Project Management – A System Approach to Planning

Project management refers to the process of planning, organizing, and managing the resources of an organization to enhance the successful completion of the specific goals and objectives of a project of an organization. The project is referred to as the set of activities that use resources such as money, people, materials, energy, space, provisions, communication, motivation factors that are used by the organization so that it can achieve its goals and objectives.

The project usually has a specific start and completion date that is utilized to undertake a task such as the creation of unique products or services that brings about beneficial change or added value to the users of those products and services (Neale R.H. 1996). The project management was established in the United States by Henry Gantt who with the association of Mr. Fredrick Winslow Taylor utilized his scientific management theories to develop the techniques that would be used to prepare projects that would be used for construction purposes. He was also the forerunner of modern project management tools such as the work breakdown structure and the resource allocation tools that were used to develop construction projects for the organization.

Stakeholder management is a process that involves the evaluation of the needs and the expectation of the stakeholder to the projects that an organization would like to carry out in the future. The evaluation process involves the stakeholder impact index that is used to determine the nature and the impact the stakeholder influences a situation, the probability of the stakeholders to exercise their influence, and each of the stakeholders’ position with the project.

The analysis of the stakeholder impact index can be used by the project manager to formalize the stakeholder management processes (Castells, M. 2000). When a person wants to start up a project there is a likelihood that some external stakeholders would be negatively affected by that facility or project thus the project managers need to meet all the needs and the concerns of the external stakeholders to avoid conflicts between the stakeholders and the managers.

The construction of the secondary school in the mountain village that is located in the province of Quarzazate South of Morocco has the structural organization of the project that is chaired by the delegate and it is composed of five departments that are planning departments, construction, properties, and equipment, human resources, pedagogy and financial and administrative departments

The project stakeholders are referred to as the persons or groups of people who have an interest in the success of a project and the environment in which the projects are carried out. The vested interest refers to the possession of stakeholder attributes such as power, legitimacy, or urgency for their claims upon a given project of an organization. The stakeholders are categorized into two parts; internal stakeholders, those that are internally involved in the execution of the project, and the external stakeholders, who are affected by the project.

The stakeholders are the major cause of the uncertainties that exist in a project. This is because they can influence how a project should be carried out and their motives towards a project whether good or bad can affect the way the project programs are carried, thus the project manager needs to be considerate about the opinions of their shareholders so that their projects can be carried out effectively (Cohen, D. and L. Prusak 2000).

.The project stakeholders of the construction of the secondary school in the mountain village project are the: architect who is appointed according to the standard contract of the architecture and he is in charge of the design of the project and conducts follow-ups of the construction projects. The structural engineer’s role is to establish the RC power and water plans and is appointed to accomplish these bids.

The inspection consultant is responsible for verifying and approving the RC plans and he carries out the RC works to test and the water networks throughout the execution of the project. The equipment supplier supplies the necessary materials for a project and delivers them to the projects and ensures that they are delivered at the required or the given time of the project. The province of Quarzazate stakeholder ensures that the sites are properly selected and he acts as an intermediary between the delegation and the rural commune.

The Rural Commune is another stakeholder that ensures that the projects are extended by an electricity network to ensure that it carries out its activities effectively. It also acts as the legal representative of the beneficiary population of the project of The African Bank of Development funds the project procurement is carried out by the legislation of the bank. The ministry of finance is another stakeholder that is charged with the responsibility of evaluating tenders, verifying and approving the contracts, and all the financial documents of the projects.

The internal stakeholders of the construction of the secondary school in the mountain village are classified into demand & supply side on the demand side are the African Bank of Development and the Ministry of finance while on the supply side the internal stakeholders are the architect, structural engineers inspection consultants, laboratory, topographer, contractor and the equipment supplier. The external stakeholders of the construction of the secondary school are private stakeholders such as the residents and the local association. Project management was developed from the different fields of application such as construction, engineering, and defense. The public external stakeholders are the province and the Rural Commune.

The project manager is a client representative who determines the exact needs of the client, using the knowledge of the firm that he represents. He also ensures that the key issues of cost, time, and quality, and client satisfaction are achieved. The role of the project managers involves understanding the technical process and also understanding the links that exist between technique, environment, community, and people who are involved in developing the project.

The project manager should acquire knowledge about the location of a project using his knowledge about the best sites to carry out its activities and also the community can be used in planning the construction of the projects so that they can give guidelines on how the projects should be carried and how to avoid the effects that affect their performances, from happening into the future (Lester, A. 1991).

The project manager of the construction of the secondary school of the mountain village can ensure that the implementation of the stakeholder management is achieved through implementing the stakeholder analysis at the beginning of the project since the ability of the stakeholder to perform their duties and responsibilities can be influenced at the beginning of the project and it can be discussed and satisfied at this stage. The external stakeholders for example the local association and residents are needed when the construction processes are taking place at the early stages of project site selection and project brief.

The stockholder’s maps and the matrices of a project depend on the project stage and they are usually updated and controlled over the project lifecycles to ensure that the operations of the project are carried out effectively.

The implementation strategies that can be developed to ensure that the activities of the project are carried out effectively are monitor, defend and collaborate. The mode of communicating that can be developed with the stakeholders to build a relationship with them is that of ensuring that their requirements are achieved and this can be used to resolve their problems and it can increase their predictability through identification of the informational needs and then the determination of the suitable means of meeting those needs.

The other factors that the project managers can adopt to ensure that the project is implemented successfully are the adoption of the ethical approaches while at the same time managing the projects to act in the interest of all the stakeholders who are interested in the project’s attainment of its goals and objectives. The project manager should develop skills that can be used to manage the stakeholders than managing the clients, switching from monitoring or analyzing the stakeholders to collaborating and building relationships with them and switching from the buffering strategy to the strategy of bridging strategy that defines and adopts the common goals at the strategic level rather than reacting to the stakeholders’ actions and initiatives.

The construction projects bring about deterioration and change at the local level where the activities are carried out that is the construction sites. The tools that are used to prioritize the stakeholders that can assist a manager in carrying out their activities of the project are stakeholder map, the power/interest matrix, power and predictability that is used to identify the proponents and the opponents of a project, their problems with the project and their proposed solutions for the projects.

The project manager can maximize the number of components throughout the stakeholder management process.

The power or the interest matrix refers to the technique that consists of the means of plotting the stakeholder’s position on a two by two matrix by answering and analyzing the following questions that are who well the stakeholders are interested in a project and the power that is vested in the stakeholders to influence a project and the means of carrying out that task. The matrix divides the stakeholders into the following groups, groups of key players, the group to be kept satisfied, the group to be kept informed, and the group that requires the least effort to manage.

Power and predictability matrix

The project manager can use the matrix to establish the stakeholders who have the highest power and those with low predictability so that they can build a rapport to increase their predictability about how the project will be carried in the future.

Stakeholders circle

It is a tool that is used to manage and map up the stakeholders throughout the project evaluation process. It consists of two key elements that are centric circles that illustrate the distance of the stakeholders from the project and the size of the wedge that represents the scope of influence of each of the stakeholders.

The stakeholder circle is usually created by the software as it allows the project manager to highlight the key stakeholders who can assist the management in achieving their goals and objectives of the project.

Stakeholder management in construction projects involves understanding, predicting, and influencing what other people think to ensure that a project is successful in the future.

The key to the success of a project involves not only understanding the task force that is carrying out the project process, but also it deals with looking at the issues that surround a project that can affect its performance since the issues can affect the completion of a project in the long run.

Stakeholder management is facilitated by the use of project uncertainty management processes that distinguish the different stages of the project life cycle. The task of stakeholder management is used by the promoters of the organization so that they can accomplish their goals and objectives effectively. The process involves the development of the overall strategy of an organization to address all individuals, groups of individuals, internal and external stakeholders who can influence the performance of an organization (Neale R.H. and Neale D.E1989).

Managers need to consult with the contractors when they carrying out their activities of a project so that they can be given recommendations about how the activities of a project should be carried out and hence improve on its performance. The time scale of a project can affect the whole stakeholder management program and the government may change before it can be implemented in the organization.

References:

Atkinson, A. A., Waterhouse, J. H., & Wells, R. B. (1997). A Stakeholder Approach To Strategic Performance Measurement. Sloan Management Review, [38(3)]: 25-36.

Carroll, A. B. (1999). Corporate Social Responsibility. Evolution Of A Definitional Construct. Business And Society 38(3), 268-295.

Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society, Second Edition. Malden: Blackwell Publishers.

Cohen, D. and L. Prusak (2000). In Good Company. How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work Harvard MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Lester, A. (1991) Project Planning and Control Second Edition. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd 265 p. 186.

Neale R.H. and Neale D.E (1989).Construction Planning Thomas Telford Ltd, London 159 pp. 75 Fig., ISBN: 0 727713221.

Neale R.H. (1996).Managing International Construction Projects: An Overview 239 pp. 65 Figs. 22 Tables.