Planning in Built Environment Projects Help.
Planning in Built Environment Projects
LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR ASSIGNMENT 2
● Distinguish stages of the project lifecycle in built environment projects
● Recognise and explain the range of project management roles in built environment projects
● Identify and describe the lifecycle stages of initiation and planning
● Recognise the requirements for planning, monitoring and controlling during the lifecycle
The essay must be no more than 3000 words, conform to workplace standards for a formal essay structure and format and be fully referenced in the Author-Date (Harvard – DU) style.
The annotated bibliography will be included in calculating the number of words.
Each annotated bibliography will be no more than 200 words. Marks will be deducted when this length is exceeded.
It is widely believed that Benjamin Franklin, sometime in the 18th Century, was the first person to make the following comment:
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.
This is a quotation that is repeated in probably every project management text book or lecture. For your individual assignment, each student must produce an individual research essay that addresses the importance of planning for built environment projects, the key challenges and its benefits.
Planning in Built Environment Projects
Project management can be described as the application of methods, processes, skills, knowledge and experience to attain a project’s objectives. A project is a transient and unique endeavor that is undertaken to attain specific objectives in form of benefits, outcomes or outputs. The success of a project solely depends on the extent to which the specified objectives have been achieved. Unlike management that is a continuous process, project management has a finite time span and a final deliverable that has to be achieved. Built environment is simply the physical components around us or where we work and live. They include buildings, homes, infrastructure and open places among others. Built environment projects are therefore projects that entail the mentioned built environment. Project management mainly entails definition of the importance of the project, identifying project requirements, securing funding, leading project team, managing risks, monitoring progress, and maintaining the project among others. There are five main stages in project management. They include project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and project closure. Though there are five stages in project management, the success of a project main depends on the quality of time and effort put in its planning. The remaining part of this article therefore discusses the project phases with emphasis on project planning.
Project Management Life Cycle
Project tasks can be very tedious and at times overwhelming. There may be dozens of tasks that need to be accomplished within a specific period of time. For this reason, project managers break down the project into phases to make it easy to accomplish. Project initiation is the first phase in the project life cycle. In this phase, the feasibility and value of the project is measured using business case document and feasibility study. Business case document justifies the project need and estimates financial benefits. Feasibility study, on the other hand, evaluates the projects, costs, goals and timeline to determine if the project is worth execution. Apart from the project feasibility study, a project manager is appointed that in turn appoints project team members (Bragança 2014). Project planning is the second phase. Once the viability and feasibility of the project have been established, a plan is constructed to guide the team members and ensure that the project is completed in time and within the budget. A good project plan must entail acquisition of resources, financing and procurement of materials. It also entails risk assessment, outputs, challenges and benefits of a project. Project planning is discussed in detail in the subsequent sections (Collyer 2010).
Project execution is the third phase that entails development of the deliverables to satisfy a customer. It ensures that the project activities are executed to fulfil the specified project requirements. The leaders allocate resources and ensure that the team members remain focused. It heavily relies on the planning phase. Project monitoring and control is the fourth phase that is normally combined with project execution. As the project activities are executed, the project manager with the help of project leaders closely monitor the progress. Project closure is the last stage in the cycle. In this phase, the project is brought to a conclusion. The closure of the project comes after the final deliverable of the project. Project closure allows the project team to document and evaluate a project.
Project Management Roles
Project management as a profession entails different areas such as project administrator, project manager and program manager. However, project management is more entailed than the others. The knowledge level and skills expected of a project manager are higher than those of the other professions. This is because a project manager is required to have higher competences than the other team members. The main responsibilities of project managers are to achieve the major objectives of the project under development. These objectives may include proper use of project funds, controlling the project, efficient project scheduling, flexible procurement and preventing delays among others (Dvir et al 2003). In short, project managers oversee the overall development of a project from initiation to closure.
Life Cycle Stages in Project Planning
As stated earlier, planning is the most important stage of the project management cycle since it gives the project a direction to completion. Project initiation is the conception phase where the project is tested for viability while project planning involves drawing up the sketch of the activities of the overall project (Dvir & Lechler 2004). Planning, being a very important phase in project development, it is divided into several stages that enable the project manager to develop a proper project plan. Firstly, there is explanation of project plan to key stakeholders and discussion of its key components. A plan not only consists of project timeline, but of all the key components that are bound to change at different stages of the project. The components may include the budget, quality metrics, the schedule, environmental impact and risks among others. This plan should be well communicated to the key stakeholders and their input considered too.
Secondly, definition of the roles and responsibilities of different people in the project team. Since a project may have stakeholders with diverse opinions, it is good for the project manager to identify the roles and responsibilities of different people in the project and a clear agreement on what decisions each stakeholder is supposed to make. Thirdly, development of a statement of the scope. The statement of the scope defines the common agreement of all the stakeholders in a project. The scope entails the business problem and need, project objectives, benefits of the project, project scope and key milestones. Fourthly, development of project baseline. After identifying the deliverables in the scope, they are grouped into a work breakdown structure (WBS). The baseline consists of all the deliverables and the work associated with them. Fifthly, creation of the baseline management plans. After creating the scope, cost and schedule, the steps to be taken in case of variations in the plans during the project life cycle are identified. Lastly, communication of project progress. This stage identifies the people that will need notifications during project development and how often they should receive the notifications.
Importance of Project Planning
Project planning is a very important stage in project development. It is believed to contribute a lot to the success of a project. The time spent in planning reduces risks thus increasing the project’s success. Poor planning in projects leads to failed projects thus loss of funds. There are various benefits associated with planning. Firstly, planning gives direction to the project. The planning process determines the tasks that should be completed. Through this, the team gets direction on what to do. Secondly, it ensures accountability. During planning, each team member is assigned the responsibility for accomplishing a specific task. The assignment of responsibilities makes team members accountable. Thirdly, project planning ensures availability of adequate resources. Since project resources are identified at the planning stage, it is rare for a project to run out of resources during its development. Fourthly, it ensures project completion. Since all the team members are assigned roles in various tasks, ensuring completion of the project is easy (Serrador 2012). The planning team can also estimate the completion time of the project.
Challenges Associated with Project Planning
Though project planning has proved to be very beneficial in project development, it is accompanied by various challenges. Firstly, lack of collaboration among team members. Collaboration among project team members is very important in achieving project objectives. Getting varied opinions from team members enables identification of proper project direction. Secondly, inadequate commitment from stakeholders and senior managers. Successful projects require support from senior management and stakeholders. A project without the support is bound to fail or lead to wastage of time. Thirdly, poor planning before commencing project execution. Poor planning of a project can lead to failure of the entire project (Blomquist 2010). Lastly, lack of knowledge and skills in project managers (Collyer & Warren 2009). Project managers should possess appropriate skills and knowledge to enable them properly plan for a project.
Project planning in built environment projects entails
five stages – project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control
and closure. Among the five stages, planning proves to be the most important
stage. Planning entails feasibility study, cost analysis and schedule
development among others. Though planning is known to give direction to a
project and ensure the success of a project, it has some challenges. They
include lack of skills, lack of collaboration, poor planning and lack of
knowledge and skills.
Serrador, P. 2012, The importance of the planning phase to project success. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2012—North America, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
The authors of this article review previous articles to describe the link between project planning and its success. They discuss the importance of planning in project success, the impact of planning on project success and the effort used in planning. More than 190 books and papers were reviewed to identify the relationship between project success and planning. The overall results indicate that planning greatly impacts the overall success of a project.
Collyer, S & Warren, CM 2009, ‘Project management approaches for dynamic environments’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 355– 364.
The authors of this article explore properties of projects carried out in dynamic environments. They identify introduction of unknowns as the main challenges to projects in such environments. Other challenges identified include planning for uncertainties and balancing between flexibility and reliability, balancing between quality and project speed. Solutions to the challenges include proper planning techniques, good lifecycle strategies, management controls and scope control among others.
Dvir, D & Lechler, T 2004, ‘Plans are nothing, changing plans is everything: The impact of changes on project success’, Research Policy, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 1–15.
Just as in previous paper discussed in this bibliography, Dvir et al also discuss project success in this article. In this case, they analyze quality planning with respect to project success. From the 448 sample projects identified, they identified the amount of changes during project implementation as the determinant of project failure or success. They also state that the quality of planning is directly proportional to the resulting project success.
Bragança, L, Vieira, SM & Andrade, JB 2014, ‘Early Stage Design Decisions: The Way to Achieve Sustainable Buildings at Lower Costs’, The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2014.
The authors of this article propose a sustainable approach in project development in order to prevent project effects on the environment. They believe sustainability is very important in design phase. The main aim of their research is to identify stages in project development. They emphasize on the importance of initial stages of project development to enhance sustainability. Through the paper, designers are able to evaluate different design solutions and facilitate stakeholders’ cooperation.
Dvir, D, Tsvi Raz, & Shenhar, A 2003, ‘An empirical analysis of the relationship between project planning and project success’, International Journal of Project Management, pp. 89–95.
The authors of this article aim at analyzing the relationship between project planning and its success. They consider three aspects that have to be included in planning – technical specification, requirements definition, project management procedures and processes. The three aspects are measured against three aspects of project success – project manager, end user and contracting officer. The study is based on previous studies performed in Israel. The results show that project success is closely related to the quality of planning. To them, quality planning entails requirements definition and specification.
Blomquist, T, Hällgren, M, Nilsson, A, & Söderholm, A 2010, ‘Project-as-practice: In search of project management research that matters’, Project Management Journal, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 5–16.
The authors of this article aim at making project management important in both academics and practice. They make use of project as a practice approach in achieving their aim. They argue that relevance and patterns are the two main challenges in projects. To cub these challenges, they propose managers to poses required knowledge and skills that enable them master different stages of the project and be able to detect probable problems. However, they believe that understanding of project policies cannot help in solving project challenges.
Collyer, S, Warren, C, Hemsley, B & Stevens, C 2010, ‘Aim, fire, aim: Project planning styles in dynamic environments’, Project Management Journal, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 108–121.
The authors of this article present the project management techniques used in a rapidly changing environment. Responses are collected from 31 respondents through structured interviews. The questions were based on the planning styles used. According to their study, dynamic environments are as result of resources, materials, techniques used, tools, objectives or a combination of the mentioned causes. Emergent planning and competing experiments were the main approaches identified to be used in dynamic environment projects. Emergent planning was the best because it allows detailed planning of deliverables at the planning stage.