August 30, 2016 | by Wayne Smith

Construction Project Management Part IV: Participants, Goals, Constraints & Baselines

This article will briefly address four critical elements of each project. The first major project factor is project stakeholders. The second is having a solid set of criteria that form the foundation for project goals and objectives. The third element is resource constraints. The last concept is the ”project baseline” and why it is key to achieving success and the proper recognition for a job well done.

The next two articles will walk through the classic four phases of each project.

Stakeholders

Every project requires people or participants to make it happen. In project management terminology, these are called stakeholders. To be more precise, a stakeholder is any person or organization that is directly involved in the project or who is affected by the activities or results of the project. Generally stakeholders include the project manager, project sponsors, project team, customers of the project, etc.

On a wireless construction project, there are typically many stakeholders. These include regional divisions, finance, network operations (typically viewed as the customer), radio engineering, transport engineering, equipment engineering, construction, general contractors, legal, purchasing, real estate, owner representatives, etc. as well as company-external governmental agencies and building authorities. In short, stakeholders typically consist of many members with complex, and sometimes differing, needs and requirements. This is why efficient and effective communications is imperative to run a successful wireless construction project.

A unique and critical stakeholder is the project sponsor. Sponsors are typically the person(s) or organizations authorize and fund the project. Sponsors may be one or more of the company stakeholders depending upon how authority is determined by the company.

Specific Project Goals

As mentioned in an earlier article, all projects share four general goals – deliver the defined project, deliver it on time, deliver it under or on budget and meet the expected quality requirements. However, in order to meet these objectives, each project will consist of several other specific goals and objectives. These goals will depend upon the specific project undertaken. The important point is these goals should meet certain criteria. Each goal must be clear and specific, realistic, measureable, agreed upon, follow a timeline and identify the party responsible for delivering the goal. Of course, these are just common sense, but we all know there is nothing common about common sense.

Resource Constraints

A resource constraint is any restriction that impacts the performance of the project or when any activity can be scheduled. The classic three resource constraints are scope, schedules and budgets. The scope constraint consists of the limit of activities that a project can undertake. In other words, there are only so many activities that can be performed. Schedules have to do with time and when things are performed and completed. Budget constraints have a direct affect on human resources and financial resources.

The Project Baseline

A baseline is a starting point that can be used for comparison. A project baseline will consist of a clear and concise scope, an accurate budget and a well designed activity time schedule. It is not only the starting point, but it should be frequently revised based on changes external to the project. Maintaining a current and accurate baseline will guarantee that project performance is being evaluated against the latest criteria. Failing to revise the baseline or starting point, as external factors affect constraints, has made more than one successful project be viewed as a failure.