CPM Mechanics is the first book in a contemplated ten-volume reference series dedicated to effective Construction Project Management. To fully appreciate the contribution this book makes one needs to understand the true relationship between Project Management and Project Time Management.

Introducing Cognitive Project Management

Early studies by ICS‑Research discovered that a surprising amount of the prevailing Project Management dogma, as advocated by the world’s leading Project Management authorities, was not especially well suited for the Construction Industry. This discovery seemed consistent with studies by other world-class organizations (e.g., Chaos Report 2009, Standish Group) that reported project failure rates on Construction Projects as high as 70%, in terms of Cost and Schedule goals not being met.

Authorized by ICS‑Global to create a Project Management model designed specifically for the Construction Industry, ICS-Research named its creation Cognitive Project Management. In contrast, we dubbed the currently prevailing Project Management system Dominant Project Management, in recognition of its overwhelming influence around the world.

About Project Time Management

Peeling away a few layers of the Dominant Project Management onion we found that, notwithstanding an overt name change from the previous Planning and Scheduling label to the new Project Time Management label, there was virtually nothing new or different about how Dominant Project Management envisioned the time management of projects. It still came down to the traditional three components: Schedule Development, Schedule Maintenance, and Schedule Control.

By contrast, Cognitive Project Management takes a much deeper and richer view of Project Time Management, especially as it relates to the Construction Industry. We insist that there is much more to Project Time Management than mere Schedule Development and Schedule Maintenance.

For one, Cognitive Project Management dislikes the concept of Schedule Control since the very notion of control sends the wrong message to those that the Schedule is intended to support. For another, true control is nearly impossible to attain and may very well work at cross-purposes to the overall objectives of the Project Team.

Why We Created Cognitive Project Management

ICS-Research discovered that there is actually a symbiotic relationship between Project Management and Project Time Management. This meant that, from a practical perspective, if we were to change how Project Time Management was to work on construction projects, we would also have to change how Project Management itself works — for the latter constitutes the Operational Context (i.e., the Project Ecology) of the former.

As we saw it, one explanation for why Dominant Project Management does not work especially well on most construction projects is that its underlying Ideology is intentionally designed for mass appeal: to work for “most projects most of the time,” across any number of disparate project types and different industries. These generalities of principles and recommended practices render Dominant Project Management, as a coherent system, far too non-specific to support the intense operational demands of the typical Construction Project.

With a lump in our throats, we accepted that we would have to develop a new Project Management model, one specifically designed for the Construction Industry. And yet our initial charter and ultimate goal had not been to rewrite Project Management as a whole, but instead to discover and deliver the best Project Time Management system to the Construction Industry. There is much in Dominant Project Management that is good, valid, and beneficial to Construction Project Management. We did not want to throw the baby out with the bath water!

Significant Achievements of Cognitive Project Management

In short, we were quite clear among ourselves that we did not want to get lost in creating an entirely new Project Management model, but instead only those aspects of Project Management Ideology, Methodology, and Technology that could potentially enhance or inhibit effective Construction Project Time Management. As a result, Cognitive Project Management (as of this writing) is an incomplete Project Management system.

The extent of our developmental work can be summarized as these achievements:

  • Cognitive’s T.I.M.E. Framework: The Cognitive T.I.M.E. Framework is a helpful structure for productive discussion that differs dramatically from the Dominant Project Management view of what comprises Project Management.

  • Cognitive’s F.A.C.E. Diamond: As a recommendation for a more responsive Construction Project Management organization, Cognitive Project Management recognizes four distinct Project Management Domains at play on each Construction Project. Each domain has its own organizational structure, required skill sets, functional processes, and success criteria. The acronym, F.A.C.E., derives from the names of the domains: Facilitation, Administration, Collaboration, and Execution.

  • Cognitive Ideology: The Cognitive Project Management Ideology constitutes a radically different set of beliefs and values than are espoused by Dominant Project Management. These Ideological differences impact the choices and implementation of Project Time Management Methodologies and Technologies.
  • Momentum Management: Borne out of the Cognitive Ideology, Momentum Management embraces both Technological and Methodological innovations aimed at facilitating Project Execution efforts that consistently result in greater temporal (and fiscal) successes. Momentum Management entails planning, measuring, monitoring, directing, and influencing the rate at which Work is being performed.