Why worry about the project environment, when the objective of project management
is to get the project completed within scope, cost and schedule? The truth is
that if the real objective is to end up with a successful project, then important
though these criteria are, they are not the ultimate determinants of success.
Heresy? Perhaps. But success, a very elusive notion at best, is dependent upon
satisfying the customers.
In the last analysis, the test of effective project management is the degree
to which the project objectives have been accomplished on time and within budget
to the satisfaction of the customers.
The Project Management Institute, a non-profit organization based in North
America, has broadened this concept by defining project management as:
"The art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout
the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined
objectives of scope, quality, time, cost and participant [stakeholder]
Note the reference to "participant satisfaction". Thus, the degree
of success of a project may be said to reflect the combined degree of satisfaction
of all the participants, customers or stakeholders. Where construction projects
are concerned, the stakeholders are usually many and various, frequently with
opposing interests. Indeed, the cynic might say that the most successful project
is one in which all the stakeholders are about equally dissatisfied!
These stakeholders may participate in the project directly or indirectly, closely
or remotely, and collectively their attitudes, understandings, or particular
vested interests, all contribute to the environment in which a project is created.
This environment can and needs to be managed just as surely as every other aspect
of the project can be managed towards success.