Project Team Integration: Communication, Co-ordination and Decision Support. Part A: Scoping Studies

Kajewski, Stephen L., Chen, Swee-Eng, Brewer, Graham, Gameson, Rod, Gajendran, Thayaparan, Kolomy, Richard, Lenard, Dennis, MacKee, Jamie, Martins, Rui, Sher, Willy, McCabe, Kathryn, & McCann, Judith (2003) Project Team Integration: Communication, Co-ordination and Decision Support. Part A: Scoping Studies. QUT.

Abstract

The construction industry is rapidly changing. The forces driving these changes are largely technological. Consequently there is a strong need to utilize and harness the technology that is now available to business and the individual. The construction industry has realised the potential benefits of information and communication technology (ICT) compared with other industries. The aim of this report is to identify technology issues and processes that could lead to more effective use of technology mediated communications, integration and decision support in the construction industry, particularly within project teams. Background The advent of new technologies, specifically communication and information technologies (ICT), brings with it demand by clients for organisations to provide better service. In accordance with this trend, essentially project success relies on the effective implementation and utilisation of these technologies for the benefit of the organisation, the client, the project and the individual. Such a statement belies the complexity of the problem, however it does identify the key players and the crux of the problem; effective and timely communication of relevant information. The perspective adopted for this report is that of "people and process". By this, we refer to the individuals that participate in any project and the processes necessary for the timely completion of a given project. From this perspective, four key issues were identified from the literature. They are: • Constructability • Project Team Dynamics • Knowledge Management • Information Visualisation Constructability Constructability, at first, does not appear to be as relevant as the other areas identified. However, McGeorge and Palmer (1997) identified it as the only management concept developed by the construction industry for the construction industry. The alleged difference between constructability and other management techniques relevant to construction arises from the separation of the design and construction processes. This different led to various communication, cooperation and coordination issues. Project Team Dynamics A key factor in the achievement of successful project outcomes is the nature of the relationships between members of the project teams. Systems have been developed to measure the performance of individuals and projects, but research into project team dynamics, relating to the construction industry, is limited. Much was published on relationships between project participants, initially prompted by issues such as alternative procurement systems, but of late this has developed into areas relating to partnering, strategic alliances and supply chain management. One outcome has been the realization that different participants play in different projects and furthermore that these relationships change from project to project. Therefore there is a huge scope for addressing the changing types and channels of communication with projects and between projects for participants. Knowledge Management Knowledge management is the collection of processes that govern the creation, dissemination and utilisation of knowledge (Newman, 1991, pg3). This knowledge irrespective of content requires management if an organisation is to operate to its potential. For effective communication, an important step is the timely and efficient management of information in its various forms. Communication is an aspect of knowledge, but knowledge is not always found in communication. Effective capture of the knowledge found in communication has the potential to aid current and future business processes and transactions. The presentation of this knowledge and information becomes the next task for the ICT aware project or organisation. Information Visualisation A form of information management that aids the retrieval of complex project information from a project lifecycle is an information visualisation tool. Such tools can retrieve complex information and generate a visual representation of the results, offering insightful possibilities or options, as a means to foster further exploration of data. Such a tool would incorporate methods such as knowledge discovery, and data mining. Information visualisation is a way to reveal insights about information by visual interpretation. It is intended to 'optimize the use of our perceptual and visual- thinking ability in dealing with phenomenon that might not lend itself to visual-spatial representations (Chen, 2002)'. Visualisation tools have been developed in the areas of virtual environments, interactive data exploration and multidimensional analysis. These tools are used to display the current and future capabilities of information visualisation. Information visualisation aims at reducing the 'complexity of examination and understanding of information for humans, by designing proper techniques for the visual display of data (Chittaro, 2001)'. These techniques also aim to achieve a number of goals: 1. Allowing users to explore data at various levels of abstraction 2. Giving users a greater sense of engagement with data 3. Giving users a deeper understanding of data 4. Encouraging the discovery of details and relations which would be difficult to notice otherwise 5. Supporting the recognition of relevant patterns by exploiting the visual recognition capabilities of users. Therefore the benefits of information visualisation are clear within the communication context; it aims to present complex information in a manner that is compatible to the individual the data.

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ID Code: 7997
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Additional Information: For more information, please contact the author: s.kajewski@qut.edu.au
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > CRC Construction Innovation
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 (The authors)
Deposited On: 06 Jun 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 17:25

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