ANALYSIS OF THE FACTORS EFFECTING PROJECT PLANNING AND ITS RESULTANT IMPACT ON PROJECT OUTCOMES-UK CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY AS CASE

Abstract

The ongoing study was executed to examine how the outcomes of the study are impacted by the project planning, the case of UK’s construction industry is considered. For the data collection process the employees working in the construction industry were utilized. Quantitative analysis technique is employed so as to examine the collected data, this is done so to analyse the data in detail. The research philosophy which is employed is positivistic research philosophy. An effort has been made so to compare the results of the ongoing study with the results of the prior studies. This comparison with the prior researches is done so to bring conformity in the results. In the end it has been concluded that there exist a positive correlation between the project planning and the project outcomes.

 

 

Acknowledgement

For the completion of the dissertation, I am thankful to my teacher and the supervisor whose unflinching help and supervision has helped me in effectively completing the dissertation. Secondly I am grateful to my parents, who have always supported me and made me strong enough to fight through the life toughest task. I am also grateful to all the people who have helped me in completing this dissertation.             

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction

This dissertation is about the factors affecting the project planning and its resultant impact on the project outcomes. In the current chapter a roadmap will be set for the rest of the research. The chapter covers the background of the research, problem statement, the scope and aims and objectives of the research to draw a clear picture so that the reader gets an idea what the research is going to cater.

1.2 Research Background

Project planning is normally defined as: “the strategic efforts deployed by the owner, think tank of any organization to tackle the specific risks of the project. Project planning is the phase during which the owner or the think tank decides that what would be the resources employed in situations of risk”(CII 1995: p 6). Planning can be regarded as the initial stage of the project in which the organization fabricates choices to be made during the execution of the project. The stage of planning before the project may include below mentioned aspects of the project:

  • Definition
  • Scope
  • Planning’s framework 

Under the heading of definition the nature of the project would be defined, in the scope the process by which the project is opted can be illustrated. According to Merrow and Yarossi (1994) in order to make any project successful, this is the essential step and it is fruitful too.

Defining and mentioning scope of the project is an important aspect of the project planning phase. This is witnessed that when the planning of the project would be done efficiently, it would ultimately cut the costs of the project, and it would for sure make the project more successful. Gibson and Hamilton (1994) are of the view that if the project is efficiently planned and prepared than it benefits the organization financially as well. Project schedule plans is one essential aspect which has been highlighted during the project planning process. This holds significance for the reason that it is that section of the planning which explains why all that planning is necessary and what role the planning can play in a project. A researcher who presented a model of unfreezing named as Ginzberg (1979) stated that the first and the foremost important step of the unfreezing model is scheduling and proper planning.

Kolb and Frohman’s (1970), consulting process model views the planning as a two directional phase of their model. The planning process has four phases which are as formulation, conceptualization, detailing, and evaluation.

In the construction industry planning of the project has gained much of the attention. Those projects which focus on the planning are most of the times successful. Mencheset al. (2005) stated that the planning before the beginning of the project eventually turns into higher rates of benefits i-e financial benefits. Those projects have a high rate of success which emphasize on the planning. It is a well-known fact, in the business world today that the project’s successful accomplishment depends heavily on the project’s effectual planning.

In the current study literature would be there to examine the relation between the two variables i-e outcomes of the project and the planning of the project, generally the literature identified that there exists a positive correlation between both the variables. It has been stated by the two researchers Wang and Gibson (2008) that the project planning is an essential constituent for the success of any project. 

The construction industry has deep roots of project management. There have been numerous studies which have been conducted in the context of project planning and management, in fact the most extensively researched field it is. Previously, all those studies which have been conducted in regard focused primarily on the aspect that what sort of relationship exists between the project’s outcomes and project management. Hamilton and Gibson (1996) are of the view that planning before the start of the project has impacted positively on the financial returns of any project.

Shehu and Akintoye, (2009) those projects which are planned before the start of the project have a success rate of 82 percent.  Two of the very renowned authors recognized the factors which have deep impact on the success of the project and according to them, the most critical aspect which leads to success or failure of a project is planning (Shehu and Akintoye, 2009).

There is a tool which has been constructed by the CII (Construction Industry Institute) in the year 1999 named as PDRI (Project Definition Rating Index), this tool was designed to assess the scope and definition of the project in the construction industry as according to Gibson and Gebken (2003). This tool has been used by many construction companies across the globe. According to Wang and Gibson (2008) this tool provided the construction companies the facility to tackle the processing of the project in an efficient manner. Gibson et al. (2006) is of the view that project’s outcomes and planning are so intertwined and are fused with each other that, efficient planning tends to increase the probability of the project’s success and poor planning increases the probability of the project’s failure.

The problem statement identified for the current research is to examine the factors affecting the project planning that has an ultimate effect on the project outcomes. In today’s rapidly changing global environment the organizations are required to be very streamlined in their activities. Particularly talking about the project success, it is very imperative to have planned activities from the very start so that the outcomes can be up to the expected level. However, there are some factors that create problems in the effective planning hence declining the overall performance of the project. The research is carried out with the motive to explain the significance of the project planning in the project success and to identify the factors that hinder the effective planning.There are some factors that are considered to affect the planning phase of any project.Soon (2007) identified that; improper planning by the contractor; pathetic work site management by the contractor; lack of experience contractor; an inappropriate way of payment by the client; material shortage;shortage of labor supply;subcontractor issues;the communication gap between the stakeholders and slip-ups during the phase of construction are the factors that are considered to present problems in the effective project planning and execution of the project.

1.3 ProblemStatement

Problem statement for the current study is mentioned below.

“Analysing the factors that affect the project planning and its resultant impact on the project outcomes: case considered is UK’s construction industry”

1.4 Scope and Signifigance of the Research

The scope of this study is wide for the reason that nowadays organizations are inclined to make their projects successful since the very beginning, and they do it by starting with the project planning. According to Thomas et al. (2008) though the final product holds great significance, but the most critical phase is the phase of planning.  It is observed that many of the highly qualified and efficient teams of professionals failed to accomplish any project due to the poor planning of the project. Planning is a prerequisite of any project to be accomplished, when the project is started without effective planning it eventually faces the worst result and it fails badly.

Besner and Hobbs (2011) stated that if proper planning is not done before starting up a project, it would put the whole project at risk and there would not be any way to take a U-turn and put the project back on track again. So it is essential for the reckless driver of the project that it must be properly started.  The past studies on the importance and role of project planning illustrated when the project gets successful as a result of the efficient planning, the role of planning is not acknowledged. According to Caterselset al.(2010); Umbleet al. (2003) and Yeo (2002) the factors which affect the project’s performance, and are responsible for the poor performance of the project are poor project goals, escalating costs and timelines, poor technology, poor infrastructure, Caterselset al. (2010); Umbleet al. (2003) and Yeo (2002) argued that all these pitfalls can be minimized by the proper and effective planning of the project, They further believe that effective planning is a key player in the success of the project. According to Yeo (2002), in his study conducted to examine the factors responsible for the failure of the project, stated that the factor which is at the top in the failure of success of any project is the lack of efficient planning. This idea has been supported by the two authors named as Turner and Muller (2003), they even reached to saying that planning for project is like a hygiene. Dviret al. (2003) examined that what kind or correlation exists between the outcomes of the project and the planning of the project, the results of his study suggested that when the outcomes are favorable for the organization, meaning when the project is successful, then the role of planning is never acknowledged, but when it fails all the responsibility is put up on the shoulders of poor and fragile planning. There exists a direct link between the proper planning and the outcomes of the project (Dviret al. 2003).

Many of the researchers are agreed that for the success of the project effective planning is necessary, and adequate efforts must be deployed for the structuring of the initial stages of any project because that is the time, where the project’s future is decided as according to Caterselset al. (2010); Dviret al. (2003); Poon et al. (2011); Turner and Muller (2003) and Zwikael and Globerson (2006).

1.5 Aim and Objectives

The core intent of the current study is to identify the factors that affect the project planning and its resultant impact on the project outcomes. The case of UK’s construction industry is considered.

Objectives

Mentioned below are the key objectives of the study, the researcher would make efforts to accomplish these objectives.

  • To study the significance of project planning in project outcomes.
  • To examine the factors those affect the planning of the project.
  • To identify the possible risks that a project can encounter.
  •  To examine the extent to which the project planning can be successful if the factors are controlled ultimately leading to project success.
  • To propose certain recommendations for successful project planning.

1.7 Research Questions

Queries of the research are as important as the aims and objectives of the study. Answering the queries during the study is one important task which must be done efficiently by the researchers.

  • What could be the possible role the planning can play so to turn the outcomes of project in companies favor? 
  • How the company's competitiveness would enhance by adapting the effective project planning?

1.8 Hypothesis

The hypotheses of the ongoing study are mentioned below.

H1: Project planning positively impacts the outcomes of the project.

H2: Project planning negatively impacts the outcomes of the project.

H3: Project outcomes are not impacted by the project planning.

1.9 Overview of Research Methodology

In the current study the research philosophy considered is positivism. As the current study is about the examination of the project’s outcomes so the positivism is the best philosophy to use here. In the current research work UK construction industry is taken as a case so the inductive research approach is applied. Depending upon the nature of the research, the research strategy in the current study will be a case study strategy. Keeping in view the research philosophy the instrument used for data collection is questionnaire. The questionnaires are distributed among a hundred employees working in different companies in the UK construction industry.

The primary data is collected with the help of close ended questionnaires distributed among the employees of the companies working in the UK construction industry. Secondary data is collected from articles published in reputed journals, books, reputed magazines, etc. For the data analysis the quantitative research method is used to analyse each and every aspect of the collected data and information with the help of tables and graphs.

1.10 DissertationStructure

The dissertation will follow the below mentioned plan.

Chapter One-Introduction: This chapter covers research background, aims, objectives hypotheses, and problem statement etc.

Chapter Two- Literature review: This chapter explains the variables involved in the research and the relationship between the variables with the help of the earlier researches. In the literature section initially the project planning in the construction industry is explained and in the later section the effectiveness of the project planning in the success of the project is explained. The factors affecting the project planning are also discussed.

Chapter Three-Methodology: This chapter explains the research methods and philosophies for the current research. In this chapter positivism research philosophy is selected. Case study strategy is used and for the data collection purpose questionnaire is used.Quantitative research approaches are used for data analysis purpose.

Chapter Four- Analysis: Collected data is analysed in this chapter. Quantitative research approaches are used for data analysis purpose and the findings are presented in the form of table and graphs.

Chapter Five- Conclusion and Recommendations: Discussion of research findings and recommendations are devised in this chapter. Moreover, this chapter contains the reflective statement of the whole dissertation as well.

 

 

Chapter two

Literature review

2.1 Introduction

In the current chapter previous relevant research works are examined to develop a clear picture of the concepts used in the research. The thorough examination will help in defining and explaining the variables involved in the research. Moreover the earlier researches would be aiding in understanding the relationship between the project’s planning, factors affecting the project planning and the project outcomes.This section mainly discusses the role of project planning in the success of the project and in the success of the projects particularly in the construction industry. In the latter half of the literature review the factors affecting the project planning are discussed in detail.

2.2 Project Planning in the Construction Industry

The Construction industry has engaged itself with the project management long ago. Project management is being widely practiced in most of the construction companies across the world. Many researchers have paid attention towards project management as well; there are numerous studies which have been executed on construction project planning (e.g Hamilton and Gibson 1996). Most of the studies conducted were primarily focused on the impacts of project management; they heavily focused the context of scrutinizing the impact of project management on the outcomes of the project. Hamilton and Gibson (1996) were of the view that the project planning impacts the financial assets of the company as well; they were agreed to it that project planning has the positive role in increasing the financial assets of the businesses. They conducted a study and identified that the success rate of projects which deploy the project planning is 82 percent. There are a number of factors which play a key role in any project’s success, few of those factors were identified by Shehu and Akintoye (2009), that list of factors was leaded by the most crucial and the one most effective, “planning”. According to their study it is the most important factor in the success and even the failure of the project.

There is a method developed by CII (Construction Industry Institute) which helped the companies which defines the project and it is there to measure the scope of the project (CII 1999). Gibson and Gebken (2003) identified that this method (PDIR) which was developed CII (1999) is used by a number of construction industries for measuring the scope of their projects. Wang and Gibson (2008)stated that this tool has been a great help for the owners of the business to enhance the project’s quality.

2.3 Relationship Between Project Planning and Project Success

Gibson et al. (2006) argued that there is a wide difference in the results of the projects which were properly planned and those where effective project planning was not done.  Those which are executed after the effective project planning show the more success rate. On one hand project planning gives the best outcomes while on the other hand it impacts the schedule, costs and operational characteristics.

It has been witnessed that the project management and the performance of the project are correlated with each other. The probability of the project‘s success increases if the proper time and attention has been given to the effective project planning.

Figure 1is the graph in which effort has been done so to illustrate the level to which the project’s outcomes are impacted by the project management i-e project planning.

Figure 1: Success Index vs.Project Planning Effort Index

(Source: Gibson et al. (2006))

 

In the above graph the planning score is shown on the x-axis while the success of the project is shown on the y-axis. The graph clearly shows that there is a direct link between the project’s outcomes and the planning of the project. Collyer et al. (2010) argued that in construction industries the role of project planning was non negligible, he believed that the success of the construction companies projects depended on the effective project planning.

Table 1: Comparison of Projects with PDRI-Building Projects Score Above and Below 200

(Source: Gibson and Pappas(2003))

 

It has been witnessed that owners often start the project without the effective project planning; they don’t give the due importance to such a significant portion of the study. One more thing which has been witnessed more often is that the owner doesn’t show any concern in the planning phase of the project, he leaves this duty on the contractors, which ultimately result in losses they have to bear. Wang and Gibson (2008) stated that effective project planning directly and positively impacts

  • The cost of project
  • Its performance
  • Schedule

 

 

Figure 2: Cost Performance vs. Industrial PDRI Score

(Source: Wang and Gibson (2008))

 

From Figure 2it can be seen that the cost of the project increases with the increase in the industrial PDRI scores. This illustrates the fact that there is a direct positive relationship between the, project’s planning, quality and costs of the project.

Thomas et al. (2008) stated that people believe that all should be well if it ended well, meaning the finished and the final product would be what matters, but he disagreed, and stated that what matters most should be the phase of planning in the projects. It has a matter to admit that no team could accomplish the project successfully if the planning was poor, no matter how genius the team has been.

Besner and Hobbs (2011) were of the view that once the project is started and it is on the wrong path, then there is no U-turn to rectify the mistakes, rather it would get worse as it would grow. So it is important to start the project from the very beginning by following the right steps. The literature on the topic shows that when the project is successfully accomplished, then the credit is not given to the planning but when it fails then the whole of the burden comes to the poor planning of the project.

According to Dvir et al. (2003) there exist a positive correlation between the planning phase and the success of the project. He identified this while he was evaluating the impact of project planning on the outcomes of the project. Many of the authors believed that in order to make the project successful proper efforts must be deployed in the initial stages of the study (Caterselset al. 2010; Dviret al. 2003; Poon et al.2011; Turner and Muller 2003 and Zwikael and Globerson 2006).

Dvir et al.(2003) stated that the planning is very essential and significant for the success of any project, but along with that there other stages are important as well, though they are the initial stages of the project as well, for instance:

  • Initial programming
  • Design phases
  • Identification of potential risks

All the above mentioned three must be looked upon during the phase when the objectives are set for the project. Dvir et al. (2003) argued that there is another very crucial factor for the success of any project and that is the “customers”, they must be handled properly. Dvir et al. (2003) are on view that customers must be engaged in the process of defining outcomes of the project.

Fortune and White (2006); Johnson et al.(2001) and many other researchers agreed to the fact that the planning is the most significant factor for the success and the failure of the project. All the researchers are agreed that even the brilliant teams of professionals would fail to execute the project successfully if the planning of the project would be faulty.  As identified by Zwikael and Globerson, (2004) the probability of the project’s success increases if the planning phase of the project is enhanced.

The prime intent of the phase of planning is to fabricate the proper structure which is efficient enough to cope with the potential risks during a project’s execution. Fortune and White, (2006); Zwikael, Shimizu, and Globerson, (2005) projected planning as the significant aspect for the success of the project. Johnson et al., (2001); Zwikael and Sadeh, (2007) identified it as a crucial factor for the success of the project.

Project planning is actually a process through which it has been decided that how would the execution of the project would be done in the future. The core intent of planning is to design such direction which would help the project team that what is needed to be done, when would it be done, the planning gist her telling the team that which resources would be deployed in the study (Meredith and Mantel, 2006).

Mentioned below are the benefits which the quality and efficiency can provide.

  • Elimination or uncertainty
  • Enhancing the project’s efficiency
  • Provision of the base for  monitoring the performance of project
  • Proving the understanding of the project’s aims and objectives Kerzner, (2006).

It is a fact that the in the end all the responsibility is on the shoulders of the manager of the project. He has to satisfy all the stakeholders, so it is necessary for him to follow the things already decided in the planning phase. And he must ensure that planning is proper and is capable of dealing with the requirements of the project. It must be ensured by the mangers as well that the planning is representing the will of all the stakeholders. The Planning process is the forty eight percent of the whole project, which means it comprises of a huge percentage of the project, and it is mentioned in PMBOK® Guide—Fourth Edition (PMI, 2008), there are forty two processes in which the manager is expected to perform.

According to Oni (2008) basically the planning is an activity which involves

  • Logical sequence of the project
  • Development of that sequence
  • Time for the completion of the project

The role which planning plays in any project include Oni (2008)

  • Smoothing the progress of communication between all the stakeholders of the project.
  • Identifying the available resources for the project.
  • Provision of base for the examination of the project’s performance.
  • It boosts the management of the project.
  • It makes better the mitigation strategies for the risks.
  • It widens the scope of the project.

According to Gidado (2004) the project planning in the construction industry should emphasize on the activity level rather it must focus on the role level, by focusing this in the planning phase would enhance the productivity of the project, and it would give better results altogether for the project in the end. Gidado (2004) highlighted when in the project the planning can be essential and he studied the different phases of the project planning as well. He stated the stages of the project planning as well in one of his studies, those stages of planning are mentioned below:

  • Pre-construction
  • Pre-project
  • Construction
  • Post-construction

These phases have further sub phases as well, and together they make up to nine phases. All these factors impact the outcomes of the project, so all these must be carefully dealt in order to get the best results. According to Aiyetanet al. (2008)the factors which are responsible for the delivery, quality of the project in the construction industry areas:

  • Coordination of design.
  • Management’s eminence during the construction project.
  • Management’s eminence during the project designing.

As stated by Idoro (2012) there are four stages of the project completion in the construction industry. And every stage requires a completion of the documentation. There have been studies which have been executed just to examine that if the proper documentation has been followed, and the outcomes of that study revealed that in only fifty nine to seventy eight percent of the projects the documents have been used, which were prepared in the four stages of the project. It has been identified that the use of documents satisfies the client as well. When the documents are used, it satisfies the client in a way that it goes through them, and they get satisfied with the time required for the project, the budget of the project and the quality of the project. The study thus identified that the documents should be used during all the phases’ i-e.

  • Stage of inception.
  • Stage of designing the project.
  • Stage of tendering.
  • During construction.

The study made a point that when the documents have been used in all the stages of the project’s inception to construction it increases the credibility of the management of the project, and thus it leads to the satisfaction of the client as well, which is all at the end matters. The study revealed that the use of the document must be increased by all the project contractors it is ultimately beneficial for them. The study considered the case of Nigeria and it has identified that the outcomes of the construction projects in Nigeria would be better if they orthodox ways of executing a project would be replaced by the modern one that is via a proper channel of planning before the project and by using the documents of the project.  This has been emphasized in that study that it is the duty of the clients that they must ensure that the documents have been properly used especially in the initial stages of the project.Planning must be done before the start of the project so that the best results are derived out of the project. Use of documents means not reading them again and again is sufficient, it's the level to which the written things are implemented, and it the degree to which the planned things are controlled as per written in documents. There is no literature available on what should be the quality of the documents, so these areas are needed to be investigated (Idoro 2012).

The most crucial and significant function of the project management is planning of the project; it plays an essential part in overall project completion. Project planning has been defined by the number of researchers in their studies, Naoum et al. (2004) defined, it is the tool which is used by the project’s stakeholders in order to accomplish the project successfully. Hore et al. (1997) and Faniran, Love and Smith (2000) defined project planning in a different manner according to them it is the accomplishment of the aims of the project via system arrangement of all the available resources and their optimum exploitation.

According to Love and Smith (2000) the biggest prerequisite for an efficient project planning is that the aims and objectives of the project are predefined. It can be said that project planning is the course to achieve the aims and objectives of the study through

  • Firstly, by defining the objectives of the project.
  • Secondly, by developing the framework of the project.
  • Thirdly, shaping the tactics, methods and strategies to be used in the project.
  • Fourthly mentioning the deadlines to which the project has to be completed.
  • Last but not the least establishing a fast and efficient medium of communication with the stakeholders.

The most significant part of any of the project is its client’s satisfaction, so the core intent of the planning is that planning is done in such a way that these entire three things i-e project’s objectives, client’s expectation and available resources all are on the same page, when all these meet each other that the project’s probability of getting successful increases to double.

The planning process, thus comprised of the establishment of all those papers which represent the use of different strategies deployed during the whole project. The two complementary activities in the project management are mentioned below (Ling 2004).

  • Project planning
  • Project performance

Project planning is the base of the project’s failure or success; this is where the project defines its success and its failure too. It's the planning which leads to the success and failure of the project even the efficiency of the teams could fail if the planning is not done for the project properly.

Different researchers have different viewpoint regarding the project planning same has been witnessed in the study of Faniran et al. (1998), they are of the view that project planning is the successful accomplishment of the project’s objectives in the limited period of time and with the available resources, with the costs decided earlier in the initial phases of the project. Project performance is the indicator which indicates that if the planning of the project was effective or not.

Few other authors Ling and Chan (2002) and Thomas et al. (2002) took the performance of the project as a scale to measure the success of the planning.

There are the three levels of the project planning as per identified by the Dvir et al. (2003), those three levels are mentioned below

  • The level in whichtheemphasis of the planning is on the functional character of the project, and this level is called as the end-user level.
  • The second level in which the technical assistance is focused on which is required to perform the functions of the project. This level is called as the technical level of the project.
  • The third and the last level is the planning that the technical work is progressing effectively, this level is called as the project management level.

These levels have the other names as well, such as

  • Project design planning.
  • Project conception planning.
  • Construction planning.

The prominent issue in the delivery of the project is the performance of the project, the reason behind is that the objectives of the project are defined earlier, and resources of the project are already defined as well which are needed to be exploited properly.

Yeo (2002) identified those factors which play a key and crucial role in the failure of any project and he summed up that the most significant factor which results in the failure of any project is the poor planning; he believed that in order to make the project successful effective planning is required. This idea has been supported by Turner and Muller (2003) in their study, in which they stated that the planning for the project is like hygiene for a body.

2.4 Physical Scale

It is essential to understand the project planning, and in order to understand this there must be some physical scale for that.  The scale should be like the instrument which would illustrate the level to which the project has been designed. When any such scale would be deployed it would be essential for the construction industry, to understand the capability of the project plan. In the end it is the contractor who is questioned so he needs to execute the effective plan, and he can measure the effectiveness of the project planning via the proposed index. It is a fact that the project planning is subjective in nature. But the tool which was developed back in 1991 by CII, PDRI, it is sufficiently enough to present the contractors that what they are required to do, and what is expected out of them and the project. Project planning and the processing of the project are sometimes intermingled with the people. But there is a divergence between both, both planning and the way the project processes are two different things (Alshanbari 2010).

2.5 Tools For Measuring Project Performance

Robinson et al. (2005) suggested that giving the due importance to the significance of the project’s performance, there must be some tools developed in order to check the performance of the project. Later on there were some parameters developed by Naomi (1999), Ling and Chan (2002), Thomas et al.(2002) and Josephson and Lindstrom(2007), for the measurement of the project’s performance. There are a total of three hundred and twenty parameters and tools developed by theses researchers to measure the project’s performance. Out of these three hundred and twenty seventy were identified by Ling (2004), while the rest two hundred and fifty were developed by Josephson and Lindstrom (2007).

These parameters defined are both objective and subjective in nature. It is said that the project’s performance has many shapes and many faces; it may be comprised of the client’s level, speed of delivery, construction efficiency and the cost of the project (Ling 2004).

Parameters to measure the performance of the project have been divided into two factors i-e internal and external factors, by Pinto and Slevin (1998).

  • External factors may include the impact of the project on the organization and most importantly the satisfaction of the stakeholders.
  • Whereas internal factors may include quality, cost and the schedule of the project.

There are two parameters identified by Ling et al. (2004) for measuring the project’s success and according to him the project’s success is that to what degree it has been able to achieve the quality standards of the project and secondly the successful accomplishment of all the planned processes i-e costs and time.

Bal et al. (2013) identified that Stakeholders of any project depend upon the size of the project; every project has a different number of stakeholders depending upon the nature and size of the project. But size doesn’t mean that bigger project would have the biggest number of stakeholders, usually the stakeholders are small in number and they are the key to higher sustainability of any project. One of the project design engineer once illustrated stakeholders as not just the targeted group but according to him it is all those people who are involved in any project, any of the organization, any community which is directly associated with the project are the stakeholders, he further elaborated that stakeholders are those entities who have to bear the loss if any of the project, and they are the ones who anticipate the benefits and gains as well. Stakeholders are those who give an assurance of their support to the project owner if the project becomes controversial. To find out who actually is the stakeholder of the project the owner must clearly define the intent of the project. Clear process of project planning also makes it easier to understand the stakeholders. When both these things are made clear it is way easier to identify those people who are namely called as stakeholders and who play the essential role in the whole project.

If the stakeholders in the construction industry are to be identified, they are different in different phases, for instance, in the pre designing of the construction project the stakeholders involved are different than those who are involved during the process of design and those stakeholders are totally different who are associated with the bidding, and later on during the construction phase. A clear line must be drawn between those who are involved in the process and those who are not involved. This can be done via developing an identification system. There is another way of identifying the stakeholders and that is the power they have, their interests in the project, their commitment to the project and the attitude they have.  All these things matter a lot for any of the project and for the identification of the stakeholders (Gao et al. 2006 and Vos 2003).

2.6 Criticism

While reviewing the past literature, it has been witnessed that there exists a lot of criticism on the planning phase as well.For example the phase of estimating the accurate costs of the projects, and the schedule of the project. It sometimes happens that the costs of the project exceed to that which have been estimated during the planning process. And it has been witnessed as well that sometimes the project exceeds the scheduled time as well.

One author took a new perspective; he criticized the importance of the planning by taking into account the viewpoint of those project managers who believe that the planning is a total waste of time (Bigelow 1998).

2.7 Factors Affecting Project Planning and Project Outcomes

According to Catersels et al. (2010); Umbleet al. (2003) and Yeo (2002) the factors which cause the failure of the project are as firstly poor goals of the project, secondly Escalating costs and timelines and lastly Poor technology infrastructure. And the researchers believe that all these shortcomings can be removed with the help of effective planning.

2.7.1 Cost Factor

An investigation has been done by Flyvbjerg, Holm, and Buhl (2002) of the two hundred and fifty eight infrastructure projects of transportation. These projects were worth the 90 billion US dollars; these projects were based on different geographical locations. The researchers indicated that the cost analysis of the projects was very misleading; in the end these projects would have turned up more costs than the estimated one. At the end of their study Flyvbjerg, et al.(2002) suggested that the cost estimates of the projects are often misleading and one should not start the project by trusting these cost estimates, because in the end the costs are much higher than those estimates in the very beginning (Keilet al. 2003).

Kaming et al. (1997) executed a study in the same regard i-e to know the factors which are the reason of delay and according to them time overruns and the costs of the project are the core reasons in any project’s delay. The authors further explained in their study that how costs and time overruns are the reasons for the delay. According to the researchers of the study costs of the project are impacted by

  • Inflation
  • Increase in the costs of the material resources
  • Level of complexity
  • Wrong estimation of the material during the planning phase.

2.7.2 Communication Factor

To make any project successful communication is one important aspect of any project, and those projects are successful in which the communication is established at the very beginning of the project.Considering the importance of the communication system Kumaraswamyet al. (2004)suggested a medium of communication i-e web based. According to him web based management system is the fastest and the best way to keep posted all the stakeholders of the project regarding the progress of the project. He proposed this sort of management system to make thedecisions which are favorable for the project.Sometimes the decisions are very critical for the development of any project, and they need the urgent response from all the stakeholders without any delay so in that case web based management is helpful.Establishment of this system is essential if it is developed in the early stages of theproject, another important aspect is the creation of the web based supply chain system, by fabricating such system would increase the productivity of the project.

2.7.3 Time Related Risk Factor

There are certain time related risks in the project as well. Mentioned below are some of those which have been identified by the Zou et al.(2006)

  • Variations in design
  • Strict schedule of project
  • Variations demanded by the client
  • Unnecessary approval procedures in government administrative departments
  • Derisory schedule of program
  • Incomplete documents and partial approval
  • Inappropriate planning of construction program,

2.7.4 Natural Disaster

Haseeb et al. (2011) have executed a study in the context of Pakistan’s construction industry and according to them the major reason of delay in the construction industry projects in Pakistan is the natural disaster. And the natural disaster may include earthquakes and floods. This study has also included that there are some financial problems as well that cause the delay of any project.Moreover; they said that the delay of the project can be due to the delay in the payments, shortage of material, lack of experience and due to shortage of required equipment.

2.7.5 Design Factor

As stated by Dubois and Gadde, (2002), Eriksson and Laan, (2007), when the contractor’s procurement is done via a high level of specifications then the outcome simply is the failure of the construction. It is a fact that the design of the construction is not affected by the planning of the construction. As per view of Pietroforte, 1997, Love et al., (1998) the separation in the planning and the design buildup of the project results in the longevity of the project. As per Korczynski, (1996) when both the planning and the project design build up are separated then it results in thediminishedinnovation as well. There existsa lot of literature in thedesign, build and for design bid build as well, the prior literature shows a positive trend for both. The results for the design-build contracts show that they are very effective in generating more money and reducing the time required for the project.  When the comparison of both thecontract designs has been done, literature identified that design-build contracts are better than the design bid project (Tam 2000). But there are studies as well, which showed that the design bid build projects are better than the design, build projects, according to these researchers the design bid build contracts provide better quality of the projects than as compared to the project build design (Cheung et al., 2001).Thereis another viewpoint in this regard and that is of Chua et al., (1997) he stated that when thedesign of the project is designed even before its beginning, it is beneficial in every aspect, it is time efficient as well as it is cost effective as well.

2.7.6 Client’s Satisfaction

Client’s satisfaction is the key factor identifying the success of the project. And according to Netoet al. (2007) meeting or exceeding the expectations of the project would result in the satisfaction of the client, and the satisfaction of the client would be measured via the level of loyalty he would show to the organization in the future. Idoro, (2008); stated that the loyalty of the client can be measured through the number of indicators, but the most commonly used in the past researches are the quality, time and the costs they have to bear. The goal of the project that is in the other way goal of the client it must be added into the planning of the project and it should be reminded of the entire workforce time to time so that the client remains satisfied (Josephson and Lindstrom 2007).

2.7.8 Other Factors

Soon (2007) took the case of Malaysian construction industry and he examined the possible factors which cause the delay in the project. He stated the ten factors which are the key reason; these key reasons of delay, according to Soon (2007), are mentioned below.

  • Improper planning by the contractor
  • Pathetic work site management by the contractor
  • Lack of experience contractor
  • An inappropriate way of payment by the client
  • Material shortage
  • Shortage of labour supply
  • Subcontractor issues
  • Communication gap between the stakeholders.
  • Slip-ups during the phase of construction

There are numerous researchers who have executed their research works on the reasons of project delay amongst these are the Chan and Kumaraswamy (1997) as well. They have identified the five core reasons for the delay of any project as

  • Unexpected conditions of the site
  • Pathetic system of risk management
  • Sluggish system of decision making
  • Variation of the project
  • Variations demanded by the client during the project.

According to Kaming, et al.(1997) to them the delay due to time overruns is influenced by the other factors as well, those factors are

  • Bad labor productivity
  • Changes in design
  • Shortage of the resources

2.8 Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework is designed to develop a relationship between the variables that are studied in the research.In the current research the two variables are project planning and project outcomes. Factors affecting Project planning is taken as an independent variable while project outcomes are considered as the dependent variable. The association between the variables is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Theoretical Framework

 

2.9 Key Findings of the Research

From the researches discussed above, it is found that the planning phase has a due importance at all the levels of project i-e from the start till the end of the project. There are a number of factors that affect the planning phase of the project and if they are managed properly than the systematic planning results in enhanced project outcomes.

2.10 Summary

A review of previous related works to the research’s topic presented in this dissertation has been constructed in this chapter by discussing the nature and relationship between the variables. The association between the variables is developed with the help of the earlier researches. The researches clearly depicted that if the project is planned properly, it would help the company to enjoy positive outcomes at the completion of the project.

The next chapter will be Research Methodology. In this chapter the methods for data collection will be discussed in detail. Moreover the research philosophy, research instrument for data collection, research strategy, research ethics and limitations, etc. will also be discussed in the methodology chapter.

 

 

Chapter three

Research methodology

3.1 Introduction

This is that section of the study, which is comprised of the methods which are deployed in a study for its execution. In this section of the study in order to have a better understanding of the procedure, all the methods are explained step by step. This section of the study explains the procedures which at some point of the study may be involved in it.  

3.2 Research Process

Saunders et al. (2007) described the method of research in a pictorial form. He presented all the methods of study in the form of a diagram. The picture is named after Saunders as Saunders onion. Its shape is like an onion and it has many layers, each layer represent a method. Mentioned below is that figure to explain it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: Research Process

(Source: Saunders et al. (2003))

 

3.3 Research Philosophy

Research philosophy is decided according to the nature of the study, there are two research philosophies according to Smith which are commonly used (see Table 2), those are

  • Phenomenological philosophy
  • Positivistic philosophy

Table 2: Research Philosophies

Research  Philosophies

Positivist paradigm

Phenomenological paradigm

Quantitative

Qualitative

Scientific

Humanistic

Experimental

Interpretivist/Hermeneutic

Traditionalist

 

Hypothetical

Deductive Inductive

Social

Constructionism

Notes: This listing of terms has been distilled from Denzin and Lincoln (2000), Easterby-Smith et al. (1991), Gill an d Johnson (1991), Gummesson (2000), Hussey and Hussey (1997), Ticehurst and Veal (2000), and from essays by both Ray; Cohen and Omery in Morse (1994)

 

 

As mentioned above the philosophies are employed by keeping in view the nature of the research. There are certain assumptions which the researcher has to consider if he deploys positivistic research philosophy. While Phenomenological philosophy is employed when the research is descriptive in nature (Lincoln and Cannella 2005).

3.4 Strategies of Inquiry

Similar to the research philosophies there are a number of research strategies as well. However the selection of the research philosophy depends on the nature of the research. Given below are some of the research strategies.

3.4.1 Case Study Strategy

In the case study strategy a specific case is selected and the case is examined considering the case of the research (Bryman & Bell (2007). They said that when the researcher chooses case study strategy, it depicts that he is going to select a particular case and study the specific topic considering the case.

3.4.2 Surveys Strategy

Strauss and Corbin (1990) said that survey strategy is employed when the researcher intends to collect data from a larger population. This strategy helps in approaching greater number of people and recording their opinion about the phenomenon under study.

3.4.3 Grounded Theory Strategy

Strauss and Corbin (1990) stated that in grounded theory, strategy hypotheses is structured at the very initial stage of the research as hypotheses is the basic step in the researches using grounded theory.

3.5 ResearchDesign

Saunders et al. (2009) identified that there are two research approaches one is deductive approach and the other one is inductive approach. Collins (2010) explained that when the deductive approach is used, it involves designing the hypotheses at the first section and in the later half the examination of the hypotheses is carried out. According to Collins (2010) it is an approach of hypotheses formulation and testing.

On the other hand, when the inductive approach is practiced it involves the application of grounded theory as it forms the base of the inductive approach(Collins 2010).

3.6 Research Methods

Bryman (2007) said that there are two research methods one is a qualitative research method and the other one is the quantitative research method. Craswell (2009) said that the if the research uses the data that is numeric in nature than the quantitative research methods is appropriate, while when the research uses data  which is more qualitative in nature than the appropriate research method is a qualitative research method. 

3.6.1 Qualitative Research Method

Qualitative research is a form of scientific research methods. It is a form of scientific research that assembles data and information and deduces results that are not supposed at the start of the research. It helps in the generalization of the results beyond the specific research means the results deduced by applying this method can be generalized but the extent to which they can be generalized is somewhat lesser than quantitative research method. The data collected with the help of qualitative research methods is based on the viewpoints of the selected population or sample thus allows the collection of data about the norms, behaviours, beliefs and other demographics of the people involved in the research (Young 2007).

Patton and Cochran (2002) added that the qualitative research method enables the researcher to deal with the what, where, how and why questions and help him to answer these questions effectively and thoroughly. They further said that this research method is normally employed when the researcher wants to understand the different thoughts and perceptions of the people about a specific event or phenomenon.

3.6.2 Quantitative Research Method

According to Young (2007) the quantitative research method is the kind of the scientific methods that is used by the researcher when he intends to collect the data and information on a larger scale. The quantitative research method has a positive aspect that apart from the collection of the data from a larger population, it also allows the greater generalizability of the outcomes and findings. The application of the different mathematical and statistical tests makes the results and outcomes more reliable and authentic (Young 2007). Patton and Cochran (2002) also said that the quantitative research method has greater generalizability of the results and findings as compared to qualitative research methods.

Lisa (2008) further extends viewpoint posited by Young (2007) and said that the quantitative research methods results in a systematic examination of an event or phenomenon with the help of application of the mathematical, statistical, conceptual tests, methods and techniques.

3.6.3 Qualitative Versus Quantitative Methods

Silverman (2011) and Yin (2009) compared the qualitative and quantitative research methods and said that the qualitative research method allows the detailed and thorough investigation of the phenomenon or a situation as compared to the quantitative research method (see Table 3) According to them the qualitative research method is used when variant aspects of a phenomenon are to be explored and studied. While according to them on the other side the quantitative research method is most useful when the researcher wants to study the relationship between the different variables or facts. Yin (2009) tells how and why are answered in the qualitative research method, whereas what is answered in the quantitative research method. He explained some differences between both research methods that are explained below.

Table 3: Qualitative versus Quantitative Research Methods

 

Qualitative Methods

Quantitative Methods

Basic beliefs about the nature of reality

  • There are multiple realities; reality is not purely objective, and does not exist independent of the people who interpret it
  • There is one objective reality that is not dependent on human interpretation

Main paradigms

  • Interpretivism
  • Positivism

Common research methods

  • Grounded theory
  • Action research
  • Ethnography
  • Case study
  • Experiment
  • Survey

Quality assurance

  • Construct validity, confirmability, internal validity/credibility, external validity/transferability, reliability/dependability
  • Sampling: purposeful
  • Reliability: internal and external
  • Validity: construct, context
  • Sampling: random and deliberate

Key differentiating characteristics

  • The primarily inductive process used to formulatea theory
  • The primarily deductive process used to test pre-specified concepts, constructs, and hypotheses
  • More subjective: describes a problem or condition from the point of view of those experiencing it
  • More objective: provides observed effects (interpreted by researchers) of a problem or condition
  • Text-based
  • Number-based
  • In-depth information on a few cases
  • Less in-depth but more breadth of information across a large number of cases
  • Unstructured or semi-structured response options
  • Fixed response options
  • No statistical tests
  • Statistical tests used for analysis
  • Can be valid and reliable: largely depends on the skill and rigour of the researcher
  • Can be valid and reliable: largely depends on the measurement device or instrument used
  • Less generalisable
  • More generalisable
 

(Source: (Yin 2009))

 

3.6.4 Triangulation or Mixed Method

As per Creswell (2012) the triangulation or mix method is the combination of qualitative research method and quantitative research method in terms of collection, organization and analysis of the data and information. This combination of both types of research methods allows the better understanding of the topic of the research or a particular phenomenon. He explained that the use of mix method is more appropriate as the researcher would be in a better position to collect, organize and analyse the data from every aspect and through applying the method appropriate for the research. It is due to the fact that the triangulation of these two methods means the use of both words and numbers.

3.7 Data Collection Methods

There are two data collection methods

  1. Primary data collection method
  2. Secondary data collection method

3.7.1 Primary Data

The data which is collected primarily for the execution of the current research is known as primary data. In this data collection method data is collected from the sample selected for the particular research and it is the most reliable data (Saunders et al. 2012). The collection of the data from the primary sources increases the credibility of the research.

3.7.2 Secondary Data

Saunders et al. (2012) said that the secondary data is the one that is already available and can be used in accordance with the topic of the research.The secondary data can be collected through published reports, online websites, journals and authentic books and magazines, etc. In other words, all the sources other than the primary source for particular research are secondary sources.

3.8 Research Instrument

There are a wide variety of research instruments that are available to use for the data collection purpose, but three of the research instruments that are widely used are as below

  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Questionnaires.
  • Case studies

Saunders et al. (2009) said that the close ended questionnaire is one of the methods that can be used for collection of data from a large number of people. According to him the questionnaire allows the researcher to collect large quantities of data with little complexity. However, there also the chances that the researcher may lose some important data as the respondents have to answer the questions within limited options.

3.9 Used Research Methodology

3.9.1 Research’s Philosophy

In the current study the research philosophy which is considered is positivism. As the current study is about the examination of the project’s outcomes so the positivism is the best philosophy to use here. As the ongoing study has been executed to examine how project planning impacts the outcomes of the study. Case which would be studied under the light of this topic is the case of UK’s construction industry. The suitable philosophy for this study is positivistic philosophy, so the researcher has employed this one. Data is assembled via questionnaires; questionnaires have been distributed among the respondents.

3.9.2 ResearchStrategy

In the current research work UK construction industry is taken as a case. Depending upon the nature of the research, the research strategy in the current study will be a case study strategy.

3.9.3 Research Design

In the current research work inductive approach is used as case of the UK construction industry is taken and the factors affecting the project planning and its resultant impact on the project outcomes will be studied.

3.9.4 Research Methods

In the current research, quantitative research method is used for data collection and analysis. This method is selected as it will aid in data collection from the Managers to know the Project planning’s impact. 

3.9.5 Data Collection Methods

3.9.5.1 Primary data

In the current research data is collected by distributing the questionnaires among hundred employees from different construction companies of UK. The questionnaire which is distributed among the respondents is close ended questionnaire. The questionnaire is designed by using a Likert scale having options like Strongly agree, agree, uncertain, Disagree and strongly disagree. The close ended questionnaire is used because it allows the collection of large number of data in limited time and resources.

3.9.5.2 secondary data

In the current research the secondary sources would be used to assess the association between the project planning and the project outcomes.

3.9.6 Research Instrument

In the current research close ended questionnaire is distributed among the hundred employees of the companies in the UK construction industry. The Likert scale is used to construct the questionnaire.

3.9.7 Sampling Techniqueand Sample Size

There are number of sampling techniques that assist in selecting sample for the research.In the current research random sampling technique is employed to select the sample for the research. The selection of the sample size through random sampling technique will minimize the chance of biased responses. The hundred employees of the construction companies are selected as a sample for the current research. The demographics of the respondents are shown in Table 4.

Table 4: Respondents Characteristics

Demographics

Frequency

Gender

 

Male

80

Female

20

Age

 

20-35

63

35-50

37

 

 

3.10 Research Reliability and Validity

The research’s reliability and validity can be checked by a number of ways. Blalock (1970) stated that there exists a close and direct relationship between the research’s reliability and validity and the outcomes of the research.

3.10.1 Validity

Validity implies that the data and information is assembled from the most credible sources.Saunders et al. (2007) was of the view that the strength of any research largely depends on the valid data.Therefore, it is very important that the data is collected from the valid and authentic sources.

3.10.2 Reliability

Saunders et al. (2007) said that it is the extent to which the data and the information collected for the research is reliable. The reliability of the data is affected by a number of factors. The factors are as below

  • Respondent’s limited knowledge
  • Biases
  • Time constraint

To refrain from the unreliability the researcher needs to properly guide the respondents.

3.10.3 Generalizability

Generalizability is a vital concept in the research work. It implies that to what level the results of the research can be generalized. The generalizability of the results depends on the nature of the research like it is relatively easier to generalize the results in the case of quantitative research as compared with the qualitative research (Saunders et al. 2007).

3.11 Research Ethics

There are some ethical considerations that the researcher is required to fulfil while doing the research. Here below are the research ethics that are to be fulfilled.

  • The private information of the respondents must be kept confidential.
  • The designation of the respondents should not affect the research negatively.
  • The good will of the participating companies should not be targeted by the research.
  • The data collected should be authentic and real.
  • The work of the other researchers must be acknowledged properly to avoid plagiarism.

3.12 Limitations

It is seen that in every research there are some deficiencies and flaws. They are called as the limitations of the research. Following are some of the limitations of the current research.However, these limitations cannot be removed completely, but efforts can be made to minimize them to the possible extent. Following are some of the limitations that the current research faced.

  • The data collected may deviate as it depends on the viewpoint of the respondents and their viewpoint may differ.
  • There may be a time constraint that may restrict the collection of the desired data.
  • In the current research only the impact of project planning is studied there may be other factors that may affect the project outcomes.

3.13 Summary

In the current research the case study strategy is applied and the Positivistic research philosophy is used to analyse the data quantitatively. Close ended questionnaires are used to collect the data and the case of the construction industry is considered.

 

Chapter four

Data analysis and findings

4.1 Introduction

The analysis section has a very considerable place in the overall research. The analysis chapter is important as collected data and information is analysed in this chapter. In the current research the data and information provided by the employees working in different construction companies is analysed with the help of the quantitative analysis technique. The quantitative analysis technique is suitable to analyse the data and information that is collected by using a close ended questionnaire.

4.2 Aim ofthe Analysis

As mentioned in the earlier sections of the research that the objective of the research is to examine the the factors that affect the project planning and its resultant impact on the project outcomes: case considered is UK’s construction industry. The analysis section is also structured to pursue the overall aim of the research. The data is presented in the form of tables and graphs so that the findings and the outcomes can be systematically organized.

4.3 Sample and Data Collection

Hundred employees working in different construction companies are selected as a sample of the research. The sample is selected with the help of the random sampling technique so that each and every individual of the population gets an equal chance of selection. 

4.4 Quantitative Analysis

The data and information collected from the respondents through close ended questionnaires is examined through the quantitative analysis technique with the help of tables and graphs.

4.4.1 Demographics

The respondents who participated in the research have different demographic characteristics. The demographic characteristics of the respondents are shown in the table below.

Table: 5

 

Demographics

Demographics

Frequency

 Percentage

Age

 

 

20-35

63

63%

35-50

37

37%

Gender

 

 

Male

80

80%

Female

20

20%

 

 

Graph: Age of the Respondents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graph: Gender of the Respondents

 

 

 

 

 

The graphs drawn above show the demographics of the respondents who participated in the research. Each demographic trait is subdivided into sub categories like age is segregated into sub categories like 20-35 and 35-50 while the gender is subdivided into male and female sub categories. By observing the table and graph it is seen that a greater percentage of the respondents fall in the 20-35 sub category and the percentage of male sub category is greater than the female one.

4.4.2 Data Analysis

Project planning in the construction industry

The management of time, people and costs is basically known as project management. This is done by a single individual or a group of people, the purpose of this is to ensure the effective inauguration of the project, its proper execution and in the end the conclusion of the project.  When respondents were asked that whether the project planning is properly practiced in the construction industry or not. The majority of the respondents said it is properly practiced in the construction industry (see Figure 5). If the percentage of the respondents is observed one would be able to know that the majority of the sample strongly agreed with the asked query, the percentage of the responses is mentioned below.

  • Fifty four percent of the respondents agree with the statement  that the project planning is properly executed in the construction industry
  • Forty four percent of the respondents disagreed with the statement, they are of the view that project planning is not practiced properly in the construction industry.
  • A little percentage that is two percent of the respondents were uncertain about the it that if the construction industry properly practices the project planning in the construction industry or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 5: Project planning properly practiced in the construction industry

It has been analysed that the project planning is very crucial element for the successful accomplishment of any project. Every person who enters the construction industry, the prime purpose of it is to earn the money. So to earn it the best way is the provision of the product in the most economical manner and this can only be made possible via the effective project planning.  So it has been analysed that the solution of getting the prime goal of the constructor is practicing the project planning effectively. 

The effect of project planning on the project success

When the respondents have been asked that if the project planning activities impact the success of the project, they answered according to their perception and their responses show that they have the know how about the project planning activities and they are aware of the project planning’s significance in the successful accomplishment of the project (see        Figure 6).

The respondents in response to the statement responded as

  • Twenty five percent of the respondents believe that the success rate of the opening is not impacted by the project planning.
  • While three percent of the respondents were uncertain about the asked query
  • While seventy two percent of the respondents were in agreement with the statement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 6: The effect of project planning on project success

 

As the percentage of responses indicate that the respondents who believe that the greater the planning is greater the success rate of the project is, are far more than those who disagree with it, so from the responses of the respondents it can be analysed that project planning activities are the bloodline for the success of any construction industry’s project. If the planning activities are not effective no matter how much budget is allocated for the project, it would not be a successful one.  It can be summed up in this way that the most critical aspect for the success of the project is project planning, the level to which the project planning would be effective the success rate would be as great as that. 

The project cannot be successful if the planning is not done poorly. When the respondents  have been asked this query that can the project be successful if it is poorly planned. Their response is given in the Figure 7 below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 7: The effect of proper project planning on project success

  • Fifty five percent of the respondents were pretty convinced that without the project planning no project can be successful
  • While six percent of the respondents were unsure that do the projects fail or does it gets success with the poor or effective planning.
  • Where as thirty nine percent of the respondents were in disagreement with the asked query.

Thus, it can be analysed from the responses of the employees that the planning has a key role to play in the success of the project. No project, regardless of how costly it is, can be successful if the planning is poor, no matter how genius the team, which is deployed for the execution of the project, it would not accomplish successfully  until and unless there is proper planning.  Thus, it can be said that for the successful accomplishment of the projects the teams in the construction industry need to design the most effective plan before the initiation of the project, and this must be kept in mind that greater the plan would be greater would be the success rate of any project.

Project planning gives a direction to the project team. It is well known that when there is a plan for any task, it acts like a directional map for the execution of that task. Same is the case with the project planning it is a guideline for the projects and it acts like a road map for the project. It is a tool which helps the companies anticipate the future. It is a systematic way in which the companies fabricate contingency plans. Considering such an importance of the project planning the respondents have been posited with a query that does the project planning provides a direction to the project team, let's have a look at how they have responded to this particular query. See Figure 8 below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 8: Project planning giving direction to the project

  • Nine percent of the respondents were unsure about it
  • Thirty nine percent of the respondents responded that not necessarily it gives direction to the project team.
  • While fifty two percent of the respondents responded that it does provide the guideline to the project teams.

It can be analysed from the responses of the employees that planning does help the teams to execute the projects successfully. As the construction industry  is a large industry and the capital involved is also larger in size so, planning takes the extremely significant  posture in this scenario. If there would be no planning the team would not know what they have to do next. So the effective planning increases the chances of increased success rate of the projects.

Project planning allows the optimum use of all the available resources. When the respondents have been presented with the query that does the project planning leads to the optimum use of the organization’s resources, the way they responded is mentioned below. See Fig 9 below

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 9: Optimum allocation of resources

  • Fifty one percent of the respondents are of the view that yes with the effective project planning the resources of the construction industry can be used to optimum level. 
  • Twelve percent of the respondents are quite unsure about it that if the planning  results in the optimum use of the resources.
  • Where as thirty seven percent of the respondents are of the view that the project planning doesn’t have any significant role to play in the optimum use of the resources.

As the ratio of the answers provided by the employees show that  the project planning helps the organization in using the resources to the optimum level. This is the planning which even before the start of the project anticipates things that what is going to be done and what is going to be beneficial and which combination of the resources would be fruitful for the business. Thus it can be concluded by saying that the project planning helps the organization in using the resources to their optimum level. 

When the planning is done by keeping project’s objectives, client’s expectation and available resources in mind than it is effective. This is a fact that planning takes the project to the success, but planning itself needs to be very effective so that it enables the project to attain the desired goals or objectives. For this matter the project planning has to address the objectives of the entire project, clients desires and expectations and the resources available to meet the set objectives and clients expectations. The respondents were asked about the effectiveness of the project planning that whether it is more successful when it is designed by keeping in view the project goals, the demands of the end consumer and the available resources. The response can be seen in the Figure 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 10: Planning in accordance with project objectives, clients' expectations and available resources.

In response to the question sixty two percent of  the respondents said that they agree with the notion that planning is not successful if it does not cover all the relevant and necessary aspects like project goals, clients' expectations and available resources etc.Three percent of the respondents were uncertain about the statement. The remaining thirty five percent of the respondents reported that they do not agree with the statement and said that it is not necessary that project planning should cover these aspects. From table and the graph it can be clearly seen that the greater percentage of the respondents is in favour of the fact that planning is successful when it is designed in accordance with the above stated facts. So on the basis of the data and information provided by the respondents it can be analysed that project planning ensures the success of the project, if it is effective itself and is designed in accordance with the relevant requirements.

Project planning is the successful accomplishment of the project’s objectives in the limited period of time and with the available resources. Project planning allows the usage of the business available resources in an effective manner so that maximum can be achieved with the available resources and time. The respondents were presented with the question to know their viewpoint about the statement. See the Figure 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                            Figure 11: Accomplishment of the objectives in limited time and resources

Answering to the question sixty percent of the respondents said that project planning is the effective use of the resources business has in the limited time to accomplish the set goals and objectives. Two percent of the respondents were uncertain about the fact, while the remaining thirty eight percent of the employees revealed that they do not agree that planning makes optimum use of the available resources in the specified time period. According to them many of the projects are unable to achieve what is decided at the beginning of the project, although they have planning team who plans for the entire project. The greater number of the people agree that project planning has the capacity to realize the set goals within the specified resources and the limited time. The responses suggest that the project planning if done efficiently has the capacity to attain the project outcomes with the available resources and the limited time.

the Effect of different factors on project planning

Poor cost estimates result in defective project planning. The project cost is always a matter of great concern whether the customer has a huge vision for the project and has little capital to invest in the project, the client blew when the ultimate cost of the project is told or the client accepted the cost estimates and allow to carry on the project with the estimated costs. In all such cases the important factor is COST that is like a nightmare for the project. Considering the critical nature of the cost in a project the respondents were asked whether the poor cost estimates affect the efficiency of the project planning or not. The response can be seen in the Figure 12. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 12: Impact of Poor Cost Extimates

Sixty four percent of the respondents were agreed that defective or poor cost estimates result in poor project planning which ultimately undermine the overall performance of the entire project. Six percent of the respondents said that they are uncertain about the statement while the rest of the thirty percent of the respondents disagreed with the statement and came up with the point that cost is a fluctuating factor due to increasing inflation, so minor changes in the estimates can be adjusted and have no as such adverse impact on the project planning. From the above figures it can be seen that the greater percentage of the employees agree with the significance of the effective cost estimates and said that the planning for the project is seriously impacted if the costs are not properly estimated and have flaws. It can be analysed that the cost estimates are a serious concern as it has a sound effect on the efficiency of the planning activities, thus has an effect on the project success or failure as well.

Poor goals of the project affect the project planning. Every project starts with some goals and objectives in mind. The goals, however, should be SMART. It implies that the set goals and objectives need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific so that they can be properly planned and evaluated. If the objectives of the project are poorly set than the planning activities will be affected in a negative manner as planners would have no idea where they are going and where they are supposed to go. The employees at the construction companies were asked to record their viewpoint on the notion whether the poor goals of the project affect the project planning or not. Their viewpoint is presented in the Figure 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 13: Impact of  Poor Goal setting

In response to the query seventy three percent of the respondents realized the matter that poor goals setting affect the project planning. Four percent of the respondents were uncertain about the statement while the remaining twenty three percent of the respondents revealed that they disagree with the statement and said that the objectives of the project does not create any impact on the project planning.The high percentage of the respondents agreeing with the statement discloses that setting SMART goals is the prime step in the planning process and it needs to be effective to make the entire planning process successful.

Escalating costs of the project adversely affect the project planning. As mentioned earlier, the cost and expense accounts major part in the project’s planning success or failure. The cost estimates if not managed properly, they can turn into an unfavourable event for the project. The employees were asked to give their viewpoint about the negative impact of escalating costs of the project on the project planning. See Figure 14 below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 14: Impact of Escalating costs

The respondents provided a favourable response as sixty six percent of them said that they agree that the increasing and mounting costs of the project has a negative impact on the planning of the project and ultimately project efficiency. Ten percent of the respondents were uncertain about the statement, whereas the rest of the twenty four percent of the respondents said that they disagree with the statement. The majority of the respondents in favour of the statement suggests that if the costs increase beyond the estimated values than the planning activities are affected negatively as the planned budget exceeds the expected values, thus increasing the expenses and reducing the revenues at the end of the day. From the above responses it can be analysed that the cost estimates have a central role in the overall planning process. If the costs tend to increase than the overall estimated budget will exceed the limits which will adversely affect the planning. This is agreed that the actual cost of the project may vary from the estimated one, but the differences should not be  that huge that adversely affects the financial performance of the project. If this is the case that actual cost and expected cost differ greatly than the planning is regarded as poor. Therefore a successful planner needs to be careful while planning the costs of the project.  

Poor technology infrastructure of the project negatively affects the project planning. This is an era of information technology and organizations, whether on a small scale or large scale are required to manage their projects prudently. With the increasing competition in the market the need of proper information technology infrastructure has gained more importance. See Figure 15 for the responses.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 15: Impact of Technology infrastructure

Considering the important role of the information technology in the project planning and success the employees were asked this question. Seventy four percent of the respondents agreed that the improper information technology infrastructure badly affects the project planning and the project outcomes. They said that the way the project management team conducts the project planning is very important as it ultimately influences the entire project. They further informed that the success of the project planning depends upon a number of factors and information technology infrastructure is one of them. They informed that there are certain information technology tools that can be used and their companies are also using through which the proper implementation and effectiveness of the project planning can be ensured. Two percent of the respondents said that they have no idea about the statement while the rest of the respondents i-e twenty four percent of the respondents disagreed with the statement and said that although information technology is gaining momentum day by day but it has no significant impact on the project planning.       

Communication between the people involved in the entire project has an influence on the project planning and success. Communication has a prominent role in every aspect of life, including business life. Lack of communication is believed to unfavourably affect the project planning and its execution. In the recent times, irrespective of the  fact that the technology has improved, but lack of communication lead to defective planning and defective project execution. See Figure 16 below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     Figure 16: Impact of Communication activities

The respondents, while answering this question stated that yes the communication activities hold a very decisive place in the project planning. According to respondents the improper communication between the people involved in the project leads to segregation of information to some hand, thus affecting the sharing of goals and ways to achieve goals. Two percent of the respondents were uncertain and the remaining twenty four percent said that they disagree with the statement. From the responses it can be analysed that the project planning fails as many management practitioners regard communication as something that just happens, but they do not know that communication through an email or spreadsheets is not just enough for successful project planning. The organization needs to have a proper communication strategy in place that has the tools to design and regulate the project information to all the people involved in the project.

4.5 Confirmation of the hypotheses

The following hypotheses are designed for the current research  

H1: Project planning positively impacts the outcomes of the project.

H2: Project planning negatively impacts the outcomes of the project.

H3: Project outcomes are not impacted by the project planning.

The first hypotheses of the research i-e H1: Project planning positively impacts the outcomes of the project is accepted while the second and the third hypotheses H2: Project planning negatively impacts the outcomes of the project and H3: Project outcomes are not impacted by the project planning are rejected as the results and findings of the research confirm that the project planning positively impacts the outcomes of the project and if project is effectively planned and executed the outcomes are in favor of the project. The results of the current research are also in conformity with the earlier researches which add to the authenticity of the results and findings of the current research. 

Gibson et al. (2006) confirmed the findings of the research stating that the outcomes of the properly planned projects are different from the ones that are not planned properly. The planned projects bring in more favourable results in terms of operational and financial returns.

Beaner and Hobbs (2011) also identified that if the project is not planned properly at the initial stage than it is very difficult to handle the problems arising out of the defective or ineffective planning. Therefore, it is very important that the project should be planned at the initial stage to enjoy the positive outcomes at the end of the project.

Dvir et al. (2003) stated that there is a positive relationship between the project planning and the project success. Moreover, other researchers like Catersels et al. (2010) ; Dvir et al. (2003) ; Poon et al.(2011) ; Turner and Muller (2003) and Zwikael and Globerson (2006) also found that the success of the project is positively related to the project planning.

4.6 Summary

In the current chapter the collected data and information is analysed thoroughly with the help of the quantitative techniques. Each and every question is deeply analysed so that the reliable findings can be extracted from the responses of the employees working at different construction companies.       

   

 

 

Chapter five

Conclusion and recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This is the last chapter of the research. In this section, the research questions which were designed in the first chapter are discussed. In this section of the study the aims and objectives of the study are slightly touched as well. As the section grows it has been identified in the end that there exist a positive association between the factors affecting the project planning and the impact of project planning on the project outcomes.   

5.2 Discussion and Conclusion

From the assembled data it is analysed that firms become more competitive globally and they earn favourable outcomes of the project when they deploy project planning effectively. In the construction industries with the effective project planning not just the favourable outcomes are achieved, but the value of shares tends to increase as well. It is essential for the construction companies that they must define the expected benefits, costs, and risks when they are planning for the project. When this has been discussed earlier than planning in accordance with the expectations gets easier.

From the responses of the employees working in the different construction companies it can be deduced that there are some factors if not managed properly can affect the efficiency of the project planning and ultimately the project success. It is concluded that if the discusses factors like costs, information technology infrastructure, communication activities, project goals, etc. are properly managed than the project planning will be successful in making the project outcomes encouraging.

According to Fortune and White (2006); Johnson et al. (2001) and numerous other researchers, it is the planning which plays a crucial role in the failure and success of any project. All the researchers are in agreement on this that no matter how professional the team of the project is, no matter how advanced the technology employed is if the planning of the project would be faulty, brilliant professionals and technology would be of no use. If the phase of planning is done effectively it increases the chances of the success of the project. Zwikael and Globerson, (2004).  

The core intent of planning is to develop such a structure which would enable the team to cope with the potential threats during the project, those threats could be of costs, information technology infrastructure, communication activities, project goals etc.

Fortune and White, (2006); Zwikael, Shimizu, and Globerson, (2005) stated that for the success of any project, planning of the project plays a key role. Planning is very essential factor for the success and failure of any project so the companies must give ample time for the process of planning.  Johnson et al., (2001); Zwikael and Sadeh, (2007).

5.3 Compatibility with the research aims and objectives

The basic purpose of the execution of this study is to examine those factors which impact the project planning, and the impact of project planning on the outcomes of  the project. For this purpose the case of England’s construction industry is considered.

Given below are the key objectives of the ongoing study. Efforts have been made in the to accomplish these objectives.

  • To study the significance of project planning in project outcomes.
  • To examine the factors those affect the planning of the project.
  • To identify the possible risks that a project can encounter.
  •  To examine the extent to which the project planning can be successful if the factors are controlled ultimately leading to project success.
  • To propose certain recommendations for successful project planning.

The results of  the study indicate that there is a direct association between the project outcomes and the project planning.  

5.4 Compatibility with the Research Questions

Research question for the research are as important as the aims and objectives for the study. Hence it is vital to fabricate the queries of the study and then to answer them during different phases of the study. For the ongoing study the queries are mentioned below.

  • What could be the possible role the planning can play so to turn the outcomes of project in the company’s favour? 
  • How the company's competitiveness would enhance by adapting the effective project planning?

Research queries have been effectively answered during the execution of the study.

5.5 Overview of the dissertation

The ongoing study was executed to examine how the outcomes of the study are impacted by the project planning, the case of UK’s construction industry is considered. For the data collection process the employees working in the construction industry were utilized. Quantitative analysis technique is employed so as to examine the collected data, this is done so to analyse the data in detail. The research philosophy which is employed is positivistic research philosophy. An effort has been made so to compare the results of the ongoing study with the results of the prior studies. This comparison with the prior researches is done so to bring conformity in the results. In the end it has been concluded that there exist a positive correlation between the project planning and the project outcomes.

5.6 Recommendations

From the data analysed it is examined that the construction companies in the United Kingdom are practicing effective project planning and are effectively managing the factors that are likely to impact the project planning. But here are some general recommendations that can be followed to make the project planning process even more successful.  

Nail Down Project Details

 

Before the start of the project the  construction companies must ensure that  there is a solid foundation in the back end i-e planning.  It must be ensured as well that all the stakeholders are on the same page. And during the phase of planning the construction companies must comprehend the stakeholder’s interest, and this should be determined before hand that what would be the parameters through which the stakeholders would decide either the project was successful or not.

Identify Project and Team Requirements

 

It has been observed that when the companies have a strong basis in the form of a strong plan for the project, then they can build up the team for the project accordingly. Team for the project consists of the professional units who strive for accomplishing a common goal. The construction companies should take the first step towards the success by organizing the available resources and deciding how to integrate the individual skills of the individuals to get the fruitful results.

Be the Project Leader

 

For the successful execution of the project, team leader is the one who plays a key role. So that person should be selected as a leader who would act as a coach and would structure a positive team, the leader must be like the mentor and the role model and he shall be an inspiration for the rest of the team.

Define Critical Project Milestones

 

The construction industries can divide the whole project into four phases to execute the project smoothly, given below are those four phases.   

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Closure

An evaluation must be done after the end of each phase. Each and every aspect must be examined by the end of each phase. The companies must ensure that the plan of project and technical documents must be integrated so that it meets the specifications of the project.

Keep the Communication Lines Open

 

The most crucial thing during the phase of project planning is that the lines of communication are open. Communication enhances the project, the companies should know what are the demands of the stakeholders and what are the demands of the customer. This would enable to design the project, according to the wishes of the stakeholders and the customer.

Attain Pertinent Documentation

 

The construction companies must ensure that when they start the project they must have the required signed documents from all the stakeholders. It must be ensured that all the documents are in line with the methodology of the project management.

Preparation of planning guide

 

The project managers can ensure project success by preparing a project planning guide that can be used as a reference tool for the existing and the upcoming projects. The project guide should be organization specific according to the size and standard processes of the organization.

Project management software

The project manager should use project management software. Different types of project management software are available in the market. There are softwares that are web based or particularly designed for desktop users. The construction companies can make use of server client configuration that helps in central control of all the project activities and communication between all the personnel involved in the project.

Manage Project Risks

 

During the execution of the study the construction companies may face risks at many stages. When the proper planning is done the team is able to know which risk is about to come and that risk can be reduced, or what measures can be taken so to avoid those risks

Avoid Scope Creep

 

The vital element for the success of the project is avoiding the scope creep. This is a fact that at some stages the change becomes necessary for the project. However the drastic change should be avoided as it would drag the project towards the chaos. This happens usually when the number of new elements is added up into the project after its execution. The changes may increase the time limit, which may add up the more costs of the budget, therefore the management should focus on avoiding the drastic changes. 

Work the plan

The construction companies must ensure that they are properly managing the work. They must ensure that they are having the status report after every some time. When the team is able to successfully accomplish the project within the given time frame and within the decided budget, it is said to be the working of the project plan. Work plan can be adjusted according to the needs of the project. Status report for the project must be in written form. It is the document which supports the manager and the team of the project. This document would let the team know where they are lagging behind and where they need to induce more efforts, hence it is a simple document which helps the team to work in a team, identify the potential risks and resolve the issues.

Evaluate the Project

Evaluation of the project should be done by the end of the project. By the end of the project the team must be asked what have they learnt from the project. The whole of the project must be reviewed from the very start. Companies can use the lessons learnt from the one project to minimize those shortcomings in the upcoming future projects.

5.7  Summary

In the study overall, this section is very essential. It holds the significance for the reason that it complies with the outcomes for the study. Hence this study is concluded on this that there lies a positive correlation between the outcomes of the project and the project planning.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Appendix

QUESTIONNAIRE

Analyzing the factors that affect the project planning and its resultant impact on the project outcomes: case considered is UK’s construction industry

Age…………Designation………………………. Gender…………… experience …………

The current research is about the project planning and its impact on the project outcomes. In the construction industry planning of the project has gained much of the attention. Keeping in view the significance of project planning the current research is started to know the viewpoint of the employees working in different construction companies.       

Please specify the appropriate answer by selecting the given option

  1. Does project planning is practiced in the construction industry?
  1. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree
  1. The degree of project planning affects the project success, the greater the planning the greater the success rate?

         a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. The project cannot be successful if the planning is not done poorly?

         a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. Project planning gives a direction to the project team?

        a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. Project planning allows the optimum use of all the available resources?

       a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. When the planning is done by keeping project’s objectives, client’s expectation and   available resources in mind than it is effective?

      a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. Project planning is the successful accomplishment of the project’s objectives in the limited period of time and with the available resources?

      a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. Poor cost estimates result in defective project planning?

           a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. What you think poor goals of the project affect the project planning?

         a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. What you think Escalating costs of the project affect the project planning?

        a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. What you think poor technology infrastructure of the project affect the project planning?

   a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

  1. Does communication between the people involved in the entire project has an influence on the project planning and success?

  a. Agree b. Strongly Agree c. Uncertain d. Disagree e. Strongly disagree

Additional comments if any

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

 


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