A new study entitled "Optimizing the Owner Organization: The Impact of Policies and Practices on Performance" has recently been published by Dodge Data & Analytics as part of its SmartMarket Brief series. Working in partnership with e-Builder, Inc., a pioneer in fully integrated, cloud-based construction program management software, Dodge surveyed executives responsible for construction at over 170 commercial and institutional owners.
The survey determined the policies and practices executives deploy in their internal capital project organizations, and how they correlate to the most successful cost, schedule and quality performance. The goal of the newly published report is to provide a useful guide for all owners to improve construction project performance for the entire industry. The study findings revealed several widespread performance issues among building owners, including:
- Ninety-three (93) percent of owners reported exceeding the original schedule established for their projects.
- Eighty-five (85) percent reported that their projects exceeded their established budget.
- Nearly half (44 percent) of owners do not effectively engage the stakeholders and end users of their projects.
The study shows that inadequate project management, staff management and internal competencies are common and consistent problems among the owners that most frequently report schedule, budget and stakeholder engagement issues.
"These findings confirm the issues we've seen emerge in other studies," says Stephen A. Jones, executive director of industry insights at Dodge Data & Analytics. "The construction industry has suffered chronically from challenges on core issues like schedule and budget. We believe these findings are critical to demonstrating ways in which owner organizations can effectively address these problems."
By ranking owners according to their level of performance, the analysis flags a group of top-tier performers – those that complete 25 percent or more of their projects ahead of schedule and 50 percent or more of their projects under budget – and then examines what they do differently that might be helping them excel.
The results are divided into two main areas: practices that directly impact people and policy, and those that involve improved processes and technology. The findings make a compelling case that both areas need to be tackled to improve project performance.
- With respect to people and policy, practices like tying employee incentives to project performance, formal training and development programs and clearly defined job roles appear to explain most of the difference between the best and worst performing projects.
- The processes and technology improvements more widely adopted by the best performing owners include frequent measurement of project performance, willingness to innovate through the use of technology and the use of project management systems.
"The construction industry often seems like an untamable beast to owners, who may be aware that they are not operating as efficiently as possible but are not sure how to identify areas for improvement," said Chris Bell, vice president & program management evangelist, e-Builder. "With this first-of-its-kind study, we have been able to pinpoint best practices applicable to all owners and hope this contributes to greater efficiency across the entire industry."
Owners will have a chance to hear directly from the study's executers on September 29th, during e-Builder Elevate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Jones will discuss the findings and share additional insights. To download the full study "Optimizing the Owner Organization: The Impact of Policies and Practices on Performance SmartMarket Brief," click here.