• Subject Name : General Management

Critical Success Factors Affecting Project Performance



Definition of key concept

Project management theory and importance of its elements.

Critical success factors in project management

Stakeholders Engagement

Project management approach.



Introduction to Project Management Theory

Urbanization is a universal phenomenon and an important core for the overall development of a country. The development of major cities is resulting in large level migration and urbanization, due to which there is a need to upgrade the current urban infrastructure in new or developing urbanized areas. However, it is important to understand that any project without proper management results as a failure. A successful infrastructure project requires improvised communication, proper stakeholder management, analysing of critical success factors, and most important the approach towards the project. Infrastructure majorly contributes to economic growth, lightens poverty, and promotes sustainable society, but only when the project responds to the demand effectively and efficiently (Ferrer, Thomé and Scavarda 2018). Therefore, project management is a crucial key to determine the success of infrastructure projects. 

As per (Jitpaiboon, Smith and Gu 2019), initiating, planning, executing and controlling are the four main elements of a successful urban infrastructure project as per project management theory. They also state that there is no particular literature theory of project management theory, but various statements and research studies can work as a definition. Radujković and Sjekavica (2017) state that external environment, sustainability issues, organizational management, and research methodology are the four critical success factors that affect the success of any urban infrastructure projects. However, they did not mention the situation or what happens if these factors are not implemented by the project at the time of project planning or design. Thus, the main idea of the essay is to address the critical success factors that affect project management, including the stakeholder engagement as construction projects often attract interest from various internal and external stakeholders with different needs and expectations about the project. The essay is going to carry forward the same idea which leads to the importance of sustainability in project management and how a project should be approached. The essay will also highlight the importance of elements of project management theory in a successful execution of urban infrastructure projects which are water supply, public transport, traffic support infrastructure and so on.

Definition of The Key Concept

Developing a society that fulfils the need of the present generation irrespective of the area of their residence by providing better living conditions and resources that meet the basic human needs without compromising the integrity of the ecosystem and stability of nature is called sustainable development (Schröder et al. 2019). Sustainable development focuses more on economic development, overall social development and protection of environmental resources for the generations to come while maintaining the equilibrium of nature.

Project Management Theory and Importance of Its Elements 

The theory of project management can be defined as the proper manner to proceed with a project with the motive of achieving the same organizational goal instead of an individual. Theory of project management consists of four important processes which are initiating, planning, executing, and controlling. Initiating is the beginning of the project when project requirements are defined and management requests to initiate the project (Jitpaiboon, Smith and Gu 2019). Planning is an important phase where the working manner and objective of the whole project is defined to make it successful. Executing is the process of implementing the planned activities according to the schedule and budget. Unlike the other three processes controlling is an important phase as it includes all feedbacks that help to revise the plan and to make it efficient as well as effective. The main aim of these processes is to complete the project within the provided timeline, under its budget, and to make its performance effective. 

Critical Success Factors in Project Management 

The success of any project is the most important as well as the hardest phase for any project team as there are lots of factors that affect the success of any urban infrastructure projects. However, a lot of research and studies conducted on the success factors for improving the performance of the projects (Jitpaiboon, Smith and Gu 2019). The critical factors which affect the success of the projects and its performance are people management, sustainability, external environment, and research methodology. People management is one of the main and important factors that affect the success of any project. Organizations that use the most advanced and low-cost technologies to improve the performance of organization employees achieve a higher success rate in project management (Mavi 2018).

External factors such as economic volatility, stakeholder's engagement, public involvement, and political risk should be monitored by the project team to make the project successful. Also, urban infrastructure projects are often long-term periods, therefore it is more important to analyse the external variables carefully. Sustainability is the most critical success factor of project management as well as it is highly considered in the urban infrastructure projects as the construction industry is bounded with many challenges such as the requirement to generate less carbon emission, utilization of fewer resources, and consumption of less energy. Therefore, to reduce the negative impact on project management sustainability issues should be taken into the account at the early stage of the project (Mavi 2018). As urban infrastructure projects are often large scale, affect several people, and involve a lot of challenges and factors. It is important to do a lot of research and planning before initiating the projects as without conducting research it is almost impossible to make the project a successful one.

Stakeholders Engagement 

Urban infrastructure projects are the projects that are initiated with the main purpose to ease people's day to day life. Eight infrastructure sectors include water supply, urban roads, urban traffic support, wastewater management, storm management, urban transport, waste drains, and street lighting (Leyden et al. 2017). Therefore, it is important to keep the public engaged in the projects as they can emerge as a key determinant in the success of the urban infrastructure project. Also, there is a great influence of stakeholders on the outcome of the urban infrastructure projects and keeping the public engaged in the project can be beneficial to the project outcomes.

Urban infrastructure projects are mainly sponsored and executed by government departments. This project is often influenced by internal and external stakeholders (Leyden et al. 2017). Stakeholders are people or groups who can positively or negatively be affected by the project and can influence it. Stakeholders are divided into two categories that are internal and external. Internal stakeholders are those who affect the project daily including employees and other managers. On the other hand, external stakeholders are public, local community, but can affect it in various ways. Thus, it is important to develop a focus on each of the stakeholders to understand their interest, needs, importance, and potential impact on the project as some of the stakeholders can influence the project in a limited way, while others can significantly affect the outcomes of the project.

Conflicts between stakeholders are another important area to pay attention to while framing the plan for the urban infrastructure projects as different stakeholders have different interests and expectations to the project which often become the centre of the conflict. Therefore, stakeholders including all level community and people who are affected by the project should be advised for viewpoints and to achieve a common interest at the early stage of the urban infrastructure project. It is important to categorise the stakeholders carefully as their impact can be dynamic and can make the situation worse for the project department. There are some suggestive stakeholder’s management strategies like negotiation, agreement, defensive, reactive, proactive, engagement, monitor, control, educate, lead and so on (Leyden et al. 2017). These stakeholder's management strategies help the project team to keep the stakeholders updated as well as engaged with the project which creates trust between each other and make the project successful. Although, it is also important to understand that stakeholders' interest and attitude changes at different stages of the projects which indicates that there is a communication gap between demand and supply side of stakeholders.

Project Management Approach 

A project management approach is a process that is initiated by the project manager to frame the manner and working style for the whole project. Although, changes and updates are generated by the project manager at different stages of the project to make it more efficient and effective. An urban infrastructure project should be approached in keeping all the factors in mind including the stakeholder management as it affects the public as well as other community involvement (Toljaga-Nikolic, Petrovic and Mihic 2017). Also, a sustainable and methodological approach is more beneficial for the project manager due to the number of people involved and the period of the project. 

Conclusion on Project Management Theory

It can be concluded from the finding that stakeholder's management is a crucial aspect of the urban infrastructure project and it can impact it in both positive and negative ways. Therefore, stakeholder's management should be properly analysed at the early stage of the project to avoid any future conflict. Although, stakeholders' interests and attitudes change at the different stages of the project which indicates a gap between the demand and the supply side of the stakeholders. Critical factors such as external environment, sustainability, research methodology, and organization management play a key role in the success of urban infrastructure projects as well as in the project management approach.

References for Project Management Theory

Ferrer, A. L. C., Thomé, A. M. T., and Scavarda, A. J. 2018. Sustainable urban infrastructure: A review. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 128, 360-372.

Jitpaiboon, T., Smith, S. M., and Gu, Q. 2019. Critical success factors affecting project performance: An analysis of tools, practices, and managerial support. Project Management Journal, 50(3), 271-287.

Leyden, K. M., Slevin, A., Grey, T., Hynes, M., Frisbaek, F., and Silke, R. 2017. Public and stakeholder engagement and the built environment: a review. Current environmental health reports4(3), 267-277.

Mavi, R.K. and Standing, C. 2018. Critical success factors of sustainable project management in construction: A fuzzy DEMATEL-ANP approach. Journal of cleaner production194, pp.751-765.

Radujković, M., and Sjekavica, M. 2017. Project management success factors. Procedia engineering, 196, 607-615.

Schröder, P., Vergragt, P., Brown, H. S., Dendler, L., Gorenflo, N., Matus, K., ... and Wennersten, R. 2019. Advancing sustainable consumption and production in cities-A transdisciplinary research and stakeholder engagement framework to address consumption-based emissions and impacts. Journal of Cleaner Production213, 114-125.

Toljaga-Nikolic, D., Petrovic, D., and Mihic, M. 2017. How to choose the appropriate project management approach?. In 2017 12th International Scientific and Technical Conference on Computer Sciences and Information Technologies (CSIT) (Vol. 2, pp. 1-5). IEEE.

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