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Purpose The Project Management Body of Knowledge recommends the use of issue logs as a best practice to minimize the potential project cost and schedule growth. Although the broader topic of project control has been widely studied in the construction literature, the specific application of issue logs has remained relatively understudied. This study aims to analyze the extent and consistency with which construction teams utilize issue logs and the corresponding project performance outcomes. Design/methodology/approach A dataset of 5,635 individual issues was gathered from the final issue logs of 881 small building projects delivered via the design–bid–build method. Differences between groups were determined using the Kruskal–Wallis H test with post hoc testing via the Mann–Whitney U test with pairwise comparison. Findings The results showed that, on average, project teams who used issue logs to a greater extent achieved a 3.1 to 4.3% reduction in cost growth and a 5.3 to 12.3% reduction in schedule growth. This result shows that issue logs can be used to improve construction project performance in the areas of cost and schedule. Originality/value This result provides a contribution to practitioners, wherein project teams should be encouraged to establish their issue management practices early in the project schedule to encourage greater issue log usage for the remainder of the project.
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Using issue logs to improve
construction project performance
Amirali Shalwani and Brian Lines
Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, School of Engineering,
University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA
Abstract
Purpose The Project Management Body of Knowledge recommends the use of issue logs as a best practice to
minimize the potential project cost and schedule growth. Although the broader topic of project control has been
widely studied in the construction literature, the specific application of issue logs has remained relatively
understudied. This study aims to analyze the extent and consistency with which construction teams utilize
issue logs and the corresponding project performance outcomes.
Design/methodology/approach A dataset of 5,635 individual issues was gathered from the final issue
logs of 881 small building projects delivered via the designbidbuild method. Differences between groups
were determined using the KruskalWallis H test with post hoc testing via the MannWhitney Utest with
pairwise comparison.
Findings The results showed that, on average, project teams who used issue logs to a greater extent achieved
a 3.1 to 4.3% reduction in cost growth and a 5.3 to 12.3% reduction in schedule growth. This result shows that
issue logs can be used to improve construction project performance in the areas of cost and schedule.
Originality/value This result provides a contribution to practitioners, wherein project teams should be
encouraged to establish their issue management practices early in the project schedule to encourage greater
issue log usage for the remainder of the project.
Keywords Cost growth, Schedule growth, Issue management, Issue log, Project control
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
Construction projects are challenging to execute and require the diligent application of
project control techniques (Alinaitwe et al., 2013). Project control can be defined as the data
monitoring, management and analytical processes used to understand and constructively
inform decisions that may impact the performance outcomes of a project (Orgut et al., 2020).
Because of their importance, numerous project control techniques have been developed to
assist project teams. For example, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK),
which is among the most well-known resources in the field of professional project
management, advocates the usage of numerous project control techniques (PMI, 2017;
Martens and Vanhouke, 2018). Among these are techniques such as earned value (EV); the
critical path method (CPM) of scheduling; root cause analysis; trend analysis; variance
analysis; To-Complete Performance Index (TCPI); inspections related to scope, quality and
safety; the program evaluation and review technique (PERT); and Risks Assumptions Issues
and Dependencies (RAID) logs, to name only a few (PMI, 2017). Many, if not all, of these
techniques see widespread application in the construction industry.
Issue management is a project control technique of paramount importance, given that
construction projects are the beset by such a wide range of issues. Issues are defined as
challenges that occur during project execution, which threaten to cause a deviation in the
projects originally contracted cost, schedule or scope (PMI, 2017). Issues, therefore, require an
active management response by the construction team. The PMBoK recognizes that the
extent to which issue management is practiced by project teams can reduce negative impacts
and improve project performance and recommends the use of issue log for issue management
(PMI, 2017). However, limited studies in the construction literature have analyzed the extent
to which issue logs are implemented in the construction phase and the corresponding link to
Construction
project
performance
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/0969-9988.htm
Received 24 December 2020
Revised 24 February 2021
Accepted 5 March 2021
Engineering, Construction and
Architectural Management
© Emerald Publishing Limited
0969-9988
DOI 10.1108/ECAM-12-2020-1089
project performance outcomes. Dikmen et al. (2018) noted that existing studies in this area
tend to focus on risk management, which can be interchangeable with issue management
when studies focus on risk events that occur during construction (e.g. such risks are issues by
definition). Their study found that a large number of studies in the construction
management domaintend to utilize rely on subjective risk ratingsby multiple experts,
which ultimately generate results that may be inconsistent/biased due to different
perspectives and controllability assumptionsincluded in such rating schemas. Their study
concluded by recommending future studies be designed to de-biaspossible inconsistencies
that can arise by gathering risk (and/or issue) data via methods that accurately reflect project
team consensus. One method for accomplishing this is to capture project documents such as
issue logs which are empirical records that represent the consensus of the entire
project team.
Past studies have also emphasized the importance of issue logs within the broader domain
of project control. For example, Tereso et al. (2019) surveyed several chapters of the Project
Management Institute (PMI) and identified issue logs as being among the top 15 most used
project control tools out of a list of 79 tools and techniques recommended by the PMBoK.
Furthermore, the study found issue logs to be the top-ranked tool in the project execution
phase of projects. Golini et al. (2015) gathered data from nearly 500 project managers to assess
the impact of project management practices on project performance and found that project
managers who adopt a wider range of tools are more likely to achieve higher performance
results. Their study revealed four levels of maturity in the adoption of PM tools, wherein the
usage of issue logs was associated with the highest level of maturity. These studies
underscore the importance of issue logs in the project management profession, which
warrants additional investigation into the specific usage of issue logs in construction and
corresponding impact on project performance.
Previous literature has identified several gaps in the study of issue logs. First, previous
studies (e.g. Dikmen et al., 2018) suggest that issue management studies should expand
beyond the qualitative measures that are prominent in the literature and also be de-biased by
designing research methods that ensure the perspective of the entire project team is captured
(rather than only a single individual on the project team). Second, previous studies (e.g. Golini
et al., 2015;Tereso et al., 2019) have noted the prominence of issue logs as a widely used
project management tool; however, such studies stopped short of studying the extent to
which issue logs are used by project teams and the corresponding relationship with
construction project performance. Future studies can address these gaps by utilizing data
from issue logs for several reasons: first, issue logs represent empirical and quantitative
documentation of the issues that occur during construction; second, issue logs are a shared
document approved by the entire project team, which necessitates that it represents the
teams consensus rather than the opinion of individual stakeholders; and third, issue logs
typically contain information related to the timing, cost impacts and schedule consequences
of individual issues, all of which illuminate the extent to which construction teams utilized
issue logs. Therefore, further investigation of issue logs is warranted in the construction
literature.
This study aims to investigate two research objectives on the topic of issue logs within the
context of construction projects. The first research objective was to investigate whether
project teams that utilize issue logs to a greater extent tend to achieve more successful project
performance outcomes. The second research objective was to determine extent to which
project teams practice consistent (or variable) issue log implementation throughout the
projects construction phase. Existing literature has not focused on the extent nor consistency
with which project teams implement issue logs during construction. If greater and more
consistent issue log implementation is foundto correspond with superior project performance,
it may be motivating for practitioners to place strong emphasis on this project control tool.
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Literature review
The literature review is organized into several subsections. First, previous research on the
relationship between project control and project performance is discussed. Next, change
order management and issue management are both reviewed within the context of the
construction literature. Finally, the usage of an issue log as an effective project control
technique is reviewed in accordance with recommendations of the PMBoK and studies within
the construction literature.
Relationship between project control and project performance
Previous studies have shown the extent to which project teams exercise project control is
associated with improvements in project performance. Past research has defined effective
project control in terms of prompt identification of issues and early stakeholder involvement
and have qualitatively shown that these might help lessen the impact of cost and schedule
growth during construction (Braimah, 2014;Santoso and Soeng, 2016). However, simply
implementing and utilizing project control tools to manage issues is not enough to ensure
project does not incur negative performance outcomes (Olawale and Sun, 2010). Rather,
Safapour and Kermanshachi (2019) demonstrated that using best practices in project control
have the greatest potential to improve project performance, yet performance improvements
are largely dependent upon the extent to which best practices are adhered to by project teams.
Change order management
One important aspect of project control is the management of change orders. Change orders
represent deviations from the originally contracted cost or schedule. The accumulation of all
change orders that occurred during the project is equivalent to the overall project cost and
schedule growth. Numerous studies have been conducted in the construction literature with
respect to how project teams manage change orders. Serag et al. (2010) analyzed 16
transportation projects and found that the timing of change orders is directly proportional to
their cost growth. Several other studies have found that when change orders were managed
later in a project, they have a greater negative effect on labor efficiency (Ibbs, 2005;Moselhi
et al., 2005). Shrestha and Maharjan (2018) analyzed 15 transportation projects, and
Apipattanavis et al. (2010) analyzed over 1,900 transportation projects, both studies
concluded that as the frequency of change orders increases, cost and schedule growth also
increase. Moselhi (2003) analyzed 57 projects of various types and found that the frequency of
change orders negatively affects labor productivity. These studies indicate that the manner
in which project teams manage change orders associated with project performance in the
areas of cost and schedule growth as well as labor productivity.
Issue management
Issue management is an extension of change order management and offers a different unit of
measure that is valuable to research inquiry. Change orders are often comprised of multiple
impactful issues that resulted in a deviation to project cost and schedule (Anastasopoulos
et al., 2010). Issue management, in contrast, emphasizes a project teams actions to prevent
issues from precipitating into change orders in the first place. In this sense, utilizing
individual issues as the unit of measure enables documentation of both the impactful issues
that precipitate formal change orders as well as near-mississues that were addressed by the
project team without ultimately impacting project cost or schedule. A similar principle was
documented by Sullivan and McDonald (2011) who demonstrated that attention to near-
missevents (in addition to events that directly impacted operational parameters) resulted in
greater performance in the context of a manufacturing production system.
Construction
project
performance
Effective implementation of issue management techniques is critical in the construction
industry, given the wide range and frequency of issue types that may be encountered. Issues
may be caused by a variety of factors, including those from owners, designers, contractors
and unforeseen circumstances that occur during construction (Gardezi et al., 2014;Shehu
et al., 2014). Previous studies have identified issues in a wide variety of contexts, including in
developing countries (Odeh and Battaineh, 2002) and developed countries (G
und
uz et al.,
2013), public owners (Alaghbari et al., 2007) and private owners (Sambasivan and Soon, 2007)
and in horizontal projects (Ellis and Thomas, 2003) and vertical projects (Sweis et al., 2008).
However, these studies did not investigate the extent to which issue management was
implemented and were often limited to qualitative methods, such as identifying the relative
frequency or importance of different issue types via interviews, surveys or mixed methods
(Prasad and Venkatesan, 2017).
Issue logs as an effective tool for issue management
Issue logs are considered as one of the essential tools for issue management. The PMBoK
recommends the use of an issue log to formalize issue management within a project teams
operations (PMI, 2017). Although the PMBoK does not provide a standardized issue log
template, it does recommend certain best practices. For example, the issue log is advised to
consist of a consistent format that provides an itemized and written record of all potential and
actual issues that could impact the project cost and schedule. Certain information about each
individual issue should be documented in the issue log, such as the point in the schedule at
which the issue was first identified and then subsequently resolved. The project teams
management response plan to mitigate the issue should also be recorded in a way that clearly
assigns action items. Such information is also useful in a post-project review of lessons
learned. Furthermore, Mossalam (2020) defines issue log as a project control tool that is used
during the issue management process to monitor and control deviations to the contracted cost
and schedule on the project.
In addition to the information captured within the issue log, certain aspects of how the
log should be used in practice are also recommended by the PMBoK. For example, the issue
log should be formalized as part of regular discussions to review the status of each issue
(typically during weekly project management meetings). Project teams are advised to
develop forecasts of the potential impacts to project cost and schedule for issues that are
being actively monitored. Finally, the resulting cost and schedule impacts (if any) should
be clearly documented for each individual issue upon resolution. The extent to which
project teams utilize these issue log practices is largely unstudied in the construction
industry and can be reasonably expected to have a direct relationship with project
performance.
The above recommendations from the PMBOK are supported in the construction
literature. Golini et al. (2015) defined issue logs as a structured documentthat tracks issues
that have occurred, monitors who is responsible for resolving specific issues and addresses
issue resolution obstacles. Mossalam (2020) noted that stakeholders can gain visibility into
project challenges by monitoring issue logs. Similarly, in a study of quality management
programs utilized in construction, Sullivan (2011) noted the importance of a regular tracking
system where the contractor was responsible for documenting issues that had the potential to
impact project cost, schedule or scope. The study noted the importance of distributing such
information to all parties involved with the project. Perrenoud et al. (2016) recommended that
construction teams document the timing with which issues are encounteredwithin the
project schedule. Kotb and Ghattas (2018) noted issue logs as a primary project document that
can provide important information for identifying threats to project performance in the
context of construction projects.
ECAM
Research objectives and hypotheses
Point of departure
The topic of project control has been broadly investigated in the construction literature, yet
relatively little inquiry has focused specifically on the project control tool of issue logs in issue
management. To address this gap, this study specifically investigated the usage of issue
management practices (in the form of formal issue logs) by project teams during the
construction phase of their projects.
The unit of measure used in this study represented a departure from previous research.
In this study, the primary unit of measure was focused on capturing the individual issues
that occur during the construction phase. Although individual issues may or may not
ultimately impact the projects cost, schedule or scope, their occurrence nevertheless
necessitates a management response from the project team. Therefore, capturing critical
information on the occurrence of each individual issue, the corresponding management
response from the project team and subsequent impacts to project cost and schedule are
important in quantifying the effectiveness of issue management as a project control tool.
Previous studies have tended to use individual change orders as a unit of measure. One
limitation of change orders as a unit of measure is that they are often comprised of multiple
underlying issues, which makes it difficult for researchers to apportion the resultant cost
and schedule changes to their specific root cause issues. Another limitation is that change
orders only include the issues that resultedinachangetoproject cost and schedule;
therefore, change orders to not account for other near-mississues that were managed by
the project team in such a way that the potential cost and schedule impacts were
successfully eliminated. Thus, using individual issues as the unit of measure provides a
more granular view of the challenges that are managed by the project team during
construction.
Among studies that have touched on issue management in construction, their research
designs have predominantly been limited to qualitative rather than quantitative methods.
Such studies have historically been limited to identification of issues via interviews, surveys
and mixed methods designs and are typically aimed at identifying the frequency and relative
importance using rank analysis approaches (such as the relative importance index, frequency
index, severity index, importance index, relative importance weight, mean score, rank
correlation coefficient, weighted opinion average, importance weight, etc.). This study sought
to build upon the previous literature by collecting project management documents to
empirically capture issue management and project performance data of construction project
teams. Such data provide an empirically grounded view of the challenges encountered by
construction project teams.
A previous empirical study of issue management in construction was conducted by
Shalwani and Lines (2020). Their study identified a rank-order of the most frequently
occurring types of issues and when they typically occurred during the construction schedule
of building projects. Their results showed that the most frequently occurring issues were
designer- and owner-related, such as design errors and omissions, owner scope changes and
other owner internal issues. However, their study did not consider performance outcomes
such as cost and schedule growth of those projects nor the extent to which the issues logs
were used on a project-by-project basis among the project teams. The present study
addresses these limitations through further analysis of the same data sample, shifting the
focus from individual issue types to an intensity measure of issue log implementation within
each project and investigating the corresponding effect on cost and schedule growth. In
summary, the previous study identified the type of issues that tend to occur most frequently
in construction (without considering project performance), whereas the present study
analyzes how the extent of issue log usage among construction teams can improve project
performance.
Construction
project
performance
Research objective and hypotheses
The objective of this study was to investigate the extent and consistency of issue
management implementation (IMI) by construction project teams. The specific research
questions were (1) what are the differences in performance outcomes of projects that
implement issue management to a greater extent and (2) do construction project teams tend to
implement issue management in a consistent manner across the project schedule?
Research question 1 (RQ1). To address the first research question, the concept of IMI was
developed as an overall measure of the project teams usage of an issue log to continually
identify, monitor and resolve individual issues that occurred during the construction phase.
Measuring the project teams extent of issue management is important because the ultimate
intent of using an issue log is to ensure a formal, standard and professional system is being
used to proactively identify and monitor issues in an effort to minimize their impact to project
performance (wherever possible). However, some project teams may feel as though an issue
log represents nothing more than extra paperwork to be completed. Considering this
perception, it becomes important to provide empirical evidence of the project performance
benefits that are gained from greater IMI. Such benefits if found may be motivating for
project teams to treat their issue logs with greater formality and focus. H1 was formulated as
follows to test RQ1:
H1. Project teams that practice higher IMI tend to achieve lower cost and schedule
growth.
Research question 2 (RQ2). RQ2 sought to reveal the consistency with which project teams
utilized issue management across the project schedule. This is important for project teams to
understand for a couple reasons. First, it can be reasonably expected that project teams may
adhere to project control strategies, such as IMI, with varying levels of consistency across a
single project. Therefore, it is important for project managers (and their supervisors) to be
aware of whether there is a tendency for IMI to wane or slack offduring certain points of a
project. Second, it is also important to understand whether a project teams extent of IMI early
in the project serves as an indicator of how the remainder of the project will be conducted. For
example, if project teams start with high IMI (or conversely, low IMI), does this establish a
trend that is likely to continue for the remainder of the project? If such a trend were revealed,
project teams may be recommended to establish high IMI at the outset of their project in an
effort to foster a more favorable trend for the projects duration. H2 was formulated as follows
to test RQ2:
H2. Project teams tend to use a consistent level of IMI throughout every quartile of the
project schedule duration.
Research methodology
Data collection
The issue management and project performance data used in this study were collected from
19 public institutions to compile a total of 881 small building projects from the USA and
Canada. These institutions were selected on a voluntary basis and were screened to ensure
their projects and facilities were of consistent scope before being deemed adequate for
analysis. The researchers were actively involved with data collection during the construction
phase of each project, wherein weekly issue logs were received from each project team. The
researcher team received final project closeout documentation from each of the project teams,
which was submitted by the contractors project manager for review and approval by both
the owners construction manager and procurement representative. The project closeout
documentation contained the awarded cost and schedule, final cost and schedule, a list of all
change orders and the final issue log. This closeout documentation was compiled from
ECAM
completed projects to be analyzed in this study. To verify data accuracy, the researchers
performed a comparison of the project closeout documentation and the weekly submissions
received throughout the construction phase. The closeout documentation was used as the
prevailing data source, as this documentation was used for each owner organizations audit
records and was therefore considered as the official and accurate record of project
information.
All projects in the dataset consisted of building construction projects delivered via the
designbidbuild (D-B-B) delivery method in the public institutional sector, including
institutions of higher education, primary and secondary education, municipal governments
and the armed forces. Within these institutions, the projects in the dataset were limited to
education and health-care facilities of similar size and scope. The educational projects in the
dataset were limited to construction work that occurred in classrooms, dormitories, dining
centers, kitchens, offices and basic teaching and research laboratories. The health-care
projects in the dataset were limited to construction work that occurred in office spaces,
common areas, dining centers, kitchens, convenience shops and basic laboratory and general
patient care facilities. The dataset did not contain complex health-care construction such as
operating rooms or high-level research laboratories; therefore, the scope of construction work
in both educational and health-care projects was held to be reasonably similar. These projects
were completed in the years 20032015 and were collectively referred to as small building
projectsbecause they were each limited to a maximum of US$5m in total project value (the
average awarded cost was less than US$1m) and less than one year in project schedule (the
average construction duration was 300 days). These project size characteristics are in line
with previous studies that have investigated similar project types and categorized them as
small building projects (Hurtado et al., 2017,2018;Shehu et al., 2014). Cumulatively, the total
awarded cost for the entire data set was US$824m, and the cumulative final cost was
US$890m, representing a total cost increase of US$66m. Lastly, all the project cost were
normalized to year 2015, whereas, all the projects were analyzed in US$. Table 1 provides
additional characteristics of the dataset.
Issue logs used in data collection
The data used in the study were extracted from the finalized issue logs archived as a project
document at the time of project closeout. In each project, an issue log was submitted by the
contractors project team on a weekly basis and then was finalized upon project completion.
The issue log was maintained by the contractors project team in guidance with PMBoK
recommendations, where the project team was responsible to document each individual issue
the project team encountered during construction, including information on the entity
responsible for the issue, when the issues were identified and resolved and the resulting
impacts to project awarded cost and schedule (if any). An issue log was typically the first item
a project team reviewed during its weekly meeting. During each meeting, the log was updated
to reflect current progress on active issues, to indicate when issues were resolved and what
their cost and schedule impacts were and to document new issues. Furthermore, the issue log
also contained the original awarded cost and schedule duration along with the approved final
values of project cost and schedule duration. Cumulatively, a total of 5,635 individual issues
were gathered for analysis, where on average six issues occurred per project, with a minimum
of one issue identified and a maximum of 20 issues for a project. All projects in the dataset
utilized the same issue log structure. Data integrity was verified by using the final issue log
upon project completion to ensure a complete view of construction activities was captured.
The final issue log was checked against the owners project closeout documentation (typically
inclusive the final issue log), which was held as part of the organizations auditable project
records and was therefore considered to be highly accurate.
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project
performance
Definition of variables
There were two groups of variables used in this study project performance and IMI each
of which is defined in the sub-sections below.
Project performance. Cost and schedule growth are among the most widely used
performance metrics in the construction industry (Shdid et al., 2019;Shrestha and Maharjan,
2018); hence, in this study, cost and schedule growth were used as project performance
metrics.
Cost growth: Cost growth was calculated on a per project basis. Cost growth was defined
as the percent difference between the awarded and the final cost of a project, as calculated
using the formula below:
Demographics Value
Owner type
University 236
Armed forces 594
City/state/federal 51
Facility type
Educational 287
Health care 594
Year of completion
20032010 739
20112015 142
Awarded cost
Mean awarded cost US$935,000
Median awarded cost US$597,000
Standard deviation of awarded cost US$976,000
Minimum awarded cost US$30,000
Maximum awarded cost US$4.80m
Cumulative awarded cost for data set US$824
Final cost
Mean final cost US$1.01m
Median final cost US$637,000
Standard deviation of final cost US$1.03m
Minimum final cost US$32,900
Maximum final cost US$5.26m
Cumulative final cost for data set US$890m
Awarded schedule
Mean awarded schedule 300 days
Median awarded schedule 270 days
Standard deviation of awarded schedule 205 days
Minimum awarded schedule 31 days
Maximum awarded schedule 450 days
Final schedule
Mean final schedule 434 days
Median final schedule 366 days
Standard deviation of final schedule 315 days
Minimum final schedule 30 days
Maximum final schedule 550 days
Table 1.
Data characteristics
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Cost Growth ¼Final Cost of the Project Awarded Cost of the Project
Awarded Cost of the Project 3100%
Schedule growth: Schedule growth was calculated on a per project basis. Schedule growth was
defined as the percent difference between the awarded and the final duration of a project, as
calculated using the formula below:
Schedule Growth ¼Final Schedule of the Project Awarded Schedule of the Project
Awarded Schedule of the Project 3100%
To keep analysis consistent, all projects with a deductive impact were removed from the
analysis, which were relatively rare and represented less than ten projects in the dataset that
had a deductive impact.
Issue management implementation. IMI attempts to distinguish the extent to which
individual project teams utilized issue management practices in the construction phase. IMI
was categorized into three levels of high, moderate and low implementation of issue
management practices. Mathematically, IMI is expressed as a ratio of the non-impactful
issues (issues that were tracked on the issue log but did not ultimately affect the projects
awarded cost or schedule) to the overall total number of issues documented by the project
team throughout the project. IMI was calculated using the following formula:
IMI ¼Total Number of Non Impactful Issues tracked in the project Issue Log
Total Number of Issues tracked in the project Issue Log 3100
Low IMI: corresponds with project teams that practiced little to no usage of the issue log for
issue management purposes. Projects in the Low IMI category had fewer than 33% of
identified issues as non-impactful issues. Low IMI can be numerically expressed as 0% < IMI
33%. In these cases, the project teams issue log was essentially reduced to tracking the
change orders that occurred during the project because little else was documented (e.g. little
to no instances of formally tracking potential issues that ultimately became non-impactful
issues).
Moderate IMI: corresponds with project teams that showcased a moderate usage of issue
management. Projects in the moderate IMI category had between 33 and 67% of identified
issue as non-impactful issues. Moderate IMI can be numerically expressed as 33% < IMI
67%.
High IMI: corresponds with project teams that identified, tracked and monitored issues on
a very thorough basis. Projects in the high IMI category had more than 67% of their total
issues as non-impactful issues, which roughly corresponds to a greater usage of issue
management to track a greater portion of issues with the potential to impact cost or schedule.
High IMI can be numerically expressed as IMI 67%.
Method of analysis
The dataset was analyzed to determine how effectively and consistently project teams
utilized issue management practices to control project cost and schedule. Differences between
groups were determined using the KruskalWallis H test with post hoc testing via the Mann
Whitney Utest with pairwise comparison. The KruskalWallis H test was employed instead
of one-way ANOVA because the data were not normally distributed (KolmogorovSmirnov
test resulted in p-value < 0.05 for all test conducted, thereby failing the test for normality) and
had outliers, thereby violating the two primary assumptions of one-way ANOVA. By
contrast, all the assumptions of the KruskalWallis H test were satisfied and are not affected
Construction
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performance
by the outliers in the sample size. The data had independence of observation, meaning there
was no relationship between the observations in each independent variable group or between
the groups. Further, visual inspection of a box plot indicated that all categorical variables
were similar in shape.
Results
Objective 1: relationship between issue management implementation and project
performance
Table 2 provides the descriptive statistics of cost and schedule growth for the three levels of
IMI; high, moderate and low. On average, project teams that utilized high IMI had a cost and
schedule growth of 6.3 and 35.3%, respectively. Moderate and low IMI projects had cost
growth of 9.4 and 10.6%, respectively, and schedule growth of 47.6 and 40.6%, respectively.
Further analysis was conducted using the MannWhitney Utest to determine which of the
three levels of IMI were statistically different for cost and schedule growth.
The results showed that high IMI projects had a statistically significantly lower cost and
schedule growth compared to project teams that utilized moderate and low IMI. Table 3
shows the results from the inferential analysis between the three levels of IMI to cost and
schedule growth. With regard to projects that experienced cost growth, all three levels of IMI
were found to be significantly different from each other (p50.05), where high IMI projects
tended to have lowest cost growth, and low IMI projects tended to have the highest cost
growth. On an average, high IMI projects had 3.14.3% lower overall cost growth compared
to moderate and low IMI projects.
With respect to schedule growth, high IMI projects were found to have statistically lower
schedule growth than moderate or low IMI projects (p50.05). On average, high IMI projects
were 5.312.3% better in terms of overall schedule growth performance compared to
moderate or low IMI projects.
Further analysis was conducted where the number of impactful issues per project were
kept constant for each level of IMI. This was done to ensure the number of impactful issues in
each level of IMI were not impacting the overall cost and schedule growth. For example, as
shown in Table 4, the row labeled as 1 impactful issuecorresponds to all projects that had a
single issue that resulted in either a cost or schedule impact. These projects were then split
into the three levels of IMI (high, moderate and low) more clearly delineate which projects
tracked a greater number of non-impactful issues. A similar approach was used for the
following two rows, which show projects that had two impactful issues and three or more
impactful issues, respectively. The intent of this analysis was to control for the number of
impactful issues that were experienced by the projects to more clearly isolate the IMI levels
practiced by the project team.
Table 4 shows the results from inferential analysis with the number of impactful issues
kept constant for the three levels of IMI and their corresponding cost and schedule growth.
The following findings were reported:
(1) When controlling for projects that had one impactful issue (221 total projects),
different levels of IMI were found to have statically significant result for both cost and
schedule growth (p50.05). It was found that high IMI projects had statistically
significant lower cost and schedule growth when compared low and moderate IMI
projects.
(2) When controlling for projects that had two impactful issues (119 total projects), there
was no statistically significant difference in cost and schedule growth for different
levels of IMI at p-value of 0.05. However, schedule growth was found to be statically
significant at the 90% confidence interval (p50.1), where high IMI projects had lower
schedule growth compared to low and moderate IMI projects.
ECAM
IMI
Projects with cost growth Projects with schedule growth
NMean Median SD Min Max NMean Median SD Min Max
High 119 6.3% 3.9% 9.7% 31.6% 41.3% 139 35.3% 21.7% 36.8% 24.3% 149.5%
Moderate 210 9.4% 5.5% 10.5% 15.5% 49.3% 175 47.6% 35.0% 40.6% 40.7% 145.9%
Low 235 10.6% 7.3% 9.5% 4.4% 44.5% 279 40.6% 33.6% 42.3% 55.1% 147.5%
Table 2.
Descriptive of IMI for
cost and schedule
growth
Construction
project
performance
Projects with cost growth Projects with schedule growth
Base
category Median
Comparison
category Median
Test
statistics p-value
Base
category Median
Comparison
category Median
Test
statistics p-value
High 3.9% Moderate 5.5% 2.340 0.004
*
High 21.7% Low 35.0% 2.182 0.050
*
High 3.9% Low 7.3% 4.153 0.000
*
High 21.7% Moderate 33.6% 2.987 0.004
*
Moderate 5.5% Low 7.3% 2.075 0.037
*
Low 35.0% Moderate 33.6% 1.165 0.199
Note(s):
*
p< 0.05
Table 3.
Post hoc test between
IMI for cost and
schedule growth
ECAM
(3) When controlling for projects that had three or more impactful issues (224 total
projects), different levels of IMI were found to have a statically significant result for
cost growth at the 90% confidence interval and schedule growth at the 95%
confidence interval. High IMI projects were found to have lower cost growth to the
moderate and low IMI projects. Similarly, high IMI projects was lower schedule
growth than low IMI projects but higher schedule growth than moderate IMI projects.
Overall, high IMI projects tended to achieve better cost and schedule performance compared
to moderate or low IMI projects, which bolstered the results from the initial inferential testing
among the three IMI levels and project performance. Among the statistically significant
results, high IMI projects showed the potential to reduce cost growth by as much as 1.53.6%
and schedule growth by 5.732.0%. Therefore, the reduction in cost and schedule growth
among high IMI projects shows that issue logs can be used as an effective tool to improve
construction project performance.
Objective 2: consistency of issue management implementation across the construction
schedule
Figure 1 shows the three levels of IMI (high, moderate, low) across the schedule quartiles for
projects that have experienced some amount of cost growth. Further analysis was conducted
to determine if the three levels of IMI were significantly statistically different from each other
for every project schedule quartile.
For projects that experienced any amount of cost growth, high IMI projects tended to
maintain high IMI values throughout the project schedule. Table 5 shows results from the
inferential analysis conducted for every project schedule quartile between the three levels of
IMI. For each of the project schedule quartiles, all three IMI levels were found to be
statistically different (p50.05), where high IMI projects had the highest IMI values compared
to moderate and low IMI projects. On an average, across each schedule quartile, high IMI
projects had IMI values between 75 and 82%, compared to moderate IMI projects with
4161%, and low IMI projects with 1220%.
Similarly, Figure 2 shows the three levels of IMI (high, moderate, low) across the schedule
quartiles for projects that have experienced some amount of schedule growth. Further
analysis was conducted to determine if the three levels of IMI were statistically different from
each other for each project schedule quartile.
For projects that experienced any amount of schedule growth, high IMI projects tended to
maintain high IMI values throughout the project schedule. Table 6 shows the result from the
inferential analysis conducted for every project schedule quartile between the three
# Of impactful
issues IMI
Cost growth Schedule growth
NMean
Test
statistics p-value NMean
Test
statistics p-value
1 impactful
issue
High 73 5.6% 6.444 0.040
*
83 28.5% 9.847 0.007
*
Moderate 86 8.1% 77 35.1%
Low 62 7.2% 124 20.4%
2 impactful
issues
High 22 6.2% 1.455 0.483 29 31.7% 13.273 0.001
**
Moderate 47 10.9% 28 63.7%
Low 50 10.9% 77 51.5%
3 impactful
issues
High 24 8.5% 4.681 0.096
**
27 59.8% 5.451 0.046
*
Moderate 77 10.0% 67 53.9%
Low 123 12.1% 79 65.5%
Note(s):*p< 0.05; **p< 0.1
Table 4.
KruskalWallis H test
between IMI and cost
and schedule growth
for controlled
impactful issues
Construction
project
performance
levels of IMI. For each of the project schedule quartile, all three IMI levels were found to be
statistically different (p50.05), where high IMI projects had the highest IMI values compared
to moderate and low IMI projects. On average, across each schedule quartile, high IMI
projects had IMI values between 61 and 88%, compared to moderate IMI projects with 36
66%, and low IMI projects with 616%.
Discussion
Objective 1: relationship between issue management implementation and project
performance
The results showed that projects that utilized different levels of IMI achieved different cost
and schedule growth outcomes; therefore, H1 was accepted. In general, project teams that
practiced high IMI tended to attain more favorable cost and schedule growth performance,
which indicates that issue logs can be used to improve construction project performance.
More specifically, projects that utilized high IMI on average achieved a 3.14.3% reduction in
cost growth and 5.312.3% reduction in schedule growth when compared with moderate and
Schedule
quartile IMI NMean Median SD Minimum Maximum p-value Post hoc
1st High 107 80% 100% 32% 0% 100% 0.000
*
All levels
were
different
Moderate 126 61% 67% 40% 0% 100%
Low 113 20% 0% 26% 0% 100%
2nd High 99 75% 92% 33% 0% 100% 0.000
*
All levels
were
different
Moderate 146 49% 50% 41% 0% 100%
Low 151 14% 0% 26% 0% 100%
3rd High 103 79% 100% 31% 0% 100% 0.000
*
All levels
were
different
Moderate 141 42% 50% 41% 0% 100%
Low 138 12% 0% 25% 0% 100%
4th High 86 82% 100% 36% 0% 100% 0.000
*
All levels
were
different
Moderate 120 41% 100% 43% 0% 100%
Low 107 19% 0% 33% 0% 100%
Note(s):
*
p< 0.05
80% 75% 79% 82%
61%
49%
42% 41%
20%
14% 12%
19%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4
Issue Management Implementation (IMI)
Project Schedule
High IMI Moderate IMI Low IMI
Table 5.
KruskalWallis H test
for levels of IMI across
quartiles of the project
schedule (for projects
that experience any
amount of cost growth)
Figure 1.
IMI by schedule
quartile for projects
with cost growth
ECAM
low IMI projects, respectively (as shown in Tables 3 and 4). This result indicates that more
extensive issue management practices tend to translate into more favorable project outcomes.
These results were found to be consistent with previous studies that have found that other
project control tools, such as EV analysis (Hanna, 2012) and control charts (Salehipour et al.,
2016), result in better project performance outcomes when used to a greater extent.
One possible explanation can be observed in a study by Huang et al. (2020), which
analyzed 221 construction projects and found that transparent communication and
knowledge sharing among project team members were directly associated with reductions
in project cost and schedule growth. The issue log tool used in this study was specifically
structured as a formal mechanism to communicate issues and transparently track their
potential impacts to cost and schedule. This type of transparent information sharing may
have better positioned the project stakeholders to take proactive responses to mitigate the
impacts of the issues that were communicated on the issue log.
The mere fact that there were such differing levels of IMI among the projects in the dataset
is notable. Such disparity may be a manifestation of the adversarialrelationships that are
88% 85% 82%
61%
66%
60%
48%
36%
16% 17%
10% 6%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4
Issue Management Implementation (IMI)
Project Schedule
High IMI Moderate IMI Low IMI
Schedule
quartile IMI NMean Median SD Minimum Maximum p-value Post hoc
1st High 127 88% 100% 25% 0% 100% 0.000
*
All levels
were
different
Moderate 130 66% 67% 37% 0% 100%
Low 110 16% 0% 33% 0% 100%
2nd High 127 85% 100% 27% 0% 100% 0.000
*
All levels
were
different
Moderate 148 60% 67% 40% 0% 100%
Low 141 17% 0% 33% 0% 100%
3rd High 127 82% 100% 30% 0% 100% 0.000
*
All levels
were
different
Moderate 144 48% 50% 41% 0% 100%
Low 143 10% 0% 25% 0% 100%
4th High 111 61% 75% 40% 0% 100% 0.000
*
All levels
were
different
Moderate 122 36% 17% 41% 0% 100%
Low 175 6% 0% 19% 0% 100%
Note(s):
*
p< 0.05
Figure 2.
IMI by schedule
quartile for projects
with schedule growth
Table 6.
KruskalWallis H test
for levels of IMI across
quartiles of the project
schedule (for projects
that experience any
amount of schedule
growth)
Construction
project
performance
commonly attributed to the construction industry (Yiu et al., 2011). For example, Pesek et al.
(2019) found that prime contractors tended to delay communication of design document
deficiencies to their owners; in fact, almost half (46%) of contractors stated that delaying the
notification of document deficiencies found in the bidding period was most financially
profitable when delayed well into the construction phase. The study concluded by noting that
a possible reason for this is that contractorsand ownersinterests are sometimes in
opposition. In turn, transparent communication of issues can be hindered. Other studies have
found similar results in other areas of the construction project team relationship; for example,
Javanmardi et al. (2018) found that subcontractors have been known to withhold information
about site issues from the prime contractor until the cost and/or schedule impact of those
issues were already prepared for change order purposes. This type of behavior would
certainly limit the issue management ability of the construction team because general
contractors often must rely upon their subcontractors to communicate issues that are
encountered in the source of the subcontractorswork.
Another element that can limit issue management is the fact that project stakeholders each
have different risk tolerances, such that one stakeholder may choose to withhold the
knowledge of a potential issue because they personally feel that the risk of cost or schedule
impact is not great enough to warrant its communication. Yet, based on the results of this
study, project teams are recommended to actively foster a project environment wherein all
stakeholders are encouraged to communicate knowledge of potential issues as early as
possible.
Objective 2: consistency of issue management implementation across the construction
schedule
The results showed that the extent to which IMI was practiced by project teams tended to
remain consistent throughout the project schedule; therefore, H2 was accepted. Project teams
with high IMI in the first quartile of the project schedule duration tended to maintain this
practice for the rest of the schedule duration. Projects with moderate and low IMI in the first
schedule quartile also continued their respective trends for the remainder of the project (as
shown in Tables 5 and 6). These results were found to be consistent with the results from
Mossalam (2018), which found that one major reason why project teams practice different
levels of IMI on the project is due to a lack of training.
The establishment of thorough issue management practices early in the schedule may,
therefore, have crucial implications for the rest of the project. This establishment of an early
normof project team behavior would be consistent with popular research in the field of
organizational behavior, such as the famous forming-storming-norming-performing-
adjourningmodel of group development first proposed by Tuckman and Jensen (1977).
Previous studies of construction teamsbehavior have concluded that healthy project team
development including an atmosphere that engenders higher levels of commitment, trust,
openness, transparent communication and knowledge sharing should be established early
in the project because the project team tends to maintain the acquired behavior throughout
the rest of the project (Jiang et al., 2016;Brewer and Strayhorn, 2012).
The fact that IMI levels were consistent across the construction schedule also indicates
that issue management is an active, ongoing effort that requires attention throughout the
entire construction process. Identifying issues is an iterative and a continuous process that
must be carried out on a regular basis throughout the project lifecycle (Siraj et al., 2019).
Previous studies have also shown that issues may be encountered at any point in the project
schedule, thereby necessitating continual focus and input from the project team (Shalwani
and Lines, 2020). Project teams are, therefore, recommended to foster a proactive attitude of
continuous issue identification and formal communication by means of the projects issue log.
ECAM
Conclusions and contributions
Project control strategies such as issue management are important in the construction
industry where cost and schedule overruns are widespread. The PMBoK and past research
has recommended the use of issue logs as an opportunity for project teams to effectively
communicate, track, and respond to the various issues that may occur during the project.
Gaps in the issue management literature include a lack of studies that quantitatively and
empirically document issue management rather than using qualitative designs, an over-
reliance on input from individual stakeholders rather than the consensus of the entire project
team and a lack of results regarding how the specific tool of issue logs are used in construction
projects. This study addressed those gaps by analyzing 881 project issue logs, which
consisted of quantitative and empirical data, represented the consensus of the major project
stakeholders and documented information related to the timing, cost impacts, and schedule
consequences of individual issues, all of which illuminate the extent to which construction
teams utilized issue logs.
The results showed that projects tended to achieve lower rates of cost and schedule
growth when project teams utilized issue logs to a greater extent. This study also found that
project teams tended to maintain their level of IMI, whatever the extent may be, from the
beginning of the project schedule until the end. This finding suggests that project teams may
tend to formulate and then normalize their issue management practices early in the project
schedule.
Contributions to the body of knowledge
This study adds to the body of knowledge by analyzing a relatively large sample size of 881
small building construction projects from 19 various institutions from across the USA and
Canada, with a total of 5,365 individual issues that occurred during the construction phase of
those projects. Analyzing these individual issues is a unit of measure that is seldom used in
the previous construction literature, which more commonly utilizes change orders rather than
the underlying individual issues. In response to previous studies (e.g. Dikmen et al., 2018),
which recommended the use of more empirical methods to quantity project team consensus in
the areas of risk and issue management, the dataset in this study was comprised entirely of
issue logs that represented empirical project documentation and reflected the consensus of all
project stakeholders.
Contributions to industry practitioners
The results also contribute to practitioners by providing evidence that more extensive use of
issue logs tends to correspond with higher-performing projects in the areas of cost and
schedule growth. This finding may be motivating for project teams to place strong emphasis
on issue logs as a valuable project control tool. Several recommendations can be inferred from
the results, including:
(1) Project teams should consistently utilize issue logs in accordance with recommended
issue management practices, such as early identification, monitoring and resolution
of issues, because these practices result in better project performance outcomes.
(2) Project teams should make a practice of using issue logs early on in the project,
because project teams tend to maintain this early established level of utilization for
the remainder of the project duration.
(3) Project teams should be open, transparent and fair in their communication of issues.
This will help to foster an environment of trust, where project teams can identify
issues much early and make necessary measures to resolve the issue, thereby either
minimizing or eliminating a potential negative impact on project performance.
Construction
project
performance
(4) Although the results of this study are only directly applicable to small building
construction projects in the USA and Canada, similar recommendations can be
extended to other projects in other regions, where effective use of issue logs from the
start of the project (followed by open and transparent communication among project
stakeholders) may manifest similar results.
Limitations and recommendations for future research
There are a several limitations to this study. First, the results were limited to small building
projects that were constructed in the USA and Canada and delivered using the D-B-B delivery
method. Second, the study was limited to analysis of issues that occurred during the
construction phase of the project and did not consider pre- or post-construction phases.
Future research could conduct similar analysis in the context of different project types or
delivery methods such as designbuild (D-B) and construction manager at risk (CMAR).
Furthermore, a similar analysis could be conducted to determine how the identification and
resolution timings of different issue types contribute to the overall project performance.
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Corresponding author
Amirali Shalwani can be contacted at: amirali_shalwani@ku.edu
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Article
Full-text available
Current project management practices recognize at least six competing constraints that need to be balanced and prioritized in order to maximize the probability of achieving project success. However, the market tends to measure the success through limited metric(s), which mainly focuses in the time performance. This study established a performance metric, which takes into consideration project financials, risks and issues in addition to time which is a step toward shifting the focus to other success criteria. The validity and sanity of the overall formula was checked by a series of steps. The validation was conducted by a parametric study, which included trend checks, checking the extreme values, normalizations, and finally to an expert focus group to improve, validate, and the index. The formula was then applied to ongoing projects data, which showed reliable results. The developed project performance index can be widely used in overseeing portfolios’ overall status or comparing performance between different functional units. The index is flexible and can be adapted to incorporate more criteria to get a holistic overview of projects’ health.
Article
This study aims to assess the impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on team social capital (SC) and project performance in the construction domain. A theoretical model of the relationships among different variables is built. In this model, two capabilities of ICT (connectivity and communality) and two types of SC (bridging and bonding) are considered, along with construction project performance. To validate the feasibility of this model, we conducted a survey involving 221 questionnaires. Results indicate that the hypotheses on the direct and indirect effects between connectivity and bonding are not significant, whereas the hypotheses on the remaining constructs are all significant. Specifically, the mediating effect of bonding on performance is stronger than that of bridging on performance. This study contributes to the construction project management and SC literature by focusing on changes in project-level team SC resulting from ICT use. Furthermore, this research has implications for understanding the influence mechanism of the previous changes on construction project performance. This study suggests that managers can implement a compatible information platform for project participants, whereas the role of ICT connectivity in promoting internal bonding strength should not be overestimated. Furthermore, managers should select different project organization members to balance bonding and bridging SC.
Article
Public institutions seek to maintain their built-environment assets by allocating sizable budgets to small construction projects that renovate or expand upon existing facilities. Small building projects can encounter many issues, which must be effectively managed by the project team to avoid negative performance outcomes. Yet relatively little research has investigated issue management within small building projects. This study’s objectives were to quantify the frequency with which various issues arise during the construction phase and to identify the timing of the project team’s corresponding actions to manage each issue. The study’s dataset consisted of 881 small building projects, including 5,236 individual issues that the project teams identified, monitored, and resolved during the construction phase. Results show that the most frequently occurring issues were designer and owner related. Design errors and omissions and unforeseen concealed conditions were typically identified and resolved the earliest in the schedule, whereas contractor-related issues were typically the last to be identified and resolved. Owner scope changes and unforeseeable events required the longest monitoring periods before the resolution was reached. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by identifying the most frequent issues and the timing with which they were identified, resolved, and monitored by the project team.
Article
A lack of consistent, reliable, and objective metrics and indicators for project controls poses major challenges for effectively measuring project progress and performance in the construction industry. Often, project managers are misled in their perceptions of project performance until the project nears its end. This lack of accurate project progress and performance information is a major issue that causes performance shortcomings and resource shortfalls. This study investigated critical factors for improving the reliability of project control systems throughout the construction project life cycle. Through conducting a survey and 10 in-depth case studies, this research identified 15 critical reliability improvement factors and 85 indicators with specific application timing and milestones. This robust framework for improving the reliability of project controls throughout the life cycle of a project was then validated by a panel of experts. The results of this study address an important gap related to the understanding of the key factors and indicators that contribute to the reliability of project control metrics and methods. Findings of this research may provide construction industry stakeholders with a tool to significantly improve the reliability of project progress and performance assessment practices.
Article
Although a main goal of low-bid procurement is to maximize project value, the approach can actually increase project cost and duration if construction document deficiencies are not resolved early on. This study examined in which construction phase (before or after contract execution) contractors discover document deficiencies, when owners learn of and resolve document deficiencies, and how document deficiencies affect project cost and duration. Data from 159 contractors and project owners indicate that 38% of all construction document deficiencies are discovered by the low-bid contractor before the owner has executed the contract. Conversely, owners reported learning of document deficiencies only 19% of the time before contract execution and 81% of the time after contract execution. These findings suggest a delay in communication between contractors and owners, resulting in asymmetrical information - a practice that industry professionals are aware of but that is often not openly discussed. This knowledge motivated contractors to delay reporting the deficiencies until after the contract was awarded. Furthermore, road projects and constructability concerns were found to be significantly associated with increased project costs.
Article
Water and wastewater construction capital projects are distinctive, highly complex and do not currently have well-established overall performance rating models to assess their projects’ successes. Project performance used for gauging the overall success of project delivery is a complex concept that cannot be measured by one factor. It involves several criteria with many factors that need to be accounted for. Data from 43 water and wastewater projects delivered using the traditional design-bid-build (DBB) delivery method is collected to form a dataset that is utilized to build a project performance rating (PPR) model. The developed PPR model combines the key performance factors of a project into one performance index (PI). The PPR model is tested on a controlled case study project delivered by infusing certain integrated project delivery (IPD) principles into the DBB delivery method. The PPR model showed the implementation of the IPD principles to improve the performance of the case study project by a factor of 1.3. The developed model is a tool that helps utility owners compare the performance of various projects while getting a detailed insight into critical problem areas that are likely to impact performance rating.
Article
This article aims to make a contribution to theory, as well as to practice, by identifying which project management practices are used by most private organizations in general and by sector of activity. The influence of practitioners' characteristics in the choice of project management practices and their use in groups are also analyzed. The results show that the most used project management practices are kick-off meetings, activity lists, progress meetings, Gantt charts, and baseline plans; however, differences between activity sectors and practitioners' characteristics were found. The results also indicate that the most used project management practices are, in fact, used as toolsets.
Article
Risk assessment based on probability-impact (P-I) ratings is the most widely used approach in project-based industries such as the construction industry. However, there are various criticisms about utilization of the P-I rating approach because there are factors and assumptions that are hidden within the risk ratings that cannot be conveyed to decision makers for a reliable risk assessment. This study aimed to explore biases, particularly how the risk attitude and assumptions on controllability of risk (illusion of control bias) may affect subjective risk ratings assigned by the experts during risk assessment of international construction projects. Results showed that as the level of perceived controllability rose, risk ratings assigned by the experts tended to be lower. There was a moderate correlation between risk attitude and risk ratings. Risk attitude and assumptions on controllability were also moderately related, and their combined effect on risk ratings varied according to different risk scenarios. Risk ratings were affected by the risk attitudes of experts, especially when the country risk level was high, whereas assumptions on controllability tended to affect risk ratings more significantly when the country risk level was low. Although the questionnaire findings about the impact of biases on risk ratings are valid only within the context of this study, findings may have some generic implications for developing new methods that can highlight and control the hidden factors in subjective risk ratings. Assumption-based thinking and knowledge elicitation on risk ratings, together with underlying assumptions by group decision making, may decrease the impact of illusion of control bias during the risk assessment process.