The strategy behind project design management

Paul Sancandi
April 8, 2013

Managing design for success of building and infrastructure projects is not just about the control of a creative process it is about delivering outcomes, these include:

  • Fulfilment of project objectives and project outcomes at all levels by all parties involved.
  • Managing the design process properly and effectively to reduce the design related risks and project risks overall.
  • Maximising profitability for your business. It makes good business sense to manage the design on your projects to maximise the return for your business.
  • Enhancing your organisation’s reputation. Securing the next job is very important for any business or organisation to survive. Delivering the project you have in hand by meeting or exceeding the expectations of different parties involved not only enhances your organisation’s reputation it provides the basis for getting repeat or ongoing work.

The key message here: managing design well is good for business. However, to manage design properly you need to have a structured and effective design management process in your organisation or business.

The first step of any design management process (DMP) implementation for an organisation or business is to develop the DMP Implementation Strategy. This implementation strategy will cover the following:

  • DMP strategy and recommendations
  • DMP uses
  • Enabling DMP processes
  • DMP information and data
  • DMP infrastructure
  • DMP and people
  • DMP education and training

The strategic planning for DMP implementation will direct the nominated DMP planning team through three steps to develop a detailed DMP Implementation Strategy. These are:

  1. Conduct a current organisational assessment of current design management processes;
  2. Establish a desired level of implementation of design management processes; and
  3. Develop the advancement strategy for design management process implementation.

Design management process uses

The internal application of DMP is called a DMP use. A DMP use is defined as a method or strategy of applying design management processes during the project lifecycle to achieve one or more specific objectives.

DMP uses during each of the stages of the project lifecycle (planning, design and construction) can include planning and business case stage processes, project briefs and consultant briefs, design management planning and resourcing, design management process mapping, design management tools, design review and approval processes, design monitoring and reporting, design risks, issues and change management, building information modelling (BIM), documentation management, project communication, interface management, contract administration (design delivery) and asset management.

The typical methodology for the development of the DMP implementation involves a series of meetings and workshops with the appropriate client management team and the designated client DMP implementation team.

Following the gathering of all possible information, the first step is to undertake the compilation, preparation and finalisation of a high level executive DMP Implementation Strategy Report.

After reviewing and approving the executive DMP Implementation Strategy Report, and subject to the recommendations in the report, the client’s DMP Implementation team will take forward the implementation of the recommended design management processes and uses.

Author avatar
Paul Sancandi
Paul Sancandi is a senior design manager with InfraSol Group. He has a technical background as a structural engineer, owned an architectural and engineering practice and has worked in Australia, Asia and the Middle East on a wide range of small to mega projects over the past 32 years.
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