Forty (40) companies working on a project, each assigning a manager to manage their company’s scope of work. The visiting card of each company’s manager calls out “Project Manager” under his name. So how many Project Managers do the project take?
In the above question “a Project Manager is the person who manages the scope of work for the participating company in a project.” But that can be called out as the ‘Contract Manager’ or ‘Contract Administrator’, if that role is merely administering a single company’s contract and its scope in the project.
“In a project, the Project Manager’s role has to be encompassing all the contracts in the project.” Well…. that can be problematic, as well, as there are various hierarchy of contracts in a project. And there is no one person managing all the contracts in a project.
In the general construction industry, Project Management is a specific role assigned with a certain CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) code, which primarily acts as an “Owner’s Representative” in a project. In that role there is only one Project Manager in any project. But that Project Manager is not managing all the contracts. He is merely managing the contracts that are directly tying with the owner. At that level of hierarchy, the Project Manager is managing the highest possible rolled-up contracts, that are the primary contracts with the project owner, in the project’s contract pyramid.
Managing the primary contracts does not mean the ‘central’ role for managing projects. Remoteness from the central control is the primary reason that Project Management firms have a specific niche in the Government, Crown Corporation and Municipal sector but not in the commercial and other sectors.
The central role of managing projects are left with General Contractors, Design Builders, etc. They are primarily the keepers of the industry knowledge through many years of experience. These are traditional roles of older times in the construction industry. Individuals in this traditional role, consider Project Managers and modern managerial knowledge as too general and devoid of industry knowledge. By industry knowledge they mean trade disciplinary knowledge that are directly used in the act of building. But the problem is that the disciplinary knowledge in the construction industry is diversifying and growing so fast that these central role name sake keepers of industry knowledge cannot possibly keep up with that knowledge. However, with time they are realizing their lack of scientific Project Management knowledge. They are looking to compensating their shortfalls.
Centralization of role in a project is not merely due to contract nature, but also because of Information Trafficking and ‘Game of Influences and Control’