Project Time Management System Dynamics

Project duration and scheduling falls under Project Time Management, one of the four core knowledge areas of Project Management. Others are scope, cost and quality.

Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities in order to meet project requirements (Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK Guide, 2000)

However, project management is at once one of the most important and most poorly understood areas of management. Delays and cost overruns are the rule rather than the exception in construction, power generation, product development, software and other areas. Generally, project management suffers from numerous problems of costing and scheduling. (John. D. Sterman, 1992).

Every project is constrained in different ways by its Time, Scope, Cost and Quality goals and it is the Project Manager’s duty to balance these three often competing goals. The goals are considered competing because if time is minimized then both scope and cost may be negatively affected also if scope is increased then both more time and money may be needed. On the other hand if one wishes to minimize cost, then the scope may have to be reduced and it may not be possible to expedite the project. If the level of quality is to be increased then we may need more money, time and could result in cost increase.

This research shall make use of System Dynamics Modeling in preparing a predictive model for project durations in building construction projects in Tanzania.

1.2System Dynamic ModellingSystem Dynamics is a methodology for analysis, problem solving and simulation development.

2.0Background of Construction Projects in TanzaniaThe Construction Industry has been the driving force behind economic development throughout the history as it is strategically important in creating the necessary physical infrastructure for economic and social activities in the attainment of sustainable growth (National Construction Council)

In Tanzania the construction industry is still young. There is limited number of professionals, low technology and poor economy. There has been no clear government goal towards the development of construction industry.

The country as a whole depends mostly on foreign institutions to train her indigenous professionals, contractors and consultants to execute big projects, for instance highway construction and complex buildings. Local contractors are not getting support from the government or financial institutions to make them develop and thus compete in the industry. Currently construction industry is hindered by the following facts:- Inadequate co-ordination of planning between construction industry and other sectors of the economy Heavy dependency upon foreign resources such as technology and materials.

Inadequate incentive and motivation of workers

Inadequate members of suitable and qualified experienced personnel. Transport bottlenecks to the distribution of construction materials. Inadequate relevant local construction regulations and standards. Inadequate consideration given to the local resources.

Lack of consideration given to the concept of cost of maintenance as component of investment Inadequate co-ordination of planning management and control of public projects by various public institutions other than the ministry responsible for works resulting in confusion of works and activities. The government as main investor is relatively having few public consultants and contracting organizations Inadequate working capital, at family firms capacity, and building sub-sectors.

The government’s main constraint is lack of capacity for effective and efficient management of construction and maintenance programmes andprojects; shortage of competent local consultants and contractors; use of inappropriate technologies; deficient procedures and inadequate financial resources. (Chiragi, 2000).

3.0Problem StatementProjects have poor track record in Tanzania. Construction projects for example take up to three times longer that the planned duration and many a times budgets are not met and quality is poor (Prof. Lema 2010). On the other hand the need for projects has been increasing in Tanzania and projects are becoming larger and more complex, a situation which creates the need for proper time management and project management at large. This can be achieved if more pragmatic project implementation schedules are used.

A complex system such as a large scale construction project contains multiple interacting feedback processes.

The mental models and traditional cost and scheduling tools such as Critical Path methods do not adequately account for feedback effects. People are notoriously poor judges of feedback and causality and in controlled experiments have repeatedly been shown to misperceive the feedback structure of systems much simpler than a large engineering construction project. Experts are not immune to these errors. Though very helpful to schedule and the sequence of activities in a project, tools such as Gantt charts, PERT and critical path methods do not solve the problem. (John D. Sterman).

Therefore, since the large scale projects belong to the class of complex dynamic systems such that they are extremely complex, consisting of multiple interdependent components, are highly dynamic and involve multiple feedback processes and non linear relationships, this research aims at developing a predictive model that can help prepare more practical project schedules in construction projects in Tanzania. Hence ensure timely completion of projects.

4.0Research Objectives4.1Main ObjectivesThe main objective of this research shall be to identify the factors that affect project duration and develop a predictive model that can help develop optimal project schedules for building construction projects.

4.2Specific ObjectivesThe specific objectives of the study shall include the following; -Identifying the factors that affect project duration-Develop a System Dynamic predictive model-Propose strategies that will facilitate optimisation of project duration.

5.0MethodologyTo meet the objectives of the research as outlined in section 1.3 herein, the following methodology will be adopted.

The initial stages of the research will involve a comprehensive literature review on system dynamic modelling, construction industry in Tanzania and project management at large. The literature review is aimed at establishing key concepts, definition of terms and to provide information related to the topics under investigation. In addition is aimed at analysing existing policies and legislation that regulates construction sector, and experiences from other countries. From the literature review, it will then be possible to prepare questionnaires that will be used for data collection from various construction stakeholders.

The collected data shall then be used to create the System Dynamic predictive model for project duration.

6.0Significance of the StudyTime has the least amount of flexibility such that it passes no matter what happens on a Project. On this note, Time Management involves the processes required to accomplish timely completion of the project, which can be better achieved if most project schedules were more realistic.

Since our country is growing and projects are becoming more complex, there is need to have a proper scheduling method that enables the contractors toprepare schedules that they can meet.

7.0Study ScopeProject Time Management involves the processes required to accomplish timely completion of the project. The study will focus on project time management in Building Construction projects in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania mainly focusing on the implementation stage of the project life cycle.