Project Management

Project management has developed over the years into a particular skill of itself with specific tools used to promote success. Of old, architects, engineers and master craftsmen would have acted as project managers though with no distinct separation of title. Henry Gantt and Karol Adamiecki have been credited with the initial development of project management as a distinct skill. A more current development is BIM (Building Information Modeling) where digitized information can be presented in either 3 or 2 dimensions in order to facilitate a more detailed knowledge of the requirements needed to ensure project success. This system more clearly relates to buildings and structures. It is a product of the digital revolution but has some shortcomings.

In order to understand the detailed nature of project management and therefore possible shortcomings of any particular system it is perhaps prudent to outline in brief the skills needed. These are either inherent to individuals or applied through the use of systems. Projects are by their nature temporary with specified goals or outcomes. The construction of buildings involves project management from inception through to the completion. After completion operation management takes over. Operations management is the day to day management of systems where repeatable actions are required. Unlike operations management, project management requires an understanding of the other. An example is the design of a car, it would not be possible without knowing how it is commonly used.

Ideally, where buildings are concerned, a visualization aptitude is advantageous. The ability to visualize spaces and hidden services in three dimensions with understanding of both micro and macro requirements is vital. This can be done using tools such as BIM though is limited as the input required may be extensive and highly detailed. This requires a detailed knowledge and understanding of those systems. This limitation impacts where changes are made to any of the elements and where detailed analysis is required in order to evaluate the effects. The innate aptitude that some individuals possess and on which BIM is based means that these detail changes are understood in an overall context without delay rendering the process highly efficient. This impacts where fast and concise decisions are needed in order that projects are not delayed. Delays are expensive! On any project it is required that the project manager, be they architects, engineers, master craftsmen or project managers be highly familiar with every detail of a project that may impact on the final success of that project. This includes the physical, the contractual, the legal, the administrative and practical application of all that is required. This comes from aptitude, experience and training and may be supported by tools such as BIM and the Gantt chart. Examples of BIM images require an understanding of the elements being portrayed without which vital elements may be overlooked. These omissions can cause additional costs and delays and may in some cases result in abortive works.

It is therefore vital that project managers understand the building processes, the project particulars relating to all aspects and the people involved such that success is probable. It is difficult to overstate this requirement! The best project managers are those who have a detailed knowledge of the industry in which they manage and possess the required aptitude. Training and experience serve to support an innate aptitude as do the tools.

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