New Series: Construction Management vs. Project Management

“Symbiotic relationships are a special type of interaction between species (Professional Service Providers!). Sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, these relationships are essential to many organisms (Projects!) and ecosystems (Capital Programs!), and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.”

Anyone who has spent any time in the ICI Project world will have much to say about the relationships and conflicts between Project Management Consultants and Construction Management Professionals.  Much ink (or keystrokes) have been spilled (or typed) arguing the virtues of each profession and what value they bring to any capital project.

Over my career, I have been fortunate to work for the Client side; the Project Management Consultancy realm and now with a Construction Services firm that delivers 70% of its projects through the Construction Management contract model.  I have heard all the pitches and the grumblings; seen the pitfalls; and experienced the good and bad sides of each.

My major takeaway from these experiences is that there is great confusion on the Client side with respect to the various functions and duties that both PM Consultants and CM firms provide.  This confusion is further compounded by the PM’s and CM’s themselves as they go about positioning their roles on any new project and carving out their respective turf.

Over the next several weeks I intend to publish a series of short posts with the overly ambitious intent of breaking down the two roles as they pertain to construction projects and how both PM firms and CM firms must ultimately rely on one another in order to deliver a successful project.  My target audiences are companies, institutions or individuals that are contemplating how to structure their project team for an upcoming capital project.

My topics will include:

1.      Project Management is a discipline, Construction Management is a form of contract.

2.      A Client’s Guide to Overlap of Scope:  How not to pay for the same service twice!

3.      Symbiosis:  PMs are here to stay; and why that’s great for CMs

4.      The Care and Feeding of your Project and Construction Managers…

My hope is that this series will start a discussion among Clients, Project Managers and Construction Management professionals.  If there are topics that you would like to have me visit that aren’t covered above; by all means reach out and say so!

The reality of today’s procurement methods is that both PMs and CMs will be involved in any significant construction project.  The onus is on the Client to question how to best leverage the talents of any project team in order to deliver a project that meets or exceeds their own success criteria. 

The hypothesis of my argument is that if the Client is informed, curious and firm; they can leverage the symbiotic relationship between these two professions to exponentially increase the chances of success and create “the best possible construction experience”.


Stay tuned.  Josh.