The Project Management Institute defines project management as “the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality and participation satisfaction.”
Construction management demands an understanding of the construction and design process as well as knowledge of modern business management. The construction project has a finite time frame and an outcome-oriented planning process for project completion with very specific objectives.
A successful project must start with a clear justification and definition of the project; proceed according to a detailed strategic plan, and deliver demonstrable outcomes. Certain elements in the strategic planning process will differ from project to project, such as the size, scope and location, but as a rule, project management for construction has much in common with other project types.
The most important person on a project is the manager, who is ultimately responsible for the success of the project. The construction project manager (CPM) plans, organizes and controls every detail of the project and must have knowledge of general management as well as specialized background in the particular nature of the project. Formal project management training is also of great value to the project.
There are certain objectives in construction project management that must be clearly defined during the strategic planning process. These may change throughout the course depending on any resource constraints or other potential conflicts.
The strategic plan of most construction projects depends on the market demands and available resources. This process sets the priorities and schedule for the tasks necessary to complete the operation’s objectives.
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI®) there are nine specific areas that require a project manager’s attention and should be incorporated into the strategic plan:
Construction project management is extremely challenging and complex. To do it well, the project manager must possess excellent communication and planning skills, and be able to discuss planning and strategies with the stakeholders. There are many tasks, stages, and procedures, all of which may change during the project.
Extensive strategic planning, solid leadership, a well-defined scope, a responsive team of stakeholders, and healthy work relationships all contribute to project success.