Projektmanagement in Praxis und Lehre der (Landschafts)Architektur ... ein wenig Chaos gehört dazu

  • Project management in (landscape)architecture : professional practice and teaching ... a little chaos is necessary

Kluge, Florian; Krause, Christian L. (Thesis advisor)

Köln : Müller (2008)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Zgl.: Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2008

Abstract

In this dissertation, project management is analyzed in the special context of landscape architecture, architecture and urban planning, in professional practice and university teaching. The dissertation is divided into three parts.The first part attempts to define project management as such. Subsequently a comprehensive overview of how project management came into being and how it has evolved will be provided to facilitate a better understanding of this method. A look at technical literature and engineering standards shows that the term “project management” has clearly defined contours, in spite of its manifold applications. Project management was generated many decades ago, in the context of the defence industry, and was subject to further evolution by economists and engineers over the years. As these business sectors start out from different basic conditions, it is impossible to transfer the method on a one-to-one basis into (landscape)architecture. Nevertheless helpful insights can be gained. The second part of the dissertation concentrates on project management in (landscape)architecture. In this context projects are an accepted mode of organisation and a widely-used model of planning. To use the method to best advantage, it is necessary to customise it to the requirements of modern planning and flexible processes. The nine following statements will point out how project management is to be understood in (landscape)architecture: 1) Projects include several dimensions, which have to be taken into account: Project seen as a product, as a process and as organisation; 2) Project management does not imply the reinvention of work projects as such;3) The degree of complexity and determination of the projects themselves defines the possible appliance of the method which needs to be customized accordingly; 4) Project management has to be practised very flexibly; 5) The definition of the term “process” differs widely from other sectors; 6) Social skills are eminently important; 7) Project management does not necessarily require a project manager; 8) A faulty understanding of project management can seriously impair a project;9) Project management does not offer a solution for all problems. A look into the use of project management in professional practice shows that it is not widely used. Due to an enormous economic and methodical need for it, however, the demand has continuously grown and continues to spread. The utility of project management depends strongly on the prevailing conditions of the project and its participants. Five areas of utility can be identified: 1) economic thinking, self-management, 2) structures, clarity and transparency, 3) control and quality assessment, 4) channels and structures of communication, 5) public perception and market positioning. Project management can deploy its full potential, if several rules are observed: detailed assessment of the situation, selection of the appropriate tools, adequateness of the tools, application on all levels and in all phases, patience and systematic training, flexibility of methods, gradual concretion and continuous process of learning.The third part of the dissertation deals with university education, because the analysis of the professional practice and the experts’ statements leave no doubt that knowledge about project management needs to be integrated into university studies. The guidelines with regard to accreditation of degree programs and the catalogues of requirements of the architectural associations postulate project management, but in the curricula it is not adequately represented. Therefore university education does not cope with the requirements of professional practice. This dissertation intends to give orientation towards the specific teaching of project management within the university studies of (landscape)architecture. It relies on three different sources: Firstly, on reports taken from practice, secondly, on the analysis of "best practice" of special university courses and thirdly, on personal teaching experience. From this analysis, three main categories of topics can be identified: "basics" of project management, "content elements with a wider range" and "specialisation", which are specified by learning targets and content of teaching. Furthermore, the dissertation gives insight into appropriate teaching methods. Simultaneously, these teaching methods open up new vistas into further areas of research and into new questions. They are added in four paragraphs as food for thought. By integrating the defined contents of project management into the university curricula and in consideration of the reflections on appropriate teaching methods, a great progress in the teaching of project management could be made. Teaching and education could fulfil the requirements of professional practice to a higher degree, and the practitioners could achieve a greater professionalism in management.

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