Article #120 How Can Project Management Information Systems Stop Bullying on Construction Projects?

Those who are involved in delivering construction projects, at least in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, can always report the many bullying incidents that had either taken place between the project owner and his authorized representatives from one side and the contractor from the other side as well as the bullying incidents between the contractor and his subcontractors.

Bullying in the construction industry can come in different forms and tactics. Delayed approvals of change orders, delayed payment of approved invoices, requesting additional works without compensation, and forcing the use of specific subcontractors and suppliers among many others are all forms of bullying. They are considered bullying when the contractor or subcontractor complains or refuses to do, threats such as “you’ll be blacklisted” or “you’ll be terminated or replaced” are examples of tactics used to intimidate the contractor or subcontractor to accept what he had been asked to do.

Bullying can increase the risk of contractors and subcontractors being unable to complete the project’s delivery because of the financial stress that can be caused by those actions. A risk that will impact the project owner the most is the cost of the additional expenses associated with restarting a project such as reassigning a contractor and subcontractors, as well as the delays in completing the project as planned, which will have a drastic negative impact on the project’s return on investment. Something that the project owner’s senior management does not want to happen.

Using Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb helps the project owner’s senior management to have complete transparency of actions that can be considered as forms of bullying. PMWeb will be used to capture the details of all project management processes that need to be performed on a construction project including those of change orders, progress invoices, payments, and submittals among many others. For each process, the workflow to submit, review, and approve each process will be created to match what has been agreed to in the project management plan (PMP). Those workflows will detail the pre-agreed sequence for reviews and approvals, who is responsible for the review step, the duration allotted for each reviewer, approval authority levels, review and approval actions that a review can do, and how it needs to be resubmitted or returned if action was rejected among others.

By having those workflows for each process, senior management will have real-time visualization of all delayed approvals and the entity as well as the individual accountable for this delay. Having this transparency will not only reduce delayed reviews and approvals but also communicate a clear message that those accountable for delays will become known and necessary corrective actions will be taken to avoid putting the project in jeopardy.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value of over US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), an Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE), and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Master’s in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – from Kuwait University, Kuwait, and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


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