Awakening the giant

The emergence of project management companies amid the Middle East construction boom and how they can help.

COMMENT, Projects

In the first of a series of articles, Mounir Ajam, chief executive officer of project management and training consultancy, SUKAD, talks about the emergence of project management companies amid the Middle East construction boom.

In places like Dubai, Jeddah, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Manama and many other locations in the Middle East, we see a major boom. Construction cranes are everywhere, dominating the skyline. Buildings are appearing like a forest growing rapidly from our fertile grounds. Islands are emerging out of the relatively calm Gulf water and skyscrapers are reaching higher and higher into the clouds. This magnificent growth is unmatched anywhere else in the world.

The diversity of projects, their developers, and the innovators behind them are quite unique. Some areas are becoming closer to a dreamland, where every type of project imaginable is being created due to highly innovative, creative and pioneering minds. We see major cities being built in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and even Lebanon - once reconstruction starts. It is also worth noting that the speed of development is probably unmatched in recent history anywhere in the world. This accelerated rate in getting new ideas to the market is quite challenging to regional resources, but somehow our wills and abilities are finding a magical way to deliver in this highly dynamic world.

Yes, it is easy to see cranes moving around the clock building a better future for us all. It is easy to see islands being born into our new world, but what is not easy to see is the magic that is making this happen. What is not easy to see is how our regional airlines are the fastest growing in an industry, which in most other places, is declining. What is not easy to see is the dynamic of information technology, where many global houses have moved into the area. What is not readily recognisable is the power of human capital, resource development, nationalisation programmes and their role in creating our fantastic world. What is not easy to see is how the financial sector is emerging as a global power across many cities in our region.

So, what is the power that is leading the way in making these dreams become reality? Obviously we do not have a magic wand, but being biased to our profession we would like to say that project management, as an emerging profession, is playing a significant role in all industries across the region and globally. Project management is not just about managing a construction project; it has proven itself as a strategic business asset which could help organisations to bridge the gap between corporate strategy and implementation - it is a link to ensure effective implementation of projects and programmes.

Project management is what could help us achieve such a reality and pursue these enormous challenges in a much more effective way. The question would therefore be: how effective are we in managing these projects? The answer is for a future article, but for now: what is project management and why do we need it?

In our forest, we see project management as a giant that is awakening, since only a giant can help us effectively navigate in this highly dynamic world. So how do we awaken this giant, and once awakened, how do we tame it? How do we refine it in order for us to use its power in the most effective way? To find out more - look for the giant in future articles.

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