This paper was printed as Chapter 5 in the GPM state-of-the-art book Dimensions of Project Management edited by H. ReschkeŠ & H. Schelle and published by Springer-Verlag in 1990. The book involved 29 authors from 16 countries and was assembled in honor of Roland W. Gutsch's 65th birthday. Roland, a personal friend, was founder and long-time leader of the International Project Management Association in Europe.

Abstract | Introduction | What is | Dimensions | Internal Culture
Corporate Culture | Influencing Environment | Internal Strategies
Surroundings | External Strategies | Stakeholders | Public Relations
Examples | Recent Projects | Consultants | Summary | References

What is the Project Environment?

Today, there is a growing awareness and concern for the impact of infrastructure and facility construction on the physical environment. Fortunately, today's technological disciplines responsible for such work are becoming attuned to the idea of mitigating the adverse impacts of their projects. Certainly the project manager needs to be similarly concerned about the project's technology, and manage accordingly. This applies to both the implementation and shorter term practical construction impacts of the project as well as its conceptual development and consequent long term impacts.

However, today's project manager also needs to be attuned to the cultural, organizational and social environments of the project. Understanding this environment includes identifying the project stakeholders and their ability to affect its successful outcome. This means working with people to achieve the best results, especially in the highly technical and complex environments such as those involving modern day construction projects. Therefore, it is essential that the project manager and his or her project team are comfortable with, and sympathetic towards, their cultural, organizational and social surroundings.

This leads to the possibility of influencing the project environment in a positive way, for the better reception of the change which the project is designed to introduce. For example, peoples' typical resistance to change will no doubt be evident amongst some of the stakeholders. Others may have vested interests or personal or group agendas which are only indirectly related to the project. If these can be identified in good time, they may be dealt with proactively and in such a way that the corresponding risks, which are otherwise likely to undermine the success of the project, can be significantly reduced.

Failure to take such an approach will inevitably lead to a less than optimum project outcome.

Introduction  Introduction

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