CONSTRUCTION

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM SCOPE MANAGEMENT IN CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

1.    Introduction:

Myriad of projects have massive investments, extraordinary concepts and whole lot of efforts to succeed in the project, down the line, many of them fail to deliver the projects on time with all the requirements partially unfulfilled. Projects usually tend to fail as; the scope of the project is un-precisely defined.

Scope management is a vital phase in project management, where it involves a list of requirements to form a framework of the project. Project goals, deliverables, features, functions, tasks, deadlines and cost are some of the inputs of the framework of the project. Inputs of the projects help in defining a relevant and realistic scope of the project.

1.1    Purpose of the Study

Research Purpose: The purpose of this research is to study and understand the importance of scope management in construction projects. Project management is the first step that defines the work that has to be done and also ensures that the assigned work is done.

Defining a scope of the project is the initial step in successfully managing a project. The purpose of the study mainly highlights why the scope of the project and defining the scope of the project is very important for the project success.

This is because not defining the scope or not following the scope is a negative impact and that may lead to deviations and unsuccessful implementations. This in long term makes the projects to end up failing.

Project Scope management is a scheme of functions that practices all those required necessary implementations that is structured to only the specific work to achieve only the specific product, service or result. To define it accurately, scope is what exactly is needed to be done and scope management is the managing of what is need to be done. (Wysocki, 2009).

To brief up the discussion, the main purpose of the project is to understand the importance of the scope management in the construction projects. With various factors that restrict the successful outcome, the scope of the project seems to be distracted which causes the project to fail in a succession time.

With knowing the consequences of the project, it is important to filter the wrong practices and make sure the project is in right direction.

Research Problem: The main problem that is associated with the research is the implementation of the scope at right time. Many cases have been observed and it has been understood that the scope of the project is not really taken seriously by various managements.

When the scope is not in the right direction, it has the tendency to deviate from the project outcomes and becomes a huge problem to the project financially and also in other aspects such as budget and time frame.

The loss varies from small scale to large scale.

The problems have been noted on frequent basis. And negligence has been the root cause for the failure. This negligence is done from smaller to larger extent. This shows direct impact on the project without any intimation. The lack of knowledge is also one of the causes.

A professional, sincere and responsible staff has to be allotted for the working mechanism. And lack of these qualities is the seeds that destroy the project scope and direction. These parameters have to be investigated to get a positive outcome.

Scope Management: PMBOK® defines Project Scope as the “The work that needs to be accomplished to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.”(‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Sixth Edition and Agile Practice Guide’  2017)

Framework: “Basically, it is a combination of processes, tasks, and tools used to transition a project from start to finish”.(Whiting 2018)

Deliverables: “It is defined as something produced or provided as a result of a process”.(Bridges 2017)

1.2    Research Background and Importance

The projects vary by size and types which has its value ranging from as small as thousands to as huge as several millions. With these various sizes and ranges, the common characteristics that are possessed in them are uniqueness of purpose, defined resources and the degree of uncertainty or risk associated with the project.

Irrespective of shape and size a project is an investment that is done on the future of organization which can have a two faced outcome. It can be either positive or negative in terms of profit. The organizations that demonstrate a poor organizing skills end up on the negative side of the productivity. And repetitive actions on these types of projects organization skills will meet failure.

Whereas on the other hand, the organizations that are well structured and managed are bound to get a positive influence in the productivity of the project.(Adedayo Olufemi Ogunberu 1,  & 3 2018) A good scope management leads to a successful delivery of projects without any additional changes with respect to the initial assumptions.(Karen 2017)

When a scope management is implemented efficiently, some of the benefits that can be seen are, to understand what exactly has to be delivered in the project, documents prepared during scope management phase will lead to take decisions or changes throughout the lifespan of the project, offers a strong reference point to make any decision,

helps in delivering a project without any delay to estimated end date, precisely specifics the actual requirement of the project, provides a clear picture of scope management plan which helps in simplifying what services are to fulfilled and  delivered and mainly defines the project goal.(Mirza, Pourzolfaghar & Shahnazari 2013) (Wysocki 2011)

1.3    Aim of the Research

The aim of the project is to identify how the negligence of the scope in the organizations is affecting the scope and future of the construction projects and also knows what the outcomes are when scope management is practiced successful in a construction projects.

In order to achieve this aim, the following research objectives are accomplished throughout the study.

Objective:

  • To identify the impact of negligence on scope of the project
  • To identify the strategies that can be applied to improve the scope management in the organization.
  • To identify the outcomes when scope management is employed effectively.

 Research Question:

What can we learn from scope management in construction projects?

2.    Literature Review:

2.1    Research Concepts and Context

The review of existing studies presented in this section focus on scope management in the construction industry. The literature reviews back up the importance of scope management in this industry. It offers an understanding of the negligence on scope of the project and its related impact on the construction project outcomes.

The literature discusses the strategies that can be adopted and implemented to improve the scope management in the project organization and to identify the improvement areas. The outcomes of projects on effective and efficient scope management is also identified and discussed to improve knowledge on this project management body of knowledge area.

Scope of a project: Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines scope as a comprehensive features or set of deliverables which are based on the requirements of the project (Fageha and Aibinu, 2014) while it identifies project scope as the work effort that wants to be completed to deliver final result with the desired specifications.

The scope management is described by PMBOK as a knowledge area that is concentrated on defining the scope and managing on how it can be verified and controlled (van Rooij, 2009). According to Darling and Whitty (2016), scope is the outline of work that is needed to achieve the end result.

Project scope management:

In the book of Meredith and Mantel Jr (2011), scope management is described as an activity to obtain the stakeholders requirement and expectations from a project to define the summary of work that needs to be accomplished to achieve the end result (product or service).

Papke-Shields et al. (2010) identified that in managing scope, the project requirement, statements (identify and describe deliverables, project justification, and end results, boundaries of the project), work break down structure (WBS) (list of all tasks and sub-tasks to be included in the project) and WBS dictionary (for acceptance criteria quality requirements, technical references and contracts and agreements)

are important to consider under the scope management plan. Darling and Whitty (2016) analyzed that inadequate management of project scope form the grounds of cost overruns, time overruns, delays, and exposes to other risks and uncertainty to change the project scope.

Considering construction projects, the process of scope management has becomes more complex due to increase in project complexity. Fageha and Aibinu (2014) discussed the key processes of scope management for a construction project which are to collect requirement, to define scope, to create a work breakdown structure, to verify scope and to control scope.

2.2    Review of Works by Other Researchers8marks

This sub-section presents a review of work accomplished by other researchers in the area of scope management. The overview of different researcher work and related findings are present in tabular form in the below table:

Table 1. Overview of the relevant research publications

RowAuthor (Name, Year)Key Findings
1Atkinson, Roger, Lynn Crawford, and Stephen Ward, 2006The findings revealed that uncertainty sources are not limited to political events but due to doubt, lack of information, different agendas in the project lifecycle, project parties feature and the tradeoffs among the control mechanism for the scope control.
2Acquah, Ato, 2011

 

The research findings highlight the important role of scope management in the ICT project and as a major constraint in the project management environment and suggest the need for scoping in the early procurement stage.
3Nahod, Maja-Marija, 2012The findings revealed that main reasons for change are due to change requests for additional project needs that changes the scope and due to incomplete documentation.  An effective management of change is required to achieve project scope in constitution project.
4Doloi, Hemanta, Anil Sawhney, K. C. Iyer, and Sameer Rentala. 2012The study finding on the Indian construction sector revealed that lack of top management commitment, inefficient site management and coordination, lack of clarity in scope, communication issue and sub-standard contracts are key factors behind delay.
5Mirza, Muhammad Nabeel, Zohreh Pourzolfaghar, and Mojde Shahnazari, 2013.The findings of this study for the Spanish construction industry revealed that the projects scope management positively influences the continued success of the organization.
6Shanmugapriya, S., and K. Subramanian, 2013The findings revealed that the material market rate, high level of quality requisite and contract modification are main reason for time overruns while increasing transportation cost, rise of prices and material specification changes during project execution are main reason of cost overruns in the Indian construction projects.
7Fageha, Mohammed K., and Ajibade A. Aibinu,  2013The research concludes that each stakeholder need opportunities to right to be heard so that no project scope element is overlooked and the input provided needs to consider the project definition elements. It also suggests that project management team require a procedure that determines the project scope fullness.
8Damasiotis, V., J. F. O’Kane, and P. Fitsilis, 2014The study found that the number of sources and diversity of sources for eliciting requirements, number of different types of stakeholders, and project management team experience are some of the key complexity factors that affect project scope in the process of scope management.

 

9Qazi, Abroon, John Quigley, Alex Dickson, and Konstantinos Kirytopoulos, 2016The findings of the study confirmed that project complexity is assessed at the project commencement stage and is only confined to technical aspects ( like ambiguity in scope, strict quality requirement, unclear goals, high competition level, number of stakeholders, use of innovative technology and lack of experience in new technologies . It also revealed that project complexity ignores the organizational and environmental constructs in the construction projects.

 

10Shirazi, F., H. Kazemipoor, and R. Tavakkoli-Moghaddam, 2017The research found that the major reasons of the project scope creep were due to internal aspects like poor information conversion and documentation and poor change control and also due to external changes.

2.3    Research Gap

Form the review of existing literature, the project management area importance is highlighted for organization. There is no direct empirical investigation that highlights the importance and advantage of scope management area to regard its effective and efficient scope management.

There are rarely any studies that focus to provide description of scope when the project commence and during project life cycle, its monitoring, verification and control for improving the overall project management for construction sector.

Also, considering the growing magnitude of construction sector in India and the poor construction project performance in India, there are no direct studies in the knowledge of the researcher that identified the impact of inadequate scope management, or advantage gained for an effective scope management and on how to improve the this knowledge gained for the improved performance and success of future construction project.

To fulfill this research gap the existing study focuses on the gaining knowledge of scope management, its negligence impact and its outcomes for construction industry. With this new information, the researcher can contribute in the existing literature in scope management and construction project management.

2.4    Significance of Addressing the Research Question

It is significant to fill this research gap as it has positive implications for the project stakeholders like project owners, sponsor and project managers and designers involved in the construction projects in India.

The study can serve as a reference to help the project managers and project team in identifying the grounds for the changes in scope, and towards a non-faulty scope management process. It will also provide impact of in-complete scope definition, and inadequate monitoring of changes in project scope.

Thus, this study will be helpful for project manager and designers to improve their practices and techniques of scope management for their future construction projects.

References

Acquah, A., 2011. Reducing ICT project failure with scope management.

Atkinson, R., Crawford, L. and Ward, S., 2006. Fundamental uncertainties in projects and the scope of project management. International journal of project management, 24(8), pp.687-698.

Damasiotis, V., O’Kane, J.F. and Fitsilis, P., 2014. Scope management complexity in software projects: an approach to evaluate it. British Academy of Management (BAM).

Darling, E.J. and Whitty, S.J., 2016. The Project Management Office: it’s just not what it used to be. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(2), pp.282-308.

Doloi, H., Sawhney, A., Iyer, K.C. and Rentala, S., 2012. Analysing factors affecting delays in Indian construction projects. International journal of project management, 30(4), pp.479-489.

Fageha, M.K. and Aibinu, A.A., 2013. Managing project scope definition to improve stakeholders’ participation and enhance project outcome. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 74, pp.154-164.

Fageha, M.K. and Aibinu, A.A., 2014. Prioritising project scope definition elements in public building projects. Construction Economics and Building, 14(3), pp.18-33.

Meredith, J.R. and Mantel Jr, S.J., 2011. Project management: a managerial approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Mirza, M.N., Pourzolfaghar, Z. and Shahnazari, M., 2013. Significance of scope in project success. Procedia Technology, 9, pp.722-729.

Nahod, M.M., 2012. Scope control through managing changes in construction projects. Organization, technology & management in construction: an international journal, 4(1), pp.438-447.

Papke-Shields, K.E., Beise, C. and Quan, J., 2010. Do project managers practice what they preach, and does it matter to project success?. International journal of project management, 28(7), pp.650-662.

Qazi, A., Quigley, J., Dickson, A. and Kirytopoulos, K., 2016. Project Complexity and Risk Management (ProCRiM): Towards modelling project complexity driven risk paths in construction projects. International Journal of Project Management, 34(7), pp.1183-1198.

Shanmugapriya, S. and Subramanian, K., 2013. Investigation of significant factors influencing time and cost overruns in Indian construction projects. International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering, 3(10), pp.734-740.

Shirazi, F., Kazemipoor, H. and Tavakkoli-Moghaddam, R., 2017. Fuzzy decision analysis for project scope change management. Decision Science Letters, 6(4), pp.395-406.

van Rooij, S.W., 2009. Scaffolding project-based learning with the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK®). Computers & Education, 52(1), pp.210-219.

References:

‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Sixth Edition and Agile Practice Guide’,  2017, PM Network, vol. 31, no. 11, pp. 69-.

Mirza, MN, Pourzolfaghar, Z & Shahnazari, M 2013, ‘Significance of Scope in Project Success’, Procedia Technology, vol. 9, pp. 722-9.

Adedayo Olufemi Ogunberu 1, SOA, , T & 3, OO 2018, ‘Application of project scope management

practices on project success among

telecommunication organizations in

Nigeria’.

Bridges, J 2017, ‘In Review – What Are Deliverables?’.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Sixth Edition and Agile Practice Guide’,  2017, PM Network, vol. 31, no. 11, pp. 69-.

Karen 2017, ‘The importance of project scope’.

Mirza, MN, Pourzolfaghar, Z & Shahnazari, M 2013, ‘Significance of Scope in Project Success’, Procedia Technology, vol. 9, pp. 722-9.

Whiting, B 2018, ‘A Project Management Framework’.

Wysocki, RK 2011, Effective project management: traditional, agile, extreme, John Wiley & Sons.

 

 

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