What does Construction Management do? What is Construction Project Management? To be sure, there is no one universal construction management definition. But unquestionably a significant aspect of both Construction Management and Owner's Representative is that of guarding and protecting the Owner's best interests in the project. Of all such interests, none is more important than achievement of project critical success factors and ultimate project success.
To that end, you have a unique opportunity and responsibility to enlighten your clients (Project Owners) as to what is actually causing construction deadlines to be missed. Let's face it: The Construction Owners are to be found at the center of the Problem, the Impact, and the Solution. And they look to YOU, as their construction management consultant, for advice on how to make things better.
Not knowing it, various actions and choices that Owners routinely and habitually make qualify Owners as the #1 cause of their projects slipping their schedules!
How is this possible? Because they rely on the advice of consultants and experts who, in large part, are also unaware that the Project Management practices advocated for "most projects most of the time," are not especially well suited for the Construction Industry. As a result, by sculpting construction administration models around such "recommended practices" to a large extent Owners are only making things worse -- going along, "fat, dumb, and happy" as the expression goes.
And adding insult to injury, a number of "standard practices" within the Construction Industry have only further weakened the General Contractor's ability (or willingness) to responsibly manage the project, and guide it to a successful and timely completion. When does this happen? How about ... during design, during procurement, in the contract, in Owner attitudes and posture, in Owner expectations and demands, in an overall missing sense of fairness all around. All of this is discussed on the other pages of this website. (Top of Page)
While all parties to the project suffer when schedules slip, it is the Owner that bears the maximum cost.
If the previous comments are discouraging, then find solace in knowing that the Owner is in the best position to make things better. Specifically, the Owner has the power, authority, influence to change the way projects are managed.
As the Owner's key agent, you are in the best position to influence the kind of change required to change the outcome of projects on which you serve as a Construction Manager or Owner's Representative. The Owner looks to you for sound advice on Best Practices, and for what they should expect from the other key players on project: the design and construction professionals.
You have to ask yourself, how did things get so bad? With the proliferation of Project Management standards, training, certifications, conferences, literature and discussions .... why are projects not doing better? Why do they actually seem to be getting worse?
Follow the money! Ask yourself, who knew? To be sure, several cottage industries have grown up around the failure of projects: lawyers and claims consultants to name just two. But there are also those who profit from promoting the Conventional Wisdom: trainers, management consultants, certifying agencies, and so forth. Do these entities know that the generic Project Management model is not especially well suited for Construction? Most don't. And those who do know, keep that fact to themselves.
Construction Managers and Owner's Representative are not your run-of-the-mill "management consultants" mentioned in the previous paragraph. You are a special breed of experts: who have hands-on experience in managing and building projects, but also have a well-developed understanding of the Owner's unique bundle of needs, wants, desires, and expectations. That is what qualifies you to function as a beneficial Construction Manager at risk or Owner's Representative.
But this powerful position of influence does not relieve you of continuing education, of learning how to do things better than they have been done.
All solutions begin with understanding. Here is just a sampling of what ICS-Research would like Construction Managers and Owner's Representative to know about the cause of Schedule Slippage:
Albert Einstein's famous comment about insanity comes to mind: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
The ICS-Compendium includes two separate Solutions to the Problem of ineffective Project Time Management.
Both Project Management models are predicated on the establishment and maintenance of a comprehensive, credible, and vibrant Project Execution Strategy (Project Schedule). This book, CPM Mechanics, is the first of two books that WILL fully explain how to most effectively design, development, and maintain reliable Project Schedules.
The problem is that what we have been taught about the creation and maintenance of schedules is significantly flawed. Keeping in mind Einstein's admonition, we would be wise to take a sober look at our current approach to Planning and Scheduling, with a critical eye toward what works, and what does not.
For instance, ICS-Research has discovered that the current scheduling practices are inherently flawed in four key areas:
There is so much that is wrong with how we approach project management in construction that the Solutions cannot be fully discussed in a single volume. That is why the ICS-Compendium has multiple volumes. Each book speaks to a different aspect of the Problem and Solution.
For each Project Management Model (Dominant or Cognitive) there are four volumes, each speaking to a different aspect of the model:
Not only is CPM Mechanics the first book in the Dominant Project Management Series, it is also the first book in the entire ICS-Compendium ... which means that the Cogntiive Project Management Series is predicated on it as well.
That should make perfect sense to you since, at the end of the day, the Project Schedule stands at the very epicenter of Project Management. Think about it:
So it all comes down to this: do you want to improve the outcome of projects on which you serve as Construction Manager or Owner's Representative? If you do, then you must help your Owners to better understand how they are in the best position to make that happen. You must guide them as they change their expectations, contracts, attitudes, and actions to afford a better tomorrow.
But you cannot bring about improvements by doing the same things that have proven ineffective to date. You need to learn what is good in the current Project Management model, and what could stand changing.
Begin by educating yourself. Wipe away the confusion about the technical stuff that has alluded you all along. In so doing, expose the flaws in the current model. Learn what works ... and what does not.
CPM Mechanics is required reading ... if you really want to change your Project Management track record. (Top of Page)