Construction is one of the most complicated industries in the world. It engages in many kind of industries and processes to complete the building project. Therefore, construction also needs to use project management methodology to manage the project.
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Nowadays, information technology is a very useful tool to help the business. Construction also use much information technology to helping in the building processes, therefore, a construction company would like to implement a electronic project management system to manage the building processes.
In this electronic project management system project, it would like to choose the PRINCE2 instead of PMP for the project management methodology. We would like to compare those methodologies and suggest the most suitable one for the similar case in construction industry.
We have many project management methodologies in the world but it is difficult to choose one for special project. We will use PRINCE 2 to compare with PMP in several areas.
“PRINCE” is a project management methodology and it is stand for PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE). “PRINCE2” is the second version of this methodology and it is a registered trademark of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) of UK. PRINCE2 is widely in use by UK government and other company in UK.
PRINCE2 is a structure project management methodology for different kind of project, not only for Information Technology.
“PMBOK” also is a project management methodology and it is stand for “Project Management Book of Knowledge”. PMBOK is a guide of best practice in a project and it is published by PMI (Project Management Institute). PMBOK is widely in use in the world but not only in US or North America.
PMP (Project Management Professional) is a well known certificate for the PMBOK. You could use PMBOK standard in different kind of industry that runs a project.
Project Life-cycle based versus Knowledge Area based
In PRINCE2, it has clearly defined the project life-cycle in eight main processes as follows,
l Starting up a project (SU)
l Directing a project (DU)
l Initiating a project (IP)
l Managing stage boundaries (SB)
l Controlling a stage (CS)
l Managing product delivery (MP)
l Closing a project (CP)
l Planning (PL)
Each of the main process has its sub-process and totally in 45 processes with their own documentation.
Compare with PRINCE2, PMBOK has discuss in nine functional based knowledge area rather than use project life-cycle,
l Project integration management
l Project scope management
l Project time management
l Project cost management
l Project quality management
l Project human resource management
l Project communications management
l Project risk management
l Project procurement management
Each of the knowledge area has its sub-process and totally in 42 processes.
It seems PRINCE2 has well defined the project life-cycle than PMBOK. PRINCE2 has defined easy to follow procedure, checklists and hints for project manager to use through the project life-cycle. PMBOK mainly discuss the skills, tools and techniques in the nine knowledge areas.
In PRINCE2, the project life-cycle is not starting from the needs or feasibility study. In PRINCE2 manual stated “Most of what in PRINCE2 terms will be stages will be divisions of ‘implementation’ in the product life span.” Therefore, PRINCE2 is more likely to be implementation methodology than project management methodology. PMBOK recognize any projects needs the assessment and feasibility study before the project start. It is more likely is a project management methodology.
In PRINCE2, it has heavily on documentation. PRINCE2 has described thirty-six standard management documents such as plans and reports that are involved through the whole methodology.
Acceptance Criteria, “A definition in measurable terms of the characteristics required of the final product(s)for it/them to the customers and staff who will be affected.” It seems to be provided by the project management team and written during the project starting and it should be a mandatory documentation in the project.
Communication Plan, “To define all parties interested in the project. It contains a description of the means and frequency of communication between them and the project team.” It is a document stated all interest parties, what information is required, how often is the communication and the method. It is to be provided by the project management team and written during the project starting for future as a communication roadmap.
End Project Report, “This report is the Project Manager’s report to the Project Board (who may pass it on to corporate or programme management) on how well the project has performed against its Project Initiation Document.” This report should provided by the Project Manager and written during the Closing a Project stage. Also, it is a mandatory document in the project.
Issue Log, It is use to record all issues raised in the project those need to take attention. It may include any concern in the project or any requirement out of the project scope – the need of the change of scope. “Project issues may be raised by anyone associated with the project at any time.” In PRINCE2, the issue log is a mandatory document in the controlling project stage. It should has access control and kept in a safe place
Lesson Learned Log, “To be a repository of any lesson learned during the project that can be usefully applied to other projects.” It should be written at the closing stage of the project and it may be a mandatory document to act as a “Learning Library” for future use.
Project Mandate, “The information in the Mandate is used to trigger Starting up a Project(SU). It should contain sufficient information to identify at least the prospective Executive of the Project Board and indicate the subject matter of the project.” It should come from the Project committee that can approve the cost, the project and any resources. It also is a mandatory document in the project starting stage.
Except the “Lesson Learned Log”, those documents are not discussed and mentioned in the PMBOK. It seems PMBOK is discussing on the project management skills and techniques more than the documentation.
Schedule And Planning
In PRINCE2, it is more focus on the project goal or objective to be delivered and the quality. It is using some common techniques or tools such as Gantt Chart, Pert Chart or any other method in the Planning (PL) stage.
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PRINCE2 introduce several steps in the planning stage. Firstly, create a Product Breakdown Structure (PBS). Secondly, write down the Product Description. Finally, create the Product Flow Diagram. PRINCE2 has provided examples and defined clearly in each step what is the project manager should do. It has provided an easy to follow instruction for the project manager to manage the project.
In PMBOK, planning is a general skill in the project management. It also applied to each project phase and through the whole project life-cycle. Also, PMBOK will use Gantt Chart or Pert Chart for the project planning and tracking. However, project planning in PMBOK always discussing in different knowledge areas and it seems across and integrated through the whole project.
Control In Project Management
In PRINCE2, according to the materials, control is talking about the decision making by the project management team. It is targeting to produce the project goal, fulfill the defined project quality condition, meet the project schedule, cost and resources planned and to deal with any crisis it may rose in the project life-cycle to complete the project.
As mention at above, it is the responsibility of the project manager. PRINCE2 has defined very clearly between “Tolerance”, “Contingency” and “Change Control”.
“Tolerance is the permissible deviation from a plan without bringing the deviation to the attention of the next higher authority.” Tolerance for the project manager is needed because there has no any project will run as hundred percent as planned in the world even the project manager with a good plan.
“Contingency, in PRINCE2 terms, is a budget including the time and money set aside to carry out a contingency plan which will only be invoked in a linked risk actually occurs.” Contingency plan is needed in the project because the any project has some critical accident issue to cause the project fail.
“Change Control, the control of change means the assessment of the impact of potential changes, their importance, their cost and a judgmental decision by management on whether to include them or not.” In any project, change is inevitable but it need to under control and approved to ensure the project could meet the schedule and budget.
IN PMBOK, control is discussed in several knowledge areas. As change control, it is discuss in “Project Integrated Management” Like the schedule and planning, control is always to be discuss in the several knowledge areas through the whole project life-cycle.
As a project management methodology, PRINCE2 and PMBOK have very different approaches for project management. It is because both methodologies serve in different areas. Therefore, they cannot directly to do the comparison.
PMBOK, it demonstrates the best method for teaching the project management skills and techniques in each knowledge area, but it did not provide an effective guidance or examples for running a project.
Compare with PMBOK, PRINCE2 use a project life-cycle base method to demonstrate its methodology is difficult to judge in each knowledge area.
After the study of PRINCE2, it’s most likely to serve as customer vs supplier situation. In the PRINCE2’s book, it has been pointing out the project will be running for a customer instead of a self manage situation. That means PRINCE2 is basically use to running a outsource project by the vendor more than running a project by the project sponsor. As describe in the book of PRINCE2, it also has an assumption the project is running for a customer with only one vendor. In the reality of construction management, it always deals with multiple vendors and the coordination or responsibilities are more complex than the example in the book.
Compare with PRINCE2, PMBOK is more likely to run the project by the project sponsor rather than outsource to external vendor. It is because the book of PMBOK is written from the point of view of the project sponsor rather than the external vendor. Furthermore, PMBOK has discuss much in human resource management, financial management or procurement management more than PRINCE2.
As this paper’s topic, it is talking about a construction company would like to implement an electronic project management system for construction project.
Of course, construction company always in running a construction project. Therefore, project management skills and techniques are their professional and specialty. Although, construction company is a specialist in project management, they are only professional in building project but not software implementation.
Since, construction industry is a complicated industry and almost all building project is outsource and subletting to their subcontractor. Therefore, the electronic project management system also needs to deal with different kind of supplier and processes.
In the case, the heavily and robust documentation system of PRINCE2 may help to write down all necessary information about the software project. Moreover, outsource and subletting already has best practice in construction industry, it is an easy task for the construction company instead of running the project by themselves.
So, PRINCE2 is most prefer to use as the software project management methodology in the construction industry.
2005.Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.2005 ed. TSO (The Stationery Office).
2000. A Guide To The Project Management Body Of Knowledge. 2000 ed. Project Management Institute
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 PMBOK, p41
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