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According to the APM-UK, "Project Management is the planning, organising, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project and the motivation of all involved to achieve project objectives safely and within the agreed time, cost and performance criteria". Thus for every project which is unique in content ad context, there are a lot of risks and uncertainties which might hinder its development. Hence, Project management is needed to look ahead at the needs and risks, communicate the plans and priorities, anticipate problems, assess progress and trends, get quality and value for money, and change the plans if needed to achieve the objectives (Smith, 2007)
The project under review in the first part of this assignment is the Emirates Stadium. They class was asked to worked in groups to identify the main project management challenges encountered during the project and how they were managed. We were also asked to propose viable alternative project management approach for each of the challenges identified.
The first part of this report critically examines the group work presented in class and also compares it with established best practices in project management.
The second part of the report outlines project management challenges of the Olympic 2012 stadium in UK guidelines for its successful completion. This section also includes a comparative overview of managing single simple projects and a project that is part of a large complex programme of higher profile and greater value.
2.0 The Emirates Stadium:
2.1 An Overview of the Project and Its Context:
The Emirate Stadium is an iconic football stadium built by one of England's top four football clubs - Arsenal- in Ashbourtun Grove, London UK. This according to Aritua et al (2008), is a key factor impacting on the business objectives with the ability to increase the capacity of stadiums and to make a statement of distinct identity.
Arsenal wanted a dramatic venue to highlighten their ambition to becoming a global force in football and thus needed to increase the capacity of their stadium from the 38,000 in Highbury stadium to 65,000, but due to space constraints a new location was sited about half a mile from Highbury because the club wanted to maintain links with the area it had been associated with for 91years (design and built network).
The Emirate stadium was awarded in 2004 with a target to be fully operational for the start of the 2006/2007 football season. Arsenal-here referred to subsequently as the client- required not only an iconic 65,000 capacity stadium finished with the best quality materials but also required it to have a high quality grass, enough lightening and atmosphere.
Figure 1: The stadium with glass to shine and sparkle in the daytime and night (Source: HOK)
In order to build the stadium at the proposed location which is a large industrial, business and housing area, additional developments e.g. regenerating roads and access bridges, relocating sewage works, houses, businesses and building of community projects like healthcare centres to create new jobs were included in the scope of the works in the project which required extensive site clearance works.
2.2 Project Management Challenges:
The views of all the group presentations on the challenges will be critically analysed in this section. Below is a compilation of the challenges identified by groups. I have categorised the challenges to harmonise them for easier review as such the terms used here might not be the same as the ones used by the groups.
2.2 Challenges Identified:
Design management/construction techniques
Contract strategy/Procurement management
Site location and accessibility: built up area with houses and businesses and underground sewer networks, rail ways lines.
Planning permission constraints due to height restriction to a maximum of 30m
Installations of fitting
Planning and scheduling
2.3 Project Management Approaches:
The groups also presented project management approaches undertaken by the project team to resolve the challenges which greatly assisted in the successful completion of the project on time, at the requested specifications/quality and without incurring additional cost.
Again here I have harmonised and evaluated the different groups' work on the approached adopted during he project and also what the groups thought would have been the best way to manage the situations. Terms used might not be as stated in the presentations.
Understanding client requirements, efficient communication of information, involving the client in issues requiring direction and prompt decision taking thereby getting the required client support.
Enhancing relationship between client stakeholders and contractor, communicating project objective
Involving contractor in concept and design phase, hence most of the risk involved here has been identified and mitigated by incorporating technical expertise, collaboration and adequate communication between the contractor and sub-contractors. Outsourcing some of the required materials, subcontracting of some activities thus allowing for overlapping of some activities, innovative resolution on getting labour and other structural material into position.
D&B was the contract type used. The D&B with possible novation to contractor of client design to allow for overlap in the design and construction. This was suggested as an option since the client lack the required technical knowledge of the project and there is a need to be strict on flexibility in order to control and limit changes in the later stages of the project which will ultimately lead to delays and additional cost but some groups have the opinion that the project will be best managed as a management contract to allow flexibility, incentives and risk sharing.
Initial site investigation revealed site conditions and mitigation measures- relocation of mains, houses, businesses and construction of two bridges over the rail lines- included in the design at concept and design stage
Changes in design due to space constrain was also done early enough, during the initiation stage
This was also addressed during the initiation and design stages. An inward roof design was adopted fitted with pumps to pumps outwards rainwater from the roof.
Professional expertise was sorted
Follow up on outsourced fitting contractor
Adequate time allocated to planning and scheduling hence most risks where identified and mitigated at early stage. Early involvement of Contractor, subcontractors and suppliers.
Adequate organisation of activities; setting out efficient communication route, assigning roles and coordinating, team work and motivation, client support and prompt decision taking, change control management
Adequate flow of information between design team and contractor thereby guaranteeing control of revised document.
2.4 Best Practices:
Best practices can be learned from both successes and failure of past projects by the use of life cycle phases, standardisation and consistency, planning scheduling, control and risk, use of integrated programme team, control of scope changes and use of earned value management (Wiley, 2006)
According to Smith (2007), "Each project has a beginning and an end hence it is said to have a life cycle". From the above analysis, it will be right to assume the success of the project was due to the management approach adopted mostly done during the initiation and planning phase. This is true because case studies have shown the greater difficulty was experienced at the initiation and planning stages (Aritua et al, 2008). Smith (2003 in Aritua et al,2008) further explained that the greatest opportunity to make major decisions with minimum cost impact is at the early stages of the project. As shown in figure below;
Figure 2: Important decisions should be made early. (Sources: Smith, 2003)
Specifically, study by Aritua et al, 2008reveal that client management, stakeholder expectation management, choice of procurement and design management; all of which are upfront activities had a big impact on the outcome of iconic projects.
2.4.1 Client Management:
Clients are typically the club promoters, investors and private developers working in collaboration with the club who are highly experienced in running the football club as a sports and business but they often less knowledgeable about delivering large-scale construction works, hence the need to provide and interface between the client and the project team to foster frank and timely communication regarding client's expectations and requirements (Aritua et al, 2008).
This will help in understanding the deliverables, scope and objectives of the project so risks can be identified, avoided or mitigated. Changes should be effectively communicated and the Project Manager should be able to accept, postpone or reject the proposed changes to avoid delays (Buehring, 2009).
2.4.2 Stakeholder Expectation Management:
The stakeholders are all those who benefit from the desirable outcome of the project which could includes the clients, sponsors, investors, fans, local community and the design team. The project team should ensure effective communication and involve stakeholders so they understand the project boundaries in terms of scope, deliverables and objectives in other to gain their support and to resolve conflicts that may arise between them. This ensures that the vision and expectations are matched by the funding available and that minimal changes that could grossly affect the project are introduced later in the project cycle (Aritua et al, 2008).
2.4.3 Choice of Procurement Route and Design Management:
According to Aritua et al (2008), "The procurement strategy on a number of major developments of football stadiums in the past 20 years shows a very distinctive pattern; with design and build procurement as the preferred route".
The design and built is applied since the clients lack the expertise to undertake the works. This approach also limit flexibility on future changes hence early designs must be made, communicated to the client and agreed upon before tendering.
Best practices have shown that successful project management requires that the knowledge of all area- scope, time, cost quality, human resources, risks, procurement, communication and project integration- be Managed effectively.
2.5 Comparism of Project Management Approaches Evaluated with Best Practice
The approaches could have been better structured by the groups into project management strategies/approaches. They could be narrowed down as client management, stakeholder expectation management, procurement and design management, planning, changes and risk management to conform to a more professional approach as explained in the best practice section below.
Most of the approaches were found to be relatively in line with best practices in project management except for choices in procurement routes where some groups suggested management contract to allow for innovation and flexibility of design as against the design and built typically applied to avert risk from the client who has relative no knowledge on construction projects.
3.0 London 2012 Olympic stadium
3.1 An overview of the project and its context:
The Olympic 2010 Stadium project is a part of the programme with a drive for a successful hosting of the 2010 Olympics games in London. The project consists of the construction of the sports stadium with a capacity of 80,000 which also involves utilities infrastructure, energy centre, primary substations and pumping stations, roads and Bridges to connect the park to surrounding areas (London 2012, 2009).
The Olympic Delivery Authority contracted the project to a consortium of architects, designers, construction firm at a cost of £469 million. Works started in April 2008 and with a plan to be completed by mid 2011, 6 months before the start of Olympic Games in July 2012 to avail time for testing the facilities.
The site is located 3 miles from Central London at Marshgate Lane in Stratford on an Island where the River Lea and the City Mill River meet in the Lea Valley. Due to the surrounding waterways, 5 bridges will be constructed to provide access to the stadium during and after the games. More than 30 buildings and a waste transfer station have to be moved to make way for constructions.
The stadium will be converted into one of the largest urban parks with the benefits in culture, sports, business, tourism and new jobs creation. As such the clients' major drive is the sustainability in the 2010 games this includes, types of structures to be constructed and the materials used which must be have a sustainability plan in climate change, waste reduction, minimising impact on biodiversity, increasing healthy living, jobs, business opportunity, creating access for tourism benefits (London 2012, 2009).
The Olympic stadium will have a large removable element where 55,000 seatings will be removed after the completion of the games. This requires innovative design which has never been attempted before. Figure below is the model with this arrangement and the final plan;
Figure 3: The concrete bowl of the London Olympic Stadium is topped by scaffolding with extra seating, a cable-net roof, a plastic wrap with a mural design (Source: Design-Build network)
Figure 4: The London Olympic Stadium is built on an island in Stratford in the Lower Lea valley (Source: design-Build Network)
3.2 The Olympic stadium as Part of a Programme:
The Olympic stadium in its context is a project that is part of a large and complex programme of works. In a programme no single project stands in isolation. They are all interrelated, interdependent with inter-project coordination, complex deliverables, multiple stakeholders, shared resources and other characteristics perceived thus requiring more strategic management (Pellegrinelli et al, 2007).
Larson (2009), also stated that time, budget, risks, number of stakeholders in a programme is relatively more/larger than those in projects. A project typically has lower visibility and comprises of 1 project team as against high visibility and the complex with several teams having different expertise reporting to a programme manager akin to programmes.
A project is a group of related tasks /activities which work together satisfying one or more objectives (House in Ferns, 1991). A programme is a group of projects that are managed in a coordinated way to gain benefits that would not be possible were the projects to be managed independently (Ferns, 1999).
Programmes are conceived as frameworks and structures with interdeterminate time horizons rather then having linear lifecycles as in projects (Pellegrinelli et al, 2007). In Pellegrinelli S. (2002), it was also stated that project management have single minded focus and discipline focusing on defining, planning and execution unlike coordination, and integration of complex initiatives in the programme management framework.
According to UK APM, "project management is the planning, directing and controlling tasks or activities and resources with the objective of completing a specific project with predetermined parameters of quality, time and cost, whereas programme management is the coordination, support, planning, prioritization and monitoring of projects to meet the challenging business needs".
Ferns (1999) further stated that Programme management must have a concept and technique of evaluating individual project's clear and agreed objectives, good leadership, communication, team work, risk management, organisation and political, cultural management, understanding dependencies and interfaces with other projects, systems and procedures and commonality in order to maximise the project benefits of meeting business needs, savings and reducing risks.
Hass K. (2009) explains that traditional linear project management tools and techniques are still necessary but insufficient to manage the complexities of 21st century projects which are more interconnected, interdependent and interrelated than ever before. Hence for multi-complex projects with multiple added value activities should be prioritised using queuing theory at any point in time and done in a sequential manner to finish them more productively.
3.3 Outline of Main Challenges:
Managing complex projects like the Olympic stadium can be very challenging. Factors that can have impact on the success of the project could be external and internal to the project team.
External factors include; the client(s), various external consultants, contractors, suppliers, competitors, politicians, national and local government agencies, public utilities, pressure groups and end users. While the internal factors are organisation management, team, internal departments (technical and finances) and share holders (Lester, 2007)
This can be illustrated using the PESTLE framework as shown in figure below:
Figure 4: the project environment showing the external and internal factors influencing the project using PESTEL framework (source: Lester, 2007)
Political: this involves public enquires and approvals, regulation of competitions and exclusivity.
Economic: due to cost on VAT, inflations, recession and boom, demand and supply of materials, increase in budget due to earthworks
Socio-cultural: consumer resistance, social acceptability and support, cultural awareness
Technological: Design constraints due to site location, heavy earthworks movements, poor ground conditions and technology/construction methods to be used to create the removable element -temporary- seats of the stadium which has never been attempted before.
Legal: regulations, directives and law
Environment: changes in standards, external pressures and environmental constraints.
Other internal challenges are as follows:
Client Management: understanding the objectives, scope and deliverables of the project
Change management: due to unprecedented changes to the project or other interdependent projects.
Common resources management: balancing demands for resources and allocations between projects and operations
Benefit management: potential benefits arising from the use of integrated projects mechanisms
Organisation management: Managing large workforce, teams, accounts, trainings, skilled labour requirements
Procurement management: due to having different companies who are leaders in their respective fields.
Financial and revenue risks: due to interest rates on loans , equity, payback, currency
Implementation risks: due to natural and physical obstructions, constructions, technology, designs and complex nature of the project.
Innovation on how labour and materials can be brought to site
3.4 Guidelines for Successful Completion:
The success completion of a programme requires coordination and integration of complex initiatives and strategies in programme management by grouping projects, directing and initiating them. These could be achieved by the following:
Understanding clients objectives/ Client Management:
There should be effective communication, understanding and agreed upon between clients and project teams. This will promote understanding, cooperation and acceptance from the clients who will at some point be required to make prompt decisions and approvals regarding some activities. Communication should be in terms of understanding objectives and deliverables, monitoring reports which will in turn facilitate prompt decision making when needed.
Programme/project organisation and management:
This is required for effective utilization of time and common resources/benefit management between projects within the programme in order to balance demands for allocations. This entails early and efficient coordination of the projects using strategic approaches of defining projects, organising then in terms of priorities and hierarchy, determining their inter-dependencies. This could also be achieved using IT software.
Changes in scope during later stages will result in delays thus incurring additional costs. Thus this should be clearly defined, communicated and understood during the planning stages. The impacts of the business needs and resolution should also be agreed upon.
Planning, Scheduling and Estimating
Time control is very essential. Planning and scheduling guides the flow of activities, allows sequencing and possibility of overlaps where possible thereby shortening the schedule and reducing delays. Tasks should be broken down so as to determine their dependencies, critical path and time required to complete them.
Status reporting and executing:
For effective reporting, activities should be planned weekly and responsibilities assigned. Work progress should be tracked and reported also weekly (preferred) in order to determine accomplishments in terms of physical works, money and time spent. Variations should be adequately managed by finding out reasons and solutions for subsequent corrections and effectively managing the three elements of the project-Time, Cost and Quality.
People and resources management:
Programme manager should ensure top management and client support, motivation of well integrated team. Good internal and external communication, comprehensive quality control measures, adequate resources availability and allocation (finance, skilled labour, materials and plants), tight financial control, strategic alliances and relationship management with sub-contractors and suppliers. Health and safety measures and training should not be overlooked.
This is required for effective communication, understanding, agreement and support.
Commercial/financial risks management:
This requires tight financial control, management and accountability. Managing suppliers of goods.
Changes should be avoided, reduces, transferred or absorbed in such a way to reduces delays. Thus rigorous change control procedures should be put in place. Where changes are to be made
These include effective communication between stakeholders and project team to foster understanding and support and conflict resolution.
Procurement / Design management:
This basically should have been catered for during initial stages. The D&B contract role (typically used) is not flexible as such minimises the risks of changes by client. Other design risk arising during the project should be managed - brainstorming, innovation and creativity- effectively and outcome communicated to the team as well as clients and stakeholders.
Risk should be identified and impact to the project assessed in order to estimate the likelihood of occurrences and to get the risk factor. Strategies should be put in place to eliminate risks, reduce and transfer. Retained risk should be absorbed in a way not to cause delays to the project.
Adequate understanding and negotiation will be required to manage external factors e.g. political, legal and environment.
Close and celebrate each deliverable as it finishes and is accepted by the client in order to motivate team. Lessons learnt should be gather for subsequent application where successful otherwise to find better alternatives/improvements for future references. Training and adequate integration should be put in place for handover and close-up of the project.
Managing the development of iconic stadiums comes with a lot of challenges as every project is distinctive in its scope and objectives. The key to effective management is exploring trends and establishing best practices to be applied to avoid, reduce or resolve challenges that might be encountered.
Best practice in delivering of iconic football stadiums have shown that major challenges encountered are client management, stakeholder expectation management, procurement route and design management. Hence to effectively manage these and ensure successful project completion; project scope, objectives and deliverables must be clearly defined, communicated and understood by all stakeholders- all clients and project team- to gain support and prompt decision taking. This will impact positively on effective risk and change management.
Adequate planning of activities and schedules, assigning and communicating responsibilities, team work, motivation, tracking, reporting and monitoring of activities will also effectively manage the time, quality and cost desired.
Programme management requires more of effective coordination of the various complex inter-dependent, inter-connected and inter-related projects within a programme. Strategic and Organisational project management is required by way of prioritising projects and activities, scheduling, monitoring progress and reporting.
Resources and benefit management between the projects is also required to fully utilise time and resources that individual projects will be competing for.
Communication and cooperation between team leaders, teams, top management, clients and stakeholders also plays an important role in change management, decision making, trust and acceptance and also conflict resolution.