Project Management Practices In Contracting Organizations Construction Essay

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The aim of research is to do a comparative study for the proper implementation of Project Management Techniques in Kuwait's Construction industry through identification of implementation process and solutions for potential challenges and barriers that a contracting organisation may face while implementing PM Practices.

Research Objectives

The primary focus of research is Kuwait construction industry which is actively involved in the process of adopting Project Management Practices. Research will examine the current efforts towards the implementation of PM in contractor organisations along with identifications of challenges and barriers that have been faced while PM techniques implementation. The comparative study of both countries will facilitate the contractors for implementation of PM Practices in Kuwait's construction industry by suggesting possible solutions for implementation hurdles. The objectives of the research are:

To establish the understanding of Project Management

To determine the scope of PM implementation for contracting organisations

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To examine the efforts of implementation of PM in Kuwaiti construction industry

To identify potential challenges/barriers and their possible solutions while implementing PM Practices in construction industry

To identify the process of PM Practice implementation through analysis of data in the industry

To produce a comparative statement of both the contracting organisations of Kuwait and UK

Justification

To make Kuwait well established in the field of construction amongst all other Middle Eastern countries, PM Practices need to be polished. Therefore it is essential to analyse the PM practices of both countries in order to identify the similarities and differences and to emphasis these practices in both small and large companies for successful completion of projects within prescribed time and estimated cost as per specifications in order to avoid project delays.

Literature Review

Project Management is the application of different tools and methods (most popular are the Critical Path Method and Matrix Organization) which are used to properly utilize the in order to accomplish complex tasks within exact time, cost and quality (Ritz, 1994). Each task needs a particular composition of these tools and methods structured such, to fit the task environment and the life cycle of the task. The key role of project management is the successful implementation of the project. It has been established in the areas such as planning and control of time, cost and quality.

According to Charvat  (2003), the main function of the project management is defining the required work, allocation of the resources needed, planning the work activities, monitoring the work progress and adjustment of the deviations from the work plan. Most companies only utilize limited number of methods, tools and techniques with project management software and Gantt/Bar chart which are very common in the construction industry (Lewis, 2002). No doubt there are some drawbacks of these tools and techniques and methodologies. In project management activities past experience counts a lot. Project management is now well established which covers all aspects of managing projects from the genesis to the completion but still it remains a problematical endeavour. By applying project management tools and techniques project success is obtained which meets client's requirements, completed within budget and estimated duration with quality and safety requirements (Chileshe and Haupt, 2005).

Project Planning has been defined as the first step of the project and with the early involvement of the Project Manager into the construction project helps to ease up the later processes (Frigenti and Comninos, 2002).

The project management practices in a developed country like Kuwait is still in its initial phase and needs a lot of improvements as the contracting organizations are following the traditional management practices. The contracting organizations are also facing lot of problems in the construction industry of Kuwait. These problems need to be removed and need for the standard project management practices in the contracting organizations should be introduced for the successful completion of the projects.

According to a recent research done by Butcher and Sheehan (2010), the openness of the UK contractor in front of their clients and customers is the key to success for the contractors. The contractors have no hesitation in illustrating their weak and strong point in front of the clients which not only shows their commitment to the assigned task, but also shows their willingness to improvement. This type of practice cannot be seen in the Kuwait's contractor organizations and hence if this practice is adopted, can enhance the working of the organization.

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Construction projects are completed successfully if project management principles and methodologies are employed and whole of the control is within the hands of Project Manager (Chartered Institute of Building, 1982). There are many chances of project failure all over the world but there are more chances in a country like Kuwait, where project management skills are not fully developed in working team members. Project management is in its evolving stage in Kuwait, where the current economic crunch had adverse results on the construction projects and al the project planning have been shattered.

Political and social systems, cultural blocks and lack of financial support from the banks are the main factors which act as a barrier to the successful execution of project management practices. Moreover different problems arising with the stakeholders are also barriers to effective Project Management (PMBOK, 2000). These can be mitigated by effective implementation of project management and also through transfer of project management expertise country like UK. Lack of effective and modern project management training for project managers, professionals, staff and project team members result in poor project performance.

According to TinNirello (2000), Project Management is not only restricted to the construction works and movement of staff, machinery, finance, etc but it also has a huge impact towards the relationship amongst the team members. For successful completion of project, effective team understanding and development must be present in order to avoid contingencies.

Along with the different tools of project management, other tools of management such as: Scope management, Risk management, Human resource management, Communication management, Procurement management and Integration management also play a vital role in the success of the project. Such issues will also be addressed in the research report.

Research Methodology

Research process involves collection, analysis and interpretation of the data in order to respond the specific research topic. Research is always successful if a suitable research methodology is used in order to meet the research aims and objectives.

There are different research methodologies which are used for research projects. Different research methodologies were reviewed critically for the selection of research methodology for this specific research topic keeping in view the research objectives and the nature of the data which is to be collected. Following two research methods are used for this research project.

Literature Review

As stated earlier, literature review will be used for concrete reasoning and understanding of Project Management Practices and Techniques. Different books, Engineering journals, Project Management journals and research papers will be used to support the literature review.

Questionnaire

To complete this part of the research, both qualitative and quantitative date will be collected by conducting a survey within firms and professionals involved with PM Practice in small, medium contracting companies both in Kuwait as well as in UK. A questioner will be developed for this purpose, which is probably the most common form of collecting primary research data (Naoum, 1998). Questionnaire will contain open ended and closed ended questions to explore the PM related issues and also to get direct views of respondent about specific focus of research.

The reason of selecting this technique is that as it a common form of research and wide range of response can be collected irrespective of distance limitations through its circulation by web, internet and email. Secondary data will also be used from knowledge database and several company/ industry reports about their PM experiences. The questions will include different aspects of project management practices, processes and tools & techniques including application of latest computer software.

Once the data is collected from the construction industry, it will be analysed in order to determine the direction of the study. The data will be summarized and organised in most effective way.