Understanding Applications of Project Planning and Scheduling in Construction Projects

University dissertation from Department of Construction Sciences, Lund University

Abstract: Construction project life-cycle processes must be managed in a more effective and predictable way to meet project stakeholders’ needs. However, there is increasing concern about whether know-how effectively improves understanding of underlying theories of project management processes for construction organizations and their project managers. Project planning and scheduling are considered as key and challenging tools in controlling and monitoring project performance, but many worldwide construction projects appear to give insufficient attention to effective management and definition of project planning, including preplanning stages. Indeed, some planning issues have been completely overlooked, resulting in unsuccessful project performance. There is a lack of knowledge of, and understanding about, the significance of applications of project planning and scheduling theory in construction projects. Thus, improving such knowledge should be incorporated with new management strategies or tools to improve organizational learning and integration in the context of project planning and scheduling. This implies a need to assess project stakeholders’ understanding on the application of project planning and scheduling theories to practice.
The main aim was to study and describe project stakeholders’ perspectives regarding a set of identified criteria comprising aspects assumed to be significant in successful project planning and scheduling. The main research question was developed as follows: What level of understanding do project stakeholders have about the application of project planning and scheduling theories in practices of construction projects? This key question is divided into a number of specific questions concerned with various aspects of project planning and scheduling. Three different questionnaire surveys were considered and designed in order to collect and analyse data relevant to the empirical studies presented and discussed under the scope of this thesis. The study context is Oman. The thesis is based on a summary of five appended papers, of which four represent empirical survey studies. The results form the basis of discussions and reflections, and the four key factors identified are: (1) highlighting management tools needed to improve organizational knowledge and understanding of project planning theories and methods; (2) paying particular consideration to the significant factors (enablers and barriers) impacting project planning and scheduling; (3) identifying project management roles and organizational behaviour in planning and scheduling; and (4) increasing project stakeholders’ awareness of front-end planning for a more successful project execution.