Each project is unique and to achieve the right design outcome and design quality a strong team of designers need to work with a strong client group with focus and leadership. Delivering a capital project from start to finish is complex and challenging but also hugely rewarding. The role of the client is fundamental to its success. …

PMP Hints, Project Management

Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis
Sometimes when you try to resolve a problem, you find that what you thought was a root cause is really a related symptom, not the actual cause of the problem itself. Consider the following classic example.
A plant manager walks past the assembly line and notices a puddle of water on the floor. Knowing that the water is a safety hazard, he asks the supervisor to have someone get a mop and clean up the puddle. The plant manager is proud of himself for “fixing” a potential safety problem.
The supervisor, however, is suspicious. He is not sure why the puddle is there. It wasn’t there yesterday. He wonders what caused the puddle to be there today. Therefore, he looks for a root cause by asking ‘why?’ He discovers that the water puddle is caused by a leak in an overhead pipe. He asks ‘why’ again, and discovers that the pipe is leaking because the water pressure is set too high. He asks ‘why?’ again and discovers that the water pressure valve is faulty. He asks ‘why?’ again, and does not get a further answer. The faulty valve is the root cause of the problem. So, the valve is replaced, which solves the symptom of water on the factory floor.
Root cause analysis is a way to identify the ultimate cause of a problem. In the example above, there were many opportunities for solving the wrong problem. First, the plant manager could have ordered more mops to be available on the factory floor. The supervisor likewise could have ordered that the overhead pipe be replaced. However, these solutions would have ultimately been wasteful and they would not have solved the problem since they only addressed symptoms – not the problem itself.
Root cause analysis is usually accomplished by asking a series of ‘why’ questions. Just as the example above illustrates, you ask yourself ‘why’ a problem exists. Then you come up with one or more causes. For each of these causes, ask ‘why’ again. If you can answer that question again, then the first answer is probably a symptom brought on by the more fundamental cause. Continue to ask ‘why’ for each answer until you can no longer generate a logical response. This lowest level is likely to be a root cause and is what generates the observed symptoms. You may discover more than one root cause through this analysis.
When you have identified the root cause(s), put an action plan in place to solve the problem. The symptoms should go away as well.
tenstep

Sometimes when you try to resolve a problem, you find that what you thought was a root cause is really a related symptom, not the actual cause of the problem itself. Consider the following classic example. …

Procurement Management, Project Management

Procurement Methods for projects

There are various methods of procurement which can be broadly classified under the following headings:
Traditional
Design and Build
Two Stage Tendering
Public Private Partnerships / Private Finance Initiative
Management Contracting
Construction Management
Framework Agreements

There are various methods of procurement which can be broadly classified under the following headings: …

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