Why do we need Project Management? Do we need it? Part 1/2

The short answer is “Yes, we need project management and we need good project managers!”

Why? This is what I will try to explain in this post.

Let’s take one of the examples shared in my previous post, which most will understand – building an arena, let’s say a football stadium like the Allianz Arena. You will be the boss. I give you 4 million Euro and you will be responsible for building it. If you make it for less, the rest of the money is for you. You think… this is quite an amount of money. I’ll just hire some companies and they will do the work for me. Just have to keep in mind to keep the costs as low as possible. Yeah… good luck! Aaah, forgot to mention, you have 12 months.

We sign the contract: a football stadium in 12 months for 4 million Euro. Rest of the money is for you. If you don’t make it, you have to give back all the money.

Month 1: after extensive search, you hire company “Stadium Building Experts” to do the job. They say they are professionals and they will take care of everything for 3 million euro and they do it in 10 months. You stay with 1 million euro and finish the job before deadline. “Yuppi” you think, “I’m a millionaire” (yeah… almost).

Month 2: The company comes with their constructions cars and tools to the construction site and starts all preparations.

Month 3: The company started to dig a big whole for your stadium. All looks good.

Month 4: The company started to take care of the concrete.

Month 5: You realize that almost nothing has been done since you’ve been to the construction site a month ago. You talk to the responsible person to clarify what happened. In the first 2 weeks of the month it was raining heavily, I mean really heavily! And suddenly frost came (yeah, it’s winter time). Minus 20 degrees of celsius, all is frozen. What is more, beginning of this month it started snowing and all work stopped.

Month 6: Weather conditions the same as in month 5, so work is delayed till it gets warmer.

Month 7: It’s warmer again and the company is finishing the concretes and starts building the walls. As they are a behind schedule they had to hire more people and will need additional 200 thousand euro otherwise they will not make it in time. You agree, better to have 200 less than no money at all. Still you start to get nervous… (yeah, I warned you).

Month 8: Walls are almost there. The construction manager tells you though that finishing the highest wall parts and for the the roof they need a special crane and the one they ordered can’t be provided on time. Another construction site is delayed for 6 months and this is the fastest the crane can be provided. What is more, to make it in time they need now 3 not 1 cranes and this will cost you another 500 thousand Euro more. Ok, I have no other option. If I don’t make it in the next 4 months I will have to give Arek 4 million Euro and I have just 300 thousand left. You are really stressed now.

Month 9: Walls and roof are finished. But the construction manager got sick, the company does not have a backup construction manager and people don’t know what to do. So everyone does what he/she thinks right (the job has to be finished at any cost!)

Month 10: after 3 weeks sickness the construction manager came back. In the meantime the walls have been painted in dark blue color, but actually should have been painted in white. Someone ordered 35 thousand chairs, but there is actually place for only 25 thousand. It started raining and the roof is leaking….

YOU ARE FU###D !

I think we can take a break here. You hopefully see, that you will not make it in time, you will go above your budget (it will cost more than 4 million euro to finish it) and actually you neither know how much it will cost at the end, nor when it’s going to be finished.

Obviously this story is completely unrealistic. I’m not a construction site expert, so I was just making it all up. I have no idea about construction timelines, costs, so I was just using my imagination on how bad it can be. Still, with a proper Project Management approach this wouldn’t need to happen. Let’s leave it like this and let’s see and use the rest of this blog to prove one thing “we need project management“!

Stay tuned !

Arek

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