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Why managing construction projects is not for everybody

The other day, my new client broke the news to me that he was intending to manage his own construction project. He said; “See, I have gone to school, and I need not be an engineer to understand how to manage the construction of my house, so I will do it. This is very close to my heart, and I need to be involved.”

A month down the line, he was begging me to step in and help to which I gladly obliged. Lots of people underestimate the role of a project manager. And like my client, they think any one can do it alone. They think all one has to do is just coordinate the efforts of others.

Well, this is partly true. But while coordination of the project forms the core of the roles of a project manager, there are other responsibilities that include the management of cost, time and scope. Broadly speaking, he watches over all resource management of project.

What this means is that the project manager is responsible for the success or failure of the project. How they do it is by first defining the project and then developing a work plan. If the scope of the project is not clear, or the project is executed poorly, the manager is held accountable.

How on earth would one manage the deliverables of a project if they don’t understand the basics of construction? Although the project manager does not work alone as this would be practically impossible, he helps to achieve all the objectives of the project.

If anything goes wrong, the project manager is accountable. It helps if someone has experience and training in matters construction. Mark you, depending on the size of the project, the project management role is sometimes a full time job. So you see why my client threw in the towel after just a few days?

Anyone can manage a project, but a project manager is most relevant as they understand its basic concepts and is fully engaged in it. The writer is managing director, Anka Consultants Ltd, quantity surveyors and project managers. Email: [email protected]

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