Developing a strategy-led approach as a suitable methodology for construction project planning and implementation
Ramanayaka, Chamila Dilhan Dushantha
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Successful project delivery is somewhat elusive because project failures in terms of cost overruns, time delays and quality failures have become common far and wide contributing to low productivity statistics. The evolvement of management philosophies has shown that real world situations are complicated involving qualitative and quantitative features, and hence mathematics and science cannot provide adequate solutions effectively by their own. To enhance decision making through heuristic procedures, several efforts are described in literature including the development of advanced database software packages and computer aided design such as the use of artificial intelligence. However, these solutions are inadequate to mitigate construction failures due to their inadequate capacities and hefty investment amounts. Under these circumstances, some scholars suggest that the development of a strategy-led approach is the only viable solution for construction project planning. Therefore, throughout this doctoral study, the aim is to investigate what strategic approach could be suggested for planning and implementation to successfully deliver construction projects that ensure achievement of the desired outcomes. To investigate the suitability of the strategy-led approach, this research study employs ‘critical multiplism’, in which different research methods are used and the results of each method are finally triangulated. These research methods include the review of literature, an archival analysis of the Construction Manager Year Award (CMYA) statements provided by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), UK, a questionnaire survey to recipients of New Zealand Institute of Building (NZIOB) achiever awards, and interviews with recognized subject matter experts. The results of the data analysis showed that the strategy-led approach to planning and implementation can effectively cope with complexity, dynamism, uncertainty and uniqueness of construction projects. Further, significant relationships were found between the influence of strategies towards critical success factors and project success in terms of cost, time, quality and overall success. The research study found that the strategy-led approach would involve a combination of technical rationality and reflective practice, which construction project managers should apply in planning and implementing projects. The research gives useful recommendations which could facilitate successful delivery of construction projects. The strategy-led approach suggested by this research study is a combination of construction project strategies and traditional planning tools where generative versus rational, spontaneous versus deliberate and transformational versus revolutionary typologies are used as a combination in an appropriate way. It is hoped that these recommendations could improve the reliability of construction project planning approaches so that failures due to increasing complexities and uncertainties can be avoided successfully.