Project Management Competency Development – A Key for Competitive Advantage for Construction Companies

Developing countries like vietnam is investing in infrastructure projects such as buildings, highways and others as part of the national strategic developments. At present, many large construction projects with scale of Billion USD size are in the national development plans. In order to deliver this projects successfully, project management plays a very important roles.  Without proper project management, the project could be delayed and cost overrun. Therefore, project management competency is paramount important for project success assurance.

 Companies involved in projects (such as project owner, consultant and contractors) must be competent in project management. Without adequate project management competency, miss-management of the project will happen and may cause conflicts, delays and cost overruns.

 How to develop a project management competency? According to Project Management Institute, there are two levels of competency: individual competency and organizational competency (see Figure 1).

 Company must develop its engineers project management competencies so called as individual competencies. There are some project management functions that the engineers must understand such as project scope management, time management, cost management, quality management, risk management, contract and procurement management, human resources management and communication management. Some of this functions are considered the hard part of project management (i.e time, cost and quality) while other functions are the soft part of project management such as communication and human resources management.

Not only the individual competency, the company must also develop organizational competencies. One method to develop organizational competencies is OPM3 designed to provide a wide range of benefits to organizations, senior management, and those engaged in project management activities. Some of the benefits derived from using OPM3 are as follows: (i) Strengthens the link between strategic planning and execution, so project outcomes are predictable, reliable, consistent, and correlate with organizational success. (ii) Identifies the best practices which support the implementation of organizational strategy through successful projects. And (iii) Identifies the specific capabilities which make up the Best Practices, and the dependencies among those Capabilities and Best Practices.

 What are the challenges in developing project management competencies in construction project? The first and most important challenge is that we have to understand the overall  process in construction projects. Many of the project management competencies methods are generic in nature which are applicable to many industries.  Therefore, we need to know how to apply this project management competency methodology (such as OPM3) to construction organizations. The second challenge is leadership. Leaders must develop a clear organization strategy and link the strategy to the operational and project management process as well as organizational culture. The third challenge is knowledge and ability.  Companies who are interested to develop project management competency must assign this important tasks to a knowledgable staff who will develop project managemetn competency development plan and implementation.

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