An appraisal of the role of Project Management Offices (PMO) in promoting Knowledge Management (KM) within KSA construction companies

Alqahtani, A 2019, An appraisal of the role of Project Management Offices (PMO) in promoting Knowledge Management (KM) within KSA construction companies , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The evolution of the construction industry and the increasing complexity of its projects, alongside the global economic crisis and concerns about repeating unsuccessful experiments in construction, have resulted in significant pressure on construction organisations, forcing them to establish new programs and departments to identify their priorities and achieve effective results. The importance of using project management (PM) practices is increasing dramatically. Organisations consider it increasingly important to employ PM to achieve project effectiveness and efficiency, helping to consistently employ knowledge, tools, and skills to meet the overall organisational objectives. In addition, the existence of knowledge management (KM) practices are important in helping to resolve PM challenges, increase project success rates, and improve business performance. In other words, the management of project knowledge not only increase the project’s quality, but it also helps to avoid knowledge loss and reinventing the wheel.

A large number of researchers and experts have found that investing in Project Management Offices (PMOs) can lead to higher levels of project success whilst also embedding strong and consistent project management practices, processes, and procedures into the organisation. PMO is an organisation unit, department, or office that adopts and maintains the various practices of PM while also controlling organisational projects. Theoretically, the roles of PMO are responsible for providing and encouraging the KM practices. The PMO objective is to centralize knowledge and bring together lessons learned in order to convert this accumulated knowledge into more effective new procedures and processes. The Project Management Maturity Model (PMMM) proposed to address the different levels of PMOs to move from operation and tactical PMOs over time towards more directive and strategic PMOs by proposing a number of criteria and practices in each maturity level. Hence, PMMM should employ the KM processes and components within the PMO.

The adoption of PMOs is not without challenge. The biggest challenge currently facing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)’s construction firms is the introduction of robust immigration controls, in 2012, which state only a maximum of 50% of employees, can originate from outside the KSA. Given most project management staff are European and American citizens, this, together with the temporary nature of construction projects, causes a problem. Consequently, the KSA’s construction firmsare now facing a skills and knowledge drain as project management staff members leave both the organisation and country. Ultimately this leak of specialist knowledge and experience must now be addressed before it becomes a serious risk to both successful project delivery and organisational survival. One possible solution is to embed Knowledge Managementvia a PMO into the organisation in an attempt to capture the explicit and tacit knowledge returned by these professionals before they depart. Thus, this research suggests that as people hold knowledge and new knowledge is created at every phase of a project, if this knowledge is captured, it can flow seamlessly through the organisation if centrally stored and disseminated by the PMO. It was therefore resolved to appraise the emergent state of art in terms of PMO adoption and the extent tacit knowledge is amenity captured by KSA construction organisations.

The research aims to develop a conceptual framework for the implementation of Knowledge Management processes and components at various maturity levels of Project Management Offices. An extensive review of literature was undertaken to highlight the recent debates in regard to the study scope of PMO and PM maturity models and KM in functional and construction projects. As a result of this endeavor, the preliminarily theoretical framework was developed: 1) to identify the KM practices and the Knowledge Management Maturity Model (KMMM) to addresses and integrate KM within PMO; 2) to investigate the steps and procedures for establishing and evaluating PMOs and PM maturity models to assist the development of PMO; 3) to evaluate the effectiveness of PMO to encourage and adopt best practices of both PM and KM; and 4) to evaluate the current difficulties and challenges that affect the completion of KSA’s construction projects and utilize the principles and values created via PMOs to address them. Current research explaining the PMOs advocates the PMO’s critical function as a knowledge broker between group in the project team and senior management and also between projects within same organisation. Despite this strategically important role, current literature reveals a general lack of awareness within the KSA.

The mixed method was used in this research. The first phase carried out through a large-scale survey with KSA construction firms to test and evaluate the proposedframework. Approximately 340 questionnaires have been distributed equally between two independent groups of respondents. The first group consists of professionals working within the project environment whereas the second group targets senior and other staff, who are remote to the project, based at either regional offices or the organisation’s central office. The second phase was interviews with PMO working groups, senior managers, and project managers. The interviews were conducted to test the findings ofthe survey and to investigate the KM processes and components at various maturity levels of PMOs. A total of 16 interviews were divided into four levels to investigate how each maturity level of PMO addresses KM practices whether in head office or projects environment. The findings of the research propose that there is mutual benefits between the maturity level of the PMO and the utilised practices of KM. This confirms that a Centre of Excellence maturity level of PMO has more effective roles for managing project knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Depositing User: AYEDH Alqahtani
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 10:28
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2019 02:30
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/52291

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