The Outcomes of Project Management: Effects of Project Management Knowledge

Abstract

This study examines the relationships among the project performance, customer satisfaction and project success by assessing the efficacy of management techniques, tools and skills for implementing infrastructure and building construction. Qualified interviewees from various accredited institutions handed over there responses which analyzed structural equation models. The outcome of the results indicated the suitability of prioritizing construction industry practices. This study provides insights into relationships among the construction project outcomes. In addition, this study supports communication requisite examination, stakeholder examination and communication methods in order to successfully perform communication supervision. Project management is a new concept in the management field that is focused on quality, time, cost and resource management. This concept consists of two parts, that is, project and management. A project is a plan and management is the practice of planning, organizing, directing, controlling and monitoring activities. Project management is, therefore, a combination of the two concepts. All the responsibilities that come with project management rest solely on an individual, called a project manager. He is responsible for ensuring that all the activities that come with project management are managed according to plan and within the established timeframe. For construction projects to be successful, project management concepts should be implemented. This proposal, therefore, seeks to discuss the effects of project management knowledge on construction project outcome.

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Background of the study

In the current world, good performance is the aspiration of every organization that has an indefinite existence characterized by exceptional and unique product delivery to meet customers’ needs. Meeting customers’ needs is the corner stone of attracting new customers and at the same time maintaining the existing ones. Construction projects are known for there high resource demand. They require excellent expertise, advanced technology, high level of activity management, quality time management, cost management and quality management. According to Fisk & Reynolds (2010, pp. 141), construction projects cannot succeed without close and thorough management. The world is moving towards globalization bringing with it highly competitive financial, commodity and service market. Different firms implement different strategies to sustain there existence in the increasingly competitive global market. Winch (2010, pp. 123) asserts that a sustainable strategies for all firms should involve the element of project management. Therefore, an exhaustive and deep study should be conducted to uncover how important project management is in construction project.

Statement of the problem

Many organizations implement other management methods to their project without achieving the desired results. Organizations that aspire for consistency in good performance should implement the concept of project management.

Project management is a concept that ensures that a big plan is broken down into smaller activities with standard time and budget for completion. Therefore, the completion within standard time, cost and quality is the key reason for project management.

Purpose of the study

This study seeks to establish the effects of project management on the outcome of construction projects. Project management ensures quality delivery, timely delivery and cost management.

Objectives of the study

  • To establish how project quality management affects construction project outcome.
  • To ascertain how project time management affects construction project outcome.
  • To establish how project cost management affects construction project outcome.

Research questions

  • What are the effects of quality management on construction project outcome?
  • What are the effects of time management on construction project outcome?
  • What are the effects of cost management on construction project outcome?

Assumptions of the study

In the course of the study, the researcher assumes that the sample will be sufficient to represent the entire targeted population. The preferred data collection method, questionnaire, is valid and appropriate for use during the study. The researcher also assumes that the respondents will answer the questions correctly and truthfully without holding back any relevant information to the study, and hand over their response to the researcher without default. Default in handing over the responses may lead to non-sampling errors thus negatively affect conclusion of the study. The research period is assumed sufficient for enough data collection, data analysis and conclusion of the study.

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Significance of the study

This study will bring to light how important it is to implement the concept of project management in organization’s project. It will also uncover the variables in project management and clearly show how they influence the overall project. The study will then explain why it is important for organizations to embrace the concept of project management and beseeches organization managers to fully embrace and implement the concept.

Definition of significant terms

According to Field & Keller (1998, pp. 145), a project can be defined as an undertaking that requires factor input. Human resource provides the required expertise and skills to facilitate the achievement of the project goals. Harrison & Lock (2004, pp. 131) defines management as process of formulating corporate policy by executing interrelated responsibilities of planning, organizing, controlling and directing organizations resources in a manner that facilitates the achievement of the set goals. Organizing is the process of delegating duties to respective employees and allocation of the necessary resources to support various activities (Harrison & Lock 2004, pp. 138). Nelson (2001, pp. 81) says that planning is the process of setting goals and laying down courses of activities to ensure their achievement. Controlling is ensuring that the actual outcome matches the planned one. Lastly, directing is the process of giving a direction on how, when, where and by whom an activity is to be done (Daft 2012, pp. 77).

Literature review

The literature review part provides detailed and in-depth exploration of the key concepts in this research study. The key concepts include project management, construction project, time management, cost management and quality control. These bodies of literature will provide the required insight into the project management effects on construction project outcome.

Project management

According to Panneerselvam & Senthilkumar (2010, pp. 121), project management is the process of effective management of resources (factors of production) ensure that project goals are achieved. In a construction project context, the concept would still mean the same thing. Before a construction project is commenced, the following studies are conducted; they are feasibility studies, environmental analysis, economic analysis and financial analysis. According to Choudhury (1988, pp. 213), it is vital to begin with a full assessment of the possibility of achieving the objectives of a proposed project. Feasibility study is, therefore, the process of analyzing to what extent a construction project is manageable in the real situation. Nagarajan ( 2005, pp.99) asserts that feasibility study requires assessment and complete understanding of technological, ecological, economic, political and social aspects involved. Ecological analysis seeks to ensure that the proposed construction project is harmless to the environment. The analysis is important because it ensures a clean, harmless and sustainable environment. Analysis of social factors is also an important factor in feasibility analysis. It seeks to ensure that the health and safety of the end users is not at risk. All stakeholders to the proposed infrastructure are entitled to full and safe utilization.

According to Kousholt (2007, pp. 76), an economic analysis of a proposed infrastructure involves analyzing its benefits to the community in terms of creation of potential employment opportunities. A projection is done to ascertain the future cash flows and their effects on Gross Domestic Product of country. Kanda (2011, pp. 90) highlights that it is very imperative for a financial analysis to be conducted before the commencement of any project. Financial analysis of a proposed construction would mean assessing whether availability of the required funds would be constant to avoid any delay with the activities. Lenders might decide to withdraw their funding and, therefore, an assurance on indefinite availability of source of finance would suffice. According to Murch (2004, pp. 119), construction projects are bound to fail due to various circumstances. It is therefore necessary to conduct a risk analysis in order to identify the potential risks and there mitigation processes. Some of the prevalent risks that need preventive mechanisms are exchange rate risk, inflation and variance in labor cost.

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Construction project

Management of construction projects has been happening since time immemorial. According to Klinger & Susong (2006, pp. 141), Project management emerged during the time when societies started building complex systems such as rail and power networks. This concept, says Ritz (1994, pp. 165), was adopted by the US aircraft industry in the 1920s. Construction projects require both capital and human resources. The source of these finances is the clients or financiers. The following are some of the reasons why a project could fail; they are lack of clear links between the project and an organization’s key strategic priorities, lack of clarity between the management and ministerial ownership, lack of effective stakeholder engagement, lack of necessary skills for both project and risk management, lack of effective integration among the project team and failure to embrace change. Cornick & Mather (1999, pp. 155) point out that construction projects are launched into a distinctive historic context. It is shaped by institutional framework. The players in the construction project work within the industry rules, which evolve in response to new challenges. According to Austen & Neale (1984, pp. 134), a construction business system provides more or less space for innovation that is intended to start from where the system is, rather than where the parties want it to be. Path dependence is at the center of the evolution of construction business system. Construction of business systems is embedded in the wider national business system (Chitkara 1998, pp. 183). In a well regulated industry, such as construction, globalization will continue to have less impact than it has had on other sectors. Woodward (1997, pp. 142) asserts that, different construction business systems have developed different solutions to the common problems of creating assets upon which economies depend.

Time management

According to Sears, Clough & Sears (2008, pp. 214), project time management involves the processes required to ensure that the project is completed in good time. Activities that are involved in this course are activity description, activity sequencing, activity resource estimation, activity period estimation and calendar development. Activity definition is the process of stating various activities that are involved in a project. Activity sequencing is conducted to review the activity attributes, extent of the project statement and target list to ascertain activity relationships. Activity duration estimate is the process where the amount of time that could be spent working on an activity is estimated. For example, one day is a duration that would be required to complete an activity. Schwalbe (2006, pp. 111) States that, in schedule development, the outcome of time estimates of all activities are integrated and there from, the completion duration of the entire project is estimated. The foremost goal of schedule development is to make up a “realistic project schedule that provides a basis for monitoring the progress of the project” (Hamilton 2001, pp. 117). Critical path analysis is a network diagram method used to predict the total length of any project. This instrument is used to find out the earliest time to complete a project. It is the longest path through a network diagram that has the least amount of activity delay period (Newell 2005, pp. 200).

Project cost management

According to Rad (2002, pp. 453), project cost management is the process of ensuring that all activities in the project are completed within the approved budget. Project managers must ensure that the projects are well defined and that accurate cost and time estimate is done. Cost estimation involves the development of an estimated cost of the resources required for completing a project. Activity cost estimate, basis of estimates and project document are the outputs of the cost estimation process. Both cost and integration management are created as part of project management plan. Wideman (1995, pp. 411) asserts that determination of the budget involves allocation of the total cost estimate to individual activities in order to establish a baseline for performance measurement. Requirements for project funding and performance baseline are the major outcomes of the cost budgeting process. Taylor (2008, pp. 534) emphasizes that cost control process involves control of changes to the project budget. The main outcomes of this process are performance measurements, budget forecasts, change request, organizational process asset update, project management plan updates and project update documents (Kerzner 2009, pp. 645).

Project Quality Management

According to International Organization for Standardization 8042 (1994), project quality management is “the totality of an entity that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs”. Quality also refers to conformance to requirements and suitability for use. Conformance to requirements means the ability of a product to meet some sets of written specifications. Nohe (2009, pp. 577) says that the rationale behind project quality management is to guarantee satisfaction of users’ needs. Project management involves meeting or surpassing the stakeholders’ requirements and expectations. Therefore, to understand the meaning of quality to customers and stakeholders, the project team has to develop a healthy relationship with various stakeholders. Thus, quality should be on the same level as project scope, time and cost. According to Hellard (1993, pp. 645), project quality management involves planning quality, quality assurance and quality control. Planning for quality involves identifying appropriate quality standards and how to satisfy them. Rose (2005, pp. 611) asserts that quality assurance involves consistent assessment of a project’s performance to make certain that the project meets the required quality standards. Quality control involves the process of monitoring project results to ensure that the relevant quality standards are met. It also ensures that quality improvement measures are in place.

Conceptual framework

Conceptual framework

Sampling procedure

This research study will adopted a probability sampling technique. Probability sampling is a technique that involves sample gathering using a process that gives all the members in the target population equal chances of being part of the sample size. The researcher has chosen to use probability sampling because the method is useful for the generalization of the research findings on the population; the method will have less risk of biasness (Cochran 1977, pp. 555). Stratified probability sampling is to be used in the research. This sampling method involves dividing the population into homogenous groups, each group containing subjects with similar characteristics. A stratified sample is therefore, a useful merge of randomization and classification, thereby enabling both quantitative and qualitative piece of research to be undertaken. A qualitative piece of research will be able to target those groups in institutions or clusters, who will be approached to participate in the research (Ardilly, Jang & Tillé 2006, pp. 643).

It was chosen to provide an informative and to safeguard the specific objective of the research, that is, to investigate the effects of project management knowledge on construction project outcomes.

Method of data collection

The researcher intends to use Questionnaires as the primary method of data collection where both open-ended and closed-ended questions will be presented to the respondents. If explicit information is needed for the research, then a questionnaire should be constructed. Questionnaire construction is one of the most delicate and critical research activities (Pratt & Loizos 1992, pp. 453). Open-ended questions are those whose possible answers are pre-determined; closed-ended question is a question format that limits respondents with a list of answers or choices from which they must choose to answer the questions (Hupfer 1972, pp. 438). This method of data collection provides adequate guidance and freedom to the respondents to attain relevant information.

The advantages of using questionnaires are the following. First of all, they are practical, meaning that large amount of information can be collected from a large number of people in a short period of time, they can be carried out with limited effect to its validity and reliability (Pawar 2004, pp.612). Some of the disadvantages of questionnaire are argued to be inadequate for collecting qualitative data, for example emotions because there is no way to tell how truthful a respondent is and the respondent may default to answer or submit the questionnaires.

Data analysis

Lewis-Beck (1997, pp. 596) describes data analysis as coding, categorization, manipulation and summarization of data. The filled questionnaires are to be double-checked and edited to ensure that they are correctly and completely filled. The data will then be analyzed using statistical package. The raw data collected from the study should be organized through descriptive statistical methods (structural equation model) to help analyze and interpret the data. The researcher intends to use quantitative method of data analysis. Quantitative analysis of data involves presentation and interpretation of numerical data. Quantitative method of data analysis contains descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics is a quantitative discipline that involves measuring of central tendency (averages- mean, median and mode) and measures the changeability about the average (range and standard deviation). This commonly means that descriptive statistics unlike inferential statistics, is not developed on probability theory foundation (Wike 2007, pp. 556). Inferential statistics is the outcome of statistical tests that facilitate deductions from the collected data to test hypotheses and relate findings to the entire population.

References

Ardilly, P, Jang, L, & Tillé, Y 2006, Sampling methods: exercises and solutions, Springer, New York, NY.

Austen, A, D, & Neale, R, H 1984, Managing construction projects: a guide to processes and procedures, International labor Office, Genève.

Chitkara, K, K 1998, Construction project management: planning, scheduling and controlling, Tata McGraw-Hill Pub, New Delhi, India.

Choudhury, S 1988, Project management, Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi.

Cochran, W, G 1977, Sampling techniques, Wiley, New York [u.a.].

Cornick, T, C, & Mather, J 1999, Construction project teams: making them work profitably, Thomas Telford, London.

Daft, R, L, 2012, Management, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason, Ohio.

Field, M, & Keller, L, S, 1998, Project management […] XD-US, International Thomson Business Press, London [u.a].

Fisk, E, R, & Reynolds, W, D 2010, Construction project administration, Prentice Hall, Boston.

Hamilton, A 2001, Managing projects for success: a trilogy, Thomas Telford, London.

Harrison, F, L, & Lock, D 2004, Advanced project management: a structured approach, Gower, Aldershot, England.

Hellard, R, B 1993, Total quality in construction projects: achieving profitability with customer satisfaction, T. Telford, London.

Hupfer, P, J 1972, A comparative study of four methods of data collection, T. Telford, London.

“International Organization for standardization 8042” 1994.

Kanda, A 2011, Project management: a life cycle approach, PHI Learning Private Limited, New Delhi.

Kerzner, H, 2009, Project Management A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling: Epub Edition, John Wiley & Sons Inc, New York.

Klinger, M, & Susong, M 2006, The construction project phases, people, terms, paperwork, processes, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice, Chicago.

Kousholt, B 2007, Project management: theory and practice, Nyt Teknisk, Forlag.

Lewis-Beck, M, S 1997, Data analysis: an introduction, Thousand Oaks [u.a.], Sage, London.

Murch, R 2004, Project management: best practices for IT professionals, Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Nagarajan, K 2005, Project management, New Age International. New Delhi.

Nelson, S, S, 2001, The new planning for results: a streamlined approach […] XA-GB, American Library Association, Chicago.

Newell, M, W 2005, Preparing for the project management professional (PMP) certification exam, Amacom, New York; Toronto

Nohe, M 2009, Implementation of quality control measures in project management and its impact on customer satisfaction, GRIN Verlag GmbH, Munchen.

Panneerselvam, R, & Senthilkumar, P 2010, Project management, PHI Learning New Delhi.

Pawar, M, S 2004, Data collecting methods and experiences: a guide for social researchers, New Dawn Press, Elgin, IL.

Pratt, B, & Loizos, P 1992, Choosing research methods: data collection for development workers, Oxfam, Oxford.

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Schwalbe, K 2006, Introduction to project management, Thomson Course Technology, Boston.

Sears, S, K, Clough, R, H, & Sears, G, A 2008, Construction project management: a practical guide to field construction management, John Wiley & Sons, NY.

Taylor, J 2008, Project scheduling and cost control: planning, monitoring and controlling the baseline, J, Ross Publications, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Wideman, R, M, 1995, Cost control of capital projects and the project cost management system requirements: a handbook for owners, architects, engineers, and all those involved in project management of constructed facilities, Vancouver, B,C, Vancouver.

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Winch, G 2010, Managing construction projects: an information processing approach, Blackwell Pub, Chichester.

Woodward, J, F 1997, Construction project management: getting it right first time. London, T. Telford, London.

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