Introduction to the Working Group on Project Delivery
by Ibrahim S. Odeh, Director, Global Leaders in Construction Management – Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University, USA
The successful delivery of projects is at the heart of the infrastructure and urban-development industry. As one industry expert put it, “Project delivery is about the global value proposition of the construction industry, going beyond time and budget”. The challenge is to create certainty about delivery on time, on budget and to the targeted quality. This involves, but is not limited, to improving productivity in the industry, to cut the time and cost of delivery.
The impetus for change is underscored by the industry’s alarming performance record – more than 90% of megaprojects are above budget or behind schedule, leading to pressure from project owners, investors and tax payers alike. There are several reasons for such a bleak performance record, including: industry fragmentation; lack of crossfunctional and value-chain cooperation; limited amount of knowledge transfer from project to project; stagnant approach to project management, which has failed to evolve and address the rising complexity and disruptions from outside political or investor risks.
In addition, the nature of this industry is facing continuous and rapid transformation. Some of these changes raise concerns about improving project delivery: projects are getting bigger; public budget is becoming more challenging to secure; advancements in technological innovation (3D Printing, big data analytics, virtual and augmented reality, drones, etc.) and process developments (public-private partnership, project financing, integrated project delivery, lean construction, etc.); and the rise of ineffective or inexperienced management teams in such a rapidly changing environment.
To address the importance of delivering projects in the current and foreseeable context, a group of industry leaders worked closely for six months to present several practical and ready-to-be-implemented ideas in this field. Some examples of the outcomes of this comprehensive industry collaboration propose developing outlines to help establish industry-wide knowledge sharing and systemic innovation frameworks and to expand on the application of lessons learned to the global project environment. Others suggest areas the importance of modifying policies and updating legal and insurance frameworks to promote industry transformation and support collaboration. Finally, this thorough effort proposes a new theory for managing large complex projects and presents the case for the critical need for improved alignment of the education system to emerging industry needs.
Please access all contribution of the Working Group on Project Delivery here.