Lifecycle Management Of Information Technology Project In Construction Essay
Over last decade, our world has changed dramatically due to growing phenomenon of globalization and revolution in information technology. There is tremendous demand on companies to lower costs, enlarge product assortment, improve product quality, and provide reliable delivery dates through effective and efficient coordination of production and distribution activities. To achieve these conflicting goals, companies must constantly re-engineer or change their business practices and employ information systems. In recent times, IT has enabled some organisation, including those in construction industry, to transform or re-engineer their business processes in face of rapidly changing business environment. (scacchi 2001:32)
This paper considers adaptations to overall practice of project management to more explicitly recognize, represent, and manage interdependencies between different project views, presenting the conceptual framework for the unified approach to project management.
Current trends in information and communication technology (ICT) are yielding the wide range of new computer-based tools to support architecture, engineering, construction and facilities management industries (collectively referred to simply as “construction” in this paper). These tools(Oppenheimer 2002: 44)particularly those associated with building information models (BIMs) for project modeling and integration-promise great increases in effectiveness and efficiency of designing and managing construction projects. However, these improvements require more than just technical solutions; their full potential cannot be realized without corresponding changes in work tasks and skill sets of project participants.
Related essay: “Difference Between Flow Shops and Job Shops”
The main aim of research is to identify and investigate implementation of Lifecycle Management of Information Technology Projects In Constructions.
The above aims will be achieved by following number of objectives.
1. Literature review and search of previous works will be made on same proposed area.
2. to investigate extent of implementation in construction
3. To assess IT investment appraisal techniques.
4. Assess IT project selection framework (all industries).
5. To assess performance measurement framework developed (for non-construction industries).
6. To assess IT performance measurement framework for construction industry.
7. Examine strategic IT implementation and monitoring frameworks and their relevance to construction (all industries).
8. IT integration and performance measurement literature (IT specifics);and Implementation of performance measurement within an organisation.
We have categorized trends in construction ICT into three eras . The first era of construction ICT (now more than four decades old and continuing) focused on developing stand-alone tools to assist specific work tasks such as CAD, structural analysis tools, estimating, etc. These tools are well established within current practice. A more recent second era (from mid-1990s) of construction ICT has focused on computer-supported communications such as E-mail, web, document management systems, etc. (McMahon 2001:4)This is the less mature field, with new tools and core features still emerging, and business processes still adapting. Much of construction ICT research and development over past decade has pursued the third era of construction IT focused not on individual applications or transactions, but on potential for uniting all of these as the cohesive overall system through integration, building modeling, etc. This emerging ICT has seen some impressive innovative use in industry but has yet to reach mainstream application.
We are exploring relationship between emerging ICT and project management and, in particular, how project management should evolve to fully exploit emerging ICT potential. We have discussed the specific sub-discipline life cycle of project information management and role of the Project Information Officer. The implementation of Lifecycle Management of Information Technology Projects In Constructions.
Theoretical Frame work
We have defined three broad ways in which these ICT trends impact construction project management. First, trends in construction ICT are leading to information systems that are increasingly complex, increasingly central to management of project, and require increasingly specialized knowledge and work practices. As the complex and critical project resource, project information and information systems must be explicitly managed. (McMahon 2001:4)We have addressed this issue of project information management as the specific sub-discipline of project management . second, we argue in this paper that current project management practice de-emphasizes interdependencies between project tasks as the necessary mechanism for dealing with project complexity. While not the problem for “stand-alone” first era ICT systems, second and third era ICT systems assume and require the relatively high degree of integration and collaboration across project tasks.
Because of this difference, emerging ICT often has difficulties fitting into current practice, and current practice is not able to take full advantage of potential of such systems. This paper suggests that project management practice, enabled by emerging construction ICT, could more explicitly recognize, represent, and manage interdependencies that are pervasive throughout construction projects, thereby fully exploiting potential of ICT to improve overall project performance. Third, the major thrust of third era ICT (typified by technologies such as BIM, IFCs, virtual design and construction , and nD ) suggests fundamental changes to construction projects in which project team comes together to produce comprehensive, computer-based, virtual prototypes of all aspects of construction project as central activity for design and management of project. A full virtual design and construction approach (which would indeed involve significant changes to project management practices) is outside of scope of this paper, but issue of addressing project interdependencies through the unified approach to project management (as discussed here) is fully compatible with, and an essential element of, (Laitenberger 2000:5) the virtual design and construction approach.
The ultimate objective of work described in this paper is to produce practical guidelines for modified project management processes. However, this paper focuses on early phases of research on this topic: developing the conceptual framework for understanding issue of multiple views and interdependencies in project management, and suggesting the general approach for how project management practice and emerging ICT might exploit this framework. (Karolak 2005: 32)As such, paper is largely conceptual in nature. Future work will include further development of proposed solutions and industrial experimentation and validation.
Limitation of study
A number of limitations of our study must be mentioned. These limitations also provide avenues for further research. A major limitation is that only one organization was selected. In future studies the number of different industries can be selected to improve generalizability. secondly, our study will use data obtained from customers to the limited extent. Additional studies in this field should use customer-based data to the greater extent than we will to achieve the deeper understanding of processes that drive customer reactions.
Thirdly, our study merely considers moderating effects of customer orientation of integration. It is plausible that customer orientation of integration has the direct effect on cost savings and market-related performance.
In evaluating studies, several methodological concerns emerge. Perhaps most important are reliability and validity (storey, in press). Reliability assessment is the core component of behavioral research and can be incorporated easily into direct observations for determining optimal levels of performance. However, only 48% of studies (excluding those using computerized assessment) reported reliability measures on comparison assessment. Results were worse for assessing social importance of effects (28 % reporting reliability), social significance of goals (4% reporting reliability), and validation of appropriateness of procedures (8% reporting reliability). several procedures have been used that can provide reliability of questionnaire measurement methods, including test–retest, odd–even, Kendall’s coefficient, Pearson r coefficient, and equivalent-forms method.
social validation procedures are valid to extent that they measure what they claim to measure. It is critical that good internal and external validity be estate” fished for social validation procedures. The external validity of assessment procedures reviewed here is questionable. The dimensions researchers believe they are measuring may have little relation to what is actually being measured and that face validity is inadequate as sole criterion for evaluating validity of assessment devices.
One way to assess validity would be to have social validation assessment developed or reassessed by the panel of “experts” or judges who are not involved directly in research. Another method would be to have the social validation assessment of social validation instrument. For instance, after responding to the questionnaire, raters would respond to the second questionnaire that told them purpose of first questionnaire and asked them to rate how well they thought questions assessed purpose. In addition, researchers need to be aware of halo effects, biases toward leniency or severity, central tendency responses, and position or proximity biases of raters, which may artificially enhance reliability of measurement without improving response accuracy or validity.
Researcher is fully aware of ethical issues involved in this work. Responsibility for all procedures and ethical issues related to project rests with principal investigators. Research will be conducted in such the way that integrity of research enterprise will be maintaineds and negative after-effects which might diminish potential for future research were avoided. The choice of research issues will be based on best scientific judgment and on an assessment of potential benefit to participants and society in relation to risk to be borne by participants. This study will be related to an important intellectual issue.
The researcher is aware of any potential harmful effects; in such circumstancess and chosen method was used after consultation with colleagues and other experts. Full justification for method chosen was given. The research will be conducted in the competent fashions as an objective scientific project and without bias. The research will be carried out in full compliance withs and awareness ofs local customss standardss laws and regulations. The researcher is familiar withs and respects host culture.
The principal investigators’ own ethical principles will made clear to all those involved in research to allow informed collaboration with other researchers. Potential conflicts will be resolved before research begins. The research will be avoided undue intrusion into lives of individuals or communities they study. The welfare of informants had highest priority; their dignitys privacy and interests will be protected at all times. Freely given informed consent will be obtained from all human subjects such as librarians who will provide literature sources.
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
Modeling development lifecycle
Lifecycle modeling is best described as process of adapting the default or standard development lifecycle to suit the project-specific context. The result is an instance of the development lifecycle defining applicable milestones, phases and activities that take actual project-specific circumstances into account. Lifecycle modeling becomes the particularly critical issue in development of complex products with the multi-disciplinary and/or multi-site environment, requiring multiple engineering domains, confronting each other with their different ways of working. (Herbsleb 2001:16)Despite existence of detailed lifecycle descriptions from several sources (associated guides or standards on how to use them in actual practice (lifecycle modeling as such is often not given attention it deserves.
Modeling lifecycle for complex product development
since 1950s, many descriptions of software development lifecycle have appeared , of which waterfall model is best known . In 1990s, V-lifecycle model became popular . The V-model has characteristics that account for its wide acceptance in field of testing. The model explicitly recognizes testing activities throughout all phases of development by identification of test levels (unit test, integration test, system test, acceptance test). The distinct test levels are based on different types of product information (customer requirements, technical requirements and designs), with consequence that different types of defects will be detected. Test activities are executed concurrently with development activities with intention of detecting defects as early as possible and of preventing propagation of defects to later stages of development. In development of complex products, simple lifecycles are no longer appropriate. (Grady 2002:32)A method commonly used to manage complex product development projects is layering of project management responsibilities, leading to the hierarchy of projects, each having its own specific lifecycle. Typically hierarchy reflects product’s main architecture. Fig. below shows an example of how an overall lifecycle for the complex development project can be represented by the combination of simple, hierarchical related V-lifecycles.
Fig. Example of the complex development lifecycle.
Complexity and interdependencies in construction projects
Construction projects are often described as large and increasingly complex. A greater understanding of nature of this complexity can point to areas where need for improved management is greatest. studies have identified following characteristics as generally common to any type of complex system :
1. Complex systems are comprised of the multiplicity of things; they have the large number of entities or parts. Generally, more parts the system contains, more complex it is. (Gilb 2002:2)
2. Complex systems contain the dense web of causal connections among their components. The parts affect each other in many ways.
3. Complex systems exhibit interdependence of their components. The behavior of parts is dependent upon other parts. If system is broken apart, components no longer function (like parts of human body).
4. Complex systems are open to their outside environments. They are not self-contained, but are affected by outside events.
5. Complex systems normally show the high degree of synergy among their components: whole is more than sum of its parts.
6. Complex systems exhibit non-linear behavior. A change in system can produce an effect that is not proportional to its size: small changes can produce large effects, and large changes can produce small effects.
To some extent, all of these features can be observed in construction projects. Construction projects are made up of components such as physical elements in the building, design or construction activities, people and resources utilized, etc. In many cases, individual components are not complex. Yet number of components that make up project is vast, and causal connections between these components are numerous. For example, the change in intended use of some space in the building could affect heating and cooling requirements for that space, which could affect design of parts of mechanical system, which could alter elements of electrical system, which could change the purchase order for material supplies, which could delay the material delivery, which could influence construction schedule, which could reduce productivity of the work crew, which could increase the work package cost, which could affect the sub-contractor’s financing, and so on. (Freedman 2000:45)
Furthermore, complexity is increasing-aside from technical complexity of facilities themselves, trends such as IsO 9001 quality management, public-private partnership financing, sustainability concerns, etc. have increased number of important inter-related issues that must be simultaneously addressed. Construction projects, then, are justifiably described as complex, largely because of quantity and interdependence of components that make up project. (Here, we have developed notion of complexity to better understand issue of interdependencies in construction-yet the deeper mining of complexity theory may well yield many other concepts and techniques beneficial to construction industry. As Merali and McKelvey describe, “The compelling argument for complexity science is that it provides the wide and powerful lens to define and move around multi-dimensional ‘problem’ and ‘solution’ spaces in the dynamic way, at multiple levels of abstraction.” (Ebert 2001:545))
The two concepts of components and interdependency, as two important characteristics of all construction projects, correspond to two concepts that are important characteristics of way that people manage and carry out construction projects. These are, respectively, notion of distinct project views (incomplete, partial perspectives of whole project), (Ebert 2001:62)and integration, degree to which distinct views are explicitly perceived to inter-relate with one another.
Views and integration in project management approaches
One of fundamental mechanisms that construction industry has developed for dealing with complexity is approach of decomposing project work into well-defined work tasks and assigning each work task to the specialist group. Each group works with subset of project information that is relevant to their work represented in the form suitable to their particular task, thereby creating the specific view of project. These tasks are then carried out, to the large extent, as if they are fairly independent from each other. To be sure, each participant has some notion that their work must follow certain work and must precede other work, and that certain actions or outcomes of their work will influence others. (Carmel 2005:45)Also, the few individuals in project have explicit responsibility for overall coordination (e.g., project manager). By and large, however, participants adopt the view that focuses primarily on their individual tasks, with any concerns about these interdependencies addressed in the very ad hoc and reactive way. Most participants try to optimize their own work while few people responsible for managing project as the whole have little opportunity to optimize entire system.
Clearly, it is beneficial to organize work in such the way as to minimize interdependency among work tasks. However, we contend that the weakness of current project management practice is that it tends to treat typical construction work tasks as being far more independent than they actually are. Instead, project management approaches should strive to make interdependencies between work tasks more explicit. (Battin 2001:70)This does not increase interdependence and complexity, but it does make existing interdependency and complexity more visible, and therefore more manageable. In summary, construction projects are complex because of quantity and interdependency of their components, and project management techniques should strive to make these interdependencies explicit by increasing level of integration among project views.
Towards virtual design and construction
The unified approach to project management involves not only the change to representational structures as outlined above, but also the change in way participants think of underlying project mechanism and their role in it. Currently, projects are regarded as custom, unique endeavors and project tasks as the collection of one-off activities. The thought process is to find the satisfactory solution to project requirements rather than to find “best” solution. In part, this is because there is no room for trial-and-error exploration. (Oppenheimer 2002: 46) Full-scale models are impossible and small-scale physical models are of limited use.
In unified approach to project management-and particularly if ICT trends are followed to extent of full virtual design and construction approaches-integrated project representations act as project prototypes or models that can play same central role in construction as prototypes do in manufacturing. They provide integrated, computer-based collections of all known project information. They may contain geometric information to allow tools like 3D visualization, but they also contain non-geometric design and management information, such as material properties, supplier information, cost and schedule data, organizational information, etc.
Thus, perspective is changed to be more like that of manufacturing: the prototyping process followed by an ongoing production process. (McMahon 2001:9)Design and planning tasks first work towards creation of prototypes or models. In these models, alternatives are developed and explored, new issues are identified and resolved, and interactions and interfaces are hammered out. Once all concerns are satisfied, prototype is used to organize production process. Every participant views their role as carrying out their tasks by drawing information from project model, placing their results back into project model, and using model to explore interaction of their work with others and to support communications. In this way, overall concerns of project are more prominent to all and are easier to identify and explore-we believe this will produce better solutions.
Technical solutions: ICT tools to support unified approach to project management
A practical minimum requirement for applying unified approach to project management is some type of ICT platform that allows views to be represented, inter-related, accessed, and utilized in an efficient manner by all project participants. We are currently developing following framework for such systems:
Generally, the project environment would utilize traditional software tools to work with information within each specific project view (as described earlier, these first era systems are fairly mature and we are unlikely to develop radically improved tools for work within their traditional scope)-yet none of these existing systems captures all of multi-dimensional and integrated nature of proposed approach.
Most traditional tools would become more efficient, and some would increase in functionality, because of ability to share project information through third era ICT (such as IFC-based data exchange). (Laitenberger 2000:8)A new class of software would act as “information aggregators”, collecting together information from all of individual tools into an overall project information set. Within information aggregator tools, technology based on IFCs allows most project information to be represented and inter-linked.
Technology based on Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) provides the structure for defining specific project information dimensions, combining these dimensions together into integrated data sets (data cubes), and applying various visualization and manipulation actions on these integrated data views. The information aggregator tools can be used to define the wide variety of multi-faceted information views. This capability is intended to be used to define the small number of views that are very widely used by most participants throughout project (Karolak 2005: 39) (to provide common perspective on project), and then allow participants to define any additional views to better support their own work tasks.
The basic functionality of information aggregators would allow users to define and work with inter-relationships between views, find relevant information by following relationships from one tool to another, and analyze inter-related information through various visualization techniques. Later functionality would operationalize integrated models to provide simulation and analysis, e.g., as is done for certain views by scheduling software, 4D CAD systems or organizational simulation . The representation of work activities in system could also tie into workflow management systems to partially automate management of project activity.
With such systems, problem of fit between project management practices and emerging ICT technologies would be addressed in two ways (Herbsleb 2001:25) First, it creates explicit linkages between project management framework and integrated ICT systems. second, and perhaps more importantly, it strongly emphasizes integration and collaboration of all project activities, which is the basic requirement of highly integrated and interoperable ICT approaches. We will be providing greater detail of these possible ICT solutions in later work.
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
Design is the structure or way in which the research is conducted. There are many components that comprise dissertation e.g. data, methods, theories etc. These have to be structured in best possible way to provide the comprehensive answer to research questions and testing research hypotheses.
Instrument (interview/ Questionnaire)
All data can be categorised into primary and secondary. The former is defined as information that had not been previously used in other researchers but is unique and retrieved specifically for undertaken investigation. The advantage of using primary data is that it increases originality of researchers and allows conducting the good qualitative analysis. However, very often quantitative analysis is also used to work with primary data. The main techniques for obtaining primary data are questionnaires, interviews and semi-structured interviews.
Data Collection Method
The qualitative research interview seeks to describe and meanings of central themes in life world of subjects. The main task in interviewing is to understand meaning of what interviewees say. A qualitative research interview seeks to cover both the factual and the meaning level, though it is usually more difficult to interview on the meaning level.
Interviews are particularly useful for getting story behind the participant’s experiences. The interviewer can pursue in-depth information around topic. Interviews may be useful as follow-up to certain respondents to questionnaires, e.g., to further investigate their responses. Interviews are completed by interviewer based on what respondent says.
* Interviews are the far more personal form of research than questionnaires.
* In personal interview, interviewer works directly with respondent.
* Unlike with mail surveys, interviewer has opportunity toprobe or ask follow up questions.
* Interviews are generally easier for respondent, especially if what is sought is opinions or impressions.
* Interviews are time consuming and they are resource intensive.
* The interviewer is considered the part of measurement instrument and interviewer has to well trained in how to respond to any contingency.
CHAPTER 4: DIsCUssION
Views and integration in project information
All design and management tasks work with information rather than physical resources. This information all describes or models physical construction project, and thus it can be said that all designers and managers work with information models of project. To the large extent, each task works with the type of information model that reflects that task’s unique view or perspective, with little integration between these different information views. This wide range of disparate information views adds to fragmentation of these tasks. With the few exceptions (such as basic architectural plans), there is very little of the common, shared vision of project across all participants-at least until physical structure begins to emerge, at which point physical building itself provides the unifying common perspective for all participants.
Fig. 1 links projects, participants, and information to concepts of view integration. It shows several levels of abstraction of the construction project. To far left is actual real-world project itself (no abstraction). Opposite, on far right, are mental models that project participants build up in their own minds to understand project (i.e., individual’s understanding of real-world project). However, we have shown that designers and managers generally interact with project through various information models, so their mental models are connected to real-world project through various computer applications and documents. Following convention that computer system architecture consists of data layer, application logic layer, and presentation layer, these information systems can be decomposed into levels of computer-based data models that underlie computer applications, computer applications used to support various work tasks, and documents (paper or electronic, including individual views presented by computer tools) that provide most of information from which participants construct their mental models.
Fig. 1. An illustration of level of integration between views within various levels of abstraction of construction project information.
For each of these levels of abstraction, Fig. 1 describes level of integration that exists between distinct views within that level. These are shown for three cases: current situation, effects of emerging ICT, and desired situation for fully exploiting integrated ICT in future. In all cases, project components within real world are highly inter-dependent, so we would describe this as fully integrated. In case of current situation, there is generally the one-to-one relationship between documents, computer applications used to create these documents, and data sets that these applications use: and all of these are capable of little or no integration. We have argued that participants construct their own mental views of project (derived from these single-perspective documents) with the low degree of integration between views. As an example, in situation of change to intended use of some building space mentioned previously, real world fully exhibits all of interdependent changes mentioned; data models, computer applications, and documents currently used would be unlikely to reflect any of these interdependencies until they were manually updated by human users; while participants may perceive many, but not all, of these interdependencies.
With ICT of emerging third era, potential to integrate data sets that underlie many of computer applications is significantly increased. The ability of computer applications to work with integrated views of data is only slightly improved, however, with very minor changes in basic documents and, correspondingly, participants’ mental models of project. To fully exploit potential of integrated ICT in future, ability to integrate all project data must continue to improve to degree that collective project data set captures much of inherent interdependencies of real world. No computer application, document, or individual’s understanding of project can come close to capturing totality of project information and all of its interdependencies, but all of these can and must improve their ability to integrate distinct views significantly over current situation.
Management solutions: the unified approach to project management
We have argued that existing project management practices underemphasize inter-relationships between individual work tasks and other project components. This leaves interdependencies under-recognized and under-managed, and promotes the “one-time event” thinking that hinders quest for ongoing performance improvements. We have begun to conceptualize the unified approach to project management that addresses some of weaknesses and opportunities identified above. In this approach, the heavy emphasis is placed on way that managers organize and structure project information and its interdependencies.
The basic approach
In current practice, all project participants work with various sets of project information, which can be considered to be views of overall project data set. However, definition of these views is ad hoc and idiosyncratic, they are not treated explicitly and formally, and there is minimal representation of interdependencies between views.
In the unified approach to project management, all project participants would continue to work with their required project information, but these information sets would be more explicitly and formally treated as views of overall project information set (even if overall project information set does not exist as an individual physical thing). Although each user could define and work with any type of view, the few primary views would be common to all participants and would be widely used for communication and collaboration throughout project, providing the unifying influence. (Herbsleb 2001:16) Further, where practical, interdependencies between views would be captured. Emerging ICT tools would support work with views and interdependencies, and would be able to leverage them to provide significant new functionality. While change in actual management effort would be minimal, impact could be the substantial increase in understanding of how each task interacts with others and with overall project as the whole, in much way that UML has brought similar improvements to software industry. The following sections provide the more detailed discussion of some of elements of this approach.
We take the view to be some collection of information pertaining to construction project for purpose of carrying out the particular task. since views describe some portion of overall project information, the view is considered to be the subset of total project information set. A view may be described in very informal and loosely defined terms, or as the formal, precisely defined data set. Examples of project views include physical view (“what”, as in project plans), process view (“how, who, when”, as in project schedule documents), (Grady 2002:32)cost view (“how much”, as in estimates), etc. . If total collection of project information is thought of as the multi-dimensional information space, then views define dimensions. For each view, overall project can be broken down into smaller elements. The simplest representation of the view would be the list or hierarchical breakdown structure of elements that make up view (e.g., the work breakdown structure, WBs). More complex representations would capture additional relationships between elements, such as the CPM network or an IFC model. At times it may also be useful to differentiate between notion of data views, which are used in same sense as in database technologies to refer to the formally-defined subset of the larger data set, and notion of presentation views, which refer to the specific organization of the specific data set for purpose of document output or human-computer interfaces. For example, several different graphical and tabular presentation views may be constructed from one data view.
In order for all project participants to be able to carry out their own tasks in most efficient manner, they must be free to work with information that they need presented in way that suits them best. For example, the structural designer may need to represent geometry of structural elements as dimensionally accurate line drawings or data files, while an architectural renderer may require texture and color information but not high dimensional accuracy, and an HVAC designer may require only schematic representations. Any approach to the formal treatment of project views must allow this flexibility, thus the wide variety of types of project views will be defined across lifespan of project. (Gilb 2002:2)However, this works against one of major goals of formalizing treatment of views, which is to provide everyone with the unifying common perspective of project information.
Our solution to overcoming this problem is to use the small set of widely-applicable views as primary views for communication and collaboration throughout project, thus providing common perspective for all participants, in addition to allowing all participants to define and work with other secondary views in order to maximize their own effectiveness. Various views are candidates for primary views. For example, UML-based Unified Process mentioned earlier is organized around views describing the functional breakdown (workflows), sequential phases, and design artifacts (models and documents).
In construction, however, the few views stand out as being widely used throughout project. For example, one version of the set of primary perspectives has been articulated by Fischer and Kunz in their POP model: Products, Organization, and Processes. (POP and model proposed here are different models developed separately for different purposes-for example, POP is more directly tied to Virtual Design and Construction process discussed below (Freedman 2000:45)yet they have similar roles of presenting high-level frameworks that give structure to the wide range of management and technology issues, and similarity of their resulting forms reinforces utility of approach). We suggest that following four views be used as primary project coordination mechanism for all participants:
* The Product View: The first primary view organizes outputs or deliverables of work. This includes most basic of all views, facility itself. significantly, however, it also includes an explicit representation of another type of deliverable-information deliverables that describe constructed facility. During early phases of project, deliverables of design and management tasks are information about physical facility. The collective sum of all of this information can be thought of as building information model or virtual building (whether or not an integrated ICT environment is used). During later phases, this information drives physical deliverables of construction work: creation of physical components themselves. This view emphasizes the continuum that flows from virtual facility to physical one.
* The Process View: The second primary view is process-based. It can be broken down by functional tasks required during project and/or by sequential ordering of tasks.
* The Resource View: The third primary view defines resources required to carry out construction project. In particular, this includes all organizational resources (companies, individuals, roles), but it also includes other resources such as materials, equipment, financing, etc.
* The Time View: The fourth view defines time dimension for project. It can be expressed in terms of absolute time (calendar dates) or in terms of logical phases and iterations through project progresses (useful in formalizing various decision gates, etc.).
This dimension is not particularly significant when taken by itself, but it provides the fundamental dimension for mapping against other three primary views.
As the highly simplified example, an AEC project might be organized into following primary views (Table 1).
Table 1. simplified breakdown of project into four common primary views.
IFC product model
Building services workflow
Building systems and finishes
A salient feature of primary views is that they can all be mapped to each other. The following lists some of pair-wise interdependencies:
* Process vs. Time: Relating process workflows and their constituent tasks to project timeline creates the schedule view of project, showing what should happen when. This can include both logical schedule (sequencing) and absolute schedule (calendar dates). It can also show that most workflows span multiple phases/iterations, and can indicate amount of effort expended on each workflow over time, which emphasizes “ongoing processes” nature of work.
* Product vs. Time: similarly, various project deliverables can be mapped to project timeline. The deliverables are generally cumulative, thus this shows how total project output (collective body of project information and physical structure) develops over time.
* Product vs. Process: The assignment of project deliverables to workflows and tasks shows how work processes collaborate to produce required deliverables.
All of other inter-relationships between four primary views can also be meaningfully defined, e.g., showing resources against products, process, or time. The primary views and inter-relationships between them define the multi-dimensional space (Fig. 2 shows the conceptual view that combines some of pair-wise relationships into the three-dimensional representation). (Ebert 2001:545)The key to applicability of this approach is ability to represent primary views and their inter-relationships in the simple, intuitive manner that all project participants can work with. It would be ideal if this could be achieved using the single, all-encompassing image (presentation view), but it seems unlikely that such the representation is possible (e.g., image in Fig. 2 is neither complete nor intuitive). Therefore, it may be necessary to represent primary dimensions as the set of two-dimensional matrices. Each of these matrices may be quite simple and intuitive. For example, matrix of workflows vs. project lifecycle forms the Gantt chart (bar chart schedule). Fig. 3 shows examples of possible multi-dimensional project views. What is essential (and what would differentiate this approach from current practice) is that collection of two-dimensional matrices is inter-related and kept synchronized, which would require effective underlying project management tools.
Fig. 2. schematic of dimensions in the unified approach to project management.
Fig. 3. Examples of widely-applicable, multi-dimensional views of the project: processes with associated outputs vs. time (filtered to show only viewer’s processes); outputs of viewer highlighted on an overall view of project outputs; contributions of viewer’s processes to overall project outputs, and the supply chain view of all processes associated with each output vs. time.
Fig. 3. Examples of widely-applicable, multi-dimensional views of the project: processes with associated outputs vs. time (filtered to show only viewer’s processes); outputs of viewer highlighted on an overall view of project outputs; contributions of viewer’s processes to overall project outputs, and the supply chain view of all processes associated with each output vs. time.
In many cases, relationships between any two views may form the narrowly banded matrix: each item in one view would be associated with the small number of items in other view and two dimensions could be organized such that interdependent connections are predominately close to diagonal in the matrix representation. This may lead to interesting possibilities, such as ability to partially automate creation of one view from another (e.g., automatic generation of approximate lists of construction activities and estimate items from the building product model), or ability to recognize “exceptions”, cases where relationships deserve extra management attention because they lie outside of typical band of inter-relationships. It may be that, because of this banding, the single combined view showing product-process-resource tuples vs. time could provide the useful presentation of combined primary views. We hope to explore opportunities created by this banding in future work.
We have suggested that four primary views seem to be appropriate for overall project organization and coordination of all participants. However, those responsible for managing project can add many more inter-related views. This would provide the very powerful representation of project from all of perspectives that are important for achieving project objectives, along with explicit representations of inter-relationships that exist between these views. Examples of additional views include following:
* Cost View: This view identifies various cost schedules (estimates, cost-control accounts, etc.) that are important to project. Costs can be related to workflows/tasks, deliverables, organizational units, etc.
* Risk View: As part of the risk management approach, significant risks can be identified and associated with specific workflows/tasks, deliverables, organizational units, cost items, etc.
* Quality View: Quality management programs may identify quality metrics, inspection tasks and results, etc., associated with workflow/tasks and deliverables.
* Requirements View: software engineering methods formally capture system requirements using constructs such as use cases. On AEC/FM projects, requirements would typically be less structured, but it may be possible to define the view that explicitly represents project requirements in the way that helps.
* As-Built View: As construction work proceeds, actual results of work, in terms of final construction results, actual cost and productivity data, etc., can be captured in an as-built view.
* Other Views: A view can be created for any other area of interest on the project where the set of items can meaningfully be identified that relate to other defined view, such as the contractual view, safety view, environmental impact/sustainability view, punch list/defect view, maintenance view, etc.
The possibility of defining the large number of views does not imply that the significant amount of additional management work is required. Rather, it suggests that when issues are already being addressed with some form of explicit management effort, the representation structure can be used that can capture relationships between these issues and other key management issues.
Working with unified approach to project management
As shown, unified approach to project management is based on defining formalized views of project information along with inter-relationships between views. This section discusses application of this approach by comparing it with best practices in project scheduling. If good scheduling and schedule control practices are used on an AEC/FM project, project will benefit from good work coordination; there will be more certainty about timing of events; it will be easier to measure progress; and productivity, cost, and project duration will be improved. similarly, good practices using unified approach will improve project outcomes through more effective planning, communications, and coordination, particularly with respect to interdependencies between project views. The process would be approximately as follows:
The project management team would define project views to be used on project. These are generally minor reformulations of views used now.
Project planning would be carried out much as on the typical project, except that results would be represented using defined project views. This would result in lists or breakdown structures for project phases, workflows/tasks, deliverables, etc. This would be analogous to the typical project scheduling process, where results are represented in the CPM network. (Ebert 2001:62)
ï¿½ The key inter-relationships between views would be defined. This would be analogous to way that precedence relationships are captured in the schedule, or way that the schedule can be mapped to cost accounts, resource plans, or to the building information model (as in case of 4D CAD). Other than precedence relationships, this type of mapping is not typically done in current project management practices, so it represents some additional work for project planners. However, it need not be done at the very detailed level, and use of hierarchical relationships and effective planning tools may minimize effort required for this task.
ï¿½ The execution of resulting plan (e.g., initiating work tasks), project control and feedback (collecting progress information and monitoring results), and re-planning activities all take place using representational framework. Work tasks themselves remain essentially unchanged, but because planning and management system explicitly capture inter-relationships, causal links between actions will be better recognized and understood, and potential negative impacts of any action will be identified earlier and mitigated or avoided more easily. (Carmel 2005:45)For example, in case of change in intended use of some space in the building mentioned previously, threads of causal impacts of this change may be more easily traced through design, construction, procurement, time, and financial aspects of project-appropriate adjustments can be made in advance, rather than allowing impact to propagate as the series of unanticipated, reactionary actions.
ï¿½ As with scheduling, detail is important, but not all detail is required in advance. Planning for each view might be carried out at the summary level initially, with greater detail added over time, culminating in something like detailed, rolling two-week look-ahead unified plans.
ï¿½ In scheduling, basic schedule representations such as bar charts are widely used as coordination mechanisms for all participants, while more advanced analysis like resource leveling is carried out by project management specialists only. similarly, many potential applications of unified approach fall into three general categories: 1) use of primary views as the broadly-applicable coordination mechanism shared by all participants, 2) use of multiple views to capture all of detailed information relevant to one participant carrying out one particular task, and 3) use of detailed information in multiple views to carry out some specialized project analysis.
We have discussed unified approach to project management in terms of the representational framework and general methodology for project planning and management. However, organizational context for approach should also be addressed. This would include issues such as how project team is organized (ideally, all key team members would be involved early in process); who carries out each portion of unified plans, (Battin 2001:70) when, and in how much detail; how incentives are structured to encourage effective use of unified approach, etc. The approach would certainly be closely tied into information management issues discussed elsewhere by author . The approach is also quite dependant on the set of appropriate ICT tools to support process, as discussed in later section on technical solutions.
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUsION
We have argued that project management practices should evolve to fully exploit opportunities offered by emerging construction ICT. This paper has addressed changes to practice of project management as the whole. Broadly, we suggest that the unified approach to project management involves defining the set of widely-applicable common views of project information, explicitly defining inter-relationships between information in these different views, and modifying project management tools and procedures to work with these integrated views. Work is ongoing to develop both information technology and corresponding management practices.
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