You are on page 1of 49

The purpose of this publication is to make available to

Information

industry the results of research conducted by the

CICE Impact Evaluation

Construction Industry Institute (CII). The publication does

Industry Data & Statistics

not necessarily represent the view of CII member compa-

International Construction

nies, but is offered as a contribution to the industry.

Model Plant

CII was founded in 1983 to improve the cost effectiveness of the nations largest industry. The members, who

Owner Engineering Organization


Project Management Assessment Survey

represent a broad cross-section of owners and contractors,


believe that many of the problems that limit cost effective-

Controls

ness are common ones, and that real improvements can be

ASCE Quality Manual

best accomplished in a cooperative environment with the

Change Order Impacts

benefits being shared by the construction industry at large.

Claims

CII uses the acronym TOPICS to describe the research

Contracts

effort. TOPICS signifies the six research thrust areas:

Contracts, Phase II

Technology, Organization, People, Information, Controls

Cost/Schedule Controls

and Sigma (meaning others). The task forces for each area

Design

are listed below.

Materials Management
Overtime

Technology

Overtime, Phase II

Advanced Technological Systems

Productivity Measurement

Computer Integrated Design & Construction

Quality Management

Constructability

Quality Performance Measurement

Electronic Data Management

Total Quality Management

EPC Flexibility
Modularization

Sigma

Technology

Construction 2000
Insurance

Organization

Retrofit Projects

Constructabililty Implementation

U.S. Navy Demonstration Project

Partnering
Project Organization
Project Team Building
Project Team Risk/Reward Allocation
People
Construction Work Force
Education and Training

Construction Industry Institute

Employee Effectiveness

3208 Red River, Suite 300

Safety

Austin, Texas 78705-2650

Zero Accidents

512 471 4319

Organizing for Project Success

........................................................................
Prepared by the
Project Organization Task Force
Construction Industry Institute
Special Publication 12-2
February 1991

First Printing, Feb. 1991


Second Printing, Feb. 1992

Contents

Organizing for Project Success

........................................................................
1

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Construction Organization

Concept of Organization

Organizational Exchanges

Chapter 3: The Project Team

Concept of Teams

Types of Project Teams

Teams, Leaders and Decisions

13

Chapter 4: Managing the Effects of Uncertainty

14

The Tunnel

14

The Office Complex

19

Chapter 5: Coordination Tools and Mechanisms

19

Project Objective-Setting

22

Design Basis

24

Project Strategy

25

Work Planning

25

Information Systems

27

Chapter 6: Team Dynamics

27

Project Culture

31

Code of Team Conduct

32

Key Team Member Selection

34

Selecting the Owner Project Executive

36

Selecting Project Managers

37

Work Managers

38

Team Development

42

Chapter 7: Summary

43

References

Chapter 1

Introduction

........................................................................
Mans long-time dream of traveling to the
moon became history on July 20, 1969, when
astronaut Neil Armstrong of the United States
took one small step for man, and one giant
leap for mankind. Few human endeavors
could rival this accomplishment, and few
humans fully understand the massive planning,
task execution, coordination, and teamwork
required to make such a journey possible. It is
an historical testimony to the principle of channeling the efforts of a large number of people
toward the accomplishment of a single goal-a
feat that could not have been realized by any
other method.
Construction projects rarely have historical
significance, yet must be planned, organized,
and executed by teams of people dedicated to
the accomplishment of a complex task, just as
in the case of a space exploration project.
The working environment and culture of a
construction project is unique when compared
to most work conditions. Groups of people,
normally from several parent organizations, are
assigned to a project or hired to contribute
their services and assist in the construction of a
facility. Due to the relatively short life of a construction project, loyalties are usually with the
parent companies, and the construction project
is not viewed as a career, but as a career step.
Even a modest-sized construction project
involves a tremendous number of people.
Organizing their efforts would be complex,
even if they all worked for the same parent corporation. The division of effort and methods of
coordination change as the project moves
through distinct phases. Sources of information, location, timing, and problem complexity
change as people enter the project, perform
their assigned duties, and depart. Reorganizing
is a continuous process that attempts to balance conflicting values and requirements.

The heart of the matter is the basic problem


of managing people such that they work
together efficiently to accomplish the goal. This
requires enlistment of skilled people who are
willing to sacrifice short-term gratification for
the long-term satisfaction of achieving a larger
goal.
This CII publication addresses methods,
guidelines, and considerations necessary for
successful project organization, key member
roles and selection, and the elusive art of effective teamwork. No two construction projects
are the same; there is no substitute for common
sense and flexibility in the administration and
application of these methods and guidelines.
Reading this document, a common thread of
thought will be noticeable: the key to successful
organization architecture is selection of properly skilled people. These individuals possess the
ability to recognize the degree of uncertainty,
at any point in the execution of the project,
and manage the efforts of others to achieve
clearly defined objectives that result in successful completion of the final product.

Chapter 2

Construction Organization

........................................................................
Concept of Organization
When an owner undertakes a construction
project, what is being bought is really the
efforts of a team in addition to a completed
facility or product. All but the simplest projects involve the efforts of a diverse group of
people who work together to serve the needs of
a project, yet who also work apart in the service of different corporations.
Improving the ability of groups of people to
work together requires a shift in thinking at all
levels. Developing a project should be viewed
as managing a complex decision-making process, rather than merely preparing a series of
products. This requires focusing on the commercial contract between parties and the roles
of people within work groups. These working
groups are teams that work together to accomplish more than they would if they worked separately. The use of teams is central to the construction project approach because a team is
where the decision-making process begins.
While planning construction, organizations
use a combination of planning and immediate
problem-solving techniques. The team created
to tackle a problem should be composed of
individuals whose history and skills are
matched with the tasks at hand. This team
should be constructed so that the skills of its
individual team members are combined to best
serve the overall purpose of the team.
The lines and boxes of an organization chart
depict the concept of division of work and the
relationship of the worker to formal authority.
Organization can be defined as the sum of the
ways labor is divided into distinct tasks (the
boxes) and coordination required among the
tasks (the lines). The people assigned to the
organization, with all their history and skills,
and the task before them determine the structure of the organization.
The nature, or structure, of the organization

depends on the task the organization is to perform. It has been said, Uncertainty appears to
be the fundamental problem for complex organizations. Coping with uncertainty is the
essence of the administrative process.
Uncertainty arises both within the personal
relationships inherent to the organization as
well as the task environment. Organizations
cope with uncertainty by a combination of
planning and immediate problem solving.
Organizational Exchanges
Exchanges are an essential activity in the
internal dynamics of an organization. An
example of an exchange is the contract, which
is designed to protect organizations, constantly
at risk, as they function in a highly competitive
business environment. The concept of
exchanges is integral to the way organizations
do business.
Just as commercial contracts involve
exchanges between large corporations, and
similarly small private contracts establish formal rules for exchange of products or services
between contracting parties, exchanges occur
among team members performing the work.
The concept of exchange includes the behavior and relationships of team members. For
example, someone must stop to answer the
questions of a co-worker-such an exchange
costs time, but the team gains because work
can proceed. In the same way, if a team member has an original, creative idea, he or she may
lose individual recognition once the idea is
implemented by the team.
As a project moves from an uncertain concept to a determined reality, as illustrated in
Figure 1, the mix of behavior and product
exchanges varies, evolving from behavioral
exchanges during conception and development
to product-related exchanges during actual
construction. The nature and composition of

........................................................................
the team and the rules governing its behavior
usually change as a project advances through
developmental stages, during which initial
uncertainties are resolved and the project
becomes increasingly more well defined.
Figure 1 Phases of Certainty

Certain

Uncertain

100% Products/$

100% Ideas/Behavior

Develop a
concept
Set
Objectives
Decide how
to achieve
objectives

Design
what to bolt
together

Design how
to bolt it
together

Buy bolts
Bolt together

Chapter 3

The Project Team

........................................................................
Concept of Teams
A team may be defined as a group of people
who, by working together, accomplish more
than if they worked separately. A team is more
than a group but less than a community. A
group is a number of people who come together in the same place at the same time. A group,
however, is not trying to work together to
accomplish anything. A community is a group
of people with close personal relationships who
care about each others well-being. The community, however, is not necessarily trying to
accomplish anything more than maintaining
itself.
A team is more than a group because individuals are cooperating in order to accomplish
a goal. A team, however, is less than a community because its members do not necessarily
have close, personal relationships. Team members should trust and respect other team members, but friendship is not necessary for effective teamwork. Teams function effectively on
the basis of professional relationships. A team
can be a democracy or a dictatorship; its members may have volunteered or may have been
assigned. Once a person becomes a member of
a team, however, the definition above applies.
Robert Keidel, in his book Game Plans:
Sports Strategies for Business, discusses organization types by using an analogy of spectator
sports-baseball, football, and basketball.
Baseball is a simple game with few rules; the
players are independent, with little interaction
compared to other sports. The skill and performance of the individual players are the most
important considerations for success.
Individual performance is monitored by many
statistics. A sales organization is the best analogy to a baseball team. The rules are simple:
Sell! The sales people work independently, and
the success of the organization is determined by
the cumulative success of all the individual

salespersons, who are often paid according to


the ratio of sales to quota.
Football, however, is a complex game with
many rules. Teamwork and individual team
members focusing their skills to perform as a
unit on each play are the basic ingredients of
success. The game plan, which gives hierarchical direction and specifies systematic teamwork, is important. Most industrial organizations are analogous to a football team; they are
functional organizations, driven by a business
plan, and require continuous interaction and
communication between individuals and
departments.
Basketball, in our organization analogy, lies
somewhere between baseball and football. It is
played in a continuously changing situation,
and player-coordinated, spontaneous teamwork is the most important feature for success.
The family restaurant, in which every family
member cooks, serves, washes dishes, and acts
as cashier, is an example. Other examples are
university staffs and multi-disciplined consulting firms. High technology companies fit this
category and are dependent on teams, working
independently, to develop products and processes for marketing by the larger entity. These
development teams come and go as opportunities arise and needs are satisfied.
Types of Project Teams
Acknowledging that construction contracting is a team process, not the transfer of finished goods, poses the question, What kind of
team? Figure 2 illustrates the simplest explanation, where the project team is viewed as elements from each contracting party assigned to
the project to produce the desired facility. This
is a baseball concept and implies that project
success is achieved by each party fulfilling its
assigned contractual responsibilities. There is
some interplay between the parties, as specified

........................................................................
in the respective contracts. The most important
consideration is the ability of each player to
perform well.
Figure 2 Project Team Elements

This concept views teamwork as contract


administration, or the management of the relationship between the contracting parties. It recognizes that these parties are usually hypothetical legal entities, and it attempts to solve the
associated problems. The concept acknowledges that real people are involved; personal
relationships are defined in terms of accepted
social behavior, such as ethics, honest communication, and professional competence.
Research indicates that the baseball concept is the traditional approach in the construction industry. Company manuals address relationships between individuals and specify how
each companys team will deliver contractually
required intermediate products to the other
companys team. Intercompany, or joint, teams
are not part of this concept and usually are not
addressed in either the contract structure or
procedure manuals.
The baseball concept is not wrong, but it
is insufficient for large, complex construction
projects. It may be adequate for special,

uncomplicated projects, with little schedule


pressure, where detail design is complete before
construction begins and no changes are
required. Most construction projects, however,
do not fall into this category.
The football concept is a better fit for the
construction process. It is driven by planning
and includes many diverse relationships. The
hierarchy of teams (although they may not be
formally designated this way) on a construction
project shown in Figure 3 is described briefly in
the text which follows, and in greater detail later in this chapter.
Investment Management Team. After a positive investment decision, an Investment
Management Team is formed in the owners
organization to provide overall control of the
new venture. The major functions, such as
marketing, engineering, finance, and manufacturing, are usually represented. A Project
Executive usually leads the team and reports to
the head of the business unit which made the
new investment.
Project Management Team. The Project
Management Team is composed of responsible
managers from each of the contracting parties.
Their mission is to accomplish the work,
including coordinating the engineering, procurement, construction, and startup phases.
The Owners Project Manager leads this team
and also is a member of the Investment
Management Team.
Contractor Management Teams. Reporting
to each of the Contractor Project Managers are
the Work Managers, who together comprise
the Contractor Management Teams assigned to
the project by each of the contracting parties to
fulfill the requirements of their contracts. Each
Contractor Project Manager reports to both
the Owners Project Manager for contractual
matters, and to the Project Sponsor in the parent organization for business matters.
Work Managers. The Work Managers are

........................................................................
the design leaders and supervisors who lead the
teams actually accomplishing the work. They
are directly responsible for the part of the contract assigned to them by their Contractor
Project Manager, in accordance with the business practices of the parent organization. They
must also communicate and coordinate their
efforts with Work Managers from the other
business units. Usually, this communication
does not flow vertically through the chain of
command, but instead flows horizontally
between people actually involved in the work.
Work Manager Teams. Communication at
the working level is not just a network. Instead,
teams of individuals from the various business
units are united to accomplish specific tasks.
For example, the lead designer for a structure,

the steel fabricator, and the general superintendent have to understand each other and also
work together if the steel is to be erected correctly and on time. Ideally, the basic elements
of the Work Manager Teams should be in
place during definition and planning, thus giving a voice to those who implement final project responsibility in determining their future.
An example is the constructability analysis
addressed by other CII publications.
This hierarchy of teams is similar to a professional football organization. The
Construction Owner is similar to the owner of
a football team who contracts for the required
resources. The Project Management Team is
the coaching staff which forms the game plan.
The Owners Project Manager is the head

Figure 3 Project Teams

........................................................................
coach. The Work Managers and their teams
are the running backs, wide receivers, interior
linemen, linebackers, and other players who
actually participate in the game.
Professional football organizations also
incorporate flexibility into their teams. Run to
daylight and improvisation on broken plays
are intentional parts of their strategy.
According to the analogy used here, some basketball is played in the middle of the football
field. Similarly on successful projects, the Work
Managers, who are the players, form Work
Management Teams to adjust their efforts
across business unit boundaries.
Teams, Leaders and Decisions

Construction is driven by a planning process. Increasingly detailed decisions are


required when moving through the hierarchy of
teams. Decisions at one level become action
items for the next team. To facilitate the delegation process, the leader of each team, except
for the Project Executive, is a member of the
next higher team. Table 1 is an illustration of
this leader/team ladder with a listing of the
major decisions made by each team. Two kinds
of decisions are to be made. The first is planning decisions-what will be built and how is it
to be constructed? Secondly, process decisions
are required to determine how each team will
conduct business. These process decisions form
part of the code of conduct, which is described
in Chapter 6.
During the definition and planning phase,
the needs of the owner must be determined.
Someone must organize the owners team and
establish a clear direction for the project. The
key to success is a strong Project Executive,
who has the power and authority to make decisions of impact. This function is necessary
because the Owners Project Manager may
have insufficient influence to resolve disagree-

ments, which occur due to conflicting objectives of the marketing, manufacturing, finance,
and engineering functions.
A formal Investment Management Team
should be formed from elements of the owners
organization to define project objectives, establish priorities, and approve the work of contractor teams. This team is led by the Project
Executive and includes representatives from
marketing, engineering, finance, procurement,
the Owners Project Manager, and the user,
such as the manufacturer. This group oversees
the project, reviews and approves vast amounts
of information, establishes policy, solves problems, makes decisions, coordinates, and communicates. This team function is vital to project performance.
Generally, the Project Executive resolves
conflicts within the owners organization. It is
essential that this position has sufficient
authority, either formal or informal, to make
necessary decisions which will allow the
Owners Project Manager to implement an
action plan. The Project Executive should be
the ultimate contractual authority. If not, there
must be an established, rapid board or committee authorization process that the Project
Executive can use to resolve conflicts and force
decisions.
Approvals are a special consideration for the
Investment Management Team, since these are
their tools to control the project organization.
This applies to planning documents, contractual commitments, progress payments, and final
acceptance. A rapid process must be established to gain approvals within the owners
organization. Approvals should be natural control points during the life of the project; they
must not become lengthy processes which delay
project progress. The Project Executive should
set the tone for open, candid communications
and timely action.

........................................................................
Table 1 Project Teams, Leaders and Decisions

Decision Responsibilities

Teams & Leaders

Investment Mgt.

Project Mgt.

Contractors Mgt.
Work Mgr.

Process

Project Objectives

Approvals

Project Strategy

Changes

Roles & Responsibilities

Problem Solving

Project Executive

Owners Proj. Mgr.

Contractor Proj. Mgrs.

Information Systems

Lead Designer
General Supt.

(Company Requirements)

(Company Requirements)

Constructability Analysis

Technical Resolutions

Construction Schedule

Submittals

Work Mgrs.

Work

Planning

Work Plans
Operations Schedules

........................................................................

10

An Owners Project Manager (OPM) is the


member of the Investment Management Team
responsible for the management of the design,
procurement, and construction activities; this is
probably the most important management
function of the project. The OPM may have
limited resources under direct control because
the work has been contracted to various business units. Still, the OPM is responsible for the
accomplishment of this work.
Most owners recognize the need for an
OPM, but may not realize the importance of
the position. As a pure management position,
the OPM is responsible for getting the work
accomplished through other people. The OPM
should be the agent of the owner, authorized to
act on behalf of the owner. The OPM does not
have to be the ultimate contract authority, but
must be authorized to represent the owners
interest, within the bounds of the established
contracts.
The Owners Project Manager should be an
experienced construction professional.
Manufacturing supervisors and facilities managers may not be familiar with the construction
process. If the owner does not have such a staff
person, one should be acquired for the project.
The Project Management Team, a joint team
of the Contractors Project Managers, is led by
the Owners Project Manager. The primary
task of this team is to plan the project, subject
to the approval of the Project Executive. This
team also develops the project strategy, with
the resulting project schedule, and specifies the
information system required. Their relationship
is defined by the roles and responsibilities
defined in the contracts between the parties.
Actual management of the design, procurement, and construction activities is pursued by
a network of individual managers. As each
business unit is hired to deliver an end product,
its responsible manager becomes part of this
network. This management team of individu-

als, from different business units, must communicate and work together to coordinate the
efforts of the various entities. Each manager
must accomplish the work in the contract, plus
coordinate with other managers to control the
flow of work through each phase of the
project.
The Project Management Team must define
its rules and personal commitments. The two
most important areas are problem solving and
changes. These require a joint effort and mutual cooperation, despite inherent conflicts
between specific company and overall project
concerns. Each party must provide objective
input. The individuals involved in changes
should mutually decide how they will manage
problems and changes, from inception to settlement. It is important that discussion and mutual understanding be a part of this process.
The Contractor Teams are company teams
from the contracting entities, who are led by
the respective Project Managers. Functional
units within the teams are led by Work
Managers, who are supervisors or design leaders. These teams not only accomplish the mainline activities of design, procurement, installation, and startup, but also staff functions, such
as accounting, scheduling, cost control, and
office services.
Delegation is the heart of a Contractor
Team; it requires the responsible manager to
take four steps:
l
l
l
l

Establish requirements
Make assignments
Monitor results
Give feedback

The last of these is the most important.


Feedback is necessary, not only to adjust individual performance, but to revise the original
requirements, which may have been improperly
stated.

........................................................................
The entire planning process, from project
objective to work plans and operations schedules, is a system of delegation. Without project
objectives, Contractor Teams will not have
clear direction. Lack of project objectives also
makes it difficult to set up effective teams and
delegate responsibility.
Prior to the first day of participation in the
project, Contractor Teams should be instructed
on the expectations of their teams. Company
Teams must understand the importance of
objectives, rules, tasks, relationships, consequences, and personal values. The Project
Executive, Design Project Manager, and
Construction Project Manager must specifically
instruct their teams on required interface relationships with other teams; different projects
require different interfacing relationships. The
code for a particular project must be communicated explicitly-it cannot be assumed.
The owner should set the pace by dictating
what relationships are expected in terms of:
l
l
l
l

Interface authority and responsibility


Communications
Coordination
Methods of settling differences between
teams

These instructions modify the Standard


Operating Procedure (SOP) that governs corporate team requirements. Without this SOP, trial-and-error adjustments between teams and
their members can be laborious and costly. The
guidelines should be published in the project
policy and procedure manuals.
Work Manager Teams can be envisioned as
either one team, with the membership changing
as the task requirements change, or a series of
teams, each formed to address a specific task.
After design is completed, the most prominent
team manages construction operations and
includes those who either report to or support
the General Superintendent for each facility.
This team builds the project and is accountable

for taking it from design to completion. As the


pinnacle Work Manager Team responsible for
everyday production, it is placed between the
deliberation-policy management group and
hands-on implementation. This teams policymaking authority should be minimal. Time
should be spent in implementation, which
requires combinations of review and approval,
problem solving, decision-making, coordination, communication, and support. All of these
functions make the performance of this team a
top priority during construction.
This team also is in the trenches of everyday
activity, where there are continuous pressures
to act and respond. On the playing field, in
order to keep close coordination and communication, team members should be adept at reading one anothers signals, without hesitation,
change, or confusion.
This team is highly visible, and other teams
use it as a guide for their own operations. If
this group is working either exceptionally well
or poorly, then it is known throughout the
entire project. The leadership and effectiveness
of these frontline teams are essential ingredients for a successful project.
It should be noted that in the previous discussion the term leader is used more often
than manager. This is intentional. The words
have different implications. A manager is
assigned formal authority and the responsibility for accomplishing a task. The position of a
leader is informal. It depends on the willingness
of the team to follow. The task of the leader is
to establish the direction of the team.
Managers do things right; leaders do the right
things.
The book, Leaders, identifies four characteristics common to effective leaders:
1. They gain the attention of their team
through an overriding vision.
2. They are able to communicate and
transfer the meaning of their vision.
3. They gain trust through consistency.

11

........................................................................
4. They know and are able to manage themselves.
Good managers are effective leaders, but
several of the necessary leaders on a construction project do not have formal management
authority. Figure 4 identifies the Project
Management Team and the Work Manager
Teams as joint teams composed of individuals
from different business units. Although usually
seen as communication networks, they are really teams of people working together to accomplish respective management tasks. They must
be formed, developed, and led as are the recognized company teams.
Members of joint teams draw from their collective parent organizations the specific objectives and rules that are to be applied. The integration of these factors, which plainly spell out
how the team should operate, must be adopted
by the team as a whole. The differences in the
parent corporations instructions to the individFigure 4 Types of Project Teams

12

ual members of the joint team may be slight or


enormous, but differences will exist. These
must either be negotiated out, preferably by the
joint team on the spot, or deferred to parent
corporations for opinions and decisions, a n d
then be communicated back to the joint team
for adoption.
Not surprisingly, organizations depend on
the leadership ability of many key managers
during the construction process-the point
being that leadership and effectiveness of joint
teams is as essential to a successful project as
that of the company teams from the contracting parties.

Managing the Effects of Uncertainty

Chapter 4

........................................................................
Development of a project, from concept to
reality, is actually a reduction of the uncertainty process. At every stage of the project, the
team is striving to clarify exactly what is to be
done and how to do it. Figure 5 shows in
matrix form the two dimensions of certainty as
the project moves from concept to reality.
Figure 5 Certainty Matrix

Low

EXECUTIONHow
High Facility

High
DEFINITIONWhat

Low

Idea

Projects sometimes start with low certainty


on both axes of the matrix. As planning and
coordinating decisions are made, the project
moves toward completion. Each step in the
process should define more clearly what is to
be built and how the work will be accomplished. In reality, definitions of the what are
not always clear. Uncertainty about what is to
be built continues to arise as project objectives,
environment, market factors, and technology
change with the discovery of new information.
Similarly, the behavior and relationships of key
personnel also may change while the project is
under construction.
Projects move at varying rates and follow
different paths from concept to completion.

This movement is often described in terms of


phases, such as these:
Forming a concept
Developing objectives
Identifying how to achieve objectives
Designing the project
Procuring equipment, materials and services
Constructing the project
Startup and operation
Different team members during different
phases of a project may be in a better position
to collect, evaluate, and make decisions concerning technical and market information.
Although the organization is shaped for the
task of decreasing uncertainty, structure
depends on the perception of project exchanges
which occur. If these perceptions are consistent
with actual circumstances, the organization is
functioning well. For example, on the matrix
shown in Figure 6, a straightforward construction project can be portrayed as the purchase
of a series of discrete products.
Figure 6 Certainty Matrix

13

........................................................................
Reliance on intermediate products works
well conceptually for projects that start construction in the top right corner of the
matrix-when both what and how certainties are high, and the project is not under
any unusual schedule or budget constraints.
(Projects in this quadrant are typically the market purchase of a standard product.)
Experience in the high certainty corner of
the matrix is a major force in shaping the way
people view the construction process. The contract and organization resulting from a traditional market exchange work less well as the
level of certainty decreases.
Many projects begin the construction phase
in one of the other three quadrants. Referring
to Figure 7, the construction phase of a tunnel
might begin in the upper left quadrant, while a
commercial building might begin in the bottom
right. These two situations are discussed below.
Figure 7 Certainty and Paths

Low

HOW

The Office Complex


High Facility

High
WHAT

Low

14

avoid a present set of problems. Although they


have some idea what previous tunnels have
cost, they do not have exact information on
geological conditions. When the project
appears to be feasible, they begin design.
Borings are conducted and geological studies
are tested. Based on these activities, they select
an alignment, lining, and construction method.
A constructor is chosen to carry out the work.
The tunnel project is shown as Line A in
Figure 7.
Despite the experience and engineering skills
of everyone involved, construction begins with
far less certainty about how the work will get
done than what is to be built. Each advance
into the mountain reveals new information
which changes the work approach. The project
team faces the task of re-planning based on
new information, and the success of the project
depends on finding and implementing costeffective solutions to technical problems.

Idea

The Tunnel
A highway department considers re-routing
a stretch of canyon highway into a tunnel to

A developer identifies a piece of land in a


good location for an office complex. The fourstory structure will be steel frame with pre-cast
exterior wall panels. The technical and construction issues are neither unique nor particularly difficult. The exact arrangement of the
internal space, however, is far less certain. The
developer begins construction with less than
half of the space rented. New tenants demand
significant alterations to their space during
construction. The project team must respond to
new information from the marketplace. Success
depends on managing the work effectively and
executing routine tasks efficiently. The office
complex project is shown as Line B on the
matrix.
In fact, projects may begin construction at
any place on the matrix. Projects which originate in a position down and to the left on the

........................................................................
matrix can be expected to have a higher
amount of uncertainty and a greater possibility
of change. A research and development (R&D)
facility typically starts construction with less
certainty than other projects and faces more
urgent schedule pressure, as illustrated in the
matrix of Figure 8.
Figure 8 Certainty and Location at Start of Construction

Low

HOW

High

Facility

High
WHAT

Low

Idea
Organization for projects that begin in the
low/low quadrant will differ from others for
sound reasons. Project organizations in this
quadrant should not be based on the projected
exchange of ill-defined products. Instead, these
project teams should be organized to collect,
evaluate, and act on information as the project
progresses. This requires having systems in
place to collect information, plan, act, and
maintain agreement among all concerned.
Organizations that share information and distribute decision-making responsibilities can be
impacted by strict contracts based on exchanging products. These organizations must decide
whether to tolerate significant problems or redesign their structures to channel information
to the appropriate person. This will insure that

decisions are acceptable to all contractual parties.


Not surprisingly, interesting developments
occur on projects located in the lower left-hand
corner. Here, it is obvious that the traditional
view of the construction process, where product exchanges are controlled by the classic contract, results in organizations less likely to
make effective decisions required to complete
dispute-free projects.
By fostering the newer concept, which views
construction as a team-oriented process, owners and major construction companies are
forming long-term relationships, a key element
in the concept of partnering. Partnering is
the formation of an on-going relationship
between those who know how to construct
projects and those who determine what is
required. As shown on the matrix of Figure 9,
constructability is enhanced by partnering.
The matrix in Figure 9 has a number of
implications for project organizations and construction management practice. Optimum construction strategy is based on the location on
the matrix and the objectives of the project.
Procurement policies and procedures must
Figure 9 Certainty Matrix and Change

Low

HOW

High

High
WHAT

15
Low

Constructability
Partnering

........................................................................
mesh with the chosen strategy. Project teams
must spend time and money to reduce uncertainty if they expect to manage subsequent project phases and their intermediate products.
The meaning of change depends on the
quadrant where a project is located, at a point
in time, as shown on the matrix of Figure 10.
Figure 10 Certainty Matrix and Change

Low

HOW

High

High

WHAT

result when managing a project with inappropriate contractual tools for its location on the
matrix. For example, conflict is likely if the
owner uses a contract based on a highly certain
view of the project, while the contractor views
the project definition as unstable.
Factors which determine project success vary
by quadrant. Developing clear objectives is an
early requirement in the low/low quadrant.
Following the plan is the obvious key in the
high/high quadrant. Projects in the top left
quadrant require high quality technical solutions for optimum performance. Projects in the
lower right quadrant need high quality coordination to achieve efficiency. These success factors are shown in the matrix of Figure 11.
Figure 11 Certainty Matrix and Success Factors

Low

Low

High

16

The trend toward early involvement of all


concerned parties during construction is beneficial; it assembles the people who know best
how to do something with the people who
determine what they want. This can be seen in
the development of partnering relationships
and the recent emphasis on constructability.
Difficulty can arise, however, when people who
are accustomed to functioning in the high/high
quadrant, where direction is unambiguous and
change is perceived as an enemy, meet people
from the low/low quadrant who consider
change as beneficial while refining the project
plan.
Conflicts may occur when people have different ideas concerning where the project is
located on the matrix. Disputes are likely to

High Quality
Technical
Solutions

HOW

High

Following
the Plan

WHAT

Low

Clear
Objectives

High Quality
Management &
Coordination

The project starting point position on the


certainty matrix, or the degree of definition,
has an impact on the initial communication
strategy of a project organization, as shown in
the matrix of Figure 12 (next page).
In the lower left uncertain/uncertain quadrant, the usual practice is to release the work in
increments, as soon as each piece is defined.

........................................................................
The Investment Management Team must take
the lead and initiate numerous top-down communications specifying what is needed for each
piece. The designer, supplier, and constructor
then define and implement to satisfy each need.
A phased construction approach is used,
with considerable overlap between design and
construction. Research facilities, some weapons
systems, and hazardous waste clean-up projects
are examples of this approach.
In the upper left certain/uncertain quadrant,
communication is critical between the work
Figure 12 Certainty Matrix and Communications
HOW

Certainty

WHAT

Uncertainty

force and the Project Management Team. On


tunnels, dams, and other large earthwork projects, the construction method, and perhaps the
design, must be adjusted during the construction process. As the primary planning team, the
Project Management Team must respond to the
adjustments.
In the lower right uncertain/certain quadrant, neither design nor construction is difficult. The problem is to adapt to the specific
needs of the marketplace. The general parameters of a commercial office building can be

established sufficiently in advance to support


financial analysis, funding, and contract
awards. When the ultimate user is identified,
considerable adjustment may be required.
Again, the Project Management Team must
control this process and incorporate only the
necessary, practical changes to design and
required construction.
In the upper right certain/certain quadrant,
both what and how are known. Work can be
clearly delegated to the designer, supplier, and
builder. The ability of the Contractor
Management Teams will determine the performance of the contracting parties and the success of the project. The key communication is
the reporting and monitoring system which
insures contract performance, as well as
prompt payment for the work accomplished.
This is the traditional view of the construction
process, and many projects fit this category.
This is the baseball concept, mentioned
earlier.
The task force has conducted workshops in
which participants have indicated that not only
is the baseball concept inadequate for many
projects, but the four quadrants of the
What/How Matrix also may be incomplete.
The population of industry projects is not neatly polarized into four separate categories.
Rather, the project population is concentrated
more in the center/center of the What/How
Matrix, with the centroid only slightly above
and to the right of center. Many projects are
not in one of the quadrants, but in a mixture of
two or more quadrants. More research is
required to identify the variables and the organizational impact when a project is a mix of
the various quadrants.
The foregoing does not give many prescriptions. Hopefully it will supply valid and useful
concepts for the individuals on a specific project so that they can agree on where they are

17

........................................................................
and what they need to do together. One of the
problems is that there are no units on the What
and How dimensions. Also, no objective measurement determines where a project is. The
location is determined by the perception of
each individual, and perceptions vary because
no one knows everything. This makes the
matrix a useful discussion tool to determine
where the parties are coming from and address
the differences that get in the way of a successful team effort.
Project organization, uncertainty, and types
of teams have been discussed, with emphasis
on general concepts and organizational theory.
Chapters 5 and 6 will address specific, practical
applications of the subject matter presented in
the previous sections.

18

Chapter 5

Coordination Tools and Mechanisms

........................................................................
Successful organizations do not occur
because groups of people are brought together
in an office or at a jobsite. Many different
forms of organizations can be successful; such
organizations share a unique set of coordinating tools and mechanisms that allow the group
of individuals to act in a cohesive, focused
direction toward satisfying a single purpose.
Coordinating tools and mechanisms include:
l

l
l
l
l

A comprehensive objective-setting
process
The design basis
A project strategy
Work planning
Information systems

Project Objective-Setting
Managers in the construction industry agree
that a critical ingredient to the success of a project is the objective-setting process. This process is closely related to planning efforts, scope
definition, and project team motivation. In
many cases, the process of establishing objectives may be as critical in building team commitment and understanding as the objectives
themselves. Just as the process contributes to
the success, research has shown the wrong process can lead to difficulties. The lack of clear
owner-objective definition, internal consistency
of objectives, and clearly communicated project
objectives can create costly problems for project teams.
Objectives, including trade-offs between
quality, costs, and schedule, are used to guide
numerous decisions. The objectives guide the
development of more specific goals, procedures, design criteria, and milestones. When
more detailed definition of the project is
required, the objectives are used as the benchmark for specific direction.
Ideally, a common set of objectives should

guide the owner, designer, and constructor.


The objectives provide the basis for all parties
and, as such, must be compatible. The compatibility is essential to minimize conflicts among
the owner, designer, and constructor organizations concerning the project objectives. The
objectives should be established, and all teams
should clearly understand them and be in
agreement with the relative priority placed on
each objective. When this occurs, the various
teams can begin to accomplish their specific
responsibilities in harmony with other teams.
The objective-setting process should be a deliberate, managed process.
The three phases in the management of project objectives are: formation, communication,
and integration. These three phases are shown
in Figure 13. The formation phase consists of
the methods used by the owners organization
to combine the corporate goals and suborganization objectives into a single set of project
objectives. The communications phase is the
means by which the owner disseminates, both
directly and indirectly, the project objectives
developed in the formation phase. The integration phase represents all efforts on the part of
the owner to combine the project objectives of
the designer and constructor with those of the
owner, thus forming an integrated project
strategy.
Strong owner involvement is needed in each
phase to aid in the planning, programming,
design, and construction of a project, regardless of how many outside organizations are
contracted. Feedback is critical to insure that
the system is working properly and objectives
are common to all organizations. Written project objectives provide a focal point for discussion and periodic review.
Formal processes can be used to form project objectives. Case studies of several projects
have been used to develop the process present-

19

........................................................................
Figure 13 Certainty Matrix and Communications

20

........................................................................
ed here. The recommended process to define
project objectives requires that internal units
within the owners organization (engineering
department, marketing department, and other
functional departments) work together to identify appropriate objective priorities. This team
environment is the key ingredient of the process, as it provides for open communication,
compromise, and putting the goals of the larger
organization ahead of the internal unit goals.
The role of a Project Executive is critical to the
success of this task.
The recommended approach for managing
project objectives includes the following critical
elements:
l

Study and fact-finding to develop


objectives
Communication and negotiation to
establish objectives
Communication of objectives to parties
throughout the organization
Feedback, direction, redirection or reinforcement related to project
objectives and priorities

Several studies may be necessary to define


the problem or opportunity adequately in technical and financial terms. The process requires
considerable fact-finding, discussion, and analysis. A set of written objectives statements is
usually the product. The objectives should be
stated in terms that are:

should not be general. Specifically, it is important to state objectives clearly and avoid communication problems.
Blending the various suborganizational
objectives (e.g., marketing objectives, engineering objectives, operation objectives, and financial objectives) into a consistent and stable set
of well-defined, user-oriented project objectives
is an important task.
Several mechanisms can contribute to, or
detract from, the effectiveness of communication. These mechanisms are classified as communicating, reinforcing, and detracting mechanisms. Communicating mechanisms, those
items used to transmit objectives directly to the
participants, include:
l
l
l
l
l
l
l

Reinforcing mechanisms which support and


emphasize the communicating mechanisms are
used to maintain focus and direction for the
continual process of communicating objectives
throughout the organization. Reinforcing
mechanisms include:
l
l

l
l
l
l
l
l
l

Specific and identifiable


Oriented toward single-ended results
Set against deadlines
Attainable
Responsible to organizational needs
Controllable
Assignable to organization units and
individuals for accountability

Single objective statements are best, but they

The project execution plan


A written design basis
The contract documents
Policy and procedure manuals
A pre-bid or pre-construction meeting
Written objectives and priorities
Constructability reviews

l
l
l
l
l

Weekly progress meetings


Executive level reviews
Expediting reports
Project instructions
Project team layout
Toolbox safety talks
The tone of correspondence

Detracting mechanisms which create situations where separate, incompatible objectives


are established by the various project organizations exist throughout the construction.

21

........................................................................
Examples of detracting mechanisms include:
Poorly defined design basis
Inconsistent design requirements
Poorly designed project communication
systems
Lack of expertise
Dominant external objectives
Lack of project controls
Poor operational planning
Inappropriate staffing levels
Key individuals unavailable for
decision-making at the project
Detracting mechanisms have strong negative
impacts on projects. All of these mechanisms
point to the need for good communication systems, with a deliberate feedback system, to
insure the effectiveness of communication.
Design Basis

22

The Business Roundtable states in its


Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness
Report A-2, Poor scope definition at the estimate stage and loss of control of the project
scope rank as the most frequent contributing
factors to cost overrun. The CII Design Task
Force, in CII Publication 8-2, Input Variables
Impacting Design Effectiveness, considers
scope definition to be the input variable with
the greatest impact on design effectiveness.
Prior to the beginning of design and construction, it is important to establish and
define, with appropriate detail, the intent a given project is to achieve; yet, this task is not
always given proper attention. The design
basis, a set of documents written and drawn to
define the technical requirement for the project,
must have sufficient depth to provide clear
direction for all major design issues. The format of the design basis varies, but usually
includes drawings and specifications, and may
be supplemented with renderings, models, or

even three-dimensional CAD graphics. The


design basis may be a series of documents produced early in the design process. There may be
other documents produced at interim stages
requiring approval prior to proceeding to the
next stage. The design basis should clearly
communicate the intent to the designers and set
appropriate boundaries on the project design
for detailed decision-making.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the
design basis, three requirements must be met:
Completeness-There must be sufficient,
detailed information to address all the
design issues for a project such that
informed decisions can be made by the
project personnel.
Consensus-Person or persons in the
owners organization who make decisions
and approve the design basis must comprehend what they are approving, and
should have the concurrence of all parties,
including those who operate and maintain
the facility.
Communication-The design basis must
be shared openly, not only with all parties
in the owners organization, but with the
designers and constructors as well. When
the design basis is sensitive or proprietary,
security procedures must be established.
Although a relatively small portion of project
personnel develops the design basis, the impact
of this effort is great. Design changes, particularly after the design basis has been set, can create
havoc on the project and dramatically add to the
cost of design and construction. The change of
an important aspect of the project during the
development of the design basis may take only a
few hours to implement. The same change, late
in design or during construction, can cause enormous cost and intolerable delay.

........................................................................
The design basis development phase is not
the occasion to save time or money. High quality resources must be dedicated to, and time
allowed for, development of the design basis.
Prior to the beginning of the design basis, a feasibility study must be completed (by in-house
personnel or consultants exploring the basic
idea for the project, with appropriate financial
analysis resulting in tentative approval to proceed with the project). The owners goals and
objectives must be formulated at this point; the
designer then can gather information and
develop the design basis.
Generally, two kinds of information are
gathered. The first is the given conditions and
constraints; these include site condition information such as survey, climate, traffic, soils
investigation, hydrology, drainage, and environmental constraints. If a project involves the
renovation of an existing facility, a comprehensive analysis of the facility is necessary. In addition, legal requirements such as building codes,
Federal regulations, zoning ordinances, and
local government approvals must be examined.
The requirements of the owners insurance carrier also must be considered. Local utilities
must be contacted to determine the availability
and location of services. If the owner has a system of space standards or other general design
requirements, these must be identified.
The second type of information gathered
concerns project needs. The designer must
work with the owners project manager to
establish the owners requirements for the project. These include the obvious functional
requirements such as the amount of space, the
production capacity, energy consumption,
number of occupants, the performance criteria
system, aesthetics, image, flexibility, and
expendability.
The next step in the development of the
design basis involves establishing the criteria

and evaluating various alternatives to meet


those criteria. The owner, guided by various
representative departments, makes choices
among reliable alternatives. The documents
which are developed at this stage include general arrangement drawings, site plans, architectural elevations, flow diagrams, and the outline
specifications for mechanical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical,
and structural systems. Along with these conceptual definitions, an early estimate of the
project cost is prepared based on the conceptual design.
The next step in the development of the
design basis involves further definition of each
of the systems. A more detailed set of site
plans, indicating the utilities and support buildings, is developed at this stage. Materials are
selected; floor plans, elevations, and typical
details are developed for building the facility;
building systems are diagrammed; and an energy analysis will be prepared. The piping and
instrument diagrams may be prepared; models
may be developed to show the relative positions of major pieces of equipment; and constructability is brought into the evaluation of
the design basis. Value engineering, or selecting
the most economical alternatives for the overall
life cycle of the project, also should be a part of
this process. Since the owner usually is working
with financial constraints on the project, it is
common during the development of the concepts and the design basis to adjust the criteria
to fit the owners budget, which must be
matched with the scope of work.
The design basis development, described
above, is a constant design, review, and redesign process which should involve the owner
on a weekly basis.

23

........................................................................
Project Strategy
A plan-often called a project strategy-is
required to carry out tasks in a timely manner,
even in the early stages of project development.
The project strategy provides overall direction
for the project team, which must make numerous decisions throughout the course of the project. In effect, the strategy serves as a road map
for that decision-making process. The project
strategy includes four key elements:
l
l
l
l

24

A contracting strategy
Logistics and support
A project schedule
A listing of the roles and responsibilities

The owner determines the formal structure


for the project team through the formation of
the contracting strategy. The contracting strategy identifies the risk allocation, as well as the
overall organization structure, and provides
definition for the roles and responsibilities for
each team member. In the early stages of project strategy development, the owner must
determine whether to perform certain tasks and
duties or assign them through a contract to
other specialists. The owner may have a large,
sophisticated engineering staff to perform the
majority of design, procurement, and project
management; in other cases, the owner may
have only a limited staff for projects, necessitating the purchase of outside services for the
early design work. The owner organization
must make an honest assessment of an outside
firms capabilities to perform these services and
evaluate the economic trade-offs of purchasing
outside services.
Next, the type of contracts used must be
determined. Sensitivity of time is probably the
most important consideration to the investment
decision. Owners who desire a fast-track schedule may contract on a cost-plus-fee basis. If

time permits and design is complete, the traditional design/bid/build approach may be used
and a lump-sum contract awarded. Industry
traditions often influence the type of contract
selection. In the process industry, contractors
working closely with an owners engineering
staff can be responsive, timely, and cost effective using cost-plus-fee contracts. In contrast,
public agencies tend to use lump-sum contracts
when design is complete and then award a contract for a fixed sum prior to the beginning of
construction. Realistically, the owners project
team should investigate all the possibilities,
identify advantages and disadvantages considering the project schedule, and develop a practical approach that meets the project objectives
and includes the necessary, most cost-effective
provisions.
After the contract type is decided, the next
contract strategy development step is to determine a suitable acquisition process. Issues
include local design and contracting firms vs.
national contracting firms, open or selective
bid process, and the time required to choose a
contractor. The acquisition process can include
price and/or technical competition. The important result is selection of the best qualified contractor to perform the work-a contractor who
can, with some certainty, meet the project
objectives.
The second element of the project strategy is
logistics and support planning. Logistics and
support include housing (such as a construction
camp), construction site access, temporary
offices, construction parking, and construction
utilities. Supply routes, means, and communications also are elements of the logistics and
support which must be planned. On some projects, it is appropriate to have a project labor
agreement. Logistics and support should define
procurement of long-lead or special materials
required. On large process projects, major pur-

........................................................................
chases of specialized equipment and vessels
during the design stage are common.
Project schedule development is part of the
project strategy; by definition, a project schedule is the time phasing of design, procurement,
and construction tasks. The schedule is normally a network diagram of required activities.
The purpose of the schedule is to identify the
interfaces between activities. The project schedule defines the logic and expected durations for
project activities. A valid project schedule must
be developed, with agreement and approval of
the client, designer, major vendors, and contractor. Changes to a developed schedule
should be approved by all parties.
Finally, the project strategy includes a definition of roles and responsibilities. A roles and
responsibilities matrix is illustrated in Table 2.
Risk assignment, an integral part of roles and
responsibilities, should be borne by the party
best able to control the uncertainties associated
with the risk. Some construction risks, such as
site conditions, are uncontrollable; these risks
are normally assumed by the owner.
Work Planning
Work planning, an essential ingredient of
successful projects, is vital at every level of a
successful project. The work plan may be a list,
table, bar chart, or network schedule. The
work plan can be a single document for a simple project or a lengthy document for complex
projects. Each Work Manager monitors performance by measuring the quantity and quality
of work accomplished as compared to the
work plan.
The work planning process attempts to capture the greatest efficiency, while satisfying all
the project objectives: quality, time, cost, safety, and others. Work planning is normally
accomplished in an interactive, backward, stepwise fashion. Initially, a target completion date

is established, and startup steps are identified


to satisfy the completion date. A construction
schedule is developed for the construction
phase of the work. Based on the construction
schedule, the designer and constructor establish
the design schedule to support the construction/startup schedule.
Information Systems
Correct information will not necessarily
reduce project duration, but erroneous or late
information can certainly delay a project and
create serious difficulties. Critical project decisions can be made only when the information
supporting the decision is accurate and timely.
It is imperative that an efficient, effective project information system be established. It is
highly unlikely that a large, complex project
could be completed successfully without a comprehensive management information system.
The computer software and hardware available today can dramatically assist a project
team. The hardware and software costs,
although reasonable, are not the only costs
incurred in the establishment of an information
system. The time for training, data entry, and
analysis is a hidden cost (sometimes more than
ten times the software cost). These costs must
be evaluated for effectiveness. Software today
is becoming increasingly more useful to managers. Early software produced only reams of
data, which required processing to produce
useful information; current project software
produces meaningful information that can be
used directly in the decision-making process.
Today, data processing programs are generally used to manage by exception. The expectations of managers at each level are classified as
budgets, schedules, or other standards of performance. The computer is used to compare
volumes of data to these standards and identify
significant variations from expected results.

25

........................................................................
The variances provide evidence of problems
requiring management attention. The process
can be applied to most standard project objectives, which include quality, time, cost, safety,
and other critical matters.

With further advances in computer-based


information systems, the construction industry
will be positioned to perform projects more
effectively and efficiently.

Table 2 Roles and Responsibility Matrix-Definition Planning Stage

26

R RESPONSIBLE for making the function or decision happen. Accountability and initiative are here.
A must APPROVE, including the obligation to penetrate, question, understand and concur.
C must be CONSULTED by R prior to decision.
I must be INFORMED of decision by the R person.

Chapter 6

Team Dynamics

........................................................................
Project Culture
To understand how to use human factors
and fulfill capabilities, one must understand the
unique culture of a project and how it differs
from many other organizations. Culture, the
total array of internal values at work, is the
sum of the practices that get the job done.
Table 3 shows a comparison of construction
culture.
Objectives. In most organizations, the central values are fairly clear and subscribed to by
most members, particularly by the key players.
Even in conflict, the objectives are often made
clearer. Most relationships are, therefore, advocacy-centered or win-win driven.
On construction projects, the participating
companies may share the immediate objectives
to complete the project safely, cost-effectively,
and on schedule. Broader organizational objectives are different and often conflicting.
Engineering firms may be devoted primarily to
their professional performance, reputation, and
defenses against penalties of legal liabilities.
Constructors are concerned about profit margins, safety, add-on work, risks, contract obligations, and others. The concerns of the owner
may include cost, schedule, or the process;
within the owner organization, priorities may
conflict. The project is a perfect medium for
competing objectives and adversarial relationships.
Rewards. Systems of rewards in other organizations are based on adhering to the objectives of the organization and are paid in cash,
and in kind. The latter denotes a longer-term
payoff that perpetuates an extended view and
encourages conformity.
Several primary groups are involved in the
construction process; each has its own system
of rewards. One company may be on a growth
curve and wish to obtain follow-up business as
a primary reward. Another may be in a cash-

flow bind and require of the owner immediate


payback. The reward system may be geared to
another corporate need.
The profit motive theoretically presses all
participants to operate at their optimum level.
In this regard, the construction project can be
the arena for competitive groups that are all
fighting to optimize performance, sometimes at
the expense of other participants. Rewards
have the potential to be a major cause of disruptive conflicts.
The systems of rewards for those who design
and build projects have been described as being
divided between the immediacy of the project
and the same distant payoffs their counterparts
in other industries enjoy. More emphasis, however, is placed on shorter term results in construction, and the reward system is heavily
skewed in that direction. The motivation to
obtain rewards on a construction project may
produce even greater potential for conflicting
issues.
Life Expectancy. Most organizations are
designed to have a life of infinite duration,
requiring a process of continuity and stability
that causes the organization to build-in objectives, plans, actions, and controls in order to
bridge the future.
A major construction project has an average
life span of between two to five years; 26
months is a more common duration. The shortterm nature of the project requires a rapid
assembly of all resources necessary to complete
the job. Everyone is constantly aware that the
situation is absolutely temporary and will end
in the not too distant future. The closest comparison to an organization of this type is a military task force.
Key Players. In other organizations, key
players are captive to the parent organization
where demands of loyalty, fealty, and obedience to rituals of the bureaucracy are required.

27

........................................................................
Table 3 Comparison of Construction Culture

28

Construction

Other

Objectives

1. Many companies: varied objectives.


2. May be schedule, profit, cost, safety, professional credo or liability, long or short.
3. May be conflicting-adversaries.

1. Tends to be centralized, homogeneous, topdown driven.


2. Differences are reconciled by single authority.
3. Clear, non-conflicting and controlled.

Rewards

1. Different rewards, depending on organization.


2. More short-terms.
3. May be conflicting; see objectives.
4. More uncertainty.

1. Tied to objectives.
2. Paid in cash and career path payoff.
3. Collective incentives.
4. Many performance measures.

Life Expectancy

1. Short-term from beginning to end.


2. Very little continuity, learning as a team.
3. Accelerated mobilization, organization, temporary values and philosophy.

1. Infinite duration.
2. Stable, predictable.
3. Continuity, long-term corrections of problems.

Key Players

1. Loyal to diverse organizations, thus divided 1. Captive to parent organization.


2. Trained and conditioned to play company
as a team.
game.
2. Chosen on availability and technical exper3. Vision on company objectives, rewards,
tise.
long-term progress.
3. View may be on short-term project objectives
and conflicting.

Structure/
Linkage

1. Organization structures are complex and


often conflicting.
2. Networks are extensive.
3. Varied and complex linkages among organizations.

1. Chart of organization establishes clearer lines


of authority.
2. Lines of power clear.
3. Fewer networks.

Systems/Procedures

1. Formulated from several sources; may be


conflicting or duplicating.
2. Systems may be incompatible.
3. Controls may differ widely.

1. Formulated from single sources.


2. Integrated and reinforcing.
3. Administered by stable support staffs.

Time and Space

1. Time-driven schedules.
2. High risk environment.
3. Tentative special relationships.

1. End-date driven; pressure less.


2. Probability of lower risk environment.
3. More certainty and stability in special allocations and usages.

........................................................................
Some promise also exists that a contributing
member of a successful organization will be
rewarded with more responsibility, longevity,
and higher position. In construction projects,
several organizations are represented; the loyalties of the teams go back to their parent organizations. Thus, team loyalties are divided and
often conflicting.
Hopefully, the Owners Project Manager
will be chosen on the basis of expertise in
directing construction projects. The OPM must
be acceptable to the Project Executive, who
must have sufficient influence in the owner
organization to support the efforts of the
Owners Project Manager.
The designer basically has the same decisions to make as the constructor in selecting a
project manager. If a construction manager is
required, a similar process is followed. Little
control is exercised across organizational lines,
unless the owner insists on selecting participants. In the final analysis, the key players on
project teams usually are chosen by their own
project sponsors. The decisions are based on
the needs of the separate organizations.
Structure and Linkage. Organizational life
usually means parceling out responsibility,
authority, and accountability. These routine
delegations become a flow of lines and blocks,
which are known as organization charts. The
purpose of the charts is to display who does
what and the degree of authority which they
are granted. These charts show linkages, from
whom to obtain decisions, and the amount of
formal power each individual is assigned.
Organization charts are a definition of
accountability.
On construction projects, lines and blocks
usually show formal power, authority and
accountability, delegations, and relationships.
In fact, several such charts may have lines flowing and dotted lines showing contact and coor-

dinating networks. The project may have primary organizational structure as well as attendant structures of service organizations and
supporting infrastructures of these organizations. As a result, many key individuals have
dual allegiances, responsibilities, power,
authority, and accountabilities. No single
strand may tie it all together, and the networks
can become easily confused across organizational lines. Often informal, efficient shadow
organizations are formed by people anxious to
get the job done. Parallel relationships may be
formed to add efficiency or simply to circumvent a bureaucracy. These alternative networks
may be necessary for good performance. Many
times, construction projects depend on informal organizations.
Systems and Procedures. The operating systems and procedures for finance, accounting,
management, scheduling, and control are key
elements to any project of appreciable size. The
flow of information throughout the entire project system is critical to its function. Different
information systems often exist for different
objectives. For example, accounting systems
may not provide information for some management monitoring requirements. Some departments may require historical control information, while others may need projection forecasts.
Systems and procedures in construction projects originate from several sources. Each
source may have differing, and even opposing
reasons, for needing the information. The owner may be primarily concerned about financial
control. The designer is interested in design or
construction control. The construction management firm is interested in both, as well as in
scheduling and other factors, in some detail.
The general contractor must have available
production, material, financial, accounting,
scheduling, safety, and other regulatory infor-

29

........................................................................

30

mation. In most cases, the general contractor


must supply the needs of the owner, designer,
and other groups; these requirements place a
heavy burden on the constructor. In a traditional non-construction organization, a staff
usually supports these needs. Changes in the
system also are more easily made; i.e., the system is more adaptive with fewer decision
points required for changes. The fact that the
constructor may continually have to adapt a
system to changing requirements of owners and
other user groups clearly illustrates the differences in construction and nonconstruction
organizations. The resulting impact on the
human factors requires project managers to be
resilient to the differing, even opposing, and
ever-changing needs of the individuals and
groups represented.
Time and Space. Production requirements,
imposed by the nature of construction, are similar to those found in most manufacturing and
other production environments. Design, prebid, and contract production phases have periods of intensity; deadline cutoffs create the formation of various team and individual efforts
under acute pressure conditions. Once the construction phase begins, the intensity and frequency of daily operations reach a peak early
and usually stay until the punchlist activities
begin and the project is turned over to the
owners. The conditions are similar to production facilities, where costs of production delays
can easily amount to millions of dollars a day.
Comparisons of time dimensions and the risks
associated with end-date driven schedules yield
almost the same results.
Construction end-date driven schedules,
however, are a significant factor influencing
project organization and the individuals
assigned. The lost revenue to owners because
the facility is not available as planned is often
far in excess of the direct costs of construction

for the delayed period. The type of contract,


whether lump sum or cost reimbursable,
changes the onus of time pressure and the associated risks. Lump-sum contracts press contractors, while cost-reimbursable contracts press
owners and contractors.
The risks associated with schedules, therefore, determine whether time is a penalty or a
premium. Risks translate into dollars, safety,
customer satisfaction, career opportunities, and
much more. On construction projects, risks are
numerous and fall on all participants during
the process with varying weights. This phenomenon on a project is at variance with most
other organizations, which have more predictable risks associated with time.
Space considerations for most nonconstruction organizations are closed, permanent in
nature, and designed to house groups by function or specialization. These considerations
address the need to create an environment and
meet basic physical needs, with some priority
skewed to comfort and aesthetics.
Pre-construction phases have work environments closely parallel to that described. Off-site
support groups may have similar facilities, but
direct field management and work groups do
not once in the construction phases. Space is
temporary, as are most transient quarters, with
varying degrees of utility, privacy, convenience,
and efficiency. Function and utility are
paramount. The factors considered primary in
nonconstruction organizational environments
are considered frills in most construction environments. The physical locations of various
work spaces may be either spread out over the
project or off-site at several locations.
Conclusions. The culture of construction
projects has unique qualities that form the
backdrop, determine the needs and requirements for people to perform, and deliver high
performance projects. Several major cultural

........................................................................
factors that significantly influence the form and
substance of the human organization on projects have been identified; these can be summarized as factors responding to high degrees of
risks, often conflicting priorities, goals and
rewards, and always uncertainty. The uncertainty factor is a central issue that separates
construction requirements from other organizations. A construction project also includes the
complex issues associated with several
autonomous organizations, each having its
own structure and procedures. Human factors
must be designed to operate effectively within
these variables. Adaptability, resilience, flexibility, guidelines rather than manuals, matrix
structures, teams, openness, and leadership are
requirements of success.
No longer can key managers be chosen for
their technical and administrative skills. The reexamination of project requirements for key
people is timely and necessary for decisionmakers who set the stage for project implementation.
Code of Team Conduct
A team is most simply defined as two or
more people who make up their minds that
they can do something together better than
they can alone. Construction projects need
teams of people who can do the job better
together. Teams require that specific rules be
applied in order to work. A specific and
unwritten Code of Team Conduct (CTC) is
applicable. Refer to Table 4, entitled Code of
Team Conduct.
Goals. Goals for a particular team explicitly
direct the project requirements of a specific
group. The safety team should know that it is
supposed to keep health and accident incidents
to a quantified level. The scheduling team
knows it has so many days to develop the
CPM. The accounting team has certain dead-

lines and lag times. The personnel team knows


its Affirmative Action Goals and what deviations are tolerable; these are easy ones. The
submittal review turnover rates and process
become more complicated. These teams need to
know the required time frames and acceptable
forms when submitting a request for action.
Changes are more complicated, certainly, with
the numbers of people and reviews necessary
before they are approved. The change procedures should dictate priorities.
Task. In addition to knowing what the goals
are, the team must know how it is expected to
operate. The design or construction team
should know from the beginning the extent of
its powers to act. Some teams are problemsolving only, others are routine review only,
and others exist to make decisions.
Rules. Every project requires a set of rules to
be obeyed; without rules, disorder and frustration result. Teams who know the rules are
offered as much freedom as limitations.
Generally, when the rules are unclear or are
absent, teams limit themselves far beyond what
was intended.
Relationships. Work group relationships
must be clearly defined and understood. The
team asks where it fits in the overall scheme of
other operating teams. The questions regarding
relationships deal essentially with the integration and assimilation of individual efforts within the team. Team leaders must answer questions regarding internal team relationships, and
directing managers must answer questions
dealing with intragroup relationships.
Consequences. Consequences for performing, not performing, and acting somewhere in
between the team assignment must be open and
shared by all members. Often the risks associated with the uncertainty of actions can be
enormous. At other times, little or no risk is
involved. There may be a risk of destroying

31

........................................................................
credibility with the owner. Only the contractors project manager may know the risk. The
team should be apprised of the risks associated
with its activities. Risks are always bound to
the importance of uncertainty.
Personal Values. Team members have their
own set of principles and values when they join
with others. The extent to which they will
assimilate these values determines whether the
individuals will be able to work well as a team.
The terms used to label the most successful
project managers are commitment, dependability, involvement, flexibility, openness, and
related values.
Another trait is the ability to give and take,
or to maintain trust relationships. The senses
of teams often operate in a vacuum. Team
members cannot see or hear what is going on,
but they trust it is happening. Trust does not
occur easily on construction projects, but it is
essential.

Teams do not function well without strong


leaders, but require constant attention and regular maintenance to perform as expected.
These actions are the responsibility of key managers.
This Code of Team Conduct is defined as
each team decides how it will work together.
These are the process decisions listed in Table 1
of Section 3. On previous projects, responsibility flow diagrams have been used to define these
processes. Figure 14 is a graphic that one
Project Management Team developed to define
who was going to do what during the contract
change process.
Key Team Member Selection
In every successful organization, top people
who can put the pieces together are in demand.
These individuals act alone, and together, to
shape the task into an end product. Regardless

Table 4 Code of Team Conduct (CTC)

Goals

Project objectives, team objectives, goal posts, priorities, changes, who dictates? Do I have to agree?

Rules

How do we play this game? What are no-nos; what can I get by with? Who are rule makers? What happens
if I break the rules?

Task

What is expected of my team and me? What are the tell-tale signs of unacceptable work, of minimality and
fully acceptable work?

Relationships

Where do I fit on the team and what is the big picture?

Consequences

What happens if we do what we are supposed to and if we dont do it? Who cares and how much? Suppose
I dont want to go along?

Personal Values

Will my values allow me to work the game according to others values? Am I a team player-flexible,
willing, open and ready to pitch in?

32

........................................................................
Figure 14 The Change Process

of the number of people or the group effort


required, the basic unit remains the individual.
The strength of all human factors rests on
knowing what kind of individuals are needed,
particularly in key positions, and on making
certain that these persons are on the job.
Construction projects, as a whole, have a
culture that requires extraordinary key player
talent at the top of the pyramid. The nature of
construction demands people who can move
with the unique and dynamic conditions of a
changing environment.
Knowing the requirements of a project environment, culture, and selecting key individuals
to fit those requirements are essential to good
performance. Owners often pay only passing
importance to what the project requires of its
top project representatives. This can be a costly

and troublesome miscalculation. Contractors


may make the same error, take a cursory look
at what is required, and make the selection of a
project manager based on other needs. These
judgments, or misjudgments, by owners and
contractors are not made knowingly, but are
based on lack of awareness. The selection process plays a critical part in the desired outcome.
Owners and contractors should separately
assess the needs of the project for top managers
in considerable detail, and select only those
whom they are confident will be fully able to
meet these needs. The selection of individuals
should not be made before this assessment.
Key team members considered are:
l
l

Owner Project Executive


Owner Project Manager

33

........................................................................
l
l

34

Contractor Project Managers


Work Managers

As in any strategy, the options for selection


of key project people are weighed, and the process should be as rational and efficient as possible. Few decisions made on the project are as
important as these. Agreement on the importance of having a fully qualified Contractor
Project Manager is hardly an issue between
contractors and owners; defining the qualifications may be an issue.
On the other hand, the qualifications and
authority of the owners top representatives,
usually a Project Executive and Project
Manager, often are not considered to be of
prime importance. This is an issue frequently
neglected by owners and contractors.
The consequence of the selection decisions is
borne out by detailed research into success and
performance factors conducted in all sectors of
the construction industry. These findings are
consistently validated, by owners and contractors, outside of the published findings.
Making a detailed assessment of the project
to determine what top level skills are required
precedes actual selection. This step takes a
probing, diagnostic look at the project environment and culture. It is necessary to know what
the conditions are, and are expected to be,
throughout the entire life span of the project.
The key players must drive the project through
these conditions and arrive at expected or better-than-expected results.
Owners and contractors can make their own
checklists and weigh the conditions numerically. In some way, the factors should take on relative weights of importance. The weighing
allows for some factors to be traded off, or
compromised, because no one can perfectly
handle all factors. Whatever the checklist
includes, the factors in Table 5 should be
considered.

On close examination, the factors in Table 5


begin to describe what is required of the individuals who manage them. It is not necessary
for a person to have experienced all of these
factors on previous projects. Though experience gives us a vantage point not otherwise
possible, it may not always be a teacher.
Recent studies demonstrate that project managers who have more years of construction
experience consistently effect better budget performance than managers with less construction
experience. Other project performance factors,
such as productivity and schedule, are influential, but to a lesser degree. What is the bottom
line? Experience counts heavily for improved
performance; experience, however, should be
reviewed with close scrutiny.
Selecting the Owner Project Executive
The Project Executive should possess two
distinct sets of factors. First is what the organization gives to the person and the position; second are those attributes that the person brings
to the position and the project.
As important as any skills and experience
which the person may now possess, the owner
must give the person and the position the
authority required to be successful. The reasons
are obvious. As the project unfolds, continuous
problems must be solved and decisions made
that require authority, both formal and informal. The historical relationships which develop
around positions and people follow different
routes. Often, they are not only expedient, but
expected. These routes are not found in manuals or position descriptions. Being aware of
them and using unprescribed and informal
methods can assist in getting the job done. The
informal organization must be conveyed to the
position and the person, who must be adept at
using it.

........................................................................
The personal skills and experiences important to the project are:
Mind-set
Integrator
Communicator
Problem-solver and decision-maker
Manager-leader
Mind-Set. The Project Executive should be
able to think conceptually and have as a frame
of reference the broad scope of owner objectives, strategies, and tactics. Conceptual skills
should enable owner wants and needs to
surface, even if these are abstract. The Project
Manager can then translate them into the languages of architect, engineer, and contractor.
Integrator. As the principal bridge between
the owner and project service groups, the
Project Executive should be able to integrate
owner internal needs and external intragroup
activities. The role as an integrator is particularly important. Within the organization, the
owner marketing, manufacturing, and construction groups may have conflicting goals for
the facility. Settling internal disputes and integrating objectives requires an individual with
authority, personal persistence, and persuasive
powers.

Outside of the organization, a number of


project groups may require monitoring and a
molding into shape to be sure that everyone is
contributing to the accomplishment of the
goals. These are not coercive, but integrating,
activities and require a person who can forge
minds and actions in one direction.
Communicator. The Project Executive is an
information broker, a conduit and filter, and a
communicator. As a conduit and filter, the
Project Executive may be the interface between
designer and client, engineer and client, project
manager and owner hierarchy, and the contractor and owner hierarchy. The Project Executive
has a major communications responsibility in
coordinating these entities as well as those of
the staff. The function as communicator may
be the most important attribute.
Problem-solver and decision-maker. Good
problem solvers are objective, analytical, and
realistic. Use of staff to ferret out facts and
alternatives is a part of the process of sequential and simultaneous problem identification
and solution.
Decision-making begins with the authority
to make decisions. Since timing is so related to
cost in construction, the ability to confront a
situation head-on and prescribe a specific

Table 5 Project Assessment for Selecting People (A Checklist)


Project Factors As A Basis For Selection
Size of Contract

Dollar value

Type of Contract

Lump-sum, cost-reimbursable, design-build, percentage fee

Type of Construction

Industrial buildings, heavy/highway specialty

Complexity

Complexity of design, construction, changes, site, environment, lifestyles

Owner-Group

Private, government, public need, owner industrial group

Owner-Relations

Effect of other owner projects, relationship to past projects

Support Groups

Separate A/E, in-house, design-build, construction management

Contingencies

Subcontractor availability, labor and material availability, disputes, risks

35

........................................................................
action can mean the difference among a good,
mediocre, or bad decision.
Aside from technical qualifications, the ability to view the details and scope of the project
and become an effective leader of the team carry almost equal weight. Few projects stagger
from technical problems; more falter from the
myopia of those who direct them.
Selecting Project Managers

36

Considerable research is available regarding


the position of Construction Project Manager.
In general, these comments apply to all project
managers, whether for the designer, owner, or
other contractors.
The Project Manager (PM) is viewed by
most as the hands-on technical expert on how
to build the project. The PM should have a
well-established construction background and
formal training to assist in carrying out responsibilities. In other industries, the manager may
often pass the requirements for technical expertise to subordinates and retain only enough to
manage or coordinate the work of others. In
construction, the PM is the resident expert and
the manager of a total effort, having enormous
responsibilities for the delivery of goods and
services by others. This section portrays the
Project Manager as a technician, a manager,
and a leader in the fullest meaning of the terms.
Technical. The Project Manager must understand and interpret the design, engineering, and
construction aspects of the project; this
requires a hands-on technical background.
Management. The Project Manager manages
all of the resources required to construct the
job. These include people, materials, equipment, time, and subcontractors. To handle
these resources, the PM must organize, administer, staff, budget, coordinate, and communicate. Also, contracts, policies, procedures,
information systems, and performance factors

must be interpreted and followed. Much of the


task must be delegated to trained subordinates.
The PM must understand enough to ask tough
questions and keep the project on course.
Scope and Planning. The Project Manager
should know when a scope is lacking, or otherwise obscure, and work to refine it to completeness and understanding. The task requires
an eye for clarity, an ability to probe and ask
hard questions, the professionalism to work
with clear objectives and methods, and the
ability to convince others that scopes must be
carefully prepared. Planning results in the need
to anticipate and control factors. Defining
scopes and planning are related, since both
place an emphasis on the necessity to understand what is to be accomplished.
Human. The Project Manager must be a
leader. Commitment, involvement, communication, flexibility, openness, adaptability, perception, and being a team player should be
attributes. Placing an emphasis on project culture and environment is important. See Figure
15 entitled Project Manager Factors.
Few people, if any, are either absolutely
unsuitable or perfect candidates to be a Project
Manager. It is easier to select out the poor
candidates than to select in the good ones.
Yet selecting out, contrary to the negative
sounding nature of the process, yields candidates who can pass the most severe of tests.
The military and NASA are masters at the techniques of selecting out as a method for selecting in the best.
Concessions are to be made in the selection
process and rules of thumb often govern the
use of compromises. In making these concessions, the project assessment should be made
and the candidates selection based on appropriate qualifications.
There is no exchange for the responsibility
and authority the position must have. Also,

........................................................................
Figure 15 Project Manager Factors

there are no trade-offs for intelligence. Third,


the ability to work with people and complement their efforts with effective, competent
behavior cannot be compromised. Lastly, if
someone is available to whom technical management, scope, and planning can be delegated,
then a possibility for compromise exists.
Identifying people who have these attributes
is difficult. A one- or two-page project history
does not indicate a trend. On the other hand, a
career history often is beneficial in assessing an
individuals qualifications. Probing work histories is best accomplished by acquiring performance information on recent projects, if possible. This may not be sufficiently revealing even
to bottom-line evaluators. Also, talking with
superiors within the current organization often
is heavily biased. Superiors in past organizations are less apt to be biased. Subordinates,
particularly superintendents from past projects,
usually are candid, yet hyper-critical about
unsuccessful projects. Often, what people hesi-

tate to respond to or deliberately leave out will


reveal more than what is mentioned freely.
How well a person and the team deliver on
promises addresses many values desired in a
Project Manager; a competent following also
means a winner is leading the way.
A series of laws dictates how to access an
individuals past work record. Consulting with
a human resources specialist regarding the risks
can help. Also, a different series of laws protects individuals from discrimination in the
selection process. Care should be taken to
select on merit, and the decision should be
defensible.
Work Managers
Work Managers lead the teams accomplishing the work; therefore, they need both technical and administrative skills. Most construction
employees start in a position requiring narrow
technical ability. As they gain experience, they
may become department supervisors. As a

37

........................................................................

38

necessity of advancement, they learn to delegate and manage teams successfully. Work
Managers often have advanced to a level
requiring responsibility for several departments. The lead designer, for example, must
deal with structural, electrical, civil, and
mechanical technologies. The fabricator must
know welding and material procurement. The
general superintendent coordinates earthwork,
concrete, HVAC, and the power supply. All of
these Work Managers probably progressed
from a certain technology base and now must
be knowledgeable of several disciplines.
Work Managers team relationships are
more complicated. They manage at least one
level of supervision; the planning, delegation,
and monitoring process is more formal. They
may need assistance from a technical staff.
These managers also are responsible for training their subordinates in the delegation process.
In addition, a Work Manager must be able
to communicate horizontally with other Work
Managers and vertically with the respective
manager. Work Managers may have different
levels of formal education, which may create a
cultural barrier detrimental to understanding
and communicating with other Work
Managers. For example, the professional attitude of the designer is much different than the
get-it-done attitude of the construction
superintendent; however, the communication
and understanding between these two Work
Managers is essential.
Selection of Work Managers first must be
based on the technical skills required by the
project. Second is the assessment of their ability
to manage the work of several supervisors.
This requires that work managers understand
and use cost/schedule systems and manage people successfully. The larger the organization,
the more important formal management tools
become.

Work Managers must interface well with the


contractors Project Manager, who may have
personal preferences. Such preferences should
be a priority because a working relationship
has already been established. In addition, effective horizontal communications between Work
Managers may require support from the
Project Management Team.
Team Development
Assembling a group of individuals does not
make a team. Time is needed to cast off individual differences and learn to work together.
Individuals usually accept a project assignment
with little or no knowledge of the individuals
with whom they will be working. They make
an incremental career choice without complete
knowledge. The responsible leaders should
understand the phases of team development so
that they can hasten the process and get the
team up to speed as soon as possible.
Signing On. Signing on is the expression
used to describe what happens when individual
members formally are attached to a project. A
good case can be made for presenting the signing on process as a critical threshold point for
all teams. Sports teams assign the highest priority to the first few days of training camp and
prepare for new members in advance of their
arriving at the training site. Old members and
leaders answer questions in detail by their verbal and nonverbal actions and orientation. It is
not a hand-holding exercise. It is an often
tough, direct, bone-breaking, but thorough
introduction to the way business is done. In
effect, it is handing over a map of the territory.
To sign on, the new member shows up and
asks the basic questions: what is the game,
what are the objectives, the rules, what are the
consequences and where do I fit into all of this?
The signing-on process anticipates these questions and answers them directly. Several items

........................................................................
Figure 16 Stages of Team Development

39

........................................................................
for detailing the answers need particular
emphasis by those responsible. First, emphasize
the projects ability to meet professional and
career desires. Second, stress the communications network, how it is applied and how the
informal structure operates. Third, discuss the
project and job performance measures and
evaluation procedures. Finally, provide a specific date for a checkpoint to review how it is
working from the members point of view,
without the pressures of a formal performance
review. This may be done a few weeks after
signing-on.
The details of the predictable phases that
teams move through vary considerably. The
basic fundamentals remain fairly constant and
are easily identifiable. Each passage, or stage,
possesses critical team tasks, typical behaviors
arising out of those tasks, and certain leader
requirements. The four stages are indicated in
Figure 16 (see previous page):
l
l
l
l

Forming
Storming
Norming
Performing

The following four basic considerations help


in understanding how these stages develop and
relate to one another:
1. Each stage builds on the previous stage.
2. At each stage, there is potential for negative responses to current dilemmas in the
team.

40

Forming:
Storming:
Norming:
Performing:

fragmentation
disruptive conflict
rigidity
ritualistic activity

3. Skipping any passages creates negative


performance.
4. With every serious challenge, the process
is repeated or pushed back one or two
steps.
The dilemma that many project teams are
faced with is composed of the contract-supported, adversarial legal system on one hand
and wanting to work as a team on the other.
Unless the dilemma is managed, the work is
stymied and the team grinds down to a slow,
ineffective pace.
Construction teams tend to get stuck in the
storming phase. Our traditional roles incline us
to compete and fight over the right to give
short-term direction rather than build consensus. There is a growing practice, and acceptance, of the team-building process to work out
the conflicts that prevent teamwork.
The basic problem is that the human race
does a poor job of talking to itself. We learn to
play roles. In construction, many of these roles
are traditional and in conflict. As an example,
the designer and superintendent are not expected to get along with each other.
As long as the team leader continues to play
the role, usually that of The Boss, the other
team members will continue to play their roles.
We continue to have hidden agendas, lack of
candor and misunderstandings. A professional
facilitator is needed to lead the discussion so
that The Boss can just be The Boss. This
allows the rest of the team to be just Joe, Mary
and Tom, and clearer communication can take
place among these individuals without the trappings of the roles they have learned to play.
The usual process calls for a facilitator to
interview team members before the team-building session. The team then meets in a relaxed
environment, preferably away from the site

........................................................................
without job pressures, and the facilitator presents feedback on some of the concerns and
views expressed during the interviews.
Obviously, sources of information are not disclosed in order to create an atmosphere for
open, objective discussions without personal
liabilities.
The facilitator may begin with a few exercises (games) that allow the individuals to relate
to one another without risk. Then, the facilitator will begin objective discussions of concerns
and teamwork-impeding barriers that have surfaced in the open forum. The process may
require several hours, or even subsequent sessions, to resolve the conflict, dissolve the barriers, and create a foundation of trust and mutual understanding on which team members can
build. Assignments may be made to several
team members, specifically to improve teamwork. A future session may be scheduled to
review assignment results and monitor
progress.
The following considerations should be
reviewed prior to beginning a team-building
process:

4. Are the ranking team managers willing to


forego their project positions and allow
free-flowing communication?
5. Does the facilitator have a track record of
handling business groups with adversarial
issues as well as good chemistry with construction people?
This same process also is adaptable to routine teamwork maintenance at scheduled intervals during the project. The earlier these sessions begin, the better the success potential.
Since the owner benefits the greatest from
enhanced teamwork, the Project Executive
should consider initiating the process.

1. Is project management willing to commit


the time and expense of team building,
which may require not only the time of
team participants meeting for several
hours, but the expense for the facilitator
to gather information from each participating member and project management?
2. Is project management prepared to live
with the consequences of the teams decisions for handling the issues and not
induce overriding sanctions at the conclusion?
3. Which team is having problems? Should
contractor teams have in-house programs
before the project management team tries
it?

41

Chapter 7

Summary

........................................................................

42

In studying and evaluating what makes


some projects successful, the CII Project
Organization Task Force concludes that the
following key factors contribute to the success
of a project.
First is a recognition by all participants in
the project that although the owner is ultimately buying a facility, the process and the people
who are responsible for designing, procuring,
and constructing the facility also are part of
what the client is buying. Recognizing this, the
owner must create an atmosphere which fosters
a close-knit team working toward a common
goal, i.e., completion of a quality facility on
time and within budget. The concept of the
owners buying a process/team aligns well with
the CII concept of partnering.
The team, structured hierarchically with the
owner providing overall direction, consists of
engineering and construction organizations.
Because of the high degree of interaction
between various organizational entities, successful projects generally involve a complex
communications network at all levels within
the organization.
One of the most important concepts presented is the uncertainty matrix described in more
detail in Chapter 6. The matrix consists of two
elements of uncertainty/certainty-what and
how. What relates to the ultimate definition
of the physical facility, and how relates to
the process of completing the facility from the
initial idea through facility completion. In
order to complete a project successfully, the
total project team must reach agreement relative to the level of project uncertainty at the
onset and at various milestones throughout the
project. After agreeing, the entire team then is
working with a common understanding of the
project definition, which enhances the correct
major actions and decisions necessary to complete the project.

The task force also studied tools and mechanisms available to project teams to ensure project success. The primary tools during the initial phase of the project are establishing overall
project objectives, completing the design basis
for the facility, and preparing an execution
plan to accomplish the work. Using these tools,
the traditional planning, scheduling, and budget tools promoted by CII can be used to monitor and control the efforts of the project team
during detailed implementation of the design,
procurement, construction, and startup process. These tools provide the mechanism to
reduce uncertainty, from both a what and how
perspective during the course of the project.
Finally, as important as the above considerations are to the success of a project, the final
and most important factor to success is selecting appropriate management and supervisory
personnel at all levels of the project organization. These personnel should be leaders, with a
strong close out drive and an ability to work
as integrated members of a team with a common goal.

References

........................................................................
1. Keidel, Robert, Game Plans: Sports Strategies for Business, E.P. Dutton, 1985.
2. Bennis, Warren, and Nanus, Burt, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, Perennial Library,
1985.
3. The Business Roundtable, Report A-2, Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness (CICE) Project,
August 1982.
4. Construction Industry Institute Publication 8-2, Input Variables Impacting Design Effectiveness,
July 1987.
5. Salimbene, Rory A., and Ashley, David B., Achieving Construction Project Outcomes, Report
No. UTCEP-86-2, The University of Texas at Austin, December 1986

43

........................................................................
Project Organization Task Force Membership

*
*

*
*

Len Harris, Brown & Root Braun, Chairman


Jim Buettner, Rust International
Jim Carroll, Morrison Knudsen
Don Dickson, Houston Lighting & Power
Bob Geile, Monsanto
Bill Godley, Davy McKee
Ray Gruwell, Stone & Webster
Tom Horst, Exxon
Greg Howell, University of New Mexico
Jerry Hopper, Cambridge Group
Bob Knight, BE&K
Jay Leininger, Gilbert/Commonwealth
Phil Philliou, John Brown E&C
Jim Rowings, Jr., Iowa State University
Dave Schweikert, Metric Constructors
Tom White, AT&T
John Wysocki, Procter & Gamble
Past Members

44

R. A. Arnstein, John Brown Inc.


Michael D. Avant, Davy McKee
C. B. Clough, Procter & Gamble
R. E. Fulghum, Houston Lighting & Power
N. E. Harrison, North Brothers
R. Jaggard, U. S. Dept. of Defense
R. E. Levit, Stanford University
Neil L. MacFarlane, Exxon
V. D. McCaffrey, AT&T
R. J. Micholas, PPG Industries
D. R. Mittlestadt, Metric
Joe M. Nolan, IBM
J. A. Prall, Procter & Gamble
Dave Spivey, U. S. Dept. of Defense, past chairman
F. J. Talasco, General Electric Co.
Douglass J. Warner, Chevron
Ronald F. White, Texaco, past chairman
Ronald R. Wood, Black & Veatch
* Principal Authors
Editor: Rusty Haggard

Member Companies

Participating Academic Institutions

AT&T

Guy F. Atkinson Co. of California

Arizona State University

Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.

BE&K Construction Company

California-Berkeley

Aluminum Company of America

The Badger Company, Inc.

Carnegie-Mellon

American Cyanamid Company

Barnard & Burk Group, Inc.

Amoco Corporation

Bechtel Group, Inc.

University of Cincinnati
Clemson University

University

Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.

Belcan Engineering Services, Inc.

Atlantic Richfield Company

Black & Veatch Engineers-Architects

Atochem North America Inc.

Blount, Inc.

Georgia Institute of Technology

BP Oil Company

Brown & Root, Inc.

University of Houston

Chevron Corporation

John Brown E&C Inc.

Iowa State University

Consolidated Edison Co. of N.Y., Inc.

Cherne Contracting Corporation

Louisiana Tech University

Dow Chemical U.S.A.

Cianbro Corporation

University of Kentucky

E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., Inc.

CRS Sirrine Engineers, Inc.

Lehigh University

Eastman Chemical

University of Michigan

Exxon Research & Engineering Co.

Davy McKee Corporation


Day & Zimmermann, Inc.

FMC Corporation

Ebasco Constructors Inc.

General Electric Company

Eichleay Holdings Inc.

North Carolina State University


Oklahoma State University

General Motors Corporation

Fluor Daniel, Inc.

Oregon State University

Glaxo Inc.

Ford, Bacon & Davis, Inc.

Penn State University

Hoechst Celanese Corporation

Foster Wheeler Constructors. Inc.

Purdue University

Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc.

Fru-Con Corporation

Stanford University

Houston Lighting & Power Company

Gilbane Building Company

Texas A&M University

ICI Americas Inc.

Gilbert/Commonwealth, Inc.

University of Texas at Austin

International Business Machines Corp

Graycor, Inc.

University of Washington

International Paper Company

Gulf States, Inc.

University of Wisconsin, Madison

James River Corporation

Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Mobil Research & Development Corp.

Jones Group, Inc.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Monsanto Company

The M. W. Kellogg Company

Northern States Power Company

Lummus Crest Inc.

Ontario Hydro

Marshall Contractors Inc.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc.


Pfizer, Inc.

Morrison Knudsen Corporation

Phillips Petroleum Company

The Parsons Corporation

Potomac Electric Power Company


The Procter & Gamble Company

Peter Kiewit Sons, Inc.

Shell Oil Company

S&B Engineers and Constructors Inc.

Southwestern Bell Telephone

Sargent Electric Company

Tennessee Valley Authority


Texaco Inc.

Sordoni Skanska Construction Co.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Torcon, Inc.

U.S. Department of Defense

Turner Construction Company

U.S. Department of the Navy

United Engineers & Constructors Int.

Union Carbide Corporation

Woodward-Clyde Consultants

Weyerhaeuser Company

H. B. Zachry Company

North Bros. Company

Rust International Corporation

Stone &Webster Engineering Corp.

Colorado State University


University of Colorado

University of New Mexico